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Trailer Snark (July 31st Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Before we tell you about last week’s Box Office results, the team would like to give a shout out to our friend Jim (Front Row View) who has not blogged with us for a few weeks due to having surgery.  We are pleased to report that his recovery is going very well and we hope to have him back with us soon!  Thanks for joining us in wishing him a continued speedy recovery!

Last Week:  Ant-Man dominated the box office for the second week in a row ($25 million for a total of $106 million), fending off a challenge from Adam Sandler’s Pixels (debuting with $24 million), while Minions proved its staying power with a strong third place (adding $22 million for a total of $262 million).  And Rob has still not gone to see it!  Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck was in fourth bringing its two week total to just over $61milliion, and Southpaw took the number five slot with a $16.5 million haul in its debut week.  The teen drama Paper Towns was in sixth ($12.5 million).  Inside Out (now over $320 million), Jurassic World (now over $628 million), Mr. Holmes (just over $6 million), and Terminator: Genisys (just over $85 million) rounded out the top ten.  And now for this week’s releases……

Vacation (New Line Cinema) – Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content and language throughout, and brief graphic nudity
Tag Line: What could go wrong?
Starring:  Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chevy Chase, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Beverly D’Angelo
Plot: Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Jessica: I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first but the trailer has me laughing (I mean, Thor alone cracked me up for a few good minutes) and I do enjoy Ed Helms. I’ll definitely be seeing this one.
Chris: Looks like some goofy fung…I mean fun.
Ken: Rusty Griswald following in his old man’s legacy. I was really enjoying the trailer until that last scene. That was just too gross. Yuck, Chevy Chase.
Rob:  I am on vacation with Vacation. (Rob unreachable for further comments..<snicker>)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Paramount) – Action
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Tag Line: Go rogue.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames
Plot: Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Ken: I’ve never been a huge fan of the MI series so this is a pass, although they almost had me with the flute gun.
Chris: I was also one of those who could not stand the first one, but this series has gotten progressively better in my opinion.  Hoping they can continue that trend….the outlook is promising.
Jessica: I’ll admit, I think the first few MI movies are dull as dirt (actually, they might be duller than dirt) but the last one was a lot of fun and this one looks to be just as fun and hey, Tom Cruise REALLY did hang off that plane while it flew, pretty bad ass if you ask me!

Listen to Me Marlon (Passion Pictures) – Documentary/Biography
Not Rated
Tag Line:  The definitive Brando in his own words.
Starring:  Marlon Brando
Plot: A documentary that utilizes hundreds of hours of audio that Marlon Brandon recorded over the course of his life to tell the screen legend’s story.
Running Time:  95 minutes

Chris: I recognize that Marlon Brando is a Hollywood icon, but I just don’t much care for this behind the scenes introspection.  I don’t think anyone on this blog team is pretentious enough to make this their pick of the week.  😉
Ken: I’m not a film buff and my exposure to Brando is limited to his later work like Apocalypse Now and The Godfather. Still I’ve always been curious about the man many consider one of the greatest American actors. Looks interesting enough, could be a contender.
Jessica: A fascinating look into a fascinating man.

Best of Enemies (Magnolia) – Documentary/History
Rated R for some sexual content/nudity and language
Tag Line: Buckley vs. Vidal. 2 Men. 10 Debates. Television Would Never Be The Same.
Starring: William F. Buckley Jr., Gore Vidal
Plot: A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Ken: Two opposing cultural ideologies going head to head during one of the most tumultuous periods in US history. Another good history lesson.  
Jessica: Oh my gosh, this looks wildly entertaining and informative. Totally into it.
Chris: At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, considering my thoughts on celebrity voyeurism, I admit to being very intrigued by the real life relationship between Gore Vidal and William Buckley.  The narrators of political history unfolding before us in the 1960
tumults and beyond.

The End of the Tour (A24) – Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Tag Line:  Imagine the greatest conversation you’ve ever had.
Starring: Jason Segal, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, and Ron Livingston
Plot: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica: As an author myself this one really appeals to me AND I have mad love for Jason Segal. This looks like a  story that’s been told loads of times but the actors are engaging and the story looks good.
Ken: Insightful, honest and devastatingly tragic. I didn’t know this movie existed until now but I desperately need to see it.
Chris: Seems that Segal and Eisenberg boast some real nice chemistry from the trailer.  Could be good.

A Lego Brickumentary (RADiUS-TWC) – Documentary
Rated G
Tag Line:  N/A
Starring: Jason Bateman
Plot: A look at the global culture and appeal of the LEGO building-block toys.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris: I run a pop culture company.  How could this not be required viewing?  Just maybe not in the theater.
Ken: Legos, the original Minecraft. I love that Jason Bateman is the narrator and wonder if he got cast because of his “twenty miles to Lego Land” line from Arrested Development.
Jessica: Oh heck yeah! Having lived with little boys who LOVE Lego’s I would love to watch something all about LEGO’s, totally in.

Tickets Purchased:  2 tickets for Vacation (Jessica and Rob), 1 ticket for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Chris), and 1 ticket for The End of the Tour (Ken)

Grumpy Jonathan Toews cat, FTW!
Grumpy Jonathan Toews cat, FTW!

What will you be seeing in theaters this weekend?
-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/29/2015

Hey comic book fans. It was busy week down here at the Crank File, so I’m delivering an abridged version of WIRTW tonight. Just the hits with none of the filler.

Here’s what I’m reading:

The Top of the Pile: Low #8 Image

Low

Stel approaches the ocean’s surface and potentially man’s salvation. But her way will be blocked by merpires. I’m guessing that’s some kind of mermaid vampire hybrid.

The Mainstream One: Star Wars #7 Marvel

Star-Wars-7-Cover-241a6

The secret history of Obi Wan Kinobi revealed. Will we finally learn what that crazy hermit was up to all those years he was living on Tantooine?

The Indie One: The Invisible Republic #5 Image

IR

Part political intrigue, part sci-fi dystopian future, Invisible Republic has been a great read.

The #1 One: The Shrinking Man #1 IDW

The Shrinking Man #1 Cover B

The classic sci-fi story of a man who shrinks 1/7″ every day gets the comic book treatment. Lots of buzz surrounding this one. Loving IDW’s EC variants.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Southern Bastards #10 Image

Southern_Bastards_10_variant

Proceeds for sales of this Southern Bastard #10 has a variant cover will go to the victims of the Charleston, South Carolina attack. It’s a damn fine comic to boot.

The Speculation One: Sex Criminals #11 Image

Print

1000 sketched and signed covers by Sex Criminals creators Fraction and Zdarsky have been hidden within those pink polybags . That’s about a 1:30 ration based on an estimated 30K print run. Your copy could be a one of a kind piece of art or just a regular cover.

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: “The Darkangel Trilogy” – A Review

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


If you read this blog that you have some idea that I am a huge book nerd along with being an all-around other stuff kind of nerd. I feel then, as a blogger, to make special note of books that I particularly enjoyed. Recently I’ve read two such books (and a review on the other will be forthcoming), one is The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce. I stumbled upon this trio of books while perusing the internet and someone had done an extremely extensive review of the story. It had vampires, a girl on a quest and gargoyles. I was sold.

dtomn

Now, to me, I love a good opening line. It doesn’t have to be particularly poetic or inspiring, it doesn’t even have to be a cliff-hanger or dramatic. It simply has to set the tone of the book.

Aeriel rested the broad basket against her hip and adjusted her kirtle. – The Darkangel

See what I mean? I’m instantly curious. Why does Aeriel have a basket? What is a kirtle? What a great name for a character. Is she the main character or is she secondary? All of these questions just from a few simple words.

Book One in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book One in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

The plot of the three books is simple. Aeriel (a slave) and her mistress (and sort-of friend) Eoduin are on a mission to collect a certain kind of flower for her sister’s wedding. They are climbing high up on the mountain and Aeriel, we find out, is a clutz and a nervous-nelly. She worries they are going to high for she had heard tales of the Darkangels that swooped from the skies and kidnapped pretty ladies.

It is quickly made apparent that Aeriel is a plain-Jane, she is nowhere near as beautiful and graceful as her dear Eoduin and everyone tells her this. Even the Darkangel (because, yeah, he shows up).

“I am to be your bride,” she said, not questioning. The certainty of it overwhelmed her.

The dark angel looked at her then and laughed, a long, mocking laugh that sent the gargoyles into a screaming, chattering frenzy. “You?” he cried, and Aeriel’s heart shrank, tightened like a knot beneath the bone of her breast. “You be my bride? By the Fair Witch, no. You’re much too ugly.” – The Darkangel

Yeah, Aeriel does not get much love at first.

Book Two in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book Two in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

I don’t want to spoil the series for you so I’ll try to sum up without spoilers for you. Basically, Aeriel gets taken by the dark angel to be his servant girl to his twelve wraiths, women he has taken as his bride and stolen their souls, they are thin creatures, barely sane and horrid to look upon. Aeriel also finds herself in the precense of gargoyles, ferocious beasts that really only suffer from a lack of love and attention.

Some stuff happens and we start to see that Aeriel is more than just a slave, she is more than just an “ugly” girl. She is a smart, resourceful woman who manages to make the best out of a really REALLY bad situation. In the darkangels house she lives under the constant threat of death and yet, she manages to find some good in her life.

Sufficed to say, in all three books of The Darkangel Trilogy we get to see Aeriel grow up and become a woman, a force, to be reckoned with. She is tasked with many things throughout the three novels and each task is arduous and damn difficult for her but she does it all.

My biggest complaint about the books is that a few times things are happening and the reader (aka, me) knows exactly what is about to happen and yet our heroine seems clueless and in the dark, that frustrates me because it makes Aeriel seem stupid or slow and she is neither. What I loved about these books is that she isn’t weak, she is extremely resourceful and she is amazingly kind. Even as she grows into a beauty, she never relies on her looks to get her way. She never expects a man to save her. She is her own hero and that, I simply adore.

Book Three of "The Darkangel Trilogy" also known as, "The Pearl At The Soul Of The World" - ack! Doesn't that make you want to read it?
Book Three of “The Darkangel Trilogy” also known as, “The Pearl At The Soul Of The World” – ack! Doesn’t that make you want to read it?

In a world where vampire novels are a dime a dozen The Darkangel Trilogy deserves your time. It is a new take on a classic villain and besides that, it’s not even really about vampires! It’s about an entire WORLD that Pierce creates that rivals some of the stuff that Tolkien or Martin have created (granted, it is not nearly as in-depth as their works). It’s a series written by a woman about  a woman who is able to be the best parts about feminism and humanity.

I can say with 100% certainty that if you are into fantasy literature, then this series is for you.

To purchase, click here!

Have YOU read The Darkangel Trilogy? If so, did you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent about? Want to make tiny babies with Talb? Tell me about it in the comments section!

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Trailer Snark (July 24th Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: (Chris Comments) Something tells me that Rob may have missed the mark on his Ant-Man analysis last week….oh yeah,that something was my eyes, ears, heart, and the fist that went flying in the air in triumph after watching Marvel’s latest on the big screen this past weekend.  And it appears that Jessica, Ken, and I were not alone at its opening weekend as Ant-Man claimed first place with a $58 million haul.  Now, that may not seem so much considering the openings of most of Marvel’s films of late, but it could be great word of mouth that prevents a big second week drop-off.  Here is to hoping that some of those Pym Particles can boost up the box office returns Ant-Man so richly deserves.  Coming in at number two was Minions (my wife’s pick to be number one again this week) with another $50 million ($217 million overall),  Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck premiered in third place with $30 million.  A huge drop off in box office receipts after that with Inside Out and Jurassic World battling it out with just over $11 million a piece (Inside Out cracked $300 million and Jurassic World went over an astounding $600 million overall).  Terminator: Genisys, Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, and Ted 2 were all next with the tenth spot occupied by the debut of Mr. Holmes.

Pixels (Columbia Pictures) – Comedy/Action/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Tag Line: Game On.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Dan Akroyd, Michelle Monghan, Sean Bean, and more
Plot: When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Rob: Mindless fun based on the video games of our 8-bit youth.  Yeah, you heard me right you young whipersnappers only 8-bit!
Chris: Adam Sandler has been due for a hit…actually, he is due for a decent movie.  Pixels is certainly tapping into nostalgia for the forty-something crowd which could be a magnet to those parents who hope to make a connection with their video-game culture kids.
Ken: Rated M for middle aged. I don’t think the nostalgia factor will be enough to drive a thin premise for almost 2 hours and I’m afraid that the retro arcade references will be lost on younger audiences.  I love the spirit of this movie but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s gonna suck.
Jessica: Actually this one surprised me, I might actually see this though Adam Sandler and Kevin James don’t fill me with confidence the story seems funny/interesting and it might actually be good. Or it could suck big time, hard to tell.

Southpaw (The Weinstein Company) – Drama/Action/Sports
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Tag Line: Believe in Hope.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, and Curtis Jackson
Plot: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jessica: So all over this one! I’m a fan of Gyllenhaal and I love a good boxing/redemption story.
Ken: This is essentially a vehicle for Eminem to promote himself. That’s his name on the title track, his boy Fitty acting in it, and his life story being told, except he’s a boxer in the movie. Metaphors like metafives.
Chris: It’s Jacked Gyllenhaal vs the System as a parent coping with family tragedy, dangerous career, and questionable life choices.  After his total creep turn in Nightcrawler, I find myself interested in Jake’s movie roles.
Rob: Looks promising if it can focus more on the main character’s  ambitions as a father instead of those of a boxer.

The Vatican Tapes (Lionsgate) – Horror
Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, and some sexual references
Tag Line: For 2,000 years the Vatican has recorded evidence of evil. May God have mercy on their souls.
Starring: Michael Pena, Kathleen Robinson, Dougray Scott, Djimon Housou, and Olivia Taylor Dudley
Plot: A priest and two Vatican exorcists must do battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Chris: After seeing Michael Pena in his goofy role in Ant-Man, this is quite the departure as he plays a priest who may be trying to exorcise the Anti-Christ.  The last image in the trailer recalls the ever so skincrawling Prince of Darkness from the great John Carpenter.
Rob: Horror.  Religion.  Couldn’t be less interested.
Jessica: At first I was very “meh” about this one but there are some good actors in this film and it COULD be an interesting take on the whole exorcism thing. Doesn’t look scary at all but more intriguing. I wouldn’t see in a theater but I’d watch it on Amazon or Netflix for sure.
Ken: Religious horror fascinates me because demonic possessions are recorded events. These things actually happen. This movie however looks fake beyond belief. Not a good sign when the trailer doesn’t scare you.

Paper Towns (20th Century Fox) – Drama/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity – all involving teens
Tag Line: Get Lost. Get Found.
Starring: Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff
Plot: A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Ken: Romantic optimism battles the rebellious, cynicism of youth. Being young was awful, so many conflicting feelings to process. I’m so glad I grew out of it. But I like to remember it fondly.
Jessica: BORING. BORING. BORING. The trailer bores me, I actually have seen it a couple times now before movies and I’m all sorts of set. Teen drama, blah blah blah. I think I’d rather watch anything other than this. Oh wait, I still have to talk about Smoosh. Hold please.
Chris: It’s a coming of age film filled with mystery and possibilities for, especially for a young man who just wanted to be noticed by the girl of his dreams.  Looks like a winner.
Rob: Jogn Green can write and this looks like a fun ride complete with mystery and a search for greater purpose.

Smosh: The Movie (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, some drug content and violence
Tag Line: Based on the YouTube channel “Smosh” launched by Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla in 2005.
Starring: Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla
Plot: An embarrassing video of Anthony surfaces online right before his fifth high school reunion. The Smosh dudes then race to pull down the clip before it blows Anthony’s chances of reconnecting with his teen crush Anna.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Jessica: Smosh or Smoosh or whatever it is: NO THANK YOU. I’d rather watch Paper Towns. On repeat, for days.
Chris: Weak….just weak.
Rob: It’s like Bill & Ted took a portal into Youtube only 10,000 times more poorly executed.  Just no.
Ken: I’m probably dating myself horribly when I say this, but I don’t know what a Smosh is or what is going on with this movie. 

American Heist (Lionsgate) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexual material and brief drug use
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jordana Brewster, and Akon
Plot: James owes his life to his older brother, Frankie after taking the rap for a crime they committed together. While Frankie served time, James worked to turn his life around, got a steady job and began courting his former girlfriend Emily. Now, Frankie is released and back on the streets with no money and no place to go.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Rob: Thought it might be decent, then I heard Hayden Christensen use a whiny tone of voice.  I’m out.
Ken: The word cliché gets thrown around a lot in this forum.  
Chris: Lionsgate with three movies in one week?  In spite of Hayden Christensen, this movie looks like a good time at the theater.  Adrian Brody is on board, speaking of actors who truly need a successful movie, as he plays a seriously troubled young man who owes favors to all the wrong people.
Jessica: Eh. I like Adrian Brody but this story has been done to death and seriously, Jordana Brewster, stop doing car/heist movies! Yeesh.

Unexpected (The Film Arcade) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: No one is ever really prepared.
Starring: Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean
Plot: An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: The working title for this film was Stand and Delivering Babies.
Rob: A teacher and one of her students both become unexpectedly pregnant and explore the consequences of their choices.  Something maybe they should have thought about first…maybe the film will help some folks do just that.
Chris: Cobie Smothers plays a teacher who finds herself striking a special relationship with one of her students as they both become pregnant.  It looks like a big screen Lifetime movie…..yawn.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Paper Towns (Ken and Chris) and 2 for Southpaw (Rob and Jessica)

Remember when Jake couldn't punch his way out of a plastic bag?
Remember when Jake couldn’t punch his way out of a plastic bag?
I Ain't No Bubble Boy No More!
I Ain’t No Bubble Boy No More!

What will you be watching this week?
-The Great Stories Team

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The Female Perspective: The New Wonder Woman, Inspiring Or Not?

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


wonder-woman-logo

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know that I have a fondness in my heart for Wonder Woman. You can imagine then that I am VERY excited/interested/nervous about the upcoming Superman v. Batman movie that is coming out next year. The preview that dropped after San Diego Comic Con made it look as if things are picking up from the end of Man of Steel and taking a turn for the dark and treacherous for our man Super.

While I loved the trailer, it got me really jazzed up to see the movie, I was a bit sad by the utter lack of Wonder Woman footage. Are they keeping her a secret? Why? Or are they just wetting our appetites because they want us to be surprised when we finally get to see her truly in action?

These are questions I cannot possibly answer.

What I can say is that what little we did of Wonder Woman has me thinking some thoughts.

  1. We see her a couple of times in beautiful, expensive outfits peeking at us.
  2. Then we see her in full costume kicking some serious ass.

I have to say that I like this. I like that we see the two sides of Diana Prince and Wonder Woman. They’re clearly going to show her as a woman and a warrior. Something I can totally get behind.

I need more than this! I want to see Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman fighting, jumping, kicking butt!
I need more than this! I want to see Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman fighting, jumping, kicking butt!

Others are not so excited. In a recent article on Geek Tyrant’s website, Grant Morrison, who wrote the upcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One, had some very doom and gloom type things to say about the little we’ve seen of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

“[The warrior woman thing is] not what Marston wanted, that’s not what he wanted at all. His original concept for Wonder Woman was an answer to comics that he thought were filled with images of blood-curdling masculinity, and you see the latest shots of Gal Gadot in the costume, and it’s all sword and shield and her snarling at the camera. Marston’s Diana [Prince, the character’s real name] was a doctor, a healer, a scientist.” – Geek Tyrant

Morrison’s concerns are rooted in the fact that he is worried that this newest portrayal of Wonder Woman is not in line with what William Marston, the creator of the Wonder Woman character, had in mind for her.

Here’s my issue with this. First off, we’ve only seen what, maybe five seconds of Gadot as Wonder Woman? How in the WORLD can someone decide how she’s being portrayed with that little amount of time? Secondly, he’s wrong, she isn’t only “snarling” at the camera, she smiles slyly as she ducks into a car. Thank you and goodnight.

Gadot herself has expressed only excitement at being able to portray Wonder Woman.

“I told them that I wanted to be able to show the stronger side of women. I didn’t want to do the obvious role that you see in Hollywood most of the time, which is the heartbroken girl who’s waiting to be rescued by the guy, blah, blah, blah.

I’m so excited about this role. I feel like I’ve been given a huge opportunity to inspire people, not only women. And not because of me but because of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for. There’s a lot of responsibility. But I have the best team and the best people to work with. It’s going to be an amazing ride, knock on wood.”  –Geek Tyrant

So basically, from that soundbite and the few seconds we’ve seen Gadot in action, Morrison has decided that this newest incarnation of Wonder Woman is going to be a disaster of some sort? Personally, I feel good about Gadot has had to say about the role, she wants her Wonder Woman to be strong and powerful, not mooning over a man or in need of saving. THANK YOU! We’ve seen such a thing with the portrayal of Black Widow but we need more of it people, lots and lots of it. Women aren’t only around to be damsels in distress, we can do loads more cool stuff.

Can anyone be better than Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman?
Can anyone be better than Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman?

Morrison’s comments are of the type that really sticks in my craw (I’m not entirely sure what a craw is but I suspect it’s nothing good and to have something stuck there it is quite uncomfortable but this is all just a guess), he’s making ASSUMPTIONS about something that, while he is clearly educated about Wonder Woman, since he has written some of the comics, he doesn’t have a clue about when it comes to the film Zach Snyder is making.

Look, I want this Wonder Woman to be a bad-ass just like so many of my fellow Wonder Woman fans. I want her to be powerful, beautiful, intelligent and just as tough, if not tougher, than her male counterparts Superman and Batman. I want her to be everything that is wonderful about how women can be portrayed on film while leaving out all the sexism that happens so often with female superhero’s. I know that Wonder Woman’s portrayal can’t fix the many, MANY flaws in the film industry (where the heck is my Black Widow movie??? Hmmm? HMMM?) but she can help move it forward just the littlest bit if she’s played well.

97d717e3d9870029282f0722d9e4306e-the-5-most-embarrassing-moments-in-wonder-woman-comic-book-history

I personally have faith in Gadot. She did a great job in the Fast & Furious movies. She was just as tough as the guys along with having all those feminine wiles to use against the men. I think she can go toe-to-toe with Supe and Bats and come out on top.

I think Gadot can do it.
I think Gadot can do it.

I only hope that when she does come out on top that DC realizes that they need to give Wonder Woman her OWN damn movie.

Tell me YOUR thoughts, how are you feeling about the new Wonder Woman? Good, bad, indifferent, distraught, penniless, putrid or joyful beyond words? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/22/2015

Hey there comic book aficionados. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of holding in my hands a raw copy of Batman 139 from 1961, the first appearance of Bat-Girl. Not Babs Gordon but Bette Kane, the silver age love interest that DC created for Robin to dispel gay rumors swirling around Bruce and Dick. The book was retrieved from an estate sale, found in a box among a stack of loose silver age superhero books. It had seen better days, the cover was detached at both staples, but it was all there. An important piece of comic book history rescued from obscurity.

Although I covet silver and bronze age keys, I can’t quit my new releases. After grinding through half a work week, there are few rewards that feel more gratifying to me than being able to sit down with a stack of new books. I just love the smell of new comics in the evening.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Fables #150 Volume 22 Image

Fables

Once upon a time, Bill Willingham created a little comic series for Vertigo called Fables which followed the lives of fairy tale characters who were forced to exist in our world. After 149 issues, half a dozen spin-offs, a novel, a video game and a couple of hack-job TV shows, this fully grown fairy tale world comes to an end. But not before the grand finale. The 150th and final issue of Fables is also the 22nd volume and will be published as a 150-page trade paper back. Still written by Willingham and featuring both the original artists and an all star list of guest artists, Fables #150 sends off its memorable cast to their happily-ever-after in style. Click on that cover art and see for yourself.

The Mainstream One: WeirdWorld #2 Marvel

WW2

Secret Wars kicked off with a blast, but Marvel’s megavent has delivered uneven results to this point. The stories have been very good on a whole, but I worry about the continued delays in its release schedule. I, like many fans, am in favor of providing the creative team enough time to tell their story. But as a company, you have to realize that when the main arc an event gets pushed back, so do the release dates for all related tie-ins. Which in this case involves everything that Marvel is currently publishing. Settle in folks, we could be in BattleWorld for a while. However all could be forgiven if the Secret Wars keeps revealing gems like Weird World. Issue #1 served up a psychadelic, high-fantasy adventure full of mystery and danger. It’s Jason Aaron, the artwork is bonkers and you need to check this book out to believe it. Weird World is insanely cool.

The Independent One: Enormous vol.2 #1 215 Ink

Enormous

The first volume of Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour’s Enormous delivered arguably the most realistic artwork of all of the current comic titles, Which is saying something considering that this is a story about giant monsters invading earth. The print run on the first few issues was minuscule and have become some of the most sought after modern comics. The first issue of volume two is out on Wednesday and I hope that the publisher is better prepared this time around. Take a peak through the interiors and prepare to catch your jaw when it melts off your face.

The #1 One: Cyborg #1 DC

Cyborg

He’s a technological wonder, a founding member of the New Teen Titans and a current member of the Justice League of America. And for the first time in his 35 year career at DC, Victor Stone gets his own solo series. Two sweet covers and the preview looks positively amayyyyzing.

The One(s) I’m Buying for the Cover:

G.I. Joe #216 IDW Hall of Comics Action Figure variant

starwars_toy-boba_fett-final-bw-grey-web

Star Wars #7 Marvel Black and White Boba Fett Action Figure variant

Baroness_frontBaroness_back_cover

This week’s best cover candy is a tie between two exclusive action figure covers. Both of these variant covers will have tiny print runs and feature hugely popular characters. You do the math.

The regular color variant for Star Wars issue #4 was a huge success. The black and white Boba Fett variant will be limited to 3000 copies and will be available for pre-sale on artist John Tyler Christopher’s website at midnight on July 24.

The Baroness variant is only available through the Hall of Comics and will have a microscopic print run of 1500. Like their #215 Snake Eyes action figure variant, the back cover is designed to look like the back of the original backing card. Winner!

Last Week’s Leftovers: Hawkeye #22 Marvel

Hawkeye

I didn’t even realize that the final issue of Fraction and Aja’s ground breaking Hawkeye run came out last week. But I think I can excuse the slip considering issue #21 came out way back in February and Lemire and Perez are going to be 4 issues into their Hawkeye run on Wednesday. Loved this run, the Fraction/Aja creative team took a stale B-list character and transformed him into something new and wonderful. This one was probably under-ordered and deserves a pick up.

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: Ant-Man!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Last week I promised to give you all a review on the movie Ant-Man and I did not tell a lie. What follows are my thoughts on the movie and its female character. Before I get into that though, I must warn, there are SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and WANT to see the movie then stop reading. Like, now.

Still with me? Cool.

Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!
Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!

First off I’ll admit that I had never heard of Ant-man before this movie. I read comics, sure, but Ant-Man, lost on me. The name is lackluster and ants have a tendency to creep me out a tad. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I started to get excited, this movie looked fun. The kind of fun that Guardians of the Galaxy had. The kind of fun that I have come to expect from Marvel movies.

It did not disappoint.

Let’s start off with the fact that the lead character, Scott Lang, is played by one of my personal favorites, Paul Rudd. I remember Rudd back from his days in the movie Clueless  and I thought he was both hysterical and cute back then. I have since come to enjoy his dry humor in movies and on TV. I was interested to see someone like Rudd take on a Marvel superhero (it worked for Chris Pratt right?). I am also a huge of Micheal Douglas (as Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (as Pym’s daughter Hope). I’ve liked Lilly since her days on Lost so this flick was shaping up nicely.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope.

The story is a simple one, Lang is an ex-con trying to set his life in order (and befriended by a ridiculously funny cast of misfits) to be a better dad to his daughter. He hooks up with Pym who convinces him to help with a heist. The heist is to get the Pym Particle technology away from Darren Cross. Hank sees it as too dangerous for wide use (he himself has kept it a secret and used the Ant-Man suit to save lives these many years), he is right.

Ant-Man manages to take the best of the Marvel-verse and add in some surprises, we see an Avenger and we also get to see Agent Carter and a few other familiar faces. I have to say, the way that Marvel is weaving all these stories together makes it an even better experience for moviegoers.

Rudd does a really good job of being the down on his luck Lang while also infusing the character with his trademark wit and dry delivery. It’s a perfect fit for a guy who stumbled upon the superhero life. Douglas is solid as Pym and it’s really nice to see him having some fun a few times in the movie as he tries to teach Lang how to handle the suit.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.

The only hitch (for me) was Hank’s daughter Hope. When first you meet her she is the typical, call your dad by his first name because he ignored you while you were growing up female cast member. Then we dig in a little deeper and we see that she actually does get along with her father, sort of, and wants to be in charge of the heist herself because she already knows how to harness the powers of Ant-Man. Which begs the question, why bring Lang in if Hope already knows how to do it?

The answer comes simply and beautifully, because Hank can’t stomach the idea of putting his daughter into the line of fire whereas Lang is expendable. It’s a really well-done and well thought out scene when Lang himself explains this to an angry Hope. Is it believable? Sure. In the context of the Marvel Universe I bought it. Especially when we realize that Hank’s wife was killed because he let her suit up and join him on missions. It makes sense.

I read an article that had a very confused argument about the whole situation between Hank and Hope. At one point it asks why she isn’t the star of the movie and cries sexism and then goes on to say that Hank’s reasoning is actually pretty sensible.

Huh?

Make up your mind Daily Dot article. Is it sexism or is not?

I have to go with not.

The fact is, this movie isn’t just about Ant-Man and his adventures. It’s about superheroes and saving the world from factions of Hydra but it’s also about Fatherss and Daughters. Lang is motivated to do all that he does in order to make his daughter proud of him and Hank wants nothing more than to keep Hope safe from harm. What Hank begins to realize is that after a certain point, you can’t do that anymore. He realizes by the end of the movie that the best way to keep his daughter safe AND have a relationship with her is to give her what she wants (no, she doesn’t don the Ant-Man suit but if you stay for the credits scene, you’ll see what happens!)

Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket
Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket

I love that this movie was about more than just a fancy suit and ant charming, I love that it was about relationships and family as well as being about saving the world from Hydra getting Pym Particles to wreak havoc. It’s why I enjoy these Marvel movies so much, they constantly surprise me.

Not to mention, the special effects were phenomenal! The scene with Lang and the villainous Cross duking it out in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom is hysterical and amazingly well done.

Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine
Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine

All-in-all, two thumbs up from this lady. Ant-Man is a great addition to the Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see more of Rudd as Scott Lang!

What about you? Did you see Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it, have nightmares about ants? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Shameless Self Promotion Blog

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Many of you may not know that I am a published author of three books. Well, my third book was released today! I wanted to take a moment to share it with you because these books are my babies and I am darn proud of each and every one of them. So bear with me on this blog, it’s Shameless Self Promotion Time!

In the last year I have self-published three books and each one has been a blessing for me. While they aren’t selling to the levels of Harry Potter or Stephen King, they do sell pretty regularly and I have a blast at the various book expos and comic cons I have been lucky enough to attend (I also make tote bags from T-Shirts fyi).

Before I get to my newest novel, let’s do a quick review of my first two.

The Last Daughter of Lilith

Great title right? Check out the cover!

Cover Art by Frankie B. Washington
Cover Art by Frankie B. Washington

The cover art is by Frankie B. Washington (he also did the cover art for my newest book) and the story itself is about a young woman named Katrina who had, throughout her life, found herself doing things she simply didn’t mean to do. Strange occurrences that made her fear for the lives of the people she loved so she shut herself off from them, built up walls of cool detachment and decided to focus on a life of rules and order. Katrina was the kind of girl who didn’t believe in magic, until one day it found her.

What follows is a tale of love and finding your own power. Katrina has to learn to embrace her new life after tragedy destroys her old one. She has to learn that she is far more powerful than she ever imagined she could be and she has to fight to protect the people she cares about. It is a tale of magic, romance, death and more. It is a tale about the last daughter of Lilith and what she does with the power she never knew she had.

Coming Undone: Musings On Life, Love and Hobbits

Cover art by JL Metcalf
Cover art by JL Metcalf

This one is a bit of a departure from my first novel. It’s an auto-biography of sorts. I use old journal and blog entries to talk about my struggles with depression, anxiety and self-loathing while I attempt to find love in this insanely digital world. It was a challenging book to write but an important one. I knew that there are so many men and women out there who struggle with not feeling “good enough” to be loved. The fact is, we are all good enough, we are all amazing people and we deserve only good things in our lives. We all deserve love.

Menagerie Of The Weird

Cover art by Frankie B. Washington
Cover art by Frankie B. Washington

And here we have it, my third book, Menagerie Of The Weird, a collection of short stories sure to titillate and terrify. Each tale is amazing in its own way and with the help of my illustrator and collaborator Frankie B. Washington, this is a collection of unusual tales that I have been collecting for years. Almost every story takes place in Rhode Island as well because honestly, I can’t think of a better place to set a story than my home state!

Menagerie is available today on Amazon in paperback format, it will be available for Kindle in the next day or two. If you like short stories, horror stories and funny stories, than Menagerie is for you. Even if you don’t like any of these things but like to read, I’m almost certain you’ll find something to love in Menagerie. Join me on this adventure into the WEIRD!

All of my books are available on Amazon.com, you can easily find them all by searching my name, JL Metcalf.

Yours in Reading, Writing and Weirdness!

Do you support your local authors? Tell me some great stories you’ve read by a local author recently. Did you buy any of my books and love them? Tell me all about it! 

P.S. I’m seeing Ant Man today so expect a review next week on the blog!!!

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Trailer Snark (July 17th 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  There were a 115 minion reasons (sorry, had to do it) an animated feature was tops at the box office last week, and Rob’s small concern they may not be able to carry a movie seems to have been dispelled.  The Gallows, in spite of the bad reviews, debuted at number 5 with $10 million (with a $0.32 budget, it is a huge hit!).  Meanwhile Self/less appears to have suffered from it’s non-traditional summer themes coming in at number 8 with only $5 million.  Jurassic World is still making lunch meat of the box office by staying at number two and it has taken in $590 million domestically…astounding!  Inside Out was right behind it at number three with it’s overall box office take now at $283 million. Terminator: Genisys held the number four position, but has failed thus far to meet its $155 million budget with only $68 million so far.  And now onto this week’s debuts!

Ant-Man (Marvel) – Action/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Tag Line: This July, summer has no bigger hero.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, and Corey Stoll
Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Ken: This touches on all the summer feel-good buttons. Action, humor, heists, an reformed convict trying to do right by his kid. I think it could be a surprise hit.
Rob: Even the Mighty Marvel cant hit a home-run with every at bat.  Might be ok for Blu-Ray.  I’d almost go just for the Deadpool trailer and Stan Lee cameo if I thought we would get a trailer.
Chris: Much like Guardians of the Galaxy, nobody is expecting much from this one.  But I have a feeling, this is going to be one of the most fun rides at the theaters this summer.
Jessica: Going this Friday to see it! CAN’T WAIT. Besides having a lady crush on Paul Rudd, it has Michael ‘Freakin’ Douglas in it – I feel this is going to be a great flick and have high hopes for it.

Trainwreck (Universal) – Comedy
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Tag Line: We all know one.
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton and Lebron James
Plot: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
Running Time: 125 minutes

Jessica: Can’t wait for this one, it looks funny and Amy Schumer is hilarious.
Chris:  I think this film has been aptly named.
Rob: Looks mildly amusing at best.
Ken: Amy Schumaker is a rude, classless **, and it’s hysterical. Amy aside, this looks like a formulaic rom-com with a dash of role reversal. And LeBron James. And was that John Cena at the movies? The champ is here!

Mr. Holmes (Roadside Attractions) – Mystery/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements, some disturbing images and incidental smoking
Tag Line: The man behind the myth.
Starring: Sir Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada
Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Rob: Looks entertaining but not amazingly so.  Sir Ian McKellan certainly knows how to select a good script though, so it may well be better than the trailer makes it appear.
Ken: Yes! Finallly, someone doing a proper Sherlock Holmes story.  Conan Doyle Sherlock, not RDJ’s gun toting, pit fighting abomination. Somewhere, some young kids are disappointed with how Hollywood has ruined Sherlock Holmes for this movie.
Chris: Going to agree with Ken here all the way.  Looks like Sherlock Holmes as I believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have intended.  Sir Ian McKellan is fantastic with everything he does, so expect a winner!
Jessica: I love Sir Ian McKellan and I love Sherlock Holmes, totally in for this one.

Irrational Man (Sony Picture Classics) – Mystery/Drama
Rated R for some language and sexual content
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey
Plot: A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: It’s a Woody Allen film.  I don’t support creeps.
Jessica: Won’t watch the trailer, I detest Woody Allen’s films (I know, I know) and I KNOW I won’t go see it. Unless I am tricked, like my friend Tara did to me once, she tricked me by saying Woody Allen did not direct “Vicky Christina Barcelona” – that is, to this day, the only WA film I’ve seen in recent years.
Ken: There’s something unsettlingly meta about Woody Allen’s latest. film Rent you later.
Rob: Doesn’t look very good.  The rational and irrational will both be skipping it methinks.

The Stanford Prison Experiment (IFC Films) – Drama/Thriller
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, and Tye Sheridan
Plot: Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Ken: Truly disturbing look into prisoner/guard psychology and the darkness of the human heart. Don’t think I’d subject myself to this as entertainment though. The guy who conducted these real life experiments did a TED Talk about the experience and it’s pretty remarkable.
Jessica: I watched another version of this with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker, it’s a terrifying true story and I will see this film because it looks well-done and creepy as heck.
Chris: Compelling docu-drama.  Guaranteed viewing on Netflix/Blue-Ray when it is available.
Rob: Dark and depraved.  An experiment gone horribly wrong or exactly as intended?  Could be interesting.

Tickets Purchased: 3 for Ant-Man (Jessica, Ken, and Chris) and Rob stays home with a good book.

After this weekend, everyone will know how Ant Man does it!
After this weekend, everyone will know how Ant Man does it!

What will you be seeing this weekend?
-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/15/2015

Welcome back comic book aficionados. Everybody over their SDCC hangovers? Man that Force Awakens Comic Con Reel had me giddier than a midget in a mini-skirt convention. Finally, someone who understands that Star Wars isn’t frigging green screen, CGI fest. It was very apparent to fans of the original 3 that the last trilogy lacked a soul Rubber alien masks, giant model spaceships and keeping one foot in the pre-digital world is the only way to do Star Wars justice. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the link and get ready to feel the force. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTNJ51ghzdY

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Postal #5 Image

Postal

Sort of a slow week but thank goodness Postal is back. Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins are crafting a crazy, unconventional, detective mystery. With an autistic mailman patrolling a town populated by criminals, Postal consistently delivers thrills and surprising new plot points. One of my favorite new titles from Image returns and it’s ok to go Postal on Wednesday.

The Mainstream One: Justice League #42 DC

JL

Let’s all forget that Convergence every happened and focus on how awesome Darkseid Wars is going to be. This book has so much going for it, an epic story line involving two demi-gods at war, with the DC universe’s greatest heroes caught in the middle. From the critically acclaimed creative team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok, Justice League is going to be a mighty good read.

The Independent One: Book of Death #1 Valiant

Bod

Valiant’s summer blockbuster, Book of Death, promises a thousand year journey into the future of the Valiant Universe. Valiant has really upped its superhero game, bringing back a lot of Pre-Unity Valiant fans for a look at their revamped lineup. And what would any self-respecting, superhero universe be without a crossover event of insane proportions? And thus Book of Death, written by Robert Venditti and Robert Gill with visuals by Doug Braithwaite. Really digging that Kevic-Djurdjevil cover.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Guardians of Knowhere #1 Gwenom cover Marvel

Gwen

The alien symbiotie costume grafts itself to the radioactive spider-powered Gwen Stacy, turning her into Gwenom. It practically writes itself.

Last Week’s Leftovers: Strange Fruit #1 Boom

SG

If it’s a slow week for you too and you haven’t read the first issue of Boom’s racially charged, period piece, Strange Fruit, take a flip through and see if it compels you. I know that bland, Easter Island looking cover turned off a lot of readers, but take a peak at the interiors. If J. G. Jones’ realism style doesn’t do anything for you, just flip to the last page for a laugh 😉