Articles by Barry Wurst II

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E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

“E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” Steven Spielberg’s magical, compassionate film, is now 35 years old. We open on an alien space craft landing in a forest, as small extra terrestrials work mysteriously, taking samples and exploring the woods. A car pulls up, faceless men chase an alien away from his companions and the ship takes off….

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Star Wars

What were movies like before George Lucas’ “Star Wars” opened forty years ago on May 25th, 1977? On the one hand, I know the answer to this question. In the months before “Star Wars,” filmgoers had to sift through junk like “Airport ’77” and “Billy Jack Goes to Washington,” as well as eventual summer movies…

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Alien Covenant

It’s been about ten years since filmmaker Ridley Scott made the unguarded comment about making an “Alien” prequel. He was reflecting on “Alien,” only his second movie in a career littered with milestones, and thinking aloud what a prequel would be like. He imagined a focus on the Alien planet, going back to that mysterious…

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I knew Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was going to work from the first scene, which somehow gives audiences exactly what they want but offers a sly twist. The film opens with an intergalactic crew of space adventurers, led by Starlord (Chris Pratt, former Bubba Gump Shrimp Company server in Lahaina). Along with the…

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The Boss Baby

My brother Marty is three years younger than me and I remember his arrival being a wonderful time of change in my life. Believing that “the stork” had made a delivery, I was delighted by the new presence in our home. From the very beginning, I was so fond of him, I used to climb…

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Daniel Espinosa’s “Life” begins as a serious minded, optimistic and thoughtful sci-fi tale on the weight of creating and nurturing life. We meet six astronauts (played by Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya), living on the International Space Station, who have obtained a living organism from Mars. They…

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Beauty and the Beast

In Bill Condon’s live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animated musical Beauty and the Beast, the story is mostly the same and all the expected ingredients are in place. Yet, everyone seems to be trying too hard to make up for the big gap at the film’s center. This may be the first version of…

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Kong: Skull Island

Every version of the King Kong story is essentially the same but each has a different idea driving its story. The original, 1933, black and white King Kong is one of the greatest movies ever made, the prototype for every subsequent special effects-driven blockbuster and visible proof that a man-made movie monster can be endearing…

Get Out

Get Out

During the concluding season of the great “Key and Peele” comedy sketch series, the skits had become increasingly darker. It seemed that the creators, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, didn’t wish to merely parody horror films but create mini-horror films on their show, with certain sketches unspooling in skin crawling fashion. I was worried that…

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The Great Wall

The first movie I ever reviewed was “Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold,” a bad Indiana Jones rip-off that starred Richard Chamberlin and Sharon Stone (poor substitutes for Harrison Ford and Karen Allen). I was ten years old at the time and loved the movie, despite its abundant cheesiness, horrible plotting, horrible acting…basically,…

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