Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
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 – A Special Screening with Malcolm McDowell
Thursday, November 5 at Four Day Weekend Theater
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.
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.
Friday, Nov. 6 at AMC Palace
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.
Saturday, Nov. 7 at AMC Palace
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.
Sunday, Nov. 8 at AMC Palace
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.