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
There’s so much great TV out there these days that it’s hard to keep up with the Joneses. But there’s one network that makes it easy for us: FX.
THE STRAIN: SEASON 3
In a post-BUFFY and ANGEL world, it’s nice to have a vampire series to be excited about again. However, THE STRAIN’s vampiric universe is nothing like we’ve seen before on film and television. Of course, it has some of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the genre, but this is Guillermo del Toro (PAN’S LABYRINTH) and Chuck Hogan (THE TOWN) leading the charge, and they’ve got something more rich and mythological flowing in their veins.
This season sees the vampires (known as the strigoi) evolving and getting smarter by the episode. The good guys (including Corey Stoll, David Bradley and Kevin Durand) continuing their quest to cut the head off this chicken, but the virus is rapidly spreading, and the odds of survival are looking slim.
While blood in THE STRAIN runs thick, the characters are what make this series worthwhile and fun. It may not hit all its marks, but it keeps us on our toes and invested.
YOU’RE THE WORST: SEASON 3
Over the course of two seasons, we have followed two interesting, complicated people who have reasons to be together and reasons to not be together.
Now we’re in the third season of YOU’RE THE WORST and creator Stephen Falk still manages to keep the show feeling new.
We’re discovering how the lead characters, Gretchen and Jimmy, are adjusting to life after saying “I love you.” Plus, we have all the great drama amongst their coupled friends Edgar (Desmin Borges) and Dorothy (Collette Wolfe), and Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Paul (Allan McLeod).
As bold as this may sound, YOU’RE THE WORST is the best thing FX and FXX (the sister channel) has to offer. It achieves a seamless balance of humor and true-to-life moments that are poignant for this age’s youth and dating culture.
Of FX’s new series, ATLANTA is the record to spin all this fall. It stars Donald Glover (also serving as the creator) as a failed rapper named Earnest “Earn” Marks who is alternating between living off his parents’ dime and crashing with his ex (Zazie Beetz) whom he has child with.
ATLANTA so easily could have been something bordering on safe, especially with Glover coming off of COMMUNITY a few years ago. While it has the laugh-out-loud jokes Glover is good at penning, the tone is more serious and artful than you may anticipate. But soak it in and be surprised by how much you’re in sync with it.
If you like Louis C.K. or his show LOUIE (currently on a hiatus), then you’ll love BETTER THINGS, which follows the same tradition of a single parent (a very funny Pamela Adlon) doing her best to survive the entertainment business and raise her three children.
It’s not quite as crisp as ATLANTA, but it’s an enjoyable effort for parents who are struggling to make it through life as it constantly beats us down.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: SEASON 6
The theme for AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s sixth season has yet to be revealed, but there have been plenty of clues that hint at something even more twisted.
Their latest promo leading up to its premiere features a creepy doll looking around a room in a rocking chair before focusing on the viewer. Could this season invoke the classic horror trope that CHILD’S PLAY did so well? Even this week’s TV Guide hinted that the theme may be “The Mist.”
Nothing is confirmed. So for for now, it remains a mystery.