Articles by Barry Wurst II


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Tomb Raider

Does anyone really want to see Lara Croft’s origin story? Specifically, do we really care about the life of one of the all-time most famous video game characters, before she was super-cool? Think about this for a moment. If you imagine Croft as intelligent, attractive and fierce, wearing shorts and a tank top while scaling…

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Lady Bird

The lists of the best high school movies seem to always start with John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club” or “Sixteen Candles.” As much as I enjoy Hughes’ works and the genre in general, the finest movies about high school are directed by women. Why? Because there’s a needed balance in their depiction of adolescent sexism,…

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The Strangers: Prey At Night

Ten years later, somebody finally made a sequel to the horror hit “The Strangers” and proved that, once again, some movies absolutely do not need a chapter two. Here, a family of four (led by “Mad Men” star Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson, lead in the Ice Cube-led fiasco “Torque”) go on a road trip…

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Red Sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, a Russian Bolshoi Ballet dancer whose promising career is cut painfully short. An onstage injury redirects Dominika into a life of spying, as her uncle (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) enlists her in the Russian intelligence-sponsored “Sparrow” program. Dominika must endure living in a remote location, where she is trained to…

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Annihilation

Writer/director Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” is about duality, specifically the uncomfortable contrast between suicide and self destruction. Because it’s a such a predictable, lumbering and thoroughly unpleasant film, it seems to have much less on its mind. Natalie Portman stars as Lena, a former soldier turned biologist who is abducted and forced to take part in…

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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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