Articles by Barry Wurst II


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Serenity

When we meet Baker Dill (played by Matthew McConaughey), he’s drenched in sweat, living alone in a dumpy apartment and lives to fish. Baker is particularly obsessed with catching a massive tuna he’s nicknamed “Justice,” a crazed fixation that has resulted in daily failed attempts to capture the fish with his patient first mate (played…

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Replicas

In the near future, scientist Will Foster (played by Keanu Reeves) moves the fading consciousness of a recently deceased man into a robot. When the robot “reawakens” as a skeletal machine with a metallic body, it immediately freaks out and rips its head apart. Clearly, Foster has never seen “RoboCop” and lacks the bedside manner…

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Glass

M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” (2000) was a comic book movie ahead of its time. Arriving a year after the monster success of his spooky and deeply moving “The Sixth Sense,” Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” was shrouded in secrecy. No one knew what the film was even about until the day it opened. The initial response was muted,…

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Stoke

At the start of “Stoke,” the debut film of writer/director team Zoe Eisenberg and Phillips Payson, we meet Jane (played by Caitlin Holcombe), who has sunk into a state of depression. She’s advised to get out of bed and take a trip- a televised news story of lava flows inspires her to visit the Big…

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Watchmen

If you only read one graphic novel in your lifetime, make it “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I’ve been saying this for years, to the annoyance of my friends, but seriously, it lives up to its prestigious reputation. On paper, “Watchmen” is thrilling, complex stuff, but as a movie, its an ambitious mixed…

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The Public

It gives me no joy to report that, as much as I like Emilio Estevez, I greatly disliked his latest film, “The Public,” which he wrote, directed and co-stars. This Cincinnati-set drama showcases an ensemble cast  as workers and patrons of The Public Library of Cincinatti and Hamilton County. We meet Jena Malone, playing a…

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Dumbo

The 1941 “Dumbo” is one of Disney’s most beloved (if dated), emotionally rich and rewarding animated films. It’s about a baby pachyderm, born in the circus, who is torn from his mother, turned into a circus freak but finds acceptance after discovering he can fly. The 2019 “Dumbo” is about how a once-reliable company took…

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Captain Marvel

Hints of Marvel Cinematic Universe fatigue has been detectable for a few years but finally overwhelms their latest product. The lesser of the mega-blockbuster MCU films have a dull interchangeability, underwhelming villains and an over-reliance on CGI spectacle. This is especially evident in “Captain Marvel,” which, unfortunately, is an iffy showcase for the talented Brie…

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Us

Towards the end of the “Key & Peele” series on Comedy Central, the sketches were becoming alarmingly dark. Many of the bits had a twisted premise that would develop in ways that were fitting for a horror movie and seemed removed from the earlier, lighter, oft-quoted skits that have made the show notable. It’s entirely…

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THE HAWAII FILM CRITICS SOCIETY 2018 LIST

A childhood remembrance, full of wonder, horror and humanity, enthralled the Hawaii Film Critics Society. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal, vivid and spellbinding film, led the Best of 2018 list, winning six awards, including Best Picture and Director. Also receiving six awards is “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper’s remarkable directorial debut, including for Best…

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