Gillespie Life


Big stars, Crowe can’t save ‘Aloha’ from meddling studio

Dead on arrival.

Angered by a Seth Rogen-James Franco buddy comedy that saw the duo attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un, North Koreans hacked emails and threatened war if 2014’s “The Interview” was released into American theaters.

Despite their best efforts, last year’s email hack of Sony Entertainment executives didn’t kill the raunchy buddy comedy, released video on demand to widespread support from celebrities and First Amendment activists alike. In fact, controversies surrounding the film likely helped “The Interview” do better than it would have with a regular theatrical release.

North Koreans helped get the ball rolling to kill a major Hollywood film, but it just wasn’t the one they intended.


Up-and-down “Tomorrowland” worth taking a chance on

Disappointing. Underwhelming. Lackluster.

Three words that easily describe how Disney executives this week feel about their latest feature film, the George Clooney-helmed “Tomorrowland.”

The film, well on its way to becoming a commercial failure due to its $180 million budget according to Variety, is generally believed to be a mistake, which is the best thing that could possibly happen to this family friendly sci-fi, action adventure film.

How would things be different today if “Tomorrowland” was raking in the dough at a rate Disney was comfortable with? We’d already be talking about “Tomorrowland 2” less than one week after the film’s initial release.


Rockets 2015 dodges clouds, hosts student projectile projects

FHS team’s transonic rocket takes flight over the hills at Hillview Ranch near Willow City. – Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke —

                Fredericksburg High School students arrived at Hillview Ranch near Willow City before sunup.

                Thursday was a big day for the students, who had worked on a transonic rocket during the semester. “Launch day” was here.

                A semester’s worth of work is crammed into an eight-foot cylinder, along with a motor, cameras, data modules, a parachute, and, in some cases, personal artifacts or items.

                FHS students’ rocket fired off near 3:30 p.m. during a break in the clouds. As one of the more powerful and high-flying rockets, expected to reach 10,000 to 12,000 feet, it quickly disappeared from view.

                A crew of volunteers, spotters and members of the Willow City Volunteer Fire Department helped locate where the rocket landed.


Crank it up to 11: “Fury Road” provides best kind of sensory overload to audiences

Two films espousing feminist ideas broke through in a big way commercially last week, but it’s the movie franchise you’d least suspect that does the best job of celebrating women in cinema.

In fact, it’s just a better movie all the way around.

Don’t look now, but George Miller, the director behind the Mel Gibson-led “Road Warrior” trilogy, is back with a new installment of “Mad Max” and its “Fury Road” is simply one of the three best films so far in 2015 and by far the year’s most feminist.

It’s not earth-shattering if viewers haven’t seen the trilogy before heading to theaters for “Fury Road.” In fact, seeing the film with fresh eyes offers a richer perspective on this visually brilliant epic adventure.

Tom Hardy — further cementing his status as both leading man and character actor — holds his own as the titular “Mad Max,” taking over where Gibson left off in the mid-1980s.


Indie comedy 'Welcome to Me' a refreshing hit

Comedy, as a genre, is a tough nut to crack.

More than any other type of film, the art of making people laugh is inherently more difficult than, say, making people cry. It’s why good actors do drama and great actors have the timing for comedy.

Films like the Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara-driven “Hot Pursuit” don’t help the matter any, especially when that derivative mess of a feature is one of only a handful of movies led by strong, independent women this year.

Since there’s still another week of waiting for Anna Kendrick to save audiences with “Pitch Perfect 2,” avid moviegoers are forced to hit the independent film circuit for good laughs, but even that’s a mixed bag.

Enter Kristen Wiig.

While many viewers will remember her best for her roles on “Saturday Night Live” and breaking into Hollywood with the sensational “Bridesmaids,” it’s in the smaller, independent films that Wiig does her finest work.


Film fest spotlight: "Night Owls"

Adam Pally and Rosa Salazar star in the highly original independent dramedy "Night Owls," from writer-director Charles Hood and co-writer Seth Goldsmith. The film, centered on what goes horribly wrong following a one-night stand, won the Cinema Dulce (best of fest) award at last weekend's Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg. — Submitted photo

By Matt Ward —

A Chipotle in Beverly Hills wouldn’t seem like the ideal spot for crafting top notch independent comedy, but it sure seemed to work for the writing team of Charles Hood and Seth Goldsmith.

What ultimately came from those late night meals/writing sessions was “Night Owls,” which premiered at South by Southwest in March and won the Cinema Dulce (best of fest) award at last weekend’s Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg.

“It’s a crazy, amazing thing to hear people laughing at something you wrote at Chipotle,” Goldsmith said.

Shot all in one location at a house in Topanga, California, “Night Owls” follows Kevin (Adam Pally) and Madeline (Rosa Salazar) after a one-night stand goes horribly wrong.


Local art gallery features Windberg

Dalhart Windberg, the fea-tured artist at Fredericks-burg Art Gallery during the First Friday Art Walk last week, tells stories behind the paintbrush and canvas to longtime fan Debra Sher-man of Fort Worth. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

Cattle, cactus, winding rivers and the Gulf Coast comprise many of Dalhart Windberg’s pieces of artwork on display at the Fredericksburg Art Gallery.

Windberg was the gallery’s featured artist for last week’s First Friday Art Walk.

Some asked the renowned Texas artist which is his favorite painting.

“I haven’t painted it yet,” Windberg said, chuckling, “It’s like having an idea, start painting it, having a certain way you want it to look or come out, and nine times out of 10, it never happens. If you’re lucky, you get close to it.”

Those who visited the gallery during the art walk, though, asked him many questions and listened intently to his responses and to his stories behind the paintings.

One painting, a Longhorn in a field of bluebonnets, shows a burnt orange-and-white Longhorn relaxed, sitting in the field, while, in the distance, a maroon bull walks away.


Superhero problems: How ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron' forces viewers to question themselves

What exactly do we as viewers want out of superhero movies anymore?

Last weekend’s release of the cinematic blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” has moviegoers questioning themselves and everything they know about the emerging titan genre of cinema.

It’s almost as if it’s not enough for a quality superhero movie to be engaging and thrilling and witty with quality direction, a good script and compelling performances.

Nothing seems like it’s going to come close any time soon to the apex of the genre, Christopher Nolan’s cinematic experience, “The Dark Knight,” but when it comes to true fantasy superhero films, things don’t get much better than BOTH “Avengers” films.


Film fest spotlight: SEC Ready

By Matt Ward  —
Nobody’s calling the University of Texas the big brother of Texas A&M University anymore.
Not that anyone in Aggieland ever did.
With the move from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference two years ago, the Aggies have officially separated themselves from the perceived shadow of the Longhorns and are well on their way to long term success in the SEC.
It’s why Aggie faithful have always believed themselves to be “SEC Ready,” which is also the title of a feature documentary produced by TexAgs Films that will screen tomorrow at the Hill Country Film Festival.

Stonewall Peach Queen applications now available

Applications are now available for high school coeds interested in vying for the title of Stonewall Peach Queen.

The new Peach Queen and her court will be chosen during the annual Stonewall Peach JAMboree and Rodeo, June 19-20.

Applications are available on the sponsoring Stonewall Chamber of Commerce’s website at and clicking on the “Peach JAMboree” tab.

Completed applications must be returned by Monday, June 1. Applications postmarked after June 1 will not be accepted.

The completed applications should be returned to the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce, Attn. Peach JAMboree Queen’s Contest, P.O. Box 1, Stonewall, TX 78671.

A photograph for use in the newspaper should accompany each application.


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