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.

Looking Back: True Stories (1986)

The Talking Heads and its lead singer, David Byrne, excelled at creating rock art. Their music was strange, catchy, risk taking and fantastic. Before they disbanded, The Talking Heads established themselves as one of the greatest American bands of the late 20th century and their music continues to be radio staples. Here is the cinematic interpretation of their music, as …

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Looking Back: Superman Returns (2006)

You have to love “Superman- The Movie” as much as Bryan Singer does to make a film like “Superman Returns.” As result, you’ll likely love “Superman Returns” if you’re as fond of the 1978-1981 Christopher Reeve-starring Superman movies as I am. The great thing about Singer’s film is that, in tone and in the casting of Brandon Routh as Superman, …

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Looking Back: New Jack City (1991)

There was a point in time where there were so few African-American filmmakers, you didn’t even one hand, let alone a full set of fingers, to count them all. In the late 1980’s, Spike Lee made a huge impression, a black filmmaker whose works were made for black audiences, though they were so good, they found universal adoration. Otherwise, there …

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Looking Back: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

There have been many films about a Caucasian outsider who immerses himself in Asian culture and emerges the triumphant (and highly unlikely) hero. In 1985, Michael Cimino’s “Year of the Dragon” pitted Mickey Rourke in the cop-who-solves-the-Chinese-war role, while Ridley Scott’s 1989 “Black Rain” did the same for Michael Douglas but in Japan. There was also “The Hunted” from 1995, …

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Looking Back: Chain Reaction (1996)

During the summer of 1996, 20th Century Fox made a fortune distributing “Independence Day,” the alien invasion blockbuster that pulverized the competition and became an instant classic. Later that summer, they also released “Chain Reaction,” a Keanu Reeves starring action/drama that, despite its pedigree and a fair amount of hype, became almost instantly forgotten. Whereas most Americans will forever revisit …

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Looking Back: The Fountain (2006)

I have a friend named Dave who went to the Hollywood press junket for “The Fountain,” got to interview Hugh Jackman and Darren Aronofsky, saw the film early and declared it “the best film of the year…and the next three years!” His enthusiasm was infectious, as the forty second teaser trailer that came out the year before (with its pounding …

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Looking Back: Legal Eagles (1986)

As a child, I had a weird affection for “Legal Eagles.” I’d watch the film often and, at the time, I couldn’t tell you why, only that I really liked it. As an adult, I think the reason is kind of obvious: in spite of a story that doesn’t work (it either doesn’t make sense or it does but buries …

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Theater Review: Guys and Dolls

The Maui Onstage production of “Guys and Dolls” gets off to a strong start and never wavers. The song score begins with “Fugue for Tinhorns,” the rousing opener that fully immerses the audience into a dreamland of New York, as a town overrun with gangsters, gamblers, entertainers and misfits. Performed with gusto by Robert Mills, Craig Bode and Stephen Webb, …

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Looking Back: Backdraft (1991)

Every great Ron Howard movie has a single image that sums up what the film is about and what Howard is working to convey. The big moment in “Backdraft” is the slow motion shot of fireman Kurt Russell carrying a boy on his arm out of a room engulfed in flames. We see this through the eyes of William Baldwin, …

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Looking Back: Feeling Minnesota (1996)

I didn’t expect to get nostalgic re-visiting the Gen-X Keanu Reeves/Cameron Diaz love story, “Feeling Minnesota,” but I forgot how much this movie was present in my college years. I saw the film with my friend Sarah at the (no longer existing) Green Mountain Theater in Lakewood CO. I bought the film’s poster from Suncoast Video and had it hung …

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