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Barry Wurst II

Barry Wurst II
Barry Wurst II is a senior editor & film critic at MAUIWatch. He wrote film reviews for a local Maui publication and taught film classes at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS). Wurst also co-hosted podcasts for Screengeeks.com and has been published in Bright Lights Film Journal and in other film-related websites. He is currently featured in the new MAUIWatch Podcast- The NERDWatch.

Theater Review: Jekyll and Hyde The Musical

The streak hasn’t ended. Yes, it’s odd opening a theater review with what sounds like a baseball reference but I thought I’d cut to the chase and answer the question most have regarding the MAPA Live production of “Jekyll and Hyde The Musical.” Wunderkind director David C. Johnston is once again at the helm of a production that sure looks …

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Looking Back: Mary Reilly (1996)

In the establishing scenes of “Mary Reilly,” Stephen Frear’s flawed but riveting take on “Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde,” the screen is filled with thick, soupy London fog. This visual persists over the rest of the film, suggesting clouded truths, hidden horrors and the isolation experienced when there’s no one to hear your cries for help. If this doesn’t sound …

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Looking Back: From Hell (2001)

It’s no wonder “From Hell,” the fine Jack the Ripper thriller from The Hughes Brothers, was such an underachiever in 2001. Coming to theaters a month after 9/11, the film is grim and wall-to-wall with human despair even before Jack butchers his first victim. Not helping matters is that the film, while superior to “Sleepy Hollow,” looked awfully similar (though …

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Looking Back: Highlander (1986)

It’s not hard to see why Russell Mulcahy’s “Highlander” bewildered audiences in theaters but gradually found a ravenous cult following afterwards. While an instant flop and a real oddity in theaters, Mulcahy’s Scottish-infused update of the vampire legend gained serious traction on VHS and repeat cable airings. Whatever it was that lured movie lovers to this goofy epic (Sean Connery, …

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Looking Back: Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Baz Luhrman’s “Moulin Rougue!” was supposed to be released during Christmas of 2000 but was pushed back until the following summer. Reportedly, Luhrman wasn’t finished with the film and it needed more work before opening day. Seeing the film now, I can’t help but wonder: the film is so crammed to brim and monstrously overstuffed, was the first, unfinished draft …

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Movie Review: Lights Out

Every once in a while, I find myself drawn in by short horror films that pop up on YouTube. Most of them are last only minutes, are quite terrible, climax in some cheap jump scare and vanish from the mind immediately. Others, like Andres Muschietti’s 2008 “Mama” (which later inspired an inferior movie spin-off) are effectively scary and utilize their …

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Theater Review: The Little Mermaid

A year ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing what happened when Sally Sefton took seventy children, many of whom had never acted before, and directing them in a challenging, full blown musical. The show was “Oliver!” and I was amazed to see so many children on stage at once, all working in sync and giving it their all. The …

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Looking Back: Evolution (2001)

You can’t blame filmmakers for trying to recreate the success and vision of Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters.” In fact, Reitman himself tried to recapture the lightening in a bottle success of the franchise twice- in 1989, with “Ghostbusters II” and in 2001 with “Evolution.” The former is a hit and miss sequel but the latter is an intriguing, mostly forgotten f/x-driven …

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Looking Back: Lady in the Water (2006)

The circumstances in which I first saw M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water” were so unusual, they match the outright strangeness of the film itself. I was living in Colorado at the time and nearly missed the screening, due to a horrible car accident. I was driving to the screening with my wife, Julia and my Maui childhood friend, …

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Theater Review: Spamalot

Monty Python was a constant presence in my college theater days. The comedy troupe, consisting of Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Graham, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, shaped generations of comedy fans and helped establish a love for tastelessness in all of us. Python’s many quotable lines, specific skits  and films were imitated and quoted so often by …

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