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 // Editor
INTERSTELLAR | 169 min | Rated PG-13
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow and Michael Caine
With INTERSTELLAR, Christopher Nolan set out to make his most personal and emotional film about love and time– time being a recurring theme throughout all of his films. However, it’s so much more than that as well. Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, want us to break out of the simple-minded movie comfort level and contemplate vaster perspectives. And like Steven Spielberg (who was originally slated to direct the film with Tom Cruise in the starring role), the brother-duo also want to remind us that “all you need is love.”
The film explores a vast amount of things: space, time, wormholes, and family. But in short, INTERSTELLAR follows a group of space engineers, including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, as they explore other galaxies to save an Earth that can’t self-sustain.
INTERSTELLAR is a movie disguised as a film for critics, but really made for wide audience consumption. We have already seen that some will find it brilliant and others will condemn the film for its head in the clouds approach to science. Overall, this is a movie that mainstream filmgoers will laud (and for good reason). It’s thought provoking, exciting and has the shirtless wonder (McConaughey) at the forefront. Our advice before watching this is to not over-think INTERSTELLAR— it’s a feel good movie that warrants the attention to every film fan’s attention.
– Cole Clay and Preston Barta
The Blu-ray Combo Pack Extras Include:
- 1080p Video (no specified aspect ratio)
- DTS-HD Master Audio English (I assume 7.1, but it isn’t specified) and Dolby Digital 2.0 English Audio Description; Dolby Digital 5.1 French and Spanish Sound
- English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
- The Science of INTERSTELLAR – Extended cut of the broadcast special.
- Plotting an INTERSTELLAR Journey – Discusses the film’s origins, influences and narrative designs.
- Life on Cooper’s Farm – Bringing Americana and the grounded nature of a farm to a sci-fi space movie.
- The Dust – Learn how cast and crew avoided sand blindness, and see how to create, and clean up after, a catastrophic dust storm.
- TARS and CASE – Designing and building these unique characters and how they were brought to life on set and in the film.
- Cosmic Sounds – The concepts, process, and recording of Hans Zimmer’s unforgettable score.
- The Space Suits – A look at the design and build of the suits and helmets, and what it was like to wear them.
- The Endurance – Explore this massive set with a guided tour by production designer Nathan Crowley.
- Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet – Travel with the cast and crew to Iceland and see the challenges they faced in creating two vastly different worlds in one country.
- The Ranger and the Lander – A look at the other two spaceships in the film.
- Miniatures in Space – Marvel at the large-scale models used in the explosive docking sequence.
- The Simulation of Zero-G – Discover the various methods that the filmmakers used to create a zero gravity environment.
- Celestial Landmarks – Explore how the filmmakers used practical special effects informed by real scientific equations to give the illusion of real space travel for both the actors and the audience.
- Across All Dimensions and Time – A look at the concept and design of the Tesseract, which incorporated a practical set rather than a green screen.
- Final Thoughts – The cast and crew reflect back on their Interstellar experience.
- Theatrical Trailers
THE IMITATION GAME | 114 min. | Rated PG-13
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Tuppence Middleton and Charles Dance
Director Morten Tyldum and (now Academy Award-winning) screenwriter Graham Moore have created something tragically beautiful with THE IMITATION GAME. Amidst some incredible scenes and performances, this remarkably true story of a mathematician who helps crack the Enigma code during World War II is one of the year’s finest.
Benedict Cumberbatch continues to climb the ladder as one of the best working actors today. After his impressive turns in 12 YEARS A SLAVE, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, and THE HOBBIT (voice work as Smaug), his role as Alan Turing will be remembered, even if it doesn’t come with a statue. Cumberbatch hones in on all Turing’s character flaws and good qualities that make him human.
In all, THE IMITATION GAME is wonderfully crafted, immensely lush and moving film that shows, above all, how storytelling can both heal and destroy.
– Preston Barta
Our interview with Academy Award winner Graham Moore, screenwriter of THE IMITATION GAME:
The Blu-ray Extras Include:
- 2.39:1, 1080p HD video
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
- The Making of THE IMITATION GAME
- Q&A Highlights
- Deleted scenes
- Special commentary
It was only in 2013 when much buzz was circling Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée’s DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, which went on to earn wins for two of the major acting categories at last year’s Academy Awards. WILD nearly followed in similar tracks with its leading (Reese Witherspoon) and supporting (Laura Dern) ladies, who were both nominated this year.
Witherspoon completely envelops Cheryl Strayed as this hardened young woman seeking to reinvent herself after a series of personal tragedies. To do so, Strayed goes on a 1,100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mexican border to the mountains of Oregon.
While the subject material is hardly new, and there are far better films that tackle people finding themselves out in nature (INTO THE WILD, THE WAY), WILD is well made follow-up to DALLAS BUYERS CLUB that showcases Witherspoon’s strongest performance in years.
– Preston Barta
The Blu-ray Combo Pack Extras Include:
- 2.40:1, 1080p HD Video
- DTS HD-MA 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French, and English Descriptive Audio
- English SDH and Spanish Subtitles
- The Real Cheryl Strayed
- The Real Location Is The Best Location
- How Much Does A Monster Weigh?
- The Pacific Crest Trail Interactive Map
- Deleted Scenes – with Optional Commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée
- Seven Promotional Featurettes
- Bringing the Book Into The Wild
- Reese Witherspoon in the Wild
- Wild: 94 Days, 1100 miles
- Directing WILD
- Making WILD
- Pacific Crest Trail
- Real Locations
- Audio Commentary by Jean-Marc Vallée, Bruna Papandrea and David Greenbaum
- Experiencing the PCT: A Special Message From Cheryl Strayed
- Theatrical Trailer