Gillespie Life


Out of the shadows: Independent thriller ‘The Gift’ comes from nowhere to shine

Meryl Streep isn’t in “The Gift.”

Twenty years ago, the smart independent thriller from writer/producer/star Joel Edgerton would have been something right up Streep’s alley, but just because the performers don’t have top level name recognition doesn’t mean that the relative upstart film isn’t without its merits.

In fact, Australian triple-threat Edgerton provides one of 2015’s most inventive and original films on par with the well-rounded science fiction think-piece “Ex Machina,” starring Domnhall Gleason and Oscar Isaac.


Gangsta rap biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ a compelling, worthy film

Hollywood has struggled in recent years with developing a broad appeal for its critically popular staple of biographical films, dubbed “biopics,” despite large portions of accolades being heaped upon the genre which brought us Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the little seen “Theory of Everything.”

For every Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood helmed “American Sniper,” there’s at least a half dozen biopics that also hit the big screen to little commercial fanfare, with 2014 bringing audiences retrospectives on Martin Luther King Jr. (“Selma”), Alan Turing (“The Imitation Game”), Louis Zamperini (“Unbroken”) and James Brown (“Get On Up”) to mixed results at the box office. Already, Hollywood has slated films on Apple creator/genius Steve Jobs, jazz musician Miles Davis, chess champion Bobby Fischer and Lili Elbe, a transgender Danish artist.


Superhero movie ‘Fantastic Four’ falls flat on its cinematic face

Someone in Hollywood better take note quick.

Indie darling and rising character actor Miles Teller needs a star vehicle ASAP, but “Fantastic Four” just isn’t it.

It’s hard not to feel bad for the star of last year’s Sundance winner and Academy Award nominated “Whiplash,” who played the perfect whipping boy to J.K. Simmons in the heavy drama.

To go from one of the most well-written and pitch perfect features of 2014 to perhaps the most inept, slow and tedious films of 2015 is a major step back for Teller, one he doesn’t deserve.

Teller invests heavily in his role as super-nerd turned world’s stretchiest man Reed Richards, but with a subpar film that even director Josh Trank has disowned, Teller might have been better off staying on the indie circuit until next “Allegiant: Part 1.”


X Marks The Spot: Geocaching combines technology, treasure hunts

FOUND IT! — After finding each cache, a “selfie” is a must for this geocacher. Geocaching is a worldwide game of hide and seek treasures that was created in 2000. — “Selfie” credit to Autumn Bernhard

By Autumn Bernhard —

Travel bug, muggle, ground zero and SWAG. These words might sound a bit odd, but they come second nature to a seasoned geocacher.

I was never supposed to get into geocaching. My plan was to spend a day learning the ropes and get enough information to write my story and be done.

Maybe it is my never wanting to admit defeat or the fact that I always want to get to the bottom of things, but what started out as a general assignment quickly became a hobby.

When I began researching what geocaching was, I described it as a hide and seek of treasures. But the proper definition says geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure.

I still couldn’t fathom how something could be “worldwide” when I had never heard about it. It turns out, I was just talking to the wrong people.

My first experience


‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ packs on punches thanks to its leading man

It doesn’t matter that he’s flying down a winding Moroccan highway on a motorcycle at break-neck speed without a helmet while assassins are buzzing around him trying to kill him.

Exploding cycles falling off the sides of cliffs don’t bug him, nor does the threat of imminent doom if he leans over a centimeter too far one way or the other.

At the end of it all, his hair never really flutters, and that’s all the proof needed to conclude Hollywood’s worst kept secret.

Tom Cruise is the last true movie star.

“Mission Impossible,” the feature film franchise spawned from the 1960s television show of the same name, has lived through several mediocre sequels thanks to Cruise’s box office draw before reemerging with 2011’s “Ghost Protocol” and last weekend’s smash hit “Rogue Nation.”


‘Paper Towns’ an exercise in managing expectations

The author may be the same, but the latest film adaptation of a John Green novel — “Paper Towns” — isn’t anything like last year’s breakout hit “The Fault in Our Stars,” nor is it meant to be.

Early in the film, Cara Delevingne’s Margo Roth Spiegelman laments how Orlando, where the movie is set, is full of paper people living in paper houses, and that “everything’s uglier up close.”

It’s a warning about placing undue expectations on a person because you only see them from a distance and your mind perceives them to be something that they’re not simply based on a projection in your mind of what you might want that person to be. It’s actually an interesting concept to remember when watching “Paper Towns” — since audiences will likely project expectations on the film based off “The Fault in Our Stars” when this movie couldn’t be further from it, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


Size doesn’t matter: ‘Ant-Man’ makes superhero out of Paul Rudd

How much audiences will enjoy “Ant-Man,” the latest superhero blockbuster from Marvel Studios, directly relates to how much they enjoy Paul Rudd.

By stepping far away from the big, bruising characters like Thor and the Hulk or the dynamic Iron Man and Captain America, Marvel is banking on Rudd, a comic actor, to keep things moving in a positive direction as superhero movies become more and more obscure.

People who have never picked up a comic book had no idea what Ant-Man was prior to seeing the first trailer for the film, released earlier this year, and probably still don’t get it 100 percent.

Marvel has gambled with this same formula once before, with the charismatic budding superstar Chris Pratt leading a rag-tag group of space outlaws in last year’s surprise hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Charming as he may be, Rudd is no Pratt, but this doesn’t spell doom for his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Cheerleader one year, sister for life

Cindy Bennett still surrounds herself with Dallas Cowboys memorabilia daily. She was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in 1976 and currently lives in the Texas Hill Country. — Submitted photo

By Autumn Bernhard —

Going from working for corporate America, to being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, to working for Xerox, to currently living in Fredericksburg, Cindy Bennett has done a bit of everything.

Although Bennett donned the fringe vest and short shorts more than 35 years ago, she is still considered a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

“Even though I just cheered for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (DCC) for one season, I have been forever blessed to be included in this incredible sisterhood,” Bennett said. “It is amazing that I can still be a cheerleader as a grandma.”


At the age of 22, Bennett, who had been a high school cheerleader in Rockwall, had already joined corporate America and was working for NCR Corporation full time.


Say what? ‘Minions’ makes the most of imperfect situation

Absolutely no one should be surprised by now that little yellow lemming-like creatures have taken the Hollywood landscape by storm.

Minions are everywhere. From lunchboxes to every other commercial it seems like, to their first feature length animated adventures, the henchmen (is it right to call genderless characters men?) from the innovative “Despicable Me” franchise have rightfully taken center stage with “Minions,” a 95-minute prequel to the events of the original “Despicable Me.”

Because there’s likely an infinite number of Minions out there in the animated universe, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin (who also voices all the Minions) smartly chose to focus viewers on three distinct Minions — fearless leader Kevin, banana-obsessed future rock star Stuart, and diminutive, yet enthusiastic, Bob.


‘Our Way Of Life’ portraits will be displayed at Vereins Kirche

Walter Doebbler kneels by his stock pond in one of many portrait shots in the “Our Way Of Life” book by the late Philip Montgomery. — Submitted photo

A portion of the collection of the framed black-and-white (duotone) photographs from the book, Our Way of Life were donated recently by Carol Montgomery, widow of Philip Montgomery, to the Gillespie County Historical Society. 

These framed photographs make up the exhibit featured at the Vereins Kirche beginning July 15 and continuing through Jan. 15, 2016.

The book can be purchased at the Vereins Kirche or the Pioneer Museum Store. 

The late Philip O’Bryan Montgomery was a Dallas-area native, businessman and philanthropist, but he always viewed Fredericksburg as his second home. 

He worked as an intern in the mid-1970s for the Fredericksburg Standard, and it was there that he worked on the project that resulted in the book and the photos.  The book was published in 2014. 

The book features photographs and interviews of 28 local families, all bearing names of those who helped shape the community into what it is today.


Subscribe to RSS - Gillespie Life