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
COP CAR is an absorbing and tremendously unique piece of cinema from the mind that’s bringing us the third reboot to Spider-Man in 2017. It’s a twisted mix of action, suspense and horror– like seriously, it’s more terrifying and shocking than most horror films these days. Plus, it has Kevin Bacon hamming it up to the sky as the Five-0.
The film puts forth a rather simple but effective premise: two small town kids (Hays Wellford and James Freedson-Jackson) find a seemingly abandoned cop car and decide to take it for a little joy ride. However, little did they know, they couldn’t have stolen a worst cop car, as it belongs to the meanest and dirtiest sheriff around– Sheriff Kretzer (Bacon). So, naturally, blood and terror ensues.
Now, from the synopsis, you may know what you’re in for, but the truth is you don’t. What may sound like a cutesy story of a sheriff chasing around a couple of kids, takes a deep and dark dive into Cormac McCarthy / NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN territory, and quick. While it may be narratively thin in a some areas, it doesn’t stop this brutal tour de force from bringing the heat.
COP CAR opens in limited release today.
Dallas: AMC Stonebriar 24
Linguistics, dialects and how we all sound is a topic that I’ve always found to be fascinating. It’s very interesting to find out why we sound the way we do and how we developed it. This is something the highly entertainingly documentary DO I SOUND GAY? centers on, but more than that, the film explores the notion of “gay voice” and how it effects people’s standing in society and the entertainment industry.
The way journalist-turned-filmmaker David Thorpe explores dialects and the process we sometimes go through to change our voice is compelling to boot. In its 77-minute run-time, Thorpe recruits voice coaches, friends, family, celebrities, and even gay strangers on the street to explore the topic and stereotype, while also trying to find some kind of assurance through the experience and stories of others.
DO I SOUND GAY? is injected with many humorous and heart-tingling bits, but it also is not shy when it comes to focus on what matters and is serious, such as a teenager being bullied for sounding and being gay. It sometimes hits where it hurts, but it’s pleasing from start to finish and worth checking out.
DO I SOUND GAY? opens today in limited release.
Dallas: Texas Theatre (7 p.m.)
ONE & TWO is essential viewing for anyone who believes that cinema is great art. While Andrew Droz Palermo may not be a household name right now, his feature film debut about the inseparable bond between siblings will surely make you remember his name.
From the get-go it was apparent ONE & TWO was going to be something special, based on its small human narrative and supernatural elements surrounding it. This is one of those films that greatly benefits from you knowing very little going in, which is the reason for our vagueness here. Don’t even bother with the spoiler-filled trailer. Just trust that it’s a slow-burn of a film that gets better by the minute. It’s a real sly wonder to get lost in.
ONE & TWO opens today in limited release, and is also available on iTunes, Amazon and other VOD services.