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
The scariest thing about this film is that its director, Marcin Wrona, was found dead in his hotel the weekend before preparing to screen it at Fantastic Fest in 2015. On top of that, DEMON hinges on the idea of a dybbuk, which in Jewish mythology is believed to be an evil spirit of a dead person that haunts the living.
The odd parallels are not easy to swallow here, especially upon learning that Wrona got married not too long ago, a lot like the protagonist in DEMON. The trailer sets up a pleasant, romantic film, but it takes a 180 turn quickly and dives into the kind of material that haunts your dreams.
While on paper this reads as a cliché-ridden tale of a demonic possession, there is more than meets the eye. It’s a refreshing and unique take on an all-too-crowded genre.
Opens in limited release. Playing at the Angelika Dallas in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Jame Cole Clay // Film Critic
Sometimes even a damn good cast can’t save a flaccid comedy. Directed by comedy great and master impressionist Kevin Pollak, THE LATE BLOOMER takes a sketch comedy approach to making a feature film. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work– not even for a second.
Note: Pollack directed a fascinating documentary that looks into the mind of a comedian called MISERY LOVES COMEDY, and it’s worth checking out!
Basically the movie is about a sex therapist Peter (normally a solid Johnny Simmons) who is hiding something, but we never find out what it is exactly. He has issues connecting intimately with women, including his friend Michelle (Brittany Snow) that he awkwardly kisses one night. Following a trip to the hospital after being hit in the nards with a basketball we find out Peter has a benign tumor that has suppressed his pituitary gland and caused him never to enter puberty.
There’s so many things wrong with this movie: Not only is it a gross misuse of Academy Award-winner J.K. Simmons (WHIPLASH) and the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani (SILICON VALLEY), the logic which could have been sharply funny becomes dull. Unfortunately, this is a classic case of quality talent not rising to the occasion.
Available today on On-Demand and playing in select theaters.