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.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
There were many films this year that tackled the tired subject of artificial intelligence, like CHAPPIE and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON; however, none of them were as raw and realistic as EX MACHINA. One of the reasons why this film is so breathtaking is because of Alex Garland, who is mostly known for his script work for 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE. Now, the talented filmmaker takes his talents behind the camera in his directorial debut, and what a debut it is. You’ll think you’ve experienced true art, but then you’ll see EX MACHINA— a game changing film, not only of the genre, but of film itself.
– Preston Barta
- 1080p, 2.40:1 HD Video
- DTS:X Audio, DTS Headphone:X Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and DTS 5.1 English Sound
- English SDH, English, and Spanish Subtitles
- Through the Looking Glass: Creating Ex Machina 5-Part Featurette
- SXSW Q&A with Cast and Crew
- Eight Behind-the-Scenes Vignettes
Our video interviews with stars Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and writer-director Alex Garland.
From the moment IT FOLLOWS opens to the last frame you have an eerie feeling that something isn’t right. The music hints at the inevitable, the camera pans to show what may be lurking, and the actors’ interactions with one another cause the audience to forget that at any moment it will appear.
Writer-director David Robert Mitchell (THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER) molds something together that has long since been absent from the horror genre– something that is restrained and toys with your imagination. He takes an entirely plausible occurrence, such as an STD, but instead of a few pesky bumps you get a supernatural entity calculating your every move– a simple yet effective premise, and one of the best horror movies in the past decade.
– Preston Barta
- Critics’ commentary, hosted by Nerdist’s Scott Weinberg and featuring Eric D. Snider (MovieBS), Britt Hayes (Screencrush), Samuel D. Zimmerman (Shock Till You Drop), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire) and Eric Vespe (Ain’t It Cool News).
- A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace
- Poster Art Gallery
Nicholas Sparks’ THE LONGEST RIDE is pretty standard run-of-the-mill comfort food for romance fans, and it’s a better roll in the hay kind of story than FIFTY SHADES OF GREY was. Director George Tillman Jr. (NOTORIOUS) gives the pretty white people a sense of pathos that gels with the tacky romance by finding a balance that pinpoints the character moments and celebrates what Sparks fans want. I truly believe that those who are outside of the film’s demographic will be pleasantly surprised at the high level of storytelling. Granted, most of Sparks’ film adaptations have caused an endless cycle of eye rolls from yours truly, but dammit, sometimes we just gotta feel the love. THE LONGEST RIDE is an anxiety free film that’s a nice departure from reality.
– Cole Clay
- No official release at this time
Our video interview with author Nicholas Sparks, and stars Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood.
Do you remember that little weird movie that came out in the 90s with Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando? Wasn’t it weird? I used to watch THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU all the time, which is why LOST SOUL is such a fun and entertaining documentary about how that movie was doomed from the start. Even if you are unfamiliar with THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, it’s still fascinating to learn about the true nature of actors, how difficult it is to make a feature and how easily it can go wrong.
– Preston Barta
No official release on extras but there’s three discs, so probably a lot of cool stuff.
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL | 122 min | PG
Director: John Madden
Cast: Every working senior actor in Hollywood
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is completely harmless on every level. It’s the kind of film that you watch with your 4 p.m. tea and biscuits (those are cookies for all you folks who don’t watch the BBC). It’s a more lighthearted version of its predecessor, and for all intents and purposes, the movie is nothing more than an adorable chance to get reacquainted with the geriatric occupants of the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
– Cole Clay
- Returning to the Marigold Hotel
- Blossoming Relationships
- The Marigold Wedding
- Filming in India
Some of you may be wondering what THE ROGUE CUT even is. Well, it’s a restructured cut of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, which packs on additional 17 minutes to the already 132-minute long film. However, this has more of the character Rogue (Anna Paquin), who was completely cut from the theatrical release, except for one scene near the film’s end.
So is this new version of the film worth it? If you’re a hardcore fan of X-Men and enjoyed the theatrical cut, then definitely. There’s enough added footage to keep your interest. Just don’t expect to be completely blown away, because really it’s not that much different story wise. There’s just more of it.
– Preston Barta
- Mutant vs Machine – 9 part making of
- X-Men Unguarded
- FANTASTIC FOUR Sneak Peek