Articles by Barry Wurst II


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The Florida Project

A few years ago, a writer/director named Sean Baker emerged with “Tangerine,” his film about transgender prostitutes, which he shot on his cell phone. Amazingly, the film looked great (you’d never guess it was shot on an iPhone 5S) and offered a funny, uniquely unguarded depiction of its subject matter. You can argue that “Tangerine”…

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Fifty Shades Freed

So here we are, the third film based on the publishing sensation, created by E.L. James as “Twilight” fan fiction, which she transformed into a trio of hilariously crappy “books”. Hearing my wife read me aloud passages of those unfathomable bestsellers was such a riot, we’ve gone to every one of these movies on their…

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Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” is set in post-WWII London and centers around an upscale clothing designer named Reynolds Woodcock (played by Daniel-Day Lewis). While Woodcock’s clothing is gorgeous, lush and exquisite, his life has a hermetically sealed quality, as his daily schedule, work habits and tolerance for anyone outside his home is practically locked….

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The Post

In 1971, The Washington Post and The New York Times published revealing, damaging and highly classified documents involving the Vietnam War. These documents, called “the Pentagon Papers,” unveiled shocking revelations regarding former U.S. Presidents and then-current President Richard Nixon. In this Steven Spielberg-directed dramatization, Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington…

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THE HAWAII FILM CRITICS SOCIETY 2017 LIST

A mother obsessed with finding justice in her town of Ebbing, Missouri and a detective on a quest in futuristic Los Angeles captured the imagination of the Hawaii Film Critics Society. Their Best of 2017 List bestowed five awards each for Denis Villeneuve’s visionary “Blade Runner 2049” and Martin McDonagh’s confrontational “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing,…

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HAWAII FILM CRITICS SOCIETY 2017 NOMINEES LIST

The Hawaii Film Critics Society has cast their votes and nominated a wide range of films for their year’s end list. Dennis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, led the charge with nine nominations, the most of any film on the list. “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo Del Toro’s  acclaimed sci-fi/romance,…

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The Year in Film: 2017

In this age of nostalgia-driven entertainment, the best works explore the past rather than allow it distract us from the present. Too many bad sequels, prequels and remakes merely restaged an established story for a cynical cash-grab for those seeking easy escape or willing to accept their lowered expectation. On the other hand, some of…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

There are no spoilers in my review of Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Here’s the loosest of plot summaries: Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) is still on that island with a long-gone Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). While the other rebels are fighting against the newly assembled evil Empire, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) remains…

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Coco

The title character of “Coco,” the new Disney/Pixar CGI masterpiece, is the great-grandmother of Miguel, a young boy and the main protagonist. Initially, it seems odd that the movie would be named after Miguel’s oldest living relative, who is depicted mostly sitting, barely moving and only somewhat aware of what’s going on around her. As…

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Three Billboards…

Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri” begins with the reveal that Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) has rented three massive billboards that sit unattended in a field where town folk occasionally drive past. She pays Red (played by Caleb Landry Jones), the owner of the billboards, to post a three-part message on…

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