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
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL | 122 min | Rated PG
Director: John Madden
Cast: Every Working Senior Actor In Hollywood
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is completely harmless on every level. It’s the kind of film that you watch with your 4 p.m. tea and biscuits (those are cookies for all you folks who don’t watch the BBC). It’s a more lighthearted version of its predecessor, and for all intents and purposes, the movie is nothing more than an adorable chance to get reacquainted with the geriatric occupants of the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
Picking up after the so-called “events” of the first film– we see the idealistic Sonny (Dev Patel) and the old crank Muiel (Maggie Smith) cruising down Route 66 with plans to open up a second hotel. As Sonny tries to expand his life professionally and personally with an upcoming marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai), he becomes completely overwhelmed in the most cuddly way possible. The young couple prepare for their impending nuptials, while the retirees run a muck trying to figure out who’s snogging who.
All the bags of bones are back in the saddle, including Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, (aforementioned) Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie. And who can forget the addition of everybody’s second favorite silver fox, Richard Gere (PRETTY WOMAN). This is nothing more than a delightful movie with decadent scenery that encapsulates the culture in the most gentle way imaginable.
Director John Madden (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) is back as well working from Ol Parker’s (IMAGINE ME & YOU) chippy screenplay. This is a light-hearted film for adults who want to check into and alternate form of reality where assimilating into a foreign country is as easy as a weekly prostate exam.
THE SECOND BEST doesn’t transcend any filmmaking strangleholds, nor does it attempt to, but all the old folks jokes aside, there is so much love and charm to take away from this comedy. Madden and his expert collection of stars create an atmosphere that may not be completely accurate to the region, but it’s easy on the eyes and makes India a desirable place for a retreat.
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL opens tonight.