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
SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (★★★★) – Say what you will about the Obama’s politics and views, but their love story was meant for the big screen. Southside With You takes us back to the first date Michelle (Tika Sumpter) and Barack (Parker Sawyers) ever went on, in an engrossing walk-and-talk biodrama that tips its hat to Richard Linklater’s BEFORE trilogy while also breathing humanity into two iconic figures. At Angelika Dallas and AMC Grapevine. Rated PG-13, 84 minutes.
Interview with stars Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers coming soon!
LITTLE MEN (★★★½) – This gem of an indie drama focuses on two buddies (Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri) whose friendship is tested when the feud between their respective parents (including Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle and Paulina Garcia) intensifies. Ironically, LITTLE MEN says so much, yet so little. It’s about authentic representation, a task at which it succeeds marvelously. At Angelika Dallas. Rated PG, 85 minutes.
LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD (★★★★) – Werner Herzog (GRIZZLY MAN) is not your average filmmaker. He shows you both sides of every coin. In this case, with his latest endeavor, LO AND BEHOLD, Herzog exhibits the wonders and horrors of the connected world. This riveting documentary not only touches on the fundamentals and history of the Internet, but it also provides a much deeper understanding of its past, present and future. It’s scary stuff. At Texas Theatre. Rated PG-13, 98 minutes.
MECHANIC: RESURRECTION – It’s hard to keep up with all of what comes out of the Jason Statham cannon. He’s got franchises such as THE MECHANIC, THE TRANSPORTER and CRANK, which all blend together like sugar and cream. They’re hardly distinguishable, despite the co-stars they each contain (Jessica Alba and a soul patch equipped Tommy Lee Jones in MECHANIC: RESURRECTION). So forgive me if my interests aren’t there to see some bald headed dude jump out of buildings, explode stuff and shoot baddies with deadly precision. I’d rather see Statham take on more comedies like SPY. Rated R, 99 minutes.