A Filmgoer’s Guide to Fest: Lone Star Film Festival ’15

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cropped-FB_9th_coverPreston Barta // Editor

Whenever a film festival struts into town, there’s always a special feeling that comes over cinephiles: anticipation that borders on delight. This is especially true every November when the Lone Star Film Festival comes to Sundance Square in Ft. Worth, TX.

Today commences the opening of the revered festival. In its nine years, it has pulled in big names such as Michael Fassbender and Robert Duvall, and this year it continues to put the history books on the shelf.

For the next four days, local and visiting guests – such as Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), Bill Paxton (TITANIC) and Joanna Kerns (GROWING PAINS) – will stop in cowtown to take over local theaters and pavilions with their films, documentaries, shorts and panels.

Fresh Fiction is attending the festival and will be speaking with a few of its attending filmmakers and screen talents. But until then, here are a few films that should be on your radar.

A-Clockwork-Orange-3A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – A Special Screening with Malcolm McDowell
Thursday, November 5 at Four Day Weekend Theater
9:45 p.m.

If you’re an art film fan, you’ve probably had a run-in with Stanley Kubrick’s hauntingly beautiful A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. However, if you haven’t had your eyes stretched open to watch it like the picture to the left, then why not watch it for the first time on the big screen with the lead actor in attendance?

The luridly-colorful set designs and costumes, synthesized electronic score, lavish cinematography, and pun-filled language all have a hand in bringing this film to its acclaimed and iconic level. Kubrick and McDowell produce a striking, unforgettable film about a charismatic delinquent who undergoes experimental therapy held by the government in order to solve society’s crime problem. It’s dark, fascinating and above all… insane.

2012-LSFF-Opening-Night-QACareer Conversation with Malcolm McDowell, Bill Paxton and Joanna Kerns
Friday, Nov, 8 at Sundance Square Pavilion
12:00 p.m.

While most of us will be at work during this time, come lunchtime on Friday you might want to fake sick and head over to the Sundance Square Pavilion to listen to screen legends McDowell, Paxton and Kerns speak about their struggles, triumphs and path to Hollywood fame.

mojave-oscar-isaacMOJAVE
Friday, Nov. 6 at AMC Palace
8:30 p.m.

William Monahan penned the Oscar-winning script for Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED. However, since then, Monahan has tried his hand in directing with the forgettable LONDON BOULEVARD, and has produced a handful of mediocre screenplays (BODY OF LIES, EDGE OF DARKNESS and THE GAMBLER).

Now, Monaghan hopes to start fresh with a story about a suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) who crosses paths with a homicidal drifter (Oscar Isaac) in the (insert title) desert.

As you can see, with the likes of Hedlund (UNBROKEN), Isaac (EX MACHINA) and even Mark Wahlberg (yep. he’s in there somewhere), perhaps there’s something good under the film’s hood that we don’t know about.

-2CAROL
Saturday, Nov. 7 at AMC Palace
6:00 p.m.

Of all the films at the festival, CAROL is sure to draw the biggest crowd. The word of mouth is it’s great and is going to be a major Oscar contender. But really, that’s not much of surprise when you look at the talent behind it, including Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO).

The story drops us in 1950’s New York, where we follow a department-store clerk (Mara) who longs for a better life and falls for an older, married woman (Blanchett).

While it may seem like the kind of material that is desperate for attention and difficult to escape in, it’s destined to be a touching and truly romantic triumph to behold– and it is.

anomalisa.800ANOMALISA
Sunday, Nov. 8 at AMC Palace
6:00 p.m.

Closing out the festival on Sunday night is ANOMALISA, a stop-motion movie that tells of a man (David Thewlis) crippled by his ordinary life.

At some point or another, we have all question our worth and if what we’re doing makes us happy. ANOMALISA capitalizes on that idea.

Riding a wave of glowing reviews from this year’s Fantastic Fest and its winning voicing-cast, including Jennifer Jason Leigh (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGHT) and Thewlis (HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN), ANOMALISA is fated to win the hearts of audiences and close Lone Star with a bang.

The full schedule and ticket/badge information can be found on lonestarfilmestival.com.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.