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Movie Rewind

Looking Back: Shaft (2000)

The casting of Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft was so on-the-nose perfect, it made movie buffs shout “right on.” Once the announcement came that Jackson was playing the role, the movie practically played in my head, as I could easily imagine the star of “Jackie Brown” strutting around New York to Isaac Hayes’ legendary score. To an extent, that’s …

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Looking Back: Return to Oz (1985)

There was something about the poster to “Return to Oz” that provided me with an unspoken warning. I stood in front of it with my mother, outside of a movie theater in Riverdale, New Jersey. My Mother asked me, “do you want to see that?” I knew that, were I to say yes, we’d be inside and sitting on the …

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Looking Back: Ghost Dog- The Way of the Samurai (2000)

Forest Whitaker is no one’s first choice to play the role of a samurai, which is why it works so well. To describe Jim Jarmusch’s “Ghost Dog- The Way of the Samurai” is to court ridicule and disbelief that the movie could be anything other than a campy disaster. Whitaker plays a silent but commanding figure who lives in a …

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Looking Back: Weird Science (1985)

Anthony Michael-Hall once stood on a stage in Denver, addressing the fandom of the annual Starfest convention. He was there promoting “The Dead Zone,” his TV series, and was taking questions regarding his impressive, lengthy list of past roles. “Weird Science” came up, not in the form of a question but a declaration. A guy in his mid-twenties took the …

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Looking Back: Species (1995)

Science Fiction has always delved into the lure of sex, either as subtext or as a central theme. For a film genre so famous as a means of exploring the possibilities of the human experience, pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery and, as a result, showcasing the most extraordinary special effects available, sex has always been a sci-fi staple, if …

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Looking Back: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

There’s a magic to the world of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” a sort of Movie Land fairy tale setting where anything is possible. Seeing the film when I was child, I was delighted from start to finish, though my un-cynical view of the world was in synch with the film’s. Today, recalling when the film was made, it’s even more …

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Looking Back: Hollow Man (2000)

There’s a great line in “The Hollow Man” (it’s original title, which was shortened before release) where the invisible, despicable Sebastian Kane declares, “it’s amazing what you can do, when you don’t have to look at yourself in the mirror anymore.” We know he’s not kidding, as the film demonstrates how elevating Kane’s already hearty God complex leads to shamelessly …

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Looking Back: Batman Begins (2005)

Where do you go with the Batman character after “Batman & Robin”? This is a question apparently so daunting, it took Warner Brothers nearly ten years to mount a follow-up for one of their most profitable franchises. The central sin of Joel Schumacher’s 1997, George Clooney starring embarrassment is that it was silly. This is odd, considering how things began …

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Looking Back: Dangerous Minds (1995)

I have a friend named Stephanie who went to Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, where the real events of “Dangerous Minds” took place. Stephanie is one of the sunniest, most endearingly cheerful people I’ve ever met and her connection to the infamous school intrigued me. One day, while we drove past the school grounds, I asked her, What was …

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Looking Back: The New World (2005)

When “The New World” had its wide opening weekend (after a limited, Oscar-baiting run in December of the following year), a peculiar thing happened. I was there on opening night and couldn’t wait to see the latest film from Terrence Malick. His prior film, “The Thin Red Line,” left me awestruck and in eager anticipation of his follow up. This …

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