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.
Cole Clay // Film Critic
This week for home viewing we’ve got a group of cave dwelling critters who band together to stop an evil force in the family driven film (THE BOXTROLLS), Scarlett Johansson defies human logic in Luc Besson’s summer hit (LUCY), Not many saw the underrated crime drama (THE DROP) starring Tom Hardy, and finally the ambitious and eccentric Terry Gilliam releases his latest (THE ZERO THEOREM) lead by Christoph Waltz. But the only ones worth a damn are as follows.
THE BOXTROLLS was quietly well received by critics last fall and recently earned a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film, but fully failed to make a lasting impact with fans. This project was helmed by Laika, the production company behind the beautiful film CORALINE and adorable Halloween tale PARANORMAN. Coming along for the ride are the voice talents of Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Elle Fanning and Tracy Morgan.
The 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack & Blu-ray Combo Pack will include:
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; DTS 5.1 French & Spanish
- English SDH, Spanish, and French Subtitles
- Commentary with Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable
- Preliminary Animatic Sequences
- Play, with Commentary by Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable
- Baby In The Trash
- Eggs In The Underworld
- Man On A Horse
- Trubshaw’s Inventorium
- Cheese Shop
- Tea And Cheese
- Dare to be Square: Behind the Scenes of The Boxtrolls:
- Voicing the Boxtrolls – The tremendously talented cast members of The Boxtrolls discuss what it’s like to voice an animated puppet, what each actor brought to his/her role, whether their personalities were similar to their characters, and more.
- Inside the Box – The directors, producers, and creative supervisor of character fabrication Georgina Hayns share the challenges of crafting characters who are inside a box.
- The Big Cheese: Allergy Snatcher – The directors and producers are joined by Brian McLean, director of Rapid Prototyping, to discuss how the animation studio LAIKA creates the faces for their puppets. The big story here – literally! – is how Snatcher’s face changes shape due to his cheese allergy.
- Deconstructing the Dance – Discover how LAIKA combined traditional stop-motion animation with visual effects in order to create the beautiful ballroom dance sequence – and how costume designer Deborah Cook met the challenge of creating costumes that could flow during a dance scene.
- Think Big: The Mecha Drill – Standing 5 feet tall and weighing over 75 pounds, the Mecha-Drill is the largest stop motion puppet/prop ever created by LAIKA. Follow its creation from design to completion.
- The Nature of Creation
- Trolls Right off the Tongue
- Allergic to Easy
- Let’s Dance
- On the Shoulders of Giants
THE DROP is a tightly scripted crime drama that keeps the tension quiet and low-key throughout the entire film. Tom Hardy and late-and-great James Gandolfini keep their performances reserved with an inherent sense of mystery lurking at every corner. Director Michael R. Roskam saves all the brutality until the incredibly satisfying third act.
Blu-ray features are not available.
LUCY became a massive sleeper hit this summer with some decent visual effects, but overall silly execution. Scarlett Johansson stars as the titular character who turns the tables on her captors after she ingests a serum that allows her to access 100% of her brain (cue dramatic score).
Director Luc Besson (THE FIFTH ELEMENT) was one of the premiere action directors throughout the 90s, and even though LUCY doesn’t fully deliver, this Asian gangster/superhero hybrid film has enough wackiness to amp up the energy through most of the film.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack will include:
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 English; DTS Digital Surround 5.1 Spanish and French Audio
- English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
- The Evolution of Lucy – Follow Lucy’s transformation through the eyes of Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman and Director Luc Besson.
- Cerebral Capacity – The True Science of Lucy – Morgan Freeman serves as guide for fans to dive into the world of Lucy.
Also available this week:
THE ZERO THEOREM (starring Christoph Waltz), RUDDERLESS (directed by William H. Macy), WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD (starring Shailene Woodley), A BET’S A BET (also released as THE OPPOSITE SEX), A LITTLE GAME, LIFE’S A BREEZE (Ireland), THE MULE (Australia), TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S TOUGH LOVE, THE SCORPION KING 4: QUEST FOR POWER, LOVE IS THE DEVIL: STUDY FOR A PORTRAIT OF FRANCIS BACON (1998), MAY IN THE SUMMER (Jordan), THE PIRATES (South Korea), MY WINNIPEG (Canada), THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942), THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, LOST LEGION and GNOME ALONE.
SWAMP PEOPLE: SEASON 5 and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE – SEASON FOUR DELUXE REMASTERED EDITION.