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 // Editor
Do you remember those days where you’d invite friends over, stay up past your bedtime and watch a classic monster movie?
Whether alien or beast, monsters are the things nightmares are made of. It’s the reason our children wake us up in the middle of the night, it’s the reason we keep our lights on, and it’s the reason we ran when we could have walked.
There aren’t too many effective creature features around anymore because horror films are evolving and the things that scared us years ago don’t necessarily scare us today.
The spiritual sequel to 2008’s CLOVERFIELD is a slow burn movie that follows in the footsteps of classic monster films, while giving it a cool modern spin.
In the same vein of Jaws, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE keeps its focus on the humans and makes us constantly fear what’s going on outside the storm shelter base, where the majority of the movie takes place.
The premise is simple: A woman (a terrific Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up after an accident to find herself living underground. She’s being held against her will because the world above has supposedly gone to hell — or has it?
This question alone was the reason that sent many to the theater to find out, and it should be the reason why you pick it up at the store this week to watch at home.
What’s really going on here? Should this woman leave? Is her kidnapper (John Goodman in top form) telling the truth? Is the outside world really more terrifying than living in the bunker?
So many questions that are worth seeking out, and the results are completely satisfying.
Extras: Audio commentary with director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams, and over 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
Oh, Sally Field, where have you been?
Directed by WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER co-writer Michael Showalter, who wrote the screenplay with Laura Terruso (upcoming FITS AND STARTS), HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS is a sweet gem of a movie that sees its title character (Field) completely smitten with a coworker (Max Greenfield) who’s significantly younger than herself.
Pushing 70, Field has still got it. She gives an adorable and heartfelt performance that goes beyond merely putting on some spectacles and sporting a giant bow. She understands comedy and human drama, and it’s exemplified here really well.
- Sally Field talks coming-of-a-certain-age in HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS
- SXSW Recap: HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS
Extras: An alternate opening, deleted scenes and filmmaker commentary.
Like most biopics, especially ones with a comedic bent, there will be some stretching of the truth to fit the narrative. This is very much the case with EDDIE THE EAGLE.
It’s an underdog story about Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), a tenacious British ski jumper who captured the hearts around the world when he competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
While the story is heartwarming and enjoyable, there’s nothing too revolutionary about the film. It’s your standard, run-of-the-mill biopic that’s been done countless times before, and much better. However, the performances and upbeat tone keep you smiling throughout.
- Courtney Howard’s Movie Review: EDDIE THE EAGLE takes flight, lift spirits
- What you need to know about the man who inspired EDDIE THE EAGLE
Extras: Three documentary features and a still gallery.
Also available on DVD and streaming: 45 YEARS (our review), BALLERS: SEASON 1, DARK MATTER, GET A JOB, GRIDLOCKED, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941): Criterion Collection, LA CHIENNE (1931): Criterion Collection, LONDON HAS FALLEN (our review), POWER: SEASON 2, QUACKERZ 3D, The X-FILES: EVENT SERIES, and THE YOUNG MESSIAH.