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.
Preston Barta & Cole Clay // Film Critics
Hot off its recent Academy Award win for Best Animated feature, BIG HERO 6, in our opinion, wasn’t last year’s best animated feature – THE LEGO MOVIE and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 packed more heart and entertainment – but it’s fun enough to rent and enjoy with the whole family.
The story of BIG HERO 6 concerns a young prodigy named Hiro (Ryan Potter) who develops a special bond with his older brother’s creation called Baymax (Scott Adsit), an inflatable robot designed to serve as a personal health companion. But when Hiro discovers his own creation is being used for evil purposes, he transforms Baymax and his friends into a band of high-tech heroes to take on those responsible.
When you really start thinking into the story of kid prodigy who develops a product that will put millions of people out of work, it kind of gets to you. However, if you can look past the logistics, you’ll find BIG HERO 6 to be a sweet, touching and colorful tale of companionship that is both richly animated and emotionally satisfying. – Preston Barta
Blu-ray Extras Include:
- Feast theatrical short cartoon (6:10, HD) – A man experiences love and loss, all from the point of view of a hungry dog.
- The Origin Story of BIG HERO 6: Hiro’s Journey (15:10, HD) – A fluffy behind-the-scenes segment hosted by actress Jamie Chung, including interviews with the cast and crew. The key discussion surrounds the differences between the comic and the film.
- Big Animator 6: The Characters Behind the Characters (6:40, HD) – A roundtable discussion where the film’s six lead animators further discuss their jobs and the characters they supervised.
- 4 deleted/alternate scenes with intro by the directors (13:10, HD)
- A look at the many Disney Easter eggs hidden throughout the backgrounds of BIG HERO 6, which is, itself, an Easter egg (2:50, HD)
- Teaser trailer and trailers for other Disney releases
Taking a comedy at face value can be a tough task, especially if it’s a sequel like HORRIBLE BOSSES 2. Sure, HORRIBLE BOSSES was funny enough in 2011. Even though it was a clear response to THE HANGOVER, we still laughed and then went on with our lives. And yeah, you probably watched a few scenes here and there on HBO, but ultimately this comedy was forgettable. On top of that, the emergence of Judd Apatow as the czar of comedy has raised the bar for the past decade. True, there is room for other heavy-hitters to make their mark, but coasting on the likeness of the three main characters Nick, (Jason Batman) Kurt, (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) just isn’t enough to cut it these days. – Cole Clay
Blu-ray Extras Include:
- Both the Theatrical and Extended Cut Versions of the Film
- Let The Sexual Healing Begin
- Who Invented The Shower Buddy
- Nick Kurt Dale INC: Employee Testimonials
- It’s The Shower Buddy – Infomercial
- High Speed Crash Course
- Off The Cuff: One Liners You Didn’t See
- Endless Laughter Guaranteed!
When it comes to great cinema the occasional little gems can break through a sea of bigger spectacles in the most skillful manner. Every year, we seem to have the next young adult adaptation, superhero sequel, and HOBBIT flick. But every so often, you’ll bear witness to a (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, SHORT TERM 12 or OBVIOUS CHILD. Last year, we received a few such films like the aforementioned abortion comedy, but the one on top of it all was Damien Chazelle’s highly intense psychological drama titled WHIPLASH.
This terrifying terrific story puts forth a challenging idea: is it better to instruct a pupil at a normal stride and tell him or her “good job” no matter what, or is better to push him or her to their limits, unveiling their full potential? Instructor Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) tries the latter on his drumming student (Miles Teller). The results are ruthless and brutal, but certainly make you wonder.
Everyone dreams of making it big, of being remembered for great things, of being compared to the likes of Peyton Manning, Jimi Hendrix, or Daniel Day Lewis. Miles Teller’s (THE SPECTACULAR NOW) Andrew, the protagonist of WHIPLASH, dreams of being the next great drummer, a drummer that will be remembered. What do you dream of? No matter what that may be, WHIPLASH will bring yourself to question your life and aim for greatness of your own. – Preston Barta
Blu-ray Extras Include:
- Commentary with Writer/Director Damien Chazelle and J.K. Simmons
- An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival with Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle
- Timekeepers – Famous drummers discuss their craft and passion for drumming
- WHIPLASH Original Short Film with Optional Commentary
- Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary