I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
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.