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
ENTOURAGE | 104 min | R
Director: Doug Ellin
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Jeremy Piven, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Perrey Reeves, Rex Lee, Debi Mazar, Constance Zimmer, Ronda Rousey, Haley Joel Osment and Billy Bob Thornton
There’s no denying the ENTOURAGE film is engaging for fans of the original HBO series. It’s very much like an extended episode loaded with more laughs, beautiful ladies, and Ari (the great Jeremy Piven) doing what he does best. For newcomers, don’t worry, the film catches you up to speed fairly quickly by an introduction that gives just enough information to know who everyone is and what they’ve been up to through the course of the show. But, of course, it’s that much better if you went on the eight season trek with the boys.
In the film, everything seems to be going well for our star, Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier). His directorial debut, HYDE, has been green-lit by his former-agent-now-studio-head Ari Gold (Piven). His older brother, Johnny Drama (a scene-stealing Kevin Dillon), and best friends E (Kevin Connolly) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) are off doing their own things. However, when HYDE goes over budget, the studio financiers (Billy Bob Thorton and Haley Joel Osment), don’t take to kind to it and try to get the film back on budget.
Yes, everyone is back (well, except Scott Caan and Cassidy Lehrman), and they each have their own story arc that is seamlessly weaved together. Ari is dealing with the responsibilities of his new position, trying to not to be so angry, and finding time to spend with his wife (Perrey Reeves) and kids. Vince, if you saw the end of season eight, got married, but is now out of it and a free man yet again. Drama passes his time with chatroom porn sites and doing his normal thing: looking for work and being recognized for his accomplishments. Meanwhile, Turtle is trying to show MMA champion Ronda Rousey that he’s serious about dating her. And then there’s E, who is struggling to date again after breaking up with the now-pregnant Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui).
The film is the same ol’ good ENTOURAGE. However, that doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have its problems, like suspending disbelief that HYDE is as good as everyone say it is. Audiences get to watch a few bits of it and it looks like the worst bits of IRON MAN 3, otherwise terrible. So there’s that, and the wonder of why creator/director Doug Ellin and executive producer Mark Wahlberg didn’t just make it a “mini-series” type of deal (a really long episode) on HBO. Really, this movie didn’t need to have a theatrical release, but regardless, it’s great to hang out with the gang again.
ENTOURAGE is by no means lazy or bad– it’s pretty much in line with what we’ve previously seen on the show. Things move at a good, swift pace, and it’s not over a two-hour running-time like the series-to-film adaptation of SEX AND THE CITY. The performances are fun and entertaining as ever. So, yeah, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll walk away satisfied. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a passably entertaining hangout movie. You can’t help but love it.
ENTOURAGE opens tonight.