Gillespie Life


Indie filmmaking at its finest

With homeland security, drug lords and massive wall-building in the news, now more than ever do moviegoers need a film to help them engage in thought provoking discussion. Thanks to Greg Kwedar’s dynamic and explosive thriller set along the Texas-Mexico border “Transpecos” audiences get that and much more.

In this cinematic world, ambiguity reigns supreme and the lines between right and wrong are blurred to the point of near invisibility.

“Transpecos” follows three U.S. Border Patrol officers on a routine morning shift, working a mobile checkpoint on a remote desert highway. Things change for the three when a vehicle stop arouses suspicion and throws their world for a loop.

The thriller has wowed audiences across Texas, taking home the audience award in the narrative category from this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival and Dallas International Film Festival.


'Captain America: Civil War' packs a mighty punch

“Captain America: Civil War” refuses to shy away from the consequences of war. War is the centerpiece of the entire two and a half hour movie and drives the film’s central conflict.

Following the basic outline of the iconic comic book storyline of the same name, “Civil War” finds Iron Man and Captain America on opposing sides of the law after the United Nations establishes the Sokovia Accords to regulate the actions of superheroes.

Captain America and a group of other heroes refuse to sign the accords, while Iron Man builds a separate coalition to sign the treaty. His coalition is then tasked with tracking down Team Captain America and arresting them for operating outside the law.


Moms deserve better than this

Mother’s Day is a holiday celebrated to honor women who have born, adopted or raised children with an emphasis on the mother-child relationship.

The movie with the same name as the holiday, directed by Garry Marshall, does pretty much none of that.

Marshall’s film is a romantic comedy without any romance and lacking in comedy. It’s a family drama that doesn’t have much heart and it’s supposed to be a tearjerker but it won’t make many in the audience cry.

Marshall and the four screenwriters given credit for the film, attempt to go everywhere but end up taking the audience nowhere.

Like its spiritual predecessors “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve,” “Mother’s Day” relies on coincidental relationships between its main characters who otherwise don’t interact with each other at all.

Filled with a celebrity cast including Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson, “Mother’s Day” can’t stay on a particular course.


Hill Country Film Fest fetes top projects

Greg Kwedar’s thriller, Transpecos, about border patrol agents drawn into inescapable corruption was named the Best of Fest Award winner at the closing night party of the Hill Country Film Festival’s (HCFF) four-day event.

The independent film event held in Fredericksburg, April 28-May 1 screened 15 feature films and 74 short films representing 14 countries.

The Hill Country Film Society wrapped its seventh annual festival following a weekend of diverse programming, expert panel discussions and a variety of hosted events.

The festival also showcased for the first time a Student Short Film category where eight short films screened were fully produced and directed by high school or college student filmmakers.

Hosted events included the filmmakers’ welcome reception at Fritztown Cinema; filmmakers’ lounge happy hours; panel discussions and event parties at Ausländer Restaurant and Biergarten and West End Pizza Company on Main Street.


'Cool' technology helps solve a problem

David Woods has rebuilt this five-year-old Hewlett-Packard computer using a water-cooled system to prevent overheating. His computer also now has a one-terabyte hard drive. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie


It began its life about five years ago as a standard Hewlett-Packard computer.

In the computer world, though, five years is enough time to turn a respected processing system into a glorified door stop.

“I noticed it didn’t have enough horsepower, so I made some upgrades,” said David Woods, who coaches football and basketball at Fredericksburg High School and also teaches world geography. In a previous career, he sold computers.

Woods installed new memory cards and a one terabyte drive.

But the big change Woods made to the computer was in how it cools itself.

To keep from overheating, computers usually have fans to cool a CPU by increasing how much air comes in contact with the CPU. But since this one has a higher processing speed for bigger tasks, something more advanced was needed.


'Hardcore Henry' puts viewers into the action

 “Hardcore Henry” plays like a video game with violence and not much of a plot to go on.

Director Ilya Naishuller and his team of filmmakers take viewers on an insane, gore-filled ride for 90 minutes.

The hook is viewers see everything from the perspective of Henry, a once-dead human brought back to life through futuristic cyborg technology.

Henry’s mission is to save the woman he loves from a psychopathic villain and his army.

Filmmakers used GoPro cameras (a wearable camera used for extreme action videography) to develop the intense first-person shooter cinematography style in “Hardcore Henry.” It is simply astounding.

The film was shot by three different cameramen, each taking turns playing the role of Henry while outfitted with a specialized helmet camera rig.


Going the distance

Runners, from left, Albie Masland, Nick Biase and Matt Peace stopped for lunch downtown on Sunday. The trio’s goal is to cover 60 miles per day and reach San Diego, all to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation. - Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke


“If not me, who?”

That’s the message that drives three runners, out to finish a mission and raise funds for a good cause.

Albie Masland, Matt Peace and Nick Biase are on their way from Cypress, Texas to San Diego, California to raise money for a foundation named after a fallen Marine and spread a message of stepping up to serve others.

The trio is each running 20 miles per day (a total of 60 miles covered) and recovering with nightly ice baths. They also are hoping to inspire others.

“We want to spread the message and use this effort to show how we all can use it,” Masland said. “We hope to engage people to serve others. And it can be things like this run or simple things like opening a door for someone.”


Religion stands on trial

Fans of the 2014 surprise box-office hit “God’s Not Dead” will be thrilled with its sequel, the aptly-named “God’s Not Dead 2” which hit theaters on Friday.

In the original film, the question of God’s existence was debated in college philosophy class, while the sequel moves out of the classroom and into the courtroom, where Christianity can more be put on trial.

Melissa Joan Hart stars as Grace Wesley, a young history teacher in Arkansas who comforts one of her students following the death of her brother.

When the same student later asks Grace to compare the beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to the teachings of Jesus Christ, the teacher comes under fire from the school board (and later the ACLU) for answering the student’s question in class. From this, Grace’s belief in God is put on trial in a civil lawsuit.


Sleepwalking through cinema

By Matt Ward


There is no better film to snooze through this year than “The Divergent Series: Allegiant.”

Even the film’s cast and crew, sleepwalk their way through the third in the teen dystopian film franchise based on the books by Veronica Roth.

The latest movie finds rebellious teen Tris leading a small band of friends outside the walled compound of what used to be Chicago.

Their escape and journey beyond the walls should be compelling cinema, but nothing ever comes together in director Robert Schwentke’s lackluster film, based on the first half of the final book in the trilogy.

Shailene Woodley does a passable job as Tris. Her character is relegated to the background for much of the film leaving Woodley with almost nothing to do.

Much of the focus is given to Theo James, who plays Tris’ love interest Four, which proves to be the movie’s biggest mistake. James gives a mechanical performance.


Just keep swimming

FHS swimmers (bottom row, from left) Emma Dearinger, Katie Habecker, Elianna Ivers, Michelle Millhouse, Allison Young, Katya Walker, Lauren Smith and Payton Carroll. Top row swimmers are Jordan Santa, Cabel Crocker, Gra-ham Hammond (manager), Xinbo Tan, Will Shepard, Trent Bullion and Tait Herbig. (Not pictured: Clay Salazar) — Submitted photo

By Scott Allen


Getting in the pool can be done in two ways: you can either dip your toes into the water or you can jump right in. The Billies decided to jump in.

Wrapping up its second season of competitive swimming, the Fredericksburg High School swim team has controlled all channels of the pool since its inception in late 2014.

Head coach Lisa Bullion, who helped start the team with volunteer swim coach Robert Walker and USA swim coach Jeff Hammond, had wanted to start a team ever since she began teaching here eight years ago. She said the right combination of support and timing helped form the team.

“It was a long process to convince people the time was right and there was enough support and interest from the community,” Bullion said.


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