Preston Barta

Preston Barta
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 81% The Old Guard (2020) As many bullets fly and swords slice through bodies, you may be surprised by how character-driven this movie is. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
3/5 80% Greyhound (2020) It's a lot of pushing buttons and moving frantically about the ship, [but 'Greyhound' remains] visually impressive and plays well from the couch. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
3/5 64% Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) You might be surprised by how much you'll be singing its tunes afterwards in between all the "Alexander Hamilton" belting you're doing. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
3.5/5 92% Relic (2020) Few works of horror have the power to both scare and make your heart swell. 'Relic' is among the class and one of the year's best terrors. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
5/5 99% Hamilton (2020) Watch as an incredible, diverse cast of talents spin history with rhythm and rhyme to make you clap along and send your jaw to the floor. With its multi-plotted narrative, intimate shots, and explosive word grenades, 'Hamilton' is simply perfect. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2020
2/5 9% Artemis Fowl (2020) Although 'Artemis Fowl' never ceases to entertain, there's simply too much to keep up with and too little attention paid to characterization and story structure. It's all over the place and funny for all the wrong reasons. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
B- 82% Scare Package (2019) 'Scare Package' is a fun (albeit shaky) stirring of gruesome effects, dark humor and genre references. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee knows how to make audiences weep and understand their surroundings with a deeper perspective. His film embodies ideas - and after the immediate experiences fade to black, the implications remain and grow. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
4/5 72% The King of Staten Island (2020) 'The King of Staten Island' crowns Judd Apatow with one of his most heartfelt narratives. The film maneuvers through the narrative threads without getting lost in the weeds. It's packed with laughter, heart and lessons to share. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
3.5/5 92% The Vast of Night (2020) 'The Vast of Night' abducts attention by taking an alien approach to age-old sci-fi. It's a rare breed that experiments with format and technique while also relying on the power of character and conversation to tractor beam your focus. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2020
74% The Wretched (2020) It makes for a pleasantly spooky late-night hang out with a buddy or loved one who doesn't mind some arm grabbing throughout. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
3.5/5 58% All Day and a Night (2020) 'All Day and a Night' is an elegy for those struggling to keep their eternal flame alight. It's [also] a film about growth and awakenings, and I both grew and opened my eyes to new lessons about life that I will carry with me and pass on. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2020
3/5 8% Fantasy Island (2020) 'Fantasy Island' is admittedly nothing to dream about, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. If you can prepare yourself for something that feels as if it came out 20 years ago, then you'll have a solid time with it. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2020
3.5/5 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) Kurzel paints the outback in a thick, demoralizing red coat. However, if you can shake it, the gritty reality he creates extends its hand for unforgettable lessons in human truth. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
4/5 95% Beastie Boys Story (2020) With its smooth mix of experimentation, offbeat personalities, and rigorous attention to detail, 'Beastie Boys Story' is a stunning portrait that's difficult to imagine ever being bettered. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2020
3/5 38% The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995) A portrait of mythic America that drips with an ambiguous super-realism like a Salvador Dalí painting. While it may not go down smooth, its erratic taste lingers - and it might require a feel-good cinematic chaser. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
3/5 48% Underwater (2020) It's a man vs. nature film that asks if humankind has overstepped their position, and it has a lot of creepy creatures and claustrophobic situations in it to get the heart rate up. A simple, effective thrill ride. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2020
41% Endings, Beginnings (2020) 'Endings, Beginnings' is a poignant exercise in self-realization that details how, without sufficient self-love, we're not capable of truly loving others. Shailene Woodley delivers a career-best performance. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
D 70% Trolls World Tour (2020) 'Trolls World Tour' is about as close as it gets to walking into a Justice clothing store, being doused in glitter and imprisoned for a 90-minute game of SingStar. Tylenol required. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
2/5 69% We Summon the Darkness (2020) Sacrificing its solid ensemble cast and fascinating puritanical themes, We Summon the Darkness' potential to matter and amaze get lost in the woods. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
3/5 85% Sea Fever (2020) Although it may suffer from a watered-down script and powerless characterization, there's hold-fast tension in place to keep it above surface level. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
3/5 63% Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) The results, if not entirely original, are exciting and hilarious. Jim Carrey is a hoot! - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2020
4/5 55% Resistance (2020) While 'Jojo Rabbit' helps children to grasp the realities of the Holocaust, 'Resistance' informs parents of how to discuss it with them. Eisenberg gives one of his best performances. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2020
B+ 47% April Fool's Day (1986) If you favor horror satires that deconstruct the mechanics of the genre, like 'Behind the Mask' or 'Scream,' ['April Fool's Day' stings with originality and fun]. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2020
B- 100% The Toll (2020) Effective midnight entertainment, but doesn't amount to the top-dollar horror it could have been. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 18, 2020
4.5/5 37% Wendy (2020) It's a story about not growing up - but 'Wendy' had me doing a lot of it while watching it. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
3.5/5 56% The Hunt (2020) No one walks away without a target on their back, and that makes 'The Hunt' the riot it is. It's like the malicious kid on an elevator who pushes all the buttons. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
B 82% Queen & Slim (2019) With the knock-out performances, symbolic characterization (a Martin Luther King and Malcolm X-like dynamic), and astute observations, 'Queen & Slim' is worthy of its crown. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
A+ 74% Candyman (1992) The drama in its story is put before its horror ingredients, making it one of the best films around. It's a psychological horror film with captivating social commentary. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
B+ 21% Urban Legend (1998) It may have that '90s stank on it (obnoxious and moronic characters), but the filmmaking artistry is commendable, especially in its handling of the killing sequences. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
3.5/5 98% Extra Ordinary (2020) 'Extra Ordinary' is a screaming success full of fun energy, clever wit and killer-good performances. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
4/5 91% The Invisible Man (2020) There's nothing hollow about this man. [Leigh Whannell] has a clear vision, and he executes it with terror-filled grace while also unveiling another superhuman Elisabeth Moss performance. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
5/5 98% Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) Some may find its method comparable to watching paint dry, but if you can uncover the more profound significance and adjust to its gentle and poetic tone, 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' will scorch your heart with its impassioned touch. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
B- 38% Waiting for Anya (2020) Although the pace occasionally lags, there's no denying that 'Waiting for Anya' will fill you with compassion. It's a classic story of heroes and enemies. But more importantly, it's a tender tale about a community coming together to do the right thing. - Fresh Fiction EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
B- 75% 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 83% Just Mercy (2020) 'Just Mercy' coaxes tears, but its force is blunted. - Denton Record-Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
43% 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 92% 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 94% 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 70% 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 80% 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 51% 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 72% 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 76% 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 94% 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 90% 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