Photo courtesy of DMTX Realty Group

A glorious and spacious Hill Country ranch fully equipped for off-the-grid living has landed on the market with a grand $8.75 million price tag.

The Lonesome Valley Ranch, located at 1430 Gibson-Best Rd. in Hye, sits behind a gated entrance on a short road for ultimate privacy. Past the gate is 260-plus acres of land, a one-acre pond, and four fully-furnished buildings ready to accommodate large gatherings or events.

The single-story main residence has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, while the two-story "barndominium" serves as a three-bedroom, three-bathroom bunkhouse and saloon. The bunkroom includes 10 bunk beds, so it's perfect for large groups. Both homes have wrap-around porches, extensive outdoor living spaces, and 360 degrees of Hill Country views.

Overlooking the pond is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin with a connected 40-foot pier for guests to try their hand at fishing or take a dip in the water. Also within the pond is an anchored dock and a fountain.

The fourth building on the ranch, hidden among the woods, is an equipment barn and workshop with a loft, apartment, and caretaker's residence.

The ranch is fully capable of operating off-the-grid thanks to an extensive solar system, several backup generators, a deep water well, a supplementary 100,000 gallons of rainwater collection, a propane capacity of 4,000 gallons, and much more.

Lonesome Valley Ranch is truly an entertainer's paradise. With the benefit of having no restrictions, the next owners could choose to Airbnb the bunkhouse, host special events or corporate retreats, and more. According to the listing, the property could generate $200,000 to $300,000 yearly for the next owners, while still operating as a family compound.

1430 Gibson-Best Rd

Photo courtesy of DMTX Realty Group

Lonesome Valley Ranch is located in Hye, Texas.

Thanks to the seller's intentional preservation of the heavily-wooded areas of the property, there is an abundance of wildlife suitable for hunting. Other outdoor amenities provided include an NBA-sized basketball court, a tennis court, and a pickleball court.

The property is also neighbored by the award-winning William Chris Vineyards and Garrison Brother's Distillery. The ranch is an easy 20 minute drive from Fredericksburg, and about an hour and 15 minutes from San Antonio.

David Murray from DMTX Realty Group holds the listing. More information about the ranch can be found on dmtx.com.


San Antonio buyers must earn this much more to afford a starter home in 2023

affordability gaps

An income analysis by online real estate brokerage Redfin has revealed just how much more a potential homeowner needs to make this year to afford a "starter home" in San Antonio, a concept that's becoming seemingly less attainable with rising mortgage rates and increased competition among buyers.

The report revealed that first-time homebuyers need to earn $55,657 annually to afford a San Antonio home in 2023, which is 18.7 percent more income than was required in 2022.

According to Redfin, the average salary needed for a typical starter home in the United States is $64,403, about 13 percent more than a year ago. San Antonio is $8,746 behind that number.

These findings further confirm that affordability is one of the biggest struggles for potential buyers in the current real estate market.

What was considered a generous salary to afford a home in San Antonio a year ago is no longer the case, as median sale prices are sitting at $210,000, and median mortgage payments are about $1,391 a month, the report said. However, the analysis indicated that home sales in the city have risen a lot since this time last year: 11.6 percent.

Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said in the report that it's a "wild goose chase" for homebuyers seeking their first home in the current market.

"The most affordable homes for sale are no longer affordable to people with lower budgets due to the combination of rising prices and rising rates," he said. "That’s locking many Americans out of the housing market altogether, preventing them from building equity and ultimately building lasting wealth. People who are already homeowners are sitting pretty, comparatively, because most of them have benefited from home values soaring over the last few years."

Bokhari predicted the wealth gap between current and potential owners could become "even more drastic" if current trends continue.

Things escalated faster in San Antonio than anywhere else, but it's still relatively affordable overall, with the least expensive houses in the state. Next was Houston, where a first-time homebuyer would need to make $57,513, which is nearly 14 percent more than in 2022.

The necessary income in Fort Worth has also risen by 14.4 percent, amounting to $64,933. People in Dallas need to make quite a bit more, settling at $72,885 after a 10.6 percent increase. In Austin, potential homeowners saw a 3.3 percent decrease in income needed to afford a home, but it's still the highest income required out of all Texas cities in the report: $92,057.

The full report can be found on redfin.com.

Rendering courtesy of Carbo Landscape Architecture/LRK/Green East Realty

Luxe new Galveston beachfront community primed for Texas vacation-home hunters

following nature

Few regions in America have seen the kind of explosion in demand as Galveston. Between the post-pandemic, work-from-anywhere push for quality-of-life options and a tsunami of Californian transplants seeking waterfront living, Galveston is in the midst of a boom rivaling anything in its nearly 200-year history.

Little surprise, then, that the Texas coastal city has been besieged by investors and developers from all over the globe looking to make a quick profit on buyer demand by snatching up the best parcels of waterfront property. Fortunately for Texas buyers in the market for a vacation home on the treasured Gulf Coast, a Galveston native son has swooped in and secured some of the precious few acres left of the last prime, beachfront real estate on Galveston Island.

For Galveston, by a Galvestonian
Houston-area banking CEO and real estate developer Manny Mehos has revealed plans for Roseate Beach,a master-planned community offering full time quality-of-life amenities to residents of the 172 premium homesites — 22 of those boasting coveted beachfront lots — in Galveston's West End (FM 3005, just east of 11 Mile Road).

Currently, development plans for Roseate Beach call for two phases, with Phase One slated to break ground in late fall 2023, per press materials.

Blending a modern approach to residential planning with a timeless seaside experience, Roseate Beach is a bit of an anomaly for the area. Mehos' vision incorporates the beach, but also intentionally incorporates the area's upscale living, such as Galveston Country Club, just a short jaunt away. Another anomaly: a modern aesthetic that purposely deviates from beach cliches.

“I have never seen a beach development like what we are planning, whereby the houses have modern architectural elements,” Mehos says. “The only one I’ve seen that is truly divergent from typical beach developments is Alys Beach, which blew me away.”

Blown away by the elegant, all-white coastal community in Florida, Mehos has ensured Roseate Beach residents, like Alys Beach's, enjoy upscale lifestyle activities and options. That means a resort pool, clubhouse, pickleball courts and other gaming spaces, a fitness facility, and reservable office spaces, per press materials. A team of dedicated onsite management will oversee the development's common spaces, native landscape, and year-round access to amenities.

Design with nature in mind
Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based architectural firm Carbohas worked the area's natural habitat into the modern design. Working in the beauty of the coast and native vegetation, Roseate Beach also incorporates the site’s natural wetland and features a connected series of boardwalks and seating areas accessible from multiple trailheads. Again, the design is meant to inspire typical coastal activities such as walking and birding.

Multiple access points lead to a broad stretch of beach expanded by the continuation of the Galveston Island Beach Nourishment Project, which aims to protect and preserve the beachfront by mitigating shoreline erosion. Carbo's designers sought to foster walkability and even cycling via a network of trails and greenways that weaves through the lush coastal ecosystem.

A central promenade, community park, and wetland preserve put residents in direct contact with the area’s native landscape and perhaps, even local wildlife lounging among the native plantings. Enviable beach access means the Gulf is always at the forefront.

“Our primary goal for Roseate Beach is to connect people with nature,” Zachary Broussard of Carbo Landscape Architecture notes in press materials.

Modern style meets timeless coastal living
Roseate Beach mirrors the region's surrounding environment and works in simple, clean lines to create individual homes that ultimately create a uniform, overall community aesthetic. Design and architectural firm LRK invoked seaside living themes via large porches, elevated upper-floor balconies, expansive windows, and French doors, all meant to bring the outside coast indoors.

“The use of simple building forms will allow the homes to serve as the backdrop on which the residents, community and nature take center stage,” Chris Janson, architect and principal at LRK, adds in a statement. “The clean lines of the homes will complement the native coastal landscape and natural beauty of the island, while expansive glass and outdoor living spaces allow owners the opportunity to connect with nature.”

Roseate Spoonbill Galveston A flying V of native Roseate Spoonbills inspired the project name.Photo by Stephen Mayeaux

“Honestly, I never thought about actually doing a development until I became aware that I might be able to buy the property,” recalls Mehos, a successful CEO, entrepreneur, and CPA with Goldman Sachs credentials who founded Green Bank, Coastal Banc, and his real estate firm, Green East Realty.

“That’s when the wheels started spinning and I immediately concluded that a more evolved concept was due for Galveston. It’s always more of a financial commitment to do that, but the exponential growth in island visitations and culture shifting within the island justified that kind of evolution.”

When a bird-brained idea is the best idea
But it wasn't finances, architecture, or real estate booms that ultimately sparked Mehos' decision to green light and spearhead this much-needed development. Rather, it was a bird — or specifically, a collection of birds drifting over his newly built home in 2021 — that led to the execution and even the name of his project.

“I was on my deck, it was late winter, and the wind was blowing from the north,” Mehos remembers of that crucial moment. “A perfect V formation of Roseate Spoonbills were hovering over my deck pointed into the wind and remained stationary for about 30 minutes, maintaining that perfect formation.”

“I had admired the birds for decades but had never seen them like that,” he adds. “When I decided to go forward with the development, the choice was easy — because of what I witnessed that day.”

For pricing, more information, and updates on Roseate Beach, visit the official site.

Roseate Beach Galveston

Rendering courtesy of Carbo Landscape Architecture/LRK/Green East Realty

Roseate Beach boasts 172 luxe beach homesites.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Shavano Park: An expert welcomes you to a 'small town in the big city'

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


Rosanna Schulze's relationship with Shavano Park goes way back. For the past 20 years, the San Antonio native has lived right outside this "small town in the big city," driving through it every day to show homes and work with buyers and sellers in the neighborhood.

Schulze first began selling homes in the area when she was the site manager and sales counselor for a custom-home builder in the subdivision Bentley Manor, where she has since sold over 20 luxury homes.

In 2007, she left new-home sales and returned to her dream job as a Realtor, combining her strong construction background, knowledge of luxury homes, and love of working with people (including several of the San Antonio Spurs).

"The city of Shavano Park offers a unique blend of rural small-town character with urban conveniences," says Schulze. "The city's motto is 'City Living with Country Charm,' and it lives up to it."

Shavano Park's neighborhoods include the Old Shavano Park, Shavano Estates, Shavano Creek, De Zavala Estates, Bentley Manor, Huntington, Willow Wood, and Pond Hill Garden Villas.

Schulze offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Shavano Park. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
Take your pick from elegant — "Fredrick's Bistro and Pam's Patio Kitchen," Schulze recommends — to laid-back, like Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling and Chicken N Pickle.

The newly opened Kerbey Lane, Bigz Burgers at UTSA, North Italia, and La Panaderia at the Rim also generate buzz.

Where to play
"Phil Hardberger Park and Salado Creek Greenway Trails will get you outside," while TopGolf and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games provide fun in a more structured setting.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is only two miles away, and Mission Ridge Shooting Range & Academy is a mere three.

Where to live
"I recently helped several families downsize into luxury garden homes in The Cottage Estates of Bentley Manor," Schulze says. "The area offers high-end luxury garden homes in a gated subdivision surrounded by lush landscaping and estate-size homes on 3/4-acre lots."

310 Hampton Way was one of those downsized homes, purchased by Schulze's clients after she sold their 5,600-square-foot home in The Waters at Deerfield.

"It was a pleasure working with Rosanna on the sale of our home," says Charles T. Barret, one of Schulze's many repeat clients in Shavano Park. "She was polite, welcoming, and an absolute professional at all times. Her experience as a Realtor was evident in the way she conducted business and the smooth sales process. I highly recommend Rosanna if you are looking for an experienced Realtor who delivers results."


Rosanna Schulze works and plays in Shavano Park. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email rosanna.schulze@kupersir.com, or call 210-788-4135.

Realtor Rosanna Schulze.

Realtor Rosanna Schulze

Photo by Onward Group

Agent Rosanna Schulze.

Photo by Onward Group

Southtown: San Antonio's artsy, historical enclave

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


"Southtown is a neighborhood in the truest sense," says real estate agent Debra Maltz, "residents with diverse backgrounds who care deeply about their community, both its people and its structures, who strive to maintain balance in order to assure that future generations have the same quality of life."

The artsy neighborhood of Southtown is where Maltz keeps her office, and it's an area that she's been happily introducing clients to for the past decade.

"The vibe of Southtown is well appreciated among San Antonio," she says. "It is probably the most walkable neighborhood in the city, with fabulous restaurants, interesting shops, Blue Star Arts complex, the San Antonio River, the So Flo HEB, and gorgeous Victorian homes, all only a short walk to downtown."

Maltz offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Southtown. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"There are too many to pinpoint, but I love Cascabel, a small Mexican cafe across from Bonham Elementary — delicious!" she says.

Liberty Bar, Upscale, Bar Loretta, Little Em's, Pharm Table, Bliss, and The Good Kind also make the list, though Maltz points out that new favorites seem to always be appearing.

Where to play
Obviously Hemisfair Park and the San Antonio River hike and bike path, which goes all the way to the Missions, are oft-visited spots, as is Yanaguana Park and just strolling down King William Street.

What to see
Though the Edward Steves Homestead Museum is currently closed, you can still visit Villa Finale and the Blue Star Arts Complex for your doses of culture and history.

Where to live
"Southtown has wonderful historic homes, many of them well over 100 years old, as well as newer, more modern ones," Maltz says. "Many of the older homes are filled with history, and when you decide to live in a home filled with history you are agreeing to be a steward of the home."

One such homes is a recent listing of Maltz's: 129 Crofton Ave., a one-of-a-kind artisanal King William home.

This was the lifetime home — and project for almost 40 years — of noted local designers and craftsmen Isaac and Judith Maxwell. It has since been thoughtfully updated by the current owners and features gorgeous long-leaf pine floors and ceilings and meticulous woodworking, joinery, and craftsmanship. Original coal-burning faux fireplaces with gorgeous brick can be found throughout. The Maxwells' original punched metal light fixtures and chandeliers can still be found throughout, along with many hidden cabinets and hiding places.

The kitchen has a beautiful island with those same original punched metal cabinet doors, but has also been updated with Corian counters, a built-in refrigerator, a downdraft gas range, farm sink, and a charming banquette overlooking the back deck. Wrap-around porches decorate both the first and second floor, while the third-floor loft makes an ideal guest room, office, or reading room.

A second, 400-square-foot structure in the rear has two floors, each with a living area, full bath, and private entrance. Follow the brick path that winds through the yard down to the San Antonio River.

A stunning recent sale is 331 Adams St., a five-bedroom historic treasure built in 1893.

Known as the Haarmann/Goethe House, it's recognizable by the arched brick facade and multiple porches, but also hides a 900-square-foot apartment, dog run, pool, and outdoor kitchen out back.


Debra Maltz works and plays in Southtown. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email debra.maltz@kupersir.com, or call 210-639-3272.

Realtor Debra Maltz

Photo by Onward Group

Agent Debra Maltz.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Vintage Oaks + Gruene: Go on vacation without ever leaving home

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in San Antonio and its surrounding areas that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


Real estate agent Ginger Browning spent most of her life in the New Braunfels area — even a short move out of state couldn't keep her away from Central Texas.

"While I loved getting to visit different parts of the country, learn different cultures, and meet different people, I got back home as soon as I could," she says. "The graciousness and hospitality of people here are beyond compare."

Having worked in the area, which includes the neighborhoods Vintage Oaks and Gruene, for more than a decade, Browning notes that the location is unbeatable: convenient to everything, but not in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

"The area has so much to offer: the relaxing feel, beautiful rock and stucco homes, expansive yards, Hill Country views and so much more," Browning says. "With the music scene in Gruene and its wonderful restaurants, you do not have to go far to have a good time."

The amenities aren't to be overlooked, either. "Gruene has the river activities, food, shopping, and night life while Vintage Oaks has hidden parks and walking trails, but the best is the amazing pool with the lazy river," she adds. "It is a great way to pass those long, hot summer days."

Browning, who was a Top 10 agent for Kuper Sotheby's International Realty in 2021 and a member of the President's Circle, has also been recognized as a Platinum Top 50 Realtor several years running.

What you might not expect, though, are her hobbies: motorcycles and beekeeping. "We have several hives on our property that we care for. It is such a great experience to watch and learn how they work," she says. "The honey is not bad either."

Browning offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Vintage Oaks and Gruene. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
There are several icons of the area that Browning visits often, like Gruene River Grill, Krause's Biergarten and Cafe (which was originally built in 1938), Muck & Fuss for craft beer and burgers, and Marina's for breakfast tacos.

Where to play
It's all about the water here, from Schlitterbahn to Canyon Lake to a day lazily tubing down the river. Landa Park is where you'll find the headwaters of Comal Springs, plus charming paddle boats and 50 acres of greenspace.

What to see
See live music at Freiheit Country Store or Gruene Hall, catch a classic or new-release movie at Stars and Stripes Drive-In, or participate in any of the many seasonal festivals.

A visit to the Sophienburg Museum and Archives offers insight into the area's German heritage, while a stroll across the Faust Street Bridge feels like stepping back in time.

And, of course, you're not in Texas unless you stop at Buc-ee's and marvel at all its goods for sale.

Where to live
Many properties here have beautiful views and spacious grounds, and most are custom-built or semi-custom like 1021 Gruene Springs, a record-breaking sale of Browning's in New Braunfels that secured the highest price per square foot that has ever sold in the neighborhood.

Other significant sales of hers in the area include 1090 Provence Pl., 1757 Antigua Cove, and 1017 Elm Creek.

Another perk that Browning points out is the area's generally low tax rate and no city taxes in some of the more popular neighborhoods, including Vintage Oaks

"While it was not our first time selling a home, we had never before encountered such exceptional service," says one of Browning's clients. "From the first day that we worked with Ginger, we were struck by her incredible enthusiasm, heartfelt sincerity, astounding industry knowledge, client advocacy, dedication, and personal attention."

The client also pointed out that Ginger went out of her way to ensure that selling their home did not interfere with their busy work schedules.

"Words cannot describe how reassuring it is to know that not only do you have an agent who is willing to go the extra mile, but will make your life as stress-free as possible throughout the home searching and buying process. We also connected with Ginger's warm personality and sense of humor from the start, and now consider her not just our Realtor but our lifelong friend.""


Ginger Browning works and plays in Vintage Oaks and Gruene. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email ginger.browning@kupersir.com or call 830-837-1891.

Agent Ginger Browning

Realtor Ginger Browning

Photo by Onward Group

Agent Ginger Browning.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

UTSA outpaces progress of every other school on U.S. News' best Texas colleges list

go roadrunners

The University of Texas at San Antonio has massively improved its high-quality educational experiences for students, earning it the highest increase of all public universities on U.S. News and World Report's just-released list of the Best Colleges in Texas for 2024.

The home of the Roadrunners claimed No. 16 in Texas, and had an incredible 92-place leap from the previous year into No. 280 nationally for 2024. The public institution had an undergraduate enrollment of more than 29,600 students in fall 2022. The school, which costs $10,580 in tuition and fees for in-state students each year, ranks No. 151 for "Top Public Schools" by U.S. News.

In a release celebrating these latest rankings, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy explained some of the ways the university has strived to improve its student experience and success.

“Over the last decade we have worked strategically to become a Carnegie R1 institution, to be eligible for National Research University fund status here in Texas, to be recognized for our immense progress in student success measures, to become a Seal Certified institution from Excelencia in Education, and to showcase how our students benefit from a UTSA education as they enter the workforce with low debt and high economic and social mobility,” Eighmy said. “These collective efforts have been noticed and we are grateful for the recognition.”

U.S. News' profile of UTSA says the university prides itself for its research opportunities for all students, including first-years.

"A focus on learning outside the classroom challenges Roadrunners to apply knowledge and skills acquired in their courses to hands-on, real-world situations, preparing them for success in competitive job markets," the site says.

The university also boasts a diverse campus culture that encourages students to broaden their worldviews.

"Our students come from diverse backgrounds, and each has their own unique goals and dreams," the site says. "With 45 percent of undergraduates being the first in their families to attend college, UTSA is recognized as a national model for first-generation and transfer students."

Ahead of UTSA in the ranking is Texas State University in San Marcos, which also ranked No. 280 nationally.

Just behind UTSA is the University of the Incarnate Word. The private institution placed No. 17 in the Texas rankings and No. 296 nationally.

U.S. News' top 10 best colleges in Texas in 2024 are:

  • No. 1 – Rice University, Houston
  • No. 2 – University of Texas at Austin
  • No. 3 – Texas A&M University, College Station
  • No. 4 – Southern Methodist University, Dallas
  • No. 5 – Baylor University, Waco
  • No. 6 – Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
  • No. 7 – The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson
  • No. 8 – University of Houston
  • No. 9 – Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • No. 10 – University of St. Thomas, Houston

The full rankings can be found on usnews.com.

Online home searching platform Compass buys top San Antonio-based brokerage

real estate news

National residential real estate agency Compass has acquired Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio, in a move that will expand its position as the leading national firm and its growth in Texas by more than 600 agents.

Although the sale price was not disclosed in Compass' announcement, the local brokerages completed $5.24 billion sales just in 2022 alone.

Compass added that the Austin and San Antonio leadership will have direct oversight of daily operations as part of the terms of the acquisition. Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio co-founder Yvette Flores maintains that she and her leadership team will strive for a "seamless transition" into the national firm that respects the home-grown culture they have created.

Realty Austin was founded in 2004 by Flores and Jonathan Boatwright, and has grown through the years to become one of the most innovative brokerages in Central Texas and beyond. The company expanded its operations to San Antonio in 2021.

Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio CEO Gabe Richter said in the release that Compass' leading-edge technology will help his agents foster greater successes, particularly in one blossoming San Antonio category: luxury real estate.

"Our agents have consistently set records with remarkable achievements," Richter said in the release. "Now, by aligning with Compass, they gain access to a transformative technology platform that enhances efficiency and elevated resources that empower them to secure even more luxury listings."

Compass was founded in 2012 as the largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., and preserves its stronghold as the No. 1 brokerage in Texas thanks to its milestone acquisition. The national brokerage has already surpassed $10 billion in sales in Texas in 2023, according to the release.

“With this acquisition, we've positioned ourselves as Austin's leading brokerage — our commitment to setting new standards and inspiring innovation for all our exceptional agents remains the top priority while honoring what Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio has built," said Compass Texas President Rachel Hocevar.

Fantastic visuals and original story make The Creator a must-see sci-fi film

Movie Review

In the relatively risk-averse world that is modern Hollywood, getting an original story is a rarity. The vast majority of potentially blockbuster movies these days are ones that have a connection to some kind of existing intellectual property that already has a well-established track record. So anytime something interesting arrives that’s not a sequel/reboot/remake/commercial for a product, it deserves to be celebrated.

And that goes double when it’s done as well as the new sci-fi film, The Creator. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in 2065, 30 years after a sentient artificial intelligence detonated a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Joshua (John David Washington) is an American soldier who for years worked undercover alongside A.I.-enhanced robots, many of which are fitted with clones of human faces, to try to find their reclusive leader, Nirmata, in a part of the world now called New Asia.

A personal tragedy sends him into exile, but he’s recruited back into service by Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) to seek out and destroy a weapon that may turn the tide in the war for good. Turns out the weapon is a robot in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), and when Joshua discovers that fact, he finds it impossible to carry out the mission. Instead, he does everything he can to protect the girl he calls Alphie, with the military hot on his tail all the while.

Written and directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and co-written by Chris Weitz, the film is astonishing in a number of ways, but mostly for its ability to draw the viewer in visually. The CGI is amazingly believable, making it easy to immerse yourself in the storytelling. From a foreboding super-weapon in the sky called NOMAD to the futuristic landscapes to the whirring metal cylinders that appear to be the brains of the robots, the film is full of fantastic details that make it a feast for the eyes.

The concept of A.I. is increasingly being used as a storytelling tool, and here the filmmakers seem to try to play both sides of the fence. Many people in the film fear its capabilities, especially given the nuclear event. But by literally putting human faces on many of the robots, it becomes more difficult to see them as pure evil, a dilemma that’s at the core of the problem for both Joshua and the audience.

Washington, who’s fast becoming as reliably good as his father, Denzel, is the star of the film, and he does a great job in that role. But stealing the show every second she’s on screen is Voyles, who delivers a debut performance the likes of which hasn’t been seen in many years. She is utterly convincing and heartbreaking as Alphie; while the story may have worked with a lesser actor, she helps take it to completely different level.

Also putting in great work are Janney, who proves herself as badass and fearsome a military leader as any man; Mark Menchaca as her No. 2; Ken Watanabe as an A.I. robot; singer-turned-actor Sturgill Simpson as a friend of Joshua; and Gemma Chan, redeeming herself after the misfire of Eternals.

John David Washington in The Creator
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

John David Washington in The Creator.

The Creator could’ve earned praise simply by giving us an original sci-fi story. But by accompanying it with awe-inspiring imagery and performances that elevate the story immeasurably, Edwards and his team have made a film that will likely be remembered for years to come.


The Creator opens in theaters on September 29.