Preston Barta

Preston Barta
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B- 72% The Gentlemen (2020) 'The Gentlemen' may slip your mind as the year goes on, but for a January movie, there aren't as many wrinkles in its pressing as you'd think. It's just a secondhand store-bought product. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2020
3.5/5 84% Just Mercy (2020) 'Just Mercy' coaxes tears, but its force is blunted. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
44% Three Christs (2020) Walton Goggins is Three Christs' saving grace. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
4.5/5 89% 1917 (2020) '1917' is a fluid marriage of film technique and storytelling. With its lived-in situations, committed performances and creative direction, we witness a war movie that is sure to cement itself among the most decorated line of the genre. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2019
4/5 91% Uncut Gems (2019) Adam Sandler gives a career-best performance and turns 'Uncut Gems' into a two-hour panic attack. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2019
5/5 95% Little Women (2019) With 'Little Women,' Gerwig delivers an original take that gives this much-adored story the punch that it needs to inspire the next generation of creative minds. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 26, 2019
4/5 69% Bombshell (2019) Witness some of the year's best performances, sharpest writing and tasteful direction. Even the film's musical score, which uses women's voices, is innovative and intriguing. Let it amaze you. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
3.5/5 81% A Hidden Life (2019) Similar to Martin Scorsese's 'Silence,' 'A Hidden Life' is about the internal and spiritual struggles of fighting for what you believe in. It's a visually arresting contemplation of faith and life. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
1/5 20% Cats (2019) This movie is a nightmare you let live out its nine lives alone. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
3.5/5 52% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) There's a poetic touch to Abrams' conclusion that makes 'Rise of Skywalker' a thematically satisfying finish. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
2.5/5 71% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) At the start, 'The Next Level' explores surprising and often tender territories. But it's not too long before Kasdan loses the reins or becomes stuck in gear, especially comedically. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
3.5/5 74% Richard Jewell (2019) Eastwood holds a mirror up to society and may drop it here and there, but the power of the performances and the search for innocence pack a heartwarming punch to make the film worthwhile. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
4.5/5 95% Marriage Story (2019) 'Marriage Story' is a relatable series of heartbreaks and joys through the lens of marital disintegration. [Driver and Johansson] should have [their] shelves decorated in gold for their work here. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
4/5 93% Honey Boy (2019) Some may chuckle and solely think of the kid who took pies to the face and screamed his head off around robots, but this cinematic account makes you want to reach through the screen and hug LaBeouf. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
5/5 89% Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot' has the ingredients of a high-dollar buddy comedy, but it also steers toward quieter, more mature territory that ultimately gives it greater cinematic electricity. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2019
4/5 98% The Farewell (2019) 'The Farewell' is a rewarding film for the ages. It has its tears, undoubtedly; but it also has many laughs and uplifting moments to carry you through your own obstacles. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
3.5/5 74% The Daytrippers (1997) A cautionary tale of sorts that also humorously pokes at the kookiness of family. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
2/5 53% Noelle (2019) 'Noelle' is reheated egg nog that has lost its joyful flavor. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
4/5 96% The Irishman (2019) 'The Irishman' is a marvel to behold. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2019
3.5/5 77% Doctor Sleep (2019) There are elements about it that will leave you feeling conflicted. Still, the emotional arc and the balancing act Flanagan pulls off between the physical and metaphysical world is an astonishing feat. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
2/5 73% Harriet (2019) 'Harriet' occasionally has the power to move, but the lens in which it is presented plays like a safely packaged TV production without the raw intensity it needs to move mountains. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
4/5 71% The King (2019) Although it loses some momentum around the midpoint, 'The King' is a harrowing journey worthy of its crown. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
5/5 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) A crazy game of poker. It'll keep you on your toes and will have you hunkering down like a moth to a flame. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
4/5 91% The Lighthouse (2019) 'The Lighthouse' is a challenging experience that will make your mind run amok, to the point where you begin to feel it slipping away like its characters. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
A 61% The Current War: Director's Cut (2019) What so easily could have been a standard account, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon uses all components of filmmaking to work in tandem. It's fall's first bolt of cinematic electricity. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
2.5/5 22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) Despite all [Noah Hawley's] talents and Natalie Portman's fierce performance, 'Lucy in the Sky' is elevated Lifetime movie material that hits significant turbulence due to its lackluster script and visual overload. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 42% The Laundromat (2019) 'The Laundromat' is endlessly fascinating but also extremely exhausting. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 63% Fractured (2019) 'Fractured' breaks into many of the thematic elements that are present in Brad Anderson's other works. Some may label it as a lesser 'Shutter Island' (which is fair), but I was still sucked into its tale of parental anxiety. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
4/5 97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Eddie Murphy looks like he hasn't had this much fun making a movie in years. He brings all the charm and quick wit from his prime and squeezes it into a portrayal that's equally as affecting on a dramatic level. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
B 69% Wrinkles the Clown (2019) What unfolds is a twisted experience that is unlike any other documentary. The journey of being wowed, confused and shocked is something that will never leave your memory. It's a new kind of nightmare. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
4/5 82% Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) What many filmmakers would turn into a monotonous series of self-congratulatory interviews, Alexandre O. Philippe takes the information we may know about 'Alien' and presents it through a unique lens. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
4.5/5 69% Joker (2019) 'Joker' is a film that is simply trying to elicit a response and provoke viewers. It is not what you will be expecting from a big-budget movie with a DC logo slapped on it. How Phillips made something that is on par with 'Taxi Driver' is utterly shocking. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
3.5/5 59% In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) A character-driven story makes 'In the Shadow of the Moon' tick. There's meaning in its quest for truth and the sacrifices we make along the way. It's an entrancing lunar chase across time. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
4/5 74% The Death of Dick Long (2019) In many ways, 'The Death of Dick Long' is like watching a high-anxiety episode of 'The Office.' But instead of including characters like Jim Halpert and Michael Scott, it's a litter of Dwight and Mose Schrutes. It's pure chaos and fun. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
B- 84% Color Out of Space (2020) Richard Stanley's 'Color Out of Space' is a tasty bowl of WTF soup. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 23, 2019
B+ 96% First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) Takashi Miike consistently keeps you on your toes and finds amusing ways to reconfigure familiar plotlines. 'First Love' is a toned down Miike film, but the fun of his story will cause your heart to beat for it. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2019
4.5/5 80% Jojo Rabbit (2019) 'Jojo Rabbit' has so much positivity in its narrative that it could warm the iciest of hearts. It's absolutely lovely, and one of the year's very best films. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2019
C+ 37% In the Tall Grass (2019) 'In the Tall Grass' has many of the elements needed to shape into a fine creep show. But after a while, the wheels begin to spin, and you can't escape the feeling that it should have been mowed down to a short. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2019
4/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) There's a particular madness to 'Ad Astra' that causes you to look inward and ruminate on your own dealings with pain, shame and regret. It teaches a lot about humanity, fatherhood and masculinity. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
4/5 96% Love, Antosha (2019) It's honest, inspiring and heartbreaking. By the end of the film, whether you were familiar with [Anton Yelchin's] work or not, you will feel like you've lost a great friend. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
3/5 63% It Chapter Two (2019) 'Chapter Two' is an emotional finale that takes a few detours that detract from its overall quality. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
4/5 49% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) Linklater's film is a giant hug about abandoning our routines and finding real happiness. It's absolutely lovely and deserves your discovery. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
4/5 No Score Yet Manson: Music from an Unsound Mind (2019) Through talking head interviews with biographers, former Manson family members and associates, and a fat stack of stunning archival footage and photos to punch up the narration, director Tom O'Dell fashions an all-encompassing tour de force. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
4/5 96% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) The screenplay by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz (also the directors) cuts deep. Between the fun interactions of its characters are quiet nuggets of wisdom and truth. Let it carry you to happiness. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
1.5/5 84% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) It's bad. Like 'Master of Disguise' bad. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
3/5 26% Otherhood (2019) Not every relationship wraps up as well as others, but the film's journey is what gives 'Otherhood' its staying power. Fortunately, thanks to the well-sold drama, performances and truth revelations, it's a cozy Netflix watch. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
3.5/5 30% The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) 'Red Sea' undoubtedly has a Hollywood spit shine, with its modern musical score, heavy stylization and story conveniences. That said, the act of heroism and human sincerity at its center keep it sharp and worthwhile. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
3/5 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) 'Hobbs & Shaw' is a glorious beefcake showdown that presses the NOS button on stupidity and revs the entertainment engine to mad levels. It's pure lunacy with all the cheese and zingers to put a smile on your face. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
5/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Quentin Tarantino crafts an elegant valentine for 1960s cinema and culture and soaks it in the bong water of 'Dazed and Confused' for a splash of big-time fun. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2.5/5 53% The Lion King (2019) 'The Lion King' finds its strength in the quieter moments. However, much of everything else feels lifeless and doesn't reach its full potential to be unique. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019