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: Fantastic Four (2005)

The first big-budget adaptation of Marvels’ “The Fantastic Four” came ten years ago and serves now as a warning and a sign of things to come. The 2005 “Fantastic Four” isn’t offensively bad, as some claim, nor a misunderstood classic worthy of defense. The result is a comic book movie in capital letters, a jokey, cornball “event movie” with good …

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Looking Back: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

It’s very fitting, perfect really, that the first thing we see in this sequel to “First Blood” is a large scale explosion. We watch a bunch of prisoners working outdoors, with Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) now literally a part of chain gang, banging his hammer against rocks as armed guards keep a close watch. Rambo looks the same as he did …

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Movie Review: Vacation

There was once a sharp, boundary pushing humor magazine called National Lampoon, which was a precursor to “Saturday Night Live,” The Onion and “The Daily Show.” After the enormous success of their flagship film, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” along came the first comedy about Clark W. Griswald. “National Lampoon’s Vacation” was an instant success in 1983, ably tapping into the …

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Movie Review: Trainwreck

Amy Schumer’s blunt, unguarded, sometimes explicit and always funny brand of stand-up comedy makes an easy transition to fictional narrative. After a series of strong stand-up specials, memorably cutting appearances on celebrity roasts and seasons of the inventively naughty and hysterically funny “Inside Amy Schumer,” she deservedly makes an easy move to big screen comedy. Playing (perhaps) a version of …

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Looking Back: Total Recall (1990)

The pairing of mega-superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dutch madman filmmaker Paul Verhoeven seemed like an odd match at first. Actually, if you look at the early attempts to get “Total Recall” made in the decade before it, the surprising matches of actor and director are consistent. David Cronenberg famously tried to get a highly cerebral version made starring William Hurt. …

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Looking Back: Heat (1995)

I remember the moment when Michael Mann’s “Heat” won me over the first time I saw it. It comes during the first twenty-five minutes and takes place in a bookstore. We see Neil, played by Robert De Niro, sitting alone. He’s reading and trying hard not to stand out in one of those bookstore/cafe combos that are rare but still …

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Paradise Video- 34 Years of Serving Maui Movie Lovers

Movie rental stores have become rare, specialized, hip and as hard to find nationwide as a music store that sells vinyl. It’s 2015 and a Maui video store continues to be a successful mainstay in Kahului. This alone is newsworthy, as most video rental stores have gone the way of the VCR. Paradise Video isn’t the only movie rental store …

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Looking Back: Battlefield: Earth (2000)

I was first drawn to “Battlefield: Earth” in Denver of 2000, which I guess is ironic, since the movie is set in Denver and takes place exactly a thousand years later. I was a college student at the time and had never been to a sci-fi convention before, though movies like “Galaxy Quest” gave me an idea of what they …

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Looking Back: Predator 2 (1990)

Once the filmmakers behind “Predator 2” realized that Arnold Schwarzenegger was not returning for the sequel, I suspect they came up with a plan. Rather than make a follow up to the 1987 smash that was smaller in scale, I suspect they regrouped and decided, if we lose the biggest star in the world for the lead, then let’s make …

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Movie Review: Mr. Holmes

“Mr. Holmes,” one of my favorite films that I caught at this year’s Maui Film Festival, is director Bill Condon’s second film with star Ian McKellen. Their 1998 drama, “Gods and Monsters,’ in which McKellen portrayed film director James Whale during the bittersweet last days of his life, is a milestone for both the actor and filmmaker. Their eagerly awaited …

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