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Trailer Snark (February 26 2016) 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: Ryan Reynolds and Fox are celebrating their second straight week at number one as Deadpool captured another $55M at the Box Office and has now earned $235.3M domestic.  Kung Fu Panda 3 continued to get the kiddies to the cinema with $12.5M to add to its $117.1M total.  The highest debut of the week came from Risen with $11.8M.  Period horror piece, The Witch, debuted at number four with $8.6M.  How to Be Single fell to number five ($8.2M/$31.7M).  The only other debut in the top ten was Race at number six with $7.2M.  The rest of the list went as follows:  Zoolander 2 ($5.5M/$23.7M), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($3.8M/$921.6M), The Revenant ($3.8M/$165.1M), and Hail, Caesar ($2.6M/$26.1M).  Its a short list of releases this week, but lets get down to it.

Gods of Egypt (Lionsgate) – Action/Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality
Tag Line: The journey of a lifetime begins.
Starring:  Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaits
Plot: Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.
Running Time: 127 minutes

Rob: High on visual effects and eye candy.  Worried about lack of story.  Renter.
Ken: Gods awful.
Jim: Yawn.
Chris:  I’d rather sit on the top of a pyramid.

Eddie the Eagle (20th Century Fox) – Biography/Sports/Drama
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking
Tag Line: Landing in cinemas April 1
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello, Jr.
Plot: The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris:  A very charming trailer, and certainly a contender…pun very much intended.
Rob: The story of an unlikely Olympian.  I’d watch it for fun and more for my love of an underdog, but not on the big screen.
Ken: What sports fan doesn’t love a good underdog story? And it looks funny to boot.
Jim: Looks like a great, humorous story with the always entertaining Hugh Jackman.

Triple 9 (Open Road Films) – Crime/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use and some nudity
Tag Line: The code on the street is never black and white.
Starring:  Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson
Plot: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Jim: Yawn II
Chris: I love a good cop thriller movie.  And this one appears to be a promising one.
Rob: A decent looking cops & robbers thriller.  Decent doesn’t get me to the big screen though…
Ken: Love me a good heist movie. Pretty loaded cast too.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (The Weinstein Company)
Rated PG-13 for martial arts violence and brief partial nudity
Tag Line: The past returns with a vengeance.
Starring: Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Scott Lee
Plot: A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.
Running Time: 96 minutes
Rob: Limited IMAX release, but nothing near us.  Bummer!  But it’s a Netflix original so I can watch from the comfort of my own home.  Score!  Few films have been as visually stunning  as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.  Ang Lee delivered a masterpiece in 2001, but can Woo-ping Yuen do the same today?  Michelle Yeoh is reprising her role, so we can expect more amazing martial arts and solid acting on that front.  The trailer definitely has me excited to see if they can deliver once more.
Ken: Yup, what Rob said. I’m surprised that a sequel hadn’t been made before. Getting Netflix was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Jim: The first was one of Ang Lee’s amazing films. Based on the trailer, this looks like it keeps the bar high. Always worth watching Michelle Yeoh, count me in.
Chris:  Time to get all Martial Artsy!

Tickets Purchased:  3 for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Jim, Ken, and Rob)…of course, you won’t be paying for any tickets watching it at home on your Netflix! Damn Kids!  1 for Triple 9 (Chris).

Oh, you said Martial....not Marital!
Oh, you said Martial….not Marital!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/23/2016

Welcome back Cranksters for another hit from the Crank File. Last week was the ComicsPro event. Image Publisher Erik Stephenson dropped the mic on an audience composed solely of direct market comic book retailers. If you have concerns about the direction that comic books (the actual books, not movies) are heading, I urge you to give it a read:

Ironically, signed copies of the ComicsPro variant for Nowhere Men #1 are currently selling for $30 on the Bay. Can’t stop free market.


Here’s What I’m Reading This Week:


The Top of the Pile: Saga #34



Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

New friends are silver?

Another month, another issue of Saga at the top of the stack. May it stay there for 100 issues. This book never ceases to amaze and amuse. I’m always blown away by Staple’s covers. I know I say it every week Saga is on the stands, but this one may be my favorite. I frigging love Ghus.


The Mainstream One:  Justice League #48



Publisher: DC

Words: Geoff Johns

Art: Jason Fabok

The epic ‘Darkseid War’ continues as the League is forced to unite with their evil counterparts, the Crime Syndicate, to defeat the nigh-omnipotent Anti-Monitor! Plus, what is the terrible secret behind Superwoman’s newborn child?

Geoff John’s Darkseid War has been fantastic and I wonder whether this arc will also be the lead-in to DC’s upcoming 2016 Rebirth. Credit has to be given to DC’s goldenboy Johns, but the reason why I’m loving this book is Jason Fabok’s art.


The Indie One: Wild’s End Enemy Within #6



Publisher: Boom

Words: Dan Abnet

Art: I.N.J. Culbard

Final issue! While the other survivors struggle in the woods against the aliens, Peter and Susan desperately try to alert the public in time.

The second volume to Wild’s End comes crashing towards a violent conclusion and one thing’s for sure, nobody is safe. I’m still struggling with the fall out from issue #5 and desperately need to know the fate of my anthropomorphic friends.


The #1 One: Hellboy & B.P.R.D. 1953 Beyond The Fences #1


Publisher: DC

Words: Mike Mignola

Art: Paolo Rivera

A mysterious creature hunts the children of an idyllic suburban town, and the BPRD get more than they bargained for when their investigation begins to seem strangely familiar.

I’m pretty sure suburbia is one of the seven circles of hell.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Dark Knight III: Master Race #3 (Janson variant)



Publisher: DC

Words: Frank Miller

Art: Andy Kubert

The hardest thing for Batman is to admit his greatest strength: He’s just one man, and sometimes he needs help. With so much at stake, will he turn to help of the Super variety?

This series has been surprisingly good and Frank Miller has promised readers “quite a shock” for issue #3. With excitement about the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie this cover is going to be highly sought after on Wednesday.


That’s all I got this week. Carpe Comics!

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Trailer Snark (February 19 2016 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:  Deadpool is the undisputed champion of February Box Office history folks!  Yes, the R-Rated Adults-Only anti-hero shattered all expectations as well as winter’s cold grip with $135M over the weekend.  Word is that the movie is heading toward $250M worldwide this week.  Incredible.  Kung Fu Panda 3, last week’s victor, took in $19.6M for a total of $93.9M in second place.  Two other debut films took the next two slots with How To Be Single and Zoolander 2 taking in $18.7M and $15.6M, respectively.  The Revenant hung on in the top five with another $6.9M ($159.1M overall).  The rest of the top ten shook out like this.  Hail, Caesar ($6.5M/$21.3M), The Force Awakens ($6.1M/$914.8M), The Choice ($5.2M/$13.2M), Ride Along 2 ($4.1M/$82.6M), and The Boy ($2.9M/$30.7M).  And now for this week’s new entries….

Race (Focus Features) – Bio/Drama/Sports
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and language
Tag Line: The incredible true story of gold medal champion Jesse Owens.
Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis
Plot: Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.
Running Time:  A World Record (or 134 minutes)

Jim: A great, inspiring story that is long overdue to be told as a movie. The trailer has a more casual feel than I would have given it, but it certainly generates enough interest  to make  me want to see it.
Ken: Jesse Owens is a great story. The man single handedly destroyed the Nazis at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Beating up on Hitler is Hollywood’s bread and butter, so I’ll give this a look when it comes to the small screen.
Jessica: A truly interesting story but not one I’d see in a theater. This is definitely a home viewer.
Chris:  This man is a legend, but I am cursed by the memories of seeing Chariots of Fire in theaters as a kid, and falling asleep due to the mind-numbingly boring content.  So, no running movies on the big screen for this guy.  Will check it out at home for sure.

Risen (Columbia) – Drama/Historical
Rated PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images
Tag Line: Witness the manhunt that changed the course of human history.
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth
Plot: Follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer. Clavius, a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius, are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: Got to say, I am all in for this one.  It is the event that preceded the most significant movement in human history.
Jim: I’m still scarred from the ordeal of The Passion of the Christ. I realize that this is an important story to tell. I just think that Hollywood used to do it better in the ’50s and ’60s (I acknowledge the campiness that usually sets in). They were entertaining and, in their way, inspiring movies. Nowadays they tend to be solemn, miserable experiences. The trailer didn’t make me think that this movie would be any different.
Ken: That was the most boring zombie movie trailer I’ve seen in a while.
Jessica: No thanks.

The Witch (A24) – Horror
Rated R for disturbing violent content and graphic nudity
Tag Line:  Evil takes many forms.
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson
Plot: A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Jessica: FINALLY. I’ve been hearing about this dang movie for months now and how it’s super scary and blah, blah, blah. The trailer looks interesting but again, not sure I’d shell out my money for it. Actually no, I won’t, I’ll watch it at home though!
Chris:  OK, that trailer creepy as all heck.  I am impressed.  Time to scare the wifey!
Jim: Scary. Whats goin’ on here? I wanna find out!
Ken: Creepy, isolated setting, disturbing imagery and no clear explanation about what is going on. I’m usually underwhelmed by horror film trailers but this one looks like it has potential. Did anyone else see Bilbo placing a severed foot outside of his hobbit hole door?

Rolling Papers (Alchemy) – Documentary/Comedy
Not Rated
Tag Line: It’s Legal, Now What?
Plot: At ground zero of the green rush, The Denver Post became the first major media outlet to appoint a marijuana editor. Policy news, strain reviews, parenting advice and edible recipes are the new norm in the unprecedented world of pot journalism.
Running Time: 79 minutes

Ken: Chronicling the fall of one industry and the rise of another. I’m still waiting for someone to make a factual documentary about Marijuanan prohibition that doesn’t fall back on tired stoner comedy. I’ll sit out this one.
Jessica: Oh this looks fascinating to me. To see what a paper has to do these days to stay relevant and to also be reporting actual news is pretty cool. I’m not one for documentaries in the theater but again, I’ll watch this at home.
Chris: This movie looks dope…….y.  Pass.
Jim: Looks interesting and quirky with a good sense of humor.

Tickets Purchased:  2 Tickets for The Witch (Jim and Ken), 1 ticket for Risen (Chris), and Jessica goes back for Chimichanga seconds with another showing of Deadpool!


The Witch attempts to overcome Old Man Winter....and Deadpool. #2 still looks OK to us.
The Witch attempts to overcome Old Man Winter….and Deadpool. #2 still looks OK to us.


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The Female Perspective: The Women of “Deadpool”

Welcome! This is a 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.

First off, yes, there will probably be a few spoilers so if you’d prefer not to know anything about Deadpool, I’d recommend not reading any further!


I got to see Deadpool last Friday and I have to say, it did not disappoint me. I knew virtually nothing about the character except what I saw in the Wolverine movie a couple years ago. At that point Wade Wilson/Deadpool was played by Ryan Reynolds, but they changed the character quite a bit since then.

For one, his mouth isn’t sewn shut and thank God for that! Without the trademark snark, this movie would not have been nearly as much fun, but I get ahead of myself. Let’s begin at the beginning shall we?

You know a movie is going to be something special (good or bad) when it starts off in slow-motion and with “Angel In The Morning” playing while people are being tossed around, shot and more. Not to mention, we see a few tell-tale swipes at previous Reynolds characters like his forgettable Green Lantern and a cover of People magazine with a smiling Reynolds on the front.

I’m already happy.

Much like with Guardians of the Galaxy you realize you are seeing a movie that’s not afraid to make fun of itself. That you’re seeing a movie that’s not afraid to have some fun and that is sorely missing from the wider selection of films these days. I’m not saying every movie should mock itself and it’s universe openly, but it’s refreshing when it does happen.

Much has been made of the R-rating for Deadpool and it’s well earned. From the carnage to the language and nudity, this is not a movie for kids under the age of 16 or 17. Parents who take their kids to this and are then peeved that it’s totally inappropriate are asking for mockery, plain and simple.  I personally, as an adult (mostly) thought it was fantastic to see a superhero movie that pulls no punches and goes for the gross joke without shame. I enjoyed it in Kick-Ass and I enjoy it here.

Women? There’s WOMEN In This? Awesome.

This isn’t really a movie review though, I liked the movie and enjoyed Reynolds as Wade Wilson, I can’t wait to see him as Wilson/Deadpool again, but what I really want to talk about is how kick ass the women are in this movie. Seriously. The women hero’s are fantastic and it honestly surprised me. I know there isn’t a lack of strong female characters out there (obviously Black Widow/Agent Carter/Wonder Woman are all prime examples) but having no expectations of what kind of characters I would get from this movie, I can say that I honestly didn’t expect two such fun female hero’s.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.

First off is Negasonic Teenage Warhead, she’s a grumpy teenager (duh) and she doesn’t talk much but when she gets to work, she is no one to be trifled with, turning into a fire ball that … Well I won’t ruin it for you, sufficed it to say, she kicks butt without any apologies and I hope to see more of her in future films. Even a grumpy teenager has a place in the superhero world.

My hands-down favorite though was Angel Dust, Ajax’s number one henchman. I don’t think she utters more than 10 words the entire film but she packs a huge punch. She goes toe-to-toe with Colossus and it’s dang impressive. Played by Gina Carano, who is an MMA fighter, we are given a woman who is not afraid to fight, who is not teeny-tiny and who packs a mean punch. I absolutely loved that she was right there with Ajax and her fight with Colossus is just as important as Deadpool’s battle with Ajax at the end of the film. Not to mention, she is carried off by Colossus so there’s hope we’ll see her again in the near future, whether in an X-Men movie or another Deadpool film.

Angel Dust.
Angel Dust.

As a woman it is wonderful to be able to see women being treated (on film at least) as equals in these high-profile films. Maybe not everyone will remember Angel Dust like I do but the fact is, the more we see these strong female characters, the more mainstream they will become and the more likely we will be to see some kind of equality between men and women in the film industry, on screen and beyond.

Why Women Matter

So why do I bother to write a blog topic about the few female characters in Deadpool? Because they matter. Why do they matter? Because it wasn’t that long ago that the women were shuffled off to the side, to be ignored but because someone somewhere has realized that guess what? Women do go to see these movies. Women do go to conventions and women do buy comic books! Making some of the important characters women means that some of your biggest fans (and yes, have no doubt, women make up a huge part of the comic con/movie/books audience these days) will have a character (or two) to identify with, cosplay and therefore, buy more merchandise. It’s smart marketing and it’s smart film making.

In the end, it’s moments like this along with putting a size 16 women on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition or a woman running for president that mean that equality is coming, even if it’s coming slowly.


What did you think of Deadpool? Who was YOUR favorite character? Tell me!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/15/2016

Welcome back for another episode of the Crank File. The undisputed winner from last week was Deadpool. My girlfriend and I saw it on Valentines day and we both enjoyed the hell out of it. The world’s smelliest mercenary absolutely killed it on the big screen, grossing an estimated $150 million dollars on its opening weekend. The success of Deadpool will force studios to seriously consider the viability of producing more R-rated superhero films. How awesome would an R-rated Punisher or Spawn movie be?

There is already speculation that Cable’s appearance in the Deadpool sequel could be the setup for a darker, violenter X-Force movie.  Cable’s first appearance in New Mutants #87 is already getting out of the average collector’s price range, but it you’re looking for more affordable, alternative Cable keys, New Mutants #86 is Cable’s first cameo appearance and he also appears as a baby Nathan Summers in Uncanny X-men #201. Both issues can still be had for less than $10. Happy hunting.


The Top of the Pile: None 🙁

Sadly this week is looking very light and for the first time in long time, nothing jumps out at me as top-of-the-pile worthy. My wallet is happy but my heart weeps.


The Mainstream One: Extraordinary X-Men #7



Publisher: Marvel

Words : Jeff Lemire

Art: Humberto Ramos

As one team of X-Men stages a daring rescue mission in Weirdworld, another team stages one in the psyche of their teammate! Something happened to Nightcrawler that left his mind in turmoil. Determined to bring their friend back to sanity, Storm and Jean Grey enter his mind but are they prepared for what awaits them there? Meanwhile, Old Man Logan, Colossus, Iceman and Magik discover just who it is they’re on a mission to rescue in the wilds of Weirdworld and the truth might tear the team apart!

The stakes keep getting raised in my favorite X-book to emerge post reboot. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen from Lemire and Ramos’ Extraordinary X-Men so far. We’re still waiting to be filled in about exactly what Cyclops did to piss off an entire species, hopefully more clues to that mystery to that will be revealed in this issue.


The Indie One:  Devolution #2



Publisher: Dynamite

Words: Rick Remender

Art: Jonathan Wayshak

The road to salvation is lined with Nazi hillbillies and Neanderthals. Raja finds that trusting people is a bad idea. Check out the thrilling new series that Rick Remender (Black Science, Deadly Class) describes as ‘a heavy dose of high-octane action, character drama, a world of strange reverse mutations, and social commentary – as we follow the last tribe of humans inoculated from the devolution agent as they set out on a desperate journey to try to find a way to re-evolve life on Earth.

I thought issue #1 of Devolution was a decent debut, although not so amazed that I was excited about issue #2. However I’ve found myself enjoying a lot of Remender’s independent work, so Devolution gets the benefit of the doubt for a few more issues. I’m really digging the artwork, and I think Devolution has tons of potential if Remender can find his voice on this series.


The #1 One: Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Nick Spencer

Art: Mark Bagley

The prelude to the Spring’s blockbuster AVENGERS event! Hello there and welcome, new resident. You’ve sure made the right choice in moving to Pleasant Hill– a friendly small town where burdens are lifted and the sun is always bright… so hide your eyes. Don’t let it see you looking its way. Hide if you must. Otherwise it will burn right through you. Pleasant Hill is the kind of place where folks look out for one another. Everyone knows who their neighbors are. But who are you, neighbor? 

This spring is going to be all about Steve Rogers over at Marvel. The original star-spangled superhero is celebrating his 75’th anniversary this year, but as most fans know, Sam Wilson has been standing in as Captain America for the past year. This clearly didn’t jive for the marketing folks at Marvel and the Pleasant Hill event is rumored to be the start of Roger’s journey towards resuming the mantle of Captain America.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Uncanny Inhumans #5



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Charles Soule

Art: Brandon Peterson

‘THE QUIET ROOM’ STARTS NOW! Black Bolt’s new place is a fascinating curiosity that could very well put all the Marvel Universe in a tight spot. 

Brandon Peterson takes over on pencils and immediately makes his presence known with this stunning Black Bolt cover.

Carpe Comics!

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Trailer Snark (February 12, 2016 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: Kung Fu Panda 3 reigned supreme for a second straight week with $21M added to its $69.2M domestic haul thus far.  The Coen Brothers latest, Hail Caesar took second place with $11.3M in its debut.  The Force Awakens edged out The Revenant for third place with $6.97M($906M overall) while the DiCaprio thriller took in $6.93M($149.5M overall) for fourth.  The Choice, Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel to movie, placed fifth in its debut with $6M.  And Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fell in just behind with a $5.3M opening (maybe the zombie craze is subsiding?).  The rest of the top ten was as follows:  Finest Hours ($4.8M/$18.4M), Ride Along 2 ($4.5M/$77.2M), The Boy ($4M/$26.8M), and Dirty Grandpa ($4M/$29.3M).  And now on to this week’s new entries……

Deadpool (Fox) – Action/Comedy
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
Tag Line:  With great power comes great irresponsibility.
Starring:  Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Plot: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Ken: The self-referential dig at Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern movies was fantastic. Let’s break down some fourth walls! Get well soon DMX. Who else gonna give it to us?
Rob: Oh Hells Yeah!  This flick is full of win.  Plus, we get Colossus.  Hands down my pick of the week.
Jessica: All about this one this week!! I think it might even be what my Valentine and I go see this weekend.
Jim: A little TOO much snark (hey, nice word) in the trailer (another nice word), but Reynolds is almost always entertaining (points lost for Green Lantern). I always look forward to flicks that send up the superhero movies (such as Super or Antman).
Chris: A comic book movie made decidedly for adults.  Don’t take the kids, because this is going to be the theatrical equivalent of Cards Against Humanity, and I’m going to love every minute of it.

Zoolander 2 (Paramount) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language
Tag Line: Long time, No Z.
Starring:  Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Munn
Plot: Derek and Hansel are modelling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.
Running Time: 102 minutes

Chris:  I actually thought the first one was truly unfunny (except for the gas station scene).  Maybe I will give it a chance on Netflix.  Great cast though.
Ken: I’m probably the minority but I didn’t love the first Zoolander. I thought it had some funny moments but on the whole it was just beyond absurd. This looks about the same.
Rob: Disinterested in the original and more disinterested in this one.
Jessica: I LOVED the first one and am very excited about this sequel. I realize I may be disappointed but I have hope people. Hope that Blue Steel will make me laugh once again.
Jim: Disappointing trailer for a sequel to a funny movie. I’ll give it a go on video.

How to be Single (Warner Bros) – Comedy/Romance
Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
Tag Line: Welcome to the party
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr, Leslie Mann
Plot: New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, and what Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Jim: She was amusing enough in Bridesmaids, but now it’s become obvious that Rebel Wilson’s repeating that schtick in every movie that she’s in. I liked Dakota  Johnson in the otherwise forgettable 50 Shades of Grey. If she had a better co-star here, I might’ve been  interested.
Chris: Not even sure I’d see this on the small screen.  Pass.
Ken: Rebel Wilson is a riot. Not a big screener for me though, probably a small.
Rob: Looks like a rental to me.  No real big screen potential even with the Valentine’s Day weekend release.
Jessica: It’s a total cliche but I really do enjoy Rebel Wilson so I’d watch this at home.

Where to Invade Next (IMG Films) – Documentary
Rated R for language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity
Tag Line: Michael Moore’s most dangerous comedy
Starring:  Michael Moore
Plot: To learn what the USA can learn from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.
Running Time: 119 minutes
Jessica: I enjoy Moore’s movies. While I realize his is just one side of a bigger story, he makes movies that are easily digestible and make you think. Definitely something I’ll check out.
Jim: Not my wallet.
Chris: Michael Moore’s finest contribution to cinema is still Team America….&^%$ Yeah!
Ken: Moore’s previous movies were huge downers, exposing how prevalent injustice and tragedy has become in America. I liked this trailer because he’s going out and finding the good and righteous that currently exists in the world.
Rob: Michael Moore documentary.  Pass.

Of Mind and Music (Monterey Media) – Drama/Music
Rated PG – 13 for thematic elements, drug references and some suggestive material
Tag Line: None
Starring: Joaquim de Almeida, Ruth Negga, Bill Cobbs
Plot: A story about a beautiful street musician suffering from memory loss and a disheartened neuroscientist intent on helping her, bringing together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Rob: Looks like it has some soul.  Will check it out down the road from RedBox.
Jessica: Interesting, I’d watch this at home.
Jim: Looks heartfelt and well-made, worth a rental.
Chris: I wasn’t expecting much, but I was quite taken by the trailer.  Absolutely will check this one out…just not on the big screen.
Ken: this movie hits pretty close to home for me. Losing my memory is one of my greatest fears. My memory is already atrocious but somehow I am capable of memorizing music and lyrics easily.

Providence (Mainstreet Productions) – Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: A love story forty years in the making
Starring: Juli Tapken, Rich Swingle, Jenn Gotzon
Plot: Rachel Cartwright and Mitchell Little both grow up in the small town of Providence, Tennessee. Their paths keep crossing and at one point it looks like they’ll finally get together. But the opportunity slips away and they go their separate ways. It takes a tragedy many years later before they’re reunited.
Running Time: 79 minutes

Ken: Silent yet charming. And Christian. Very, very Christian.
Rob: Sap alert.  Chick Flick.  Run away…
Jessica: Ugh. This is a cliche’ I’m not interested in watching.
Jim: Nicely done trailer, but…nah.
Chris:  Props to the people behind the appealing trailer, but it still isn’t getting me to watch the movie.

Touched with Fire (Roadside Attractions) – Drama/Romance
Rated R for language, a disturbing image, brief sexuality and drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby
Plot: Two manic depressives meet in a psychiatric hospital and begin a romance that brings out all of the beauty and horror of their condition.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Chris:  Life is crazy enough to have to share in this humanary stew of lunacy.
Ken: Congrats to Katie Holmes, for escaping the “church” of Scientology.  But glamorizing mental illness by linking it to artistic creativity is putting me off. So pass.
Rob: Didn’t even make it through the trailer.  Pass.
Jessica: Left me feeling touched by snow. All set with never seeing this one.
Jim: Yet another trailer that reminds me that the February-April months are a dumping ground for movies that studios don’t have a lot of faith in. Thanks, but no thanks.

Purchased Tickets:  Ding Ding Ding…we have a Great Stories unanimous winner.  Wade Wilson and his multiple personality disorder anti-hero Deadpool get the big Great Stories seal of approval with five tickets!

It doesn't have to go that far!  Take our money!
It doesn’t have to go that far! Take our money!
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The Female Perspective: Podcasts, My New Love

Welcome! This is a 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.

After a week off due to a really persnickety migraine, I am back with a blog this week! I wanted to spend a little bit chatting about some of my favorite podcasts because guess what, I really did just discover them! I know I’m a bit behind but as a writer and transcriptionist, I don’t have time during the work day to listen to podcasts and when I drive or exercise outdoors I like to rock out with some awesome tuneage.

What happened was that with the winter weather I started exercising indoors and all of a sudden I realized I could finally listen to the podcast my super cool friends have been talking about, Serial. I was instantly hooked on it. Though you will notice that Serial is not on my list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great program and I am very much enjoying the 2nd season’s delving into the Bo Bergdahl case, but Serial has plenty of airplay and I wanted to focus on 2 very cool and possibly kind of unknown podcasts that I have been really enjoying.


The 2 podcasts I talk about below I find interesting for 2 reasons;

  1. I am a writer so anything that gives me insight into the human brain is fascinating to me. Both of these podcasts talk about people, technology, the mingling of the two as well as dealing with the life around us in an informative and fun way.
  2. They host(s) are not annoying or rude. They are respectful to their guests and they ask really great questions, not the typical boring interview questions and what’s more, they listen to what their subjects have to say. In all my transcription work I can tell you that is a rarity. So many interviewers interrupt their subject and that, in my humble opinion, is really annoying.

Anyway, here are my 2 favorite podcasts!

Reply All

"Reply All" - a podcast about the internet ... and so much more!
“Reply All” – a podcast about the internet … and so much more!

Part of Gimlet Media, Reply All is a fun podcast that’s about technology and how we use it in our lives every day. Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, it was launched in 2014 and claims to be about “the internet” (yep, that’s all they’ll say, that it’s about the internet) but the fact is, it’s about so much more than that. I heard about it while listening to the classic of all podcasts, This American Life and had to check it out.

I recently just listened to an episode where one of the hosts and a friend take micro doses of LSD and it is utterly fascinating. Not because they get tripped out and stupid, but because of their amazingly long thought process about if they should even take the LSD (they do it to see if they can “unlock a better version of themselves”) and their fear around doing so. I won’t ruin the episode for you but it’s really good and fun. I also learned that there is an entire website devoted to helping people who are tripping out handle their high and stay calm. Who knew!?!?!

Reply All is about the internet and what it does for us and how it harms us (the Yik Yak episode is a poignant reminder of the damage words can do, but also how words can help) and how we, as internet consumers, can do a better job of utilizing the technology at our fingertips.

Death, Sex & Money

"Death, Sex & Money" hosted by Anna Sale
“Death, Sex & Money” hosted by Anna Sale

The other podcast I wanted to mention was actually recommended via Reply All and I am glad I checked it out. Death, Sex and Money is fantastic! Hosted by Anna Sale, she has that ability to really talk to people and help them to open up about (what else!?) death, sex and money. As Sale says, her podcast is “about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.”

She did a fantastic series of episodes from New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Sale hosted 5 episodes about all different aspects of the Hurricane and ensuing aftermath. She talked to a rapper, a doctor, a coroner and more about what Katrina did to their lives and how they continue to work through the trauma that disaster caused them. Well worth a listen. If you’re interested, click here for the first episode of her “In New Orleans” series.

Sale also did a poignant episode with Dr. Jonathan Clark. If you don’t know who he is, he is the husband of astronaut Dr. Laurel Clark, who was lost in the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003. As I pumped away on my elliptical machine, I started to cry as he recounted the day she died. An amazing 30 minutes of podcasting about death and starting over.

Sale has a natural ability to get to the nitty gritty of the “stuff” we may not want to talk about, money, sex, death and all that goes into those discussions. Death, Sex & Money is well worth your valuable time if you want to hear how other people handle those conversations.

Both of these podcasts are available for download and have new episodes coming out weekly. I started at the beginning for both and have been enjoying catching up as I make my way through the treasure trove of shows. If you are looking for some new entertainment on that long commute or during your exercise time, check out Reply All and Death, Sex &  Money, then come back and tell me how you liked them!

What podcasts do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/8/2016

The Top of the Pile: Batman #49



Publisher: DC

Words: Scott Snyder

Art: Greg Capullo

It is time. Bruce Wayne has reclaimed his true past as Batman. Now he must descend into the cave and face what he once was. Can he truly leave behind a life free from the pain and anguish of the Bat? Can he plunge once more into the madness and purpose that once consumed him? In this special, thrilling issue, watch as the fate of Bruce Wayne, and Batman, is decided once and for all.

This week’s Batman will likely be read directly off the rack, and though it may never get there physically, it’s the undisputed top of the pile.  Snyder and Capullo’s epic Batman New 52 run will come to an end in just two months. This week’s issue #49 is the penultimate issue in the pulse pounding Super Heavy story arc. I had my doubts about the Batman series after Convergence. Bat-Gordon? A Bat-bot? A flower-man and his seedling army? These sounded more like Silver Age Batman story lines. I was worried that Snyder had run out of Bat tales (do bats have tails?) and risked spoiling what had otherwise been a phenomenal run. After the last two issues, my worries and doubts are gone. This arc has been outstanding, right up there with Court of Owls in terms of building the Batman mythology. If you’re not caught up, now’s the time. #50 next month is going to be huge.


The Mainstream One: Old Man Logan #2



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jeff Lemire

Art: Andrea Sorrentino

For Old Man Logan, home is a wasteland in the distant future, one overridden by hillbilly Hulks who extort and torture civilians for fun. But now, mysteriously finding himself in the present, Logan is hellbent on preventing that future from coming to pass. And the best way to keep the Hulk population from surging in the future is to eliminate them altogether in the present…starting with Amadeus Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk!

The first issue was crazy and certainly lived up to expectations. After we got past the ham fisted exposition, the rest of the issue was filled with a dark and violent story. The Old Man’s healing abilities are back and he’s got a hit list an arm’s length long. His plan: to save the future. The next name brings Logan face to face with another newly revamped Marvel character, the Totally Awesome Hulk. It’s a classic Hulk vs Wolverine fight with a new twist!


The Indie One: Gutter Magic #2 (of 4)



Publisher: IDW

Words: Rick Douek

Art: Brett Barkley

A showdown at the Goblin Market puts Cinder and Blacktooth on the path to tracking down their quarry – but the necromantic sorceress known as the Morgue wants Cinder’s head, even if she has to threaten his family to get it. Fans of Harry Potter and Sin City will love this genre-bending caper that brings magic down to the gritty streets of New York!

There are so many good books out from Image this week (Low, Black Science, Descender, Autumnlands, Spread, No Mercy) that I couldn’t pick one. So I went with a new mini-series by a different publisher, Gutter Magic from IDW. The first issue of Gutter Magic was impressive in its execution. The dialogue was crisp and the art and action uncluttered. The hook was an interesting satire of political-economics, in which magic, not money, wielded power. Gutter Magic feels like a world that reaches beyond its panels, one that I will be happy to explore for 3 more issues.


The #1 One: Jonesy #1



Publisher: Boom

Words: Sam Humphries

Art: Caitlin Rose Boyle

Jonesy is a self-described ‘cool dork’ who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love! Anyone. With anything. She’s a cupid in plaid. With a Tumblr. There’s only one catch-it doesn’t work on herself. She’s gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong…

Boom studios has scored a few hits recently, gaining attention for quality girly books like Lumber Janes and Giant Days. Is Jonesy next?


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Darth Vader #16



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larocca

Cover Art: Kaare Andrews

NEW STORY ARC! The planet Shu-Torin (introduced in the Darth Vader Annual) is revolting. Darth Vader is tasked with leading a military assault. Has Vader’s rise to glory begun? 

I’m trying not to buy every Star Wars comic that comes out, and just trade-wait the series, but they keep finding ways to get me. This is the most bad-ass Darth Vader cover from the series. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.


Carpe Comics!

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Trailer Snark (February 5, 2016 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:  Po’s Kung Fun is strong apparently.  The third in the kid’s series of animated films took in $41M in its debut to top the box office this past week.  Meanwhile, The Revenant slipped to second place with $12.4M/$138M.  Star Wars:  The Force Awakens is still doing solid business in third with $10.7M/$895.4M.  The Finest Hours debuted at number four with $10.3M.  Ride Along 2 was fifth with $8.3M/$70.7M.  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  The Boy ($7.8M/$21.5M), Dirty Grandpa ($7.5M/$22.8M), The 5th Wave ($7M/$20.1M), Fifty Shades of Black ($6.1M/NEW), and 13 Hours ($6M/$42.5M).  This week’s new entries are an eclectic mix…let’s check them out.

Hail, Caesar (Universal Pictures) – Comedy/Drama/Musical
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking
Tag Line:  Lights.  Camera.  Abduction.
Starring:  George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlet JohanssonPlot: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica:  I LOVE the Coen Brothers so this is a no-brainer. Top-notch talent, a fun story and kooky-crazy storytelling. Yes indeed. This looks to be a winner.
Chris:  There is a certain element to every Coen Brothers film that makes them hard to dismiss.  And with the cast lined up for this one, I will be certain to catching it at some point, even if not in theaters. 

The Choice (Lionsgate) – Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some thematic issues
Tag Line: Let your heart decide.
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace
Plot: Travis and Gabby first meet as neighbors in a small coastal town and wind up in a relationship that is tested by life’s most defining events.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Chris:  Did you know that Nicholas Sparks has his own film production company?  Yeah, that didn’t make my day either.
Jessica:  Oh gag me. I swore in a very unlady-like fashion when I saw the “Nicholas Sparks” at the top of the trailer and turned it off. Melodramatic, boring, all the bad things about movies. P A S S.

Regression (RADiUS-TWC) – Crime/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and for language
Tag Line: Fear always finds its victim.
Starring: Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke
Plot: A detective and a psychoanalyst uncover evidence of a satanic cult while investigating the rape of a young woman.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica: Looks intriguing and like a good thriller. I’d watch this at home.
Chris:  Ethan Hawke is one of my favorite actors and I have always been a sucker for a religion-based thriller.  Game on!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Sony Pictures) – Action/Horror/Romance
Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material
Tag Line: Bloody lovely.
Starring: Lily James, Suki Waterhouse, Sam Riley
Plot: Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge — an army of undead zombies.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Chris: I remember seeing this book in the stores and doing a double-take.  After one look at the trailer, I am not inclined to a similar reaction.  Perhaps if buzz is positive, I’d catch it on small screen.
Jessica: Sigh. I’m torn on this one. I read the book (both of them actually and a few others with the addition of monsters) and I enjoyed it but this trailer leaves me feeling really indifferent about it. Probably a pass for me.

Tumbledown (Starz Digital Media) – Comedy/Romance/Music
Rated R for a sex scene
Tag Line: Turn the page.  Start a new chapter.
Starring:  Dianna Agron, Rebecca Hall, Jason Sudeikis
Plot: A young woman struggles to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, when a brash New York writer forces her to confront her loss and the ambiguous circumstances of his death.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Jessica: I was fully intending to pass on this one, but darn-it, it got to me. Good actors and an interesting story about loss and music and blah, blah. I’d watch this at home.
Chris:  I don’t think so.

Tickets Purchased:  One for Hail, Caesar (Jessica) and one for Regression (Chris)

Though the weather outside is frightful, movies are so delightful. So curl up and enjoy another Trailer Snark!
Though the weather outside is frightful, movies are so delightful. So curl up and enjoy another Trailer Snark!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/3/2016

The Top of the Pile: Vision #4



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tom King

Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Just as everything is coming together, everything goes to hell. After finally finding love for The Vision, Virginia must respond to the one person who threatens that love – and her response will shock the Marvel Universe. A not-to-be-missed ending that builds to next issue’s breathtaking climax.

The Vision has been one of Marvel’s most popular super heroes, and like other A-listers from the Silver Age, he is burdened with a complicated history and convoluted cannon. This latest Vision series gets back to the core of who or what the Vision is, a cybernetic super-weapon turned hero who wants to live like a normal person. Tom King’s Vision literally builds himself a family and attempts to settle them down in the peace and quiet of suburbia, but inevitably trouble comes knocking at their door. Now we find out how far the Visions will go to protect their family. A dark and fascinating, suburban horror story, Visions feels like the most all-new, all different series from Marvel’s relaunch.


The Mainstream One: Invincible Iron Man #6



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Mike Deodato

‘THE WAR MACHINES’ STARTS NOW! Something is not right in the house of Stark, and Tony must delve into the nooks and crannies of his international organization to find out what. Plus: The first big clues of major things to come in the Marvel Universe! 

Marvel’s teasing their next big event and it seems like it will involve Iron Man and what sounds like a whole squad of Iron Men and Women. MJ officially joined Team Tony last issue and I’m keeping a close eye on that situation. If you remember back in September when Secret Wars Renew Your Vows #5 came out, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the appearance of a certain someone wearing certain armor. The hype quickly died down once readers found out that Renew Your Vows was not carrying over post relaunch, but maybe Marvel was playing the long game. Spider-Gwen and Gwenpool were surprise hits, could Iron Jane be next?


The Indie One: Paper Girls #5



Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Cliff Chang

The first arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with major revelations and another game-changing cliffhanger. MAJOR PLOT POINT Lots of answers to our major mysteries in this issue, as well as a final page that will completely transform the book’s status quo before our series’s first regularly planned hiatus.

This series has been so much fun. Paper Girls has been everything I wanted and nothing that I expected. It’s been one surprise after another. Asides from the crazy, scifi elements, the best thing about Paper Girls is how it honestly captures, for me, what growing up as a child in the 80’s felt like without falling back on tired cliches. There was a multi-page spread in issue #4 where we witness one of the girls, Tiffany,  as her life flashes before her eyes, and it’s just scenes of her on the couch playing Breakout on the Nintendo. I have absolutely no idea how Vaughan plans on topping last month’s cliff-hanger, but I’ll be there when he does.


The #1 One: Spider-man #1



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Sarah Pichelli

Miles Morales has been doing the super hero thing for a while, now, but after SECRET WARS, he’ll be a full-fledged member of the Marvel Universe. Swinging next to The Invincible Iron Man, The Mighty Thor and the All-New Captain America as a card-carrying member of the Avengers is an adventure, but it’s not all fun and games for New York City’s main Spider-MAN! What happened in the eight month gap? It all starts in SPIDER-MAN #1!

Miles makes his triumphant entrance in the Marvel Prime universe and he’s landed the full-time Spider-man gig. Spider-man was originally a story that was painted with teenage angst. Peter Parker was a kid who got picked on by bullies, was awkward around girls and had everyday problems that all ages could relate to. But he grew up, graduated high school and then college, made a career as a photographer at the Bugle, married MJ then made a deal with the devil to erase his marriage to MJ, and rose to CEO of the multinational Parker Industries. We’ve witnessed a huge evolution in Peter Parker’s character and those just aren’t the kind of plot lines that will hold a teenage audience. Enter Miles Morales with his trusty sidekick Ganke Lee and we’re back in New York’s high school system. Another Marvel series, returning to its core.

The One I’m Buying For the Cover: Detective Comics #49 (Neal Adams variant)



Publisher: DC

Words: Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Fernando Pasarin

Caught up in an cold case from his days on the force, James Gordon grapples with the new freedom he has as Batman to investigate the crimes of Gotham City?and the slippery slope that this freedom can be. Does the system he’s believed in all this time still work? Or is it the only thing he has left to hold on to?

I give DC a lot of credit for their variant incentive program. Their themed variant months have been great. The Harley and Joker months produced some memorable covers, I loved the entire set of Looney Tunes covers, Harley’s Black Books make me feel like Charlie Bucket every time I crack open one of their polybags, and I’ve recently spent hours creating masterpieces out of their adult coloring book covers. These themed variants are fun, they look great, and most importantly they are cover-price.

For the month of February, DC pays homage to the legendary Neal Adams by publishing 25 variant covers drawn by Neal Adams. This month’s variant covers revisit and re-imagine some of the most famous and recognizable covers originally drawn by Adams. The Detective Comics #49 variant is a swipe of the cover to Batman #227, which itself is a swipe of 1939’s Detective Comics #31 drawn by Batman creator Bob Kane.



Carpe Comics!