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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/31/2016

Greetings comic book friends and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that makes cranks for a smarter planet. It’s a slow week for comics but a crazy week for personal stuff, so let’s do it to it. Comics that is.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

S37

The Top of the Pile: Saga #37

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘THE WAR FOR PHANG,’ PART ONE Saga is back with its most epic story line yet, and to celebrate, Fiona Staples graces this issue with a gorgeous wraparound cover! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages.

Why we love it: The best comic in all of comicdom returns after a scheduled hiatus with a self-contained story arc. This is a perfect time for readers who love Saga’s bestselling trade paper back collections to join the monthly adventures of their favorite intergalactic outlaw family.

 

ASM17

The Mainstream one: Amazing Spider-man #17

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slot
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli

What it is: BEFORE ‘DEAD NO MORE’! The Prowler (and our readers) meet the new Electro! Who is this woman and what does she have to do with the Man in Red?!

Why we like it: The gender bendification of Marvel continues, this time it’s a member from Spider-man’s rogue gallery that gets the lady treatment. With a female Electro, you’d think that her name would be Electra but that’d confuse the heck out of DareDevil fans.

 

TG10

The Indie One: Tokyo Ghost #10 (Nguyen variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: MINISERIES FINALE The final confrontation for the future of mankind is here. It’s Debbie Decay, Mother Nature’s own samurai savior, vs Davey Trauma, the Living Singularity. Critically-acclaimed creators Rick Remender and Sean Gordon Murphy wrap up their tale of tech addiction, unintended consequences, and love in a world populated by the disenfranchised and isolated.

Why we like it: The brain child of two of my favorite creators, I had huge expectations for Tokyo Ghost. While I enjoyed the early issues, the series never really coalesced into the sci-fi epic I was hoping for. And when Sean Murphy announced that he would be working exclusively with DC for the next two years, it signaled an early the end to the series. I can’t criticize Murphy though. When you get the opportunity to work on Batman, you take it.

 

TMNTU1

The #1 One: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtels Universe #1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Paul Allor
Art: Damian Couceiro

What it is: Introducing a new era in TMNT! This series will explore characters and story-lines that are pivotal to the IDW TMNT universe! When a mysterious new mutant targets Baxter Stockman, it will be up to the TMNT to reluctantly save him. Little does everyone know that a larger trap is being laid by a new arch-foe! Plus a back-up story from TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and comics legend Bill Sienkiewicz!

Why we like it: While I’m looking forward to taking a deeper look at the peripheral characters that populate the TMNT universe, I’m really interested in that Easman / Sienkiewicz backup story. Sienkiewicz’s stark, expressionist art style would be perfectly suited for a dark, noir-style Turtles story.

 

JLA9

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League of America #9 (Lee variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Bryan Hitch
Art: Bryan Hitch
Cover art: Jim Lee

What it is: With Earth as collateral damage, the Kryptonian deity called Rao has the Justice League on the ropes! It would take a miracle to defeat him. Good thing the League makes miracles look easy!

Why we like it: Batman v Superman rendered by the legendary Jim Lee. This cover looks about fifty times more interesting than the movie. This is a regular price variant and should be widely available at your local shop. My pick here was originally the Uncanny Avengers #13 Hughes variant, but that one is a 1:50 and will likely be hard to find at a decent price.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (August 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:  DC snatched another Box Office crown with Suicide Squad in its third straight week.  The anti-hero group dredged up another $20.7M in receipts to go to $262.2M overall.  And it was not a new release that took second place, as Sausage Party was still rocking with $15.3M and $65.3M overall.  The next three spots were occupied by debuts.  War Dogs was third with $14.3M, Kubo and the Two Strings in fourth with $12.6M, and Ben-Hur in fifth with $11.3M.  Underwhelming results for these late summer entries.  Here is the rest of the top ten in order:  Pete’s Dragon ($11.3M/$42.8M), Bad Moms ($8M/$85.8M), Jason Bourne ($7.9M/$140.8M), Secret Life of Pets ($5.7M/$346.7M), and Florence Foster Jenkins ($4.3M/$14.4M).  And now the new movie releases for this weekend…..

Mechanic: Resurrection (Lionsgate) –  Action/Thriller
Rated R for violence throughout and language
Tag Line: Revenge is a dangerous business.
Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones
Plot: Arthur Bishop thought he had put his murderous past behind him when his most formidable foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he is forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and do what he does best, make them look like accidents.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Chris:  Statham is easily one of the most prolific action stars of our time, and the first movie was one of his better outings.  Should be a fun romp!
Jessica: I enjoy Stratham, but I don’t know, this needs to be done. That being said, it looks fun for a silly movie night at home.
Jim: Looks like some good solid action for a slow movie night. Rental.
Ken: Nothing ground breaking here. Just balls to the wall action with one of the best in the genre.

Don’t Breathe (Screen Gems) – Horror
Rated R for terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references
Tag Line: This house looked like an easy target.  Until they found what was inside.
Starring:  Stephen Lang, Jane Levy
Plot: A group of friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong.
Running Time: 88 minutes

Ken: In the land of the dark, wouldn’t the man with the flashlight be king? Get the flashlight app kids, it’s only the most downloaded mobile app in the world and it’s free.
Chris: Sam Raimi does for low budget horror what new socks does for your feet.
Jessica: Looks creepy and clever.
Jim: I’m  waiting for a horror movie where someone is tied down in a room and forced to watch an endless loop of cliched trailers for horror movies. This’d be one of  ’em.

Blood Father (Lionsgate) – Action/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief drug use
Tag Line: A father makes his own justice.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, William H Macy
Plot: An ex-con reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her.
Running Time: 88 minutes

Jim: See my comment for Mechanic.
Ken: I can’t see Mel in a beard and not think drunken anti-semite. Otherwise it looks like a decent action flick.
Chris: Now, this looks like some popcorn p0pping fun!
Jessica: I was prepared to hate on this because it’s Mel Gibson and he’s nuts, but this look like classic Gibson so that means it looks exciting, action-packed and like a good flick.

Complete Unknown (IFC Films) – Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Rated R for some language
Tag Line: You are who you say you are.
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon
Plot: As a man contemplates moving to a new state with his wife for her graduate program, an old flame – a woman who often changes identities – reenters his life at a birthday dinner party.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Jessica: I love Michael Shannon, but this looks pretentious and boring. Pass.
Chris: A decidedly thrill-free thriller.
Jim: A bit on the somber side, but intriguing.
Ken: Completely uninterested.

Hands of Stone (The Weinstein Company) – Drama/Documentary
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: No mas. No surrender.
Starring:  Robert DeNiro, Edgar Ramirez, Usher Raymond
Plot: The legendary Roberto Duran and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel change each other’s lives.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Ken: I tuned out when I realized Usher is playing Sugar Ray. Musicians and movies never work for me.
Chris: Good trailer. I still have not seen Creed or Southpaw.  Maybe I will do a boxing trilogy on the small screen?
Jim: Creed gave me enough of a boxing flick to hold me for awhile. No thanks.

Southside with You (Miramax) – Biography/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, smoking, a violent image and a drug reference
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers
Plot: Chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago’s South Side.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Jim: A good, snappy trailer, I’d definitely be into this.
Jessica: Sweet little trailer about a couple of people I admire, but I probably will never ever see this.
Ken: I tuned out when I realized John Legend is the producer.  Musicians and movies never work for me.
Chris: Looks cute, but not my cup of tea.

The Sea of Trees (A24) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing images and brief strong language
Tag Line: Love will bring you home.
Starring:  Matthew McCounaghey, Ryoko Seta, Naomi Watts
Plot: A suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Chris: My local town Facebook page was abuzz with McCounaghey sitings in downtown Uxbridge around the time that the production was filming near Purgatory Chasm.  Local films always capture my interest.
Jim: OK, can not anyone NOT be moved by this trailer? A great cast, an accomplished director, partly filmed in my neighboring town of Foxboro—what’s not to like?
Jessica: Okay, this movie trailer made me cry. It’s a fantastic cast, a sad story, but darnit, it got me. I’d watch this at home with a box of tissues.
Ken: Outstanding cast and a heart wrenching story. This got to me too. I really have to stop watching these trailers at the office…

The Intervention (Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language including sexual references
Tag Line: What are friends for?
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter
Plot: A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was orchestrated to host an intervention on their marriage.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: I’d rather sit through an actual intervention.
Chris: I just quit cold turkey.
Jim: Other house party movies have looked better than this. Pass.
Jessica:  I am intrigued! Could be wickedly funny. It’s a good cast of people and a different kind of story.

Tickets Purchased:  3 for Sea of Trees (Ken, Chris, and Jim) and 1 for Don’t Breathe (Jessica)

An army of women were hoping this was a movie about McCounaghey playing a lumberjack.
An army of women were hoping this was a movie about McCounaghey playing a lumberjack.

 

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The Female Perspective: Character Drama In Adaptations

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


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/24/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that’s finger crankin good. I watched the Killing Joke animated feature and liked it a lot. I grew up watching Batman the Animated Series, so hearing Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy reprise their iconic roles as the voices of Joker and Batman was fantastic. There was a Bat-girl/Oracle origin story that book-ended the original story, which I didn’t love, but it did give Barbara’s story some meaning besides just being the setup for the Joker’s most twisted joke. Otherwise it was a near exact retelling, complete with song and dance routine. Dark, haunting and still relevant after almost 30 years, Alan Moore and Brian Bollard’s classic is the definitive Joker story.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

WW5

The Top of the Pile: Wonder Woman #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp

What it is: ‘The Lies’ part three! Steve Trevor finds himself trapped in the heart of Urzkartaga’s darkness, with Wonder Woman and Cheetah the only hope of rescue for him and his men. But how far can Cheetah be trusted?

Why we love it: Wonder Woman’s Rebirth has been off to an interesting start. Greg Rucka has been weaving two separate stories, one retelling Diana’s exile from Themyscira and the other set in present day where Wonder Woman has entered into an alliance with her arch nemesis Cheatah in hopes of finding a way back home. The two stories lines alternate each issue and will eventually tie together to reconcile Wonder Woman’s multiple, conflicting origin stories. It’s a monumental task and will be an amazing feat if Rucka can actually pull it off.

 

DC939

The Mainstream one: Detective Comics 939 (Albuquerque variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Eddy Barrows

What it is: ‘Rise of the Batmen’ part six! The full scope of the Colony’s plans, and their mysterious leader, have all been revealed, so what’s it going to take to stop them? Believe us, you are not prepared for the last scene.

Why we like it: Tynion’s run on ‘Tec has already thrown us a few good twists. Sounds like he’s got something big cooked up for us this week and I’ll be reading with great interest.

 

Outcast 20

The Indie One: Outcast #20
Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Paul Azteca

What it is: A POWER EXPOSED’ Allison is learning that there is in fact something very special about her daughter. But where is Kyle?

Why we like it: The reigning king of horror returns with another terrifying issue of Outcast. The current arc has been serving up heaping piles of scares and answers. And as we learn more about the nature of Kyle’s powers, the more dangerous we realize his situation is.

 

KW1

The #1 One: Kingsway West #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mirko Colak

What it is: After thirteen years in prison, a Chinese gunslinger named Kingsway Law just wants to find his wife. But in a fantastical American Old West crackling with magic, monsters, and racist vigilantes, trouble just won’t leave him be. And in this case, trouble is a woman with a magic sword who needs his help.

Why we like it: I’ve been excited for this series since I met Greg Pak at a convention last year. He told me about his creator owned comic about a Chinese gunslinger’s adventures through a magical American Old West and I was instantly sold. It’s pretty much the story that I would write and draw if I had the time, and talent. Thank you Pak-man!

 

VSK11

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom Space Knight #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Robbie Thompson
Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto
Cover Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: ‘CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN! Venom versus the Amazing Spider-Man! Secrets, symbiotes and superiority! Flash and his hero have enough to fight about without the conflict that’s tearing the Marvel Universe apart!

Why we like it: Marvel eeks its way onto the list with an old, reliable gimmick, a sweet-ass Venom cover.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (August 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: Suicide Squad paid dividends for the DC brand and Warner Bros again this week with a second straight week at number one and $43M in box office dollars bringing its domestic total to $222.8M.  The next two entries were the brand new films Sausage Party ($33.6M) and Pete’s Dragon ($22.5M).  Paul Greengrass’ Jason Bourne came in fourth ($13.6M/$126.7M).  Bad Moms rounded out the top five ($11.4M/$71.4M).  The rest of the list went as follows: The Secret Life of Pets ($8.8M/$335.9M), Star Trek Beyond ($6.8M/$139.6M), Florence Foster Jenkins ($6.5M/NEW), Nine Lives ($3.5M/$13.5M), and Lights Out ($3.2M/$61.1M).  Let’s take a look at this weekend’s new releases!

Kubo and the Two Strings (Focus Features) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril
Tag Line: Be bold.  Be brave.  Be epic.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes
Plot: A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Rob: I have been waiting for years for this one!!  It looks awesome.  The story is absolutely intriguing, and the origami-stylization of the 3D stop-motion animation is eye-popping.  Get me my ticket and my popcorn.  This is THE movie to see this week.
Chris: Total renter for me.  I could have predicted that Animaniac Rob would be all over this one though.
Jessica: Holy moly does this look amazing! I admit the trailer got me, using “As My Guitar Gently Weeps” as the music was a perfect touch. I’d see this in the theater and I don’t normally go for animated features in the theater.
Jim: Love the design, this looks pretty amazing. This weekend for sure.
Ken: The visuals look unbelievable and that Beatles cover… Origasmi.

Ben-Hur (Paramount) – History/Drama/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and disturbing images
Tag Line: Teacher. Prophet. Savior.
Starring: Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman
Plot: The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Ken: I dig the gladiator battles, but PG-13? I demand blood! Love the accents in these ancient-timey films. Everyone sounds somewhere between  British and Australian. Except Morgan Freeman who just sounds awesome, no accent required.
Rob: Looks great, but we already had remakes in 2010 and 2003.  WTF Hollywood?  Hire some writers.  Create some new stories.
Chris: I know it’s been remade a bunch of times, but it looks EPIC!
Jessica: Not even Morgan Freeman can make me watch this pile of poo. I didn’t even get through the trailer. I’ll stay home and watch “Gladiator” or “300” instead, thanks.
Jim: I’m a big fan of the ancient epics of Old Hollywood. The 1959 version was always a favorite. Doesn’t look like there’s much new here.

War Dogs (Warner Bros) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language throughout, drug use and some sexual references
Tag Line: Money, corruption and the American dream
Starring: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller
Plot: Based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Jim: Blah. Couldn’t find anything remotely funny in this.
Ken: This looks more interesting than funny. It’s been Hollywooded up for sure, but it’s a true story. It feels like Blow, except with guns instead of cocaine.
Rob: Might be good for a rental for laughs.  Not a big-screen experience though.
Chris: Not even remotely interested.
Jessica: I’m hopefully optimistic about this. It’s association with The Hangover makes me nervous (adore the first on, hate the other 2) BUT, Jonah Hill looks amazingly crazy and I might even be able to deal with Miles Teller. It’s intriguing to say the least.

Morris from America (A24) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for teen drug use and partying, sexual material, brief nudity, and language throughout
Tag Line:  Nothing rhymes with Germany.
Starring:  Markees Christmas, Craig Robinson
Plot: The romantic and coming-of-age misadventures of a 13-year-old American living in Germany.
Running Time: 91 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoX3MIWPttQ
Jessica: This looks like so much more than just a simple movie about a rapper from America in Germany. It looks funny and sweet and a lot of fun.
Jim: No interest whatsoever.
Ken: Having lived overseas for a period in my 20’s and being a bit of a rapper myself, I really connected with this trailer. I’ll watch this at home, away from the haters.
Rob:  I couldn’t even make it through the whole trailer.  A movie about a young rapper growing up overseas.  Pass.
Chris: Go to your room….why?  Because you like terrible movie trailers.

Kingsglaive:  Final Fantasy XV (Sony) – Animation/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action throughout
Tag Line: None
Starring: Lena Headey, Aaron Paul, Sean Bean
Plot: King Regis, who oversees the land of Lucis, commands his army of soldiers to protect the kingdom from the Niflheim empire’s plans to steal the sacred crystal which gives Lucis its magic and power.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Chris: This looks beyond awful.  And I usually like this kind of thing.
Jessica:  I didn’t even watch it, looks boring if you’re not a Final Fantasy fan (which I am not).
Jim: ZZZZZZZZ
Ken: Looks like the cheese stands alone on this one. I stopped playing FF around number VII, but the best part of those games were the cut scenes. Square Enix made the most jaw-dropping, butt-kicking CG animation you had ever seen. They were always two steps ahead of the competition and I think they’ve done it again. I can’t say much for the story here, but there were a handful of scenes where I couldn’t tell whether I was watching animation or real actors. That alone is worth a play through. This is a video game trailer, right?
Rob: I’ll rent it for the animation, but the story does not look strong by any means.

Lo and Behold:  Reveries of the Connected World (Magnolia) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line:  The virtual evolution of humankind
Starring: Elon Musk, Lawrence Krauss
Plot: Werner Herzog’s exploration of the Internet and the connected world.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Rob: The internet is a manifestation of evil?  M’kay.  Pass.  Even on the rental front.  Pass.
Chris: Actually, this looks fantastic.  Just not on the big screen.  Been a big fan of Herzog’s documentarian output.
Jessica: Looks really interesting, but an at home viewer for sure (and FYI, being able to Tweet THOUGHTS? No thank you!).
Jim: Always good to see a trailer full of something stimulating and intellectually fulfilling. At the very least, a rental for this.
Ken: Lo and be bored.

Tickets Purchased:  Four Tickets for Kubo (Rob, Jessica, Jim, and Ken) and One for Ben-Hur (Chris)

Will the Guitar Pick of Destiny show up in the sequel?
Will the Guitar Pick of Destiny show up in the sequel?

 

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The Female Perspective: The Rio Olympics and Feminism

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


When I was a kid I adored the Olympics. The pageantry, the excitement, the athleticism was so impressive when I was younger and full of dreams. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could be that dedicated to something, to anything. The 2 weeks would fly by and then it was all over for another few years.

Rio-Olympics-2016-logo-640x360

I haven’t actively watched the Olympics in a few years now. I simply find it difficult to find the same excitement I did when I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to hear about Phelps winning his 27,000 gold medal, but I simply don’t get excited about the Olympics anymore.

This year was different though, I felt actively angry and insulted about the Olympics. First off, with them being in Rio, a country that is extremely poor and in desperate need of financial stability, seemed in poor taste. Sure, it will bring money in, but the fact is they had to borrow millions of dollars to create the venues needed to host the massive events. The water is practically poison and even though it’s technically winter there, Zika was  a fear on many people’s minds. Not to mention crime that runs rampant through the streets. But I don’t make the choices over who hosts the Olympics so like many, I shrugged it off as “better minds know better”.

What really got me peeved was the blatant sexism being expressed by the commentators and news outlets. From the female athlete’s being referred to as “girls” even though they are grown women, to the news headlines in print and social media that state things like:

I don't know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.
I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.

AND…

With the headline: "Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics"
With the headline: “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics”

These 2 examples are perfect as to what’s wrong with the world in terms of feminism and sexism today. First off, a woman breaks a WORLD RECORD and she gets the smaller, less impressive headline while Phelps, who TIED for silver, gets the big headline. There could not be a more perfect example of sexism if someone actually tried. To essentially push someone to the side who broke a world record is insulting to her athletic ability. Besides the fact that hey, Phelps has won like a gazillion medals, let’s let someone else have the spotlight shall we?

When I saw the Twitter post from the Chicago Tribune regarding Corey Cogdell winning bronze I wanted to scream. Not only does the post not even mention her name, but it also puts her neatly into the box of someone’s wife. Not bronze medal winning athlete. No, we wouldn’t want to let her have her own achievement. Her husband has to be in there as well. It’s unfair and it’s also ludicrous.

There have been other examples of this, commentators praising another female swimmer by giving all the credit to her husband for her ability to perform.

NBC credited Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s coach/husband as “the person responsible for her performance”. ~News.com

That one stunned me as well, I’m sorry, is he in the pool pushing her along? Is he paddling along beside her? Because it would seem to me that she did all the hard work. She was in the pool. She is in the Olympics. Not him. Why does it seem to be impossible for the media to give credit where it’s actually due when it comes to the women? Why do their achievements have to come tied to some man in their life? Why can’t these women be praised the same way that their male counterparts are?

Sadly, there are quite a few examples of this type of sexism that have run rampant through the 2016 Rio games. From commentators discussing the importance of makeup on the female gymnasts during their gymnastics routines to NBC completely botching the coverage of a HISTORY making swim by Simone Manuel when she became the first African-American woman to win a swimming medal in an individual event. They did air the medals ceremony eventually, but an hour after the historic moment occurred rather than airing it in real time (as the BBC did).

The fact is, our country is going through a massive period of change. A huge paradigm shift. From racial tensions to sexism to financial inequality, we are all watching our world shift and break apart in ways we never though we’d see. Donald Trump spews hatred and bile everywhere he goes while Hilary Clinton makes history, only to be overshadowed by her husband in the press coverage. It’s a strange world and the Olympics is simply putting a magnifying glass on that strangeness and showing us how the things we thought were gone (racism, sexism, etc) are still very much here and they are no longer as subtle as they once were. Now they’re right in our faces. It’s painful and it’s infuriating to watch women talked about as being “girls” and to have their accomplishments, in many ways, shrugged off or obscured by a male figure in their lives.

The fact is, women have been competing in the Olympic Games for 116 years;

Female athletes have been a part of the Olympic tradition for a whopping 116 years, since they first competed in the sufficiently ladylike lawn tennis at the Paris Games in 1900. –News.com.au

And yet, even after over 100 years of competing, the women still have far to go in terms of finding equality in their sports, but I will admit, progress has been made. I don’t want to deny that fact. I am hopeful though that it won’t take another 116 years for us to get to a place where female athletes are treated as equals to the male athletes and we will no longer talk about them in terms of their husbands or boyfriends, but in terms of their accomplishments and athleticism.

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What do YOU think of the Olympics? Are you watching?

Tell me your thoughts!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/17/2016

Greetings comic book aficionados and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that never lost that crankin feeling. I went to see Suicide Squad over the weekend. The characters were portrayed well, the action and CGI were all pretty awesome and the big bad was bad ass, but I walked away from the theater feeling a little empty. The major flaw I found with the movie was an almost total lack of cohesion between the team members. Still, it wasn’t a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination and I certainly don’t believe it deserved the thrashing that it received from a certain online movie review site. If you’re a comic fan, you’ll probably find enough in the movie to have a good time. If not, well what the heck are you doing at this article?

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

BH2

The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #2

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: The Golden Age heroes of Spiral City have been ‘erased’ from existence! Banished years ago to a timeless farming community, the team are torn between accepting their fate and finding a way home! Chapter two focuses on child hero Golden Gail, whose un-aging body most deeply feels the tragedy of their new lives.

Why we love it: I loved the first issue of Black Hammer. It’s Lemire at his best, deconstructing the superhero genre and mining human drama to build a captivating story. Looking forward to seeing how this tale unfolds.

 

bM5

The Mainstream one: Batman #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Gotham’ part five. In the final chapter of this epic, is Batman truly the hero Gotham City deserves-or does it deserve better? In this ultimate showdown, where the line between allies and enemies blurs, the question will finally be answered and the fate of Gotham will be decided.

Why we like it: This is the Batman book that I have been waiting for. After 3 mediocre issues, the ‘I Am Gotham’ arc hung a Louie at issue #4 and crashed headfirst into the abyss. Tom King stories are slow burners, but once they get going they are absolute infernoes. Strap in folks, I think we’re in for a hell of a ride.

 

MD22

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #22

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: ‘SASQUATCH,’ Part Four What does sasquatch taste like? Find out this issue!

Why we like it: Fun read month in and month out. Manifest is one of my favorite comics, blending mythology, action/adventure and the American frontier.

 

BL1

The #1 One: Briggs Land #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Brian Wood
Art: Mack Chater

What it is: Briggs Land, nearly a hundred square miles of rural wilderness, contains the largest antigovernment secessionist movement in the United States. When matriarch Grace Briggs wrests control of the operation from her incarcerated husband, she sparks a war within the community-and her immediate family-that threatens to bring the full power of the federal government down on their heads.

Why we like it: A rarity at the Crank File as two Dark Horse books make the list. This series is already being developed into a show at AMC, a channel that knows a thing or two about making a quality television program. Don’t sleep on this #1. You have been warned.

 

SS1

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Suicide Squad #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Jim Lee
Cover art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: ‘The Black Vault’ part one! When a mysterious and definitely super-important cosmic item falls out of the heavens and into enemy hands, America has only one option: Task Force X, Amanda Waller’s strike team of incarcerated super-criminals. A one-stop-shop for plausibly deniable espionage and ultra- violence, this ‘Suicide Squad’ only handles missions they’re not expected to survive.

Why we like it: To quote the immortal Sir Mix-a-Lot, “red beans and rice didn’t miss her.”

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (August 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:  It was Suicide Squad and then everyone else this week.  DC’s latest took in $135M at the box office to claim ultimate supremacy.  Jason Bourne was second with $22M to add to its $103.4M total.  Bad Moms came in with $14.2M and just over $50M total since its release.  The Secret Life of Pets was fourth with $11.5M/$319M.  Star Trek Beyond claimed fifth with $10.2M/$127.9M.  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  Nine Lives $6.5M/NEW, Lights Out ($6M/$54.7M), Nerve ($4.9M/$26.8M), Ghostbusters ($4.8M/$116.7M), and Ice Age ($4.3M/$53.5M).  Let’s take a look at the new entries…..

Pete’s Dragon (Walt Disney) – Family/Adventure
Rated PG for action, peril and brief language
Tag Line: Some secrets are too big to keep.
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford
Plot: The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.
Running Time: 102 minutes

Jessica: Looks interesting, but I never saw the original so I’m so-so on seeing it.
Jim: never saw the original,  looks like another fantasy CGI retread. Bonus points for having Bryce Dallas Howard in it, though.
Rob:  Pretty sure the original came out the same year Star Wars did.  Yep, way back in 1977.  I’m kind of tired of the whole Hollywood just redoes the classics thing, but that won’t stop me from this guilty pleasure.  I loved this film when I was a kid, and besides what kid didn’t imagine having a pet dragon at some point?  I sure as heck did.
Ken: Disney’s had success updating their classic animated features into live action movies. I remember renting the original on VHS from the public library as a child, so the nostalgia is definitely there for me.
Chris: Disney success written all over it, and all the kids will be asking their parents for their own dragon this Christmas.

Florence Foster Jenkins (Paramount) – Biography/Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for brief suggestive material.
Tag Line:  The inspiring true story of the world’s worst singer.
Starring: Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant
Plot:  The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Chris:  One of the reasons I don’t watch American Idol.
Jessica: Eh.
Jim: Meryl and Hugh make it look interesting, possible rental.
Rob: Not in a million years, well ok maybe if her nephew Leeroy was the focus of the film.  At least he has chicken.
Ken: Speaking as someone who loves to sing but can’t carry a tune with a bucket, I can totally relate to this character. Singing isn’t  just about having a beautiful voice, it’s about heart. Just ask Bob Dylan.

Sausage Party (Columbia) – Comedy
Rated R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use
Tag Line: Watch what you eat.
Starring:  Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, and James Franco
Plot: A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Ken: This movie has been on my radar for months. The trailer is laugh out loud funny, and there’s an R-rated trailer that is even better.
Chris:  I used have dreams like this when I was a kid.
Jessica: This looks freakin’ hilarious. Not sure I’d see it in a theater, but I’ll definitely be catching this when it’s on streaming.
Jim: NOW we’re cookin’! Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are involved, I’m in!
Rob: Looks like a good rental for laughs.

Hell or High Water (CBS Films) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality
Tag Line: Blood always follows money.
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges
Plot: A divorced dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s farm in West Texas.
Running Time: 102 minutes

Rob: Maybe down the road on Netflix, but probably not.  Too many better choices.
Ken: This trailer impressed the heck out of me. Great cast, compelling plot and lots of gunfights and explosions.
Chris:  Probably a solid film, but does not move me to really want to see it.  Ben Foster is a great actor, though. 
Jessica: Ben Foster, Chis Pine and Jeff FLIPPIN Bridges??? I am SOLD.
Jim: Nice cast, looks like a good one.

Anthropoid (Bleecker Street Media) – History/Thriller
Rated R for violence and some disturbing images
Tag Line: Resistance has a code name.
Starring:  Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Toby Jones
Plot: Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Jessica: I droned off during the trailer, pass.
Jim: Yeah, I kinda checked out during the trailer, too.
Rob: WWII assassination plot.  Could be ok I suppose, but not on the big screen.
Ken:  I’m always down to hunt Nazis.
Chris:  This one looks fantastic!  The similarly themed Valkyrie with Tom Cruise was awesome, and to get more story about German patriots calls to me.

Operation Chromite (Taewon Entertainment) – Historical/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Liam Neeson, Jung-jae Lee
Plot: A squad of soldiers fight in the Korean War’s crucial Battle of Incheon.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Chris:  I wanted this trailer to be better than it was.
Jessica: I got bored and turned the trailer off. Pass again.
Jim: Always good to see and hear Liam Neeson, but this looks like another by-the-numbers war flick.
Rob: 5000:1 odds really aren’t that impressive when you have Liam Neeson on your side.  Haven’t you seen Taken!? 
Ken: Not sure what’s going on here, but you can bet that Liam Neeson’s going to be bad-ass.

Edge of Winter (Vertical Entertainment) – Drama/Thriller
Rated R for language and some violence
Tag Line: Nothing is more dangerous than a father’s love.
Starring: Tom Holland, Joel Kinnaman
Plot: When two brothers are stranded by a brutal winter storm with an unpredictable father they barely know, the boys begin to suspect their supposed protector may be their biggest threat.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Ken: Thrills and chills and I think someone kills.
Chris:  Riveting trailer….the road to hell was paved with good intentions, they say.
Jessica: I enjoy Joel K. quite a bit after seeing his talents on “The Killing”, didn’t love him in the “Robocop” remake but did enjoy him (for the most part) in “Suicide Squad”, I’d check this out at home.
Jim: Looks intense.
Rob: Stranded in a cabin with a father they don’t know and he’s probably a total psycho.  Pass.  Heck, even Cersei Lannister puts her kids above all else.

Ghost Team (The Orchard) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references, and drug material
Tag Line: Paranormal investigation. No experience necessary.
Starring: Jon Heder, Justin Long
Plot: A paranormal-obsessed man mounts his own investigation into the beyond with his depressed best friend, misfit nephew, a cable access medium and an overeager security guard.
Running Time: 83 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O65BJtQ-ROk
Rob: Doesn’t look funny enough for even a rental.
Ken: Looks terrifyingly awful.
Chris:  Seems about as funny Napolean Dynamite, which is to say…..Not at all.
Jessica: Some funny people here, cheesy trailer, but that might mean it’s comic brilliance, or utter tripe. Not sure yet on this one.
Jim: Seconding JL again here—funny people, not -so-impressive trailer, but it could be intentional. Might be worth a look.

Tickets Purchased: Three for Sausage Party (Jim, Jessica, and Ken), One for Pete’s Dragon (Rob) and One for Anthropoid (Chris)

Now it's really a party!
Now it’s really a party!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/10/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that quite frankly my dear, doesn’t give a crank. Boston Comic Con is this weekend and while nerds across the start get ready for the ball, the big story this week is that my home has been invaded by flies. Fruit flies mostly, and a lot of them. Like an insane amount. Fortunately in my hour of desperation, the internet, as it always does, delivered salvation. Apparently all it takes to trap a ton of fruit flies is a used lemon wedge, a paper cup, saran wrap and a rubber band. For a species so proficient at multiplying, they sure aren’t very smart.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

V10

The Top of the Pile: Vision #10

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

What it is: Tragedy has come to the Vision family. While those around him mourn, Vision plans for revenge, a revenge that will send him into a deadly confrontation with the heroes of the Marvel Universe. As the saga of Vision and his family draws closer to its world-shaking conclusion, don’t miss out on the series everyone is talking about!

Why we love it: If you didn’t see this pick coming then you haven’t been paying close attention. Only 3-issues left and you know that things don’t end well for the Visions. Vision has been a sensational ride so far and I really hope it sticks the landing. Tom King’s 12-issue run could go down as one of the most important comics written in this generation.

 

NSM2

The Mainstream one: New Super-man #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Gene Leun Yang
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic

What it is: ‘Made in China’ part two! The New Super-Man must face off against the Justice League of China. When Kenan Kong was imbued with the powers of Superman, he didn’t waste any time using them! Now it’s up to the New Bat-Man and New Wonder-Woman of his home country to bring our hero back down to earth-just in time to stop the attack of the deadly Sunbeam!

Why we like it: I’m really looking forward to reading this Wednesday. Issue #1 was a good setup issue even before it introduced China’s Batman and Wonder Woman. Issue #2 will mark the first full appearance of the Chinese Trinity, or as I am referring to them as, the Chrinity. But is “New” how DC is going to preface all their Chinese super-heroes? Sort of like how once-upon-a-time every black DC superhero was named “Black” something; Black Lightning, Black Racer, Black Manta, Black Canary (maybe not that last one). Chinese civilization is 4000 years old, there’s nothing new about it.

 

BMM1

The Indie One: The Black Monday Murders #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Tomm Coker

What it is: ‘MAMMON’ ALL HAIL GOD MONEY! A new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. The Black Monday Murders is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our proper place.

Why we like it: I swore to myself that I would never jump on another Hickman indie title at #1 after The Dying and the Dead was abandoned after just 3 sensational issues. I promised that I would trade wait him and make him earn my patronage. But I got half way through the synopsis and knew this was being added to my pull immediately. Damn you, Johnathan Hickman. I wish I knew how to quit you.

 

ASBM1

The #1 One: All Star Bat-man #1 (Jock variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: John Romita

What it is: ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ part one! Superstar writer Scott Snyder explodes into an all-new Batman series alongside legendary artist John Romita Jr., reimagining some of the Dark Knight’s greatest villains. First up: Two-Face! Batman must take Two-Face to a destination out of Gotham City, but the duplicitous villain has a two of spades up his sleeve. Every assassin, bounty hunter and ordinary citizen with something to hide is on their tails with one goal: kill Batman! Handcuffed together on the road to hell, this is Batman and Two-Face as you’ve never seen them before!

Why we like it: The masterful Scott Snyder makes his return to Batman with a dive into the Caped Crusader’s rogue gallery. Two-Face is a classic Bat-villain who never really get much page-time during Snyder’s New 52 run. Looks like he’ll have his turn to shine on Snyder and Romita Jr’s much anticipated debut issue for All-Star Batman. While I’m not the biggest fan of JRJR’s covers, I think he will be effective with his interior artwork. Fortunately there’s an amazing Jock variant which makes this book an insta-pickup.

 

DV24

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Darth Vader #24 (Action figure variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larroca
Cover art: John Tyler Christopher

What it is: Vader is lost in his inner mindscape, lost in visions of the Force! Is he truly more machine now than man? Or can he fight his way back from the brink?

Why we like it: Only two issues left in the epic Darth Vader series and it looks as though s for the end. Issue #23 gave us everyone’s favorite homicidal astrodroid, BT-1. This week brings us Bee Tee’s counterpart, the sociopathic protocol droid 0-0-0, or Triple Zero as he’s referred to affectionately by friends.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (August 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:  Jason Bourne took the box office crown with $60M, proving the franchise is still alive and well with Matt Damon back in his famous role.  Star Trek Beyond was second place with $24M and $105.7M overall.  Bad Moms debuted at number three with $23.4M.  The Secret Life of Pets held fourth place ($18.2M/296.1M).  And Lights Out rounded out the top five ($10.8/$42.8M).  Ice Age:  Collision Course ($10.5M/$42.1M), Ghostbusters ($9.8M/$106.1M), Nerve ($9M/$15M), Finding Dory ($4.2M/$469M), and The Legend of Tarzan ($2.4M/$121.8M) rounded out the top ten.  We are one day into the new weekend already, but here is what premiered across the USA last night!

Suicide Squad (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG – 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Tag Line: Worst. Heroes. Ever.
Starring:  Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto
Plot: A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Two Words: Margot Robbie. Definitely this weekend.
Jessica: I’m excited for this one. As I’ve said before I enjoyed Superman v. Batman so I am hopefully this will be as good, or better than that one. It looks crazy and fun!
Rob: Normally I land solidly on the Make Mine Marvel side of the fence, but this looks like a fun & frenzied flick.  Heck, Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn  alone looks to be worth the price of admission.  Plus, I kinda dig the whole comic genre.
Chris: After Batman v Superman, I was a bit deflated on DC’s movie offerings, but this one has the potential to change my tune.

Nine Lives (EuropaCorpUSA) – Comedy/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and some rude humor
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken
Plot: A stuffy businessman finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Chris: A bit shocked that Kevin Spacey is doing something like this.  I was getting a Gremlins vibe for a moment there.
Jim: Kevin Spacey, why? Jennifer Garner, why? Barry Sonnenfeld, from Men in Black to this?
Jessica: Oh Kevin. What the heck?
Rob: Ok, I think Kevin Spacey is one of the most talented actors around, but this is most certainly an odd choice of roles for someone so skilled…absolute pass.

Little Men (Magnolia) – Drama/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some language
Tag Line: Be on each other’s side.
Starring:  Greg Kinnear, Alfred Molina
Plot: A new pair of best friends have their bond tested by their parents’ battle over a dress shop lease.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: Looks like a decent film, just not a big screen type for me.  Netflix queue.
Chris: Not my cup of java.
Jim: Looks interesting, rental.
Jessica: Looks sweet, I’ll probably never remember it though. But if I ever do see it, I’d watch it at home.

Five Nights in Maine (FilmRise) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: David Oyelowo, Dianne West
Plot: A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
Running Time: 82 minutes

Jessica: Holy cow this looks intense!
Rob: Like the rest, I was left wondering what is going on after the last few seconds of this trailer.  That’s not quite enough to pull me out to the theatre, but it was a finely crafted trailer.  Hopefully the film fits the same mold and its worth checking out down the road.
Chris: The trailer has me intrigued, and wondering what the mystery is.
Jim: This one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a long time. What the heck is going on?

Front Cover (Strand Releasing) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: Love is always in style.Starring: Jack Choi, James Chen
Plot: When a gay fashion stylist works with a renowned foreign actor, they both embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jim: Looks well-made, but nah.
Jessica: I love the message, but the trailer left me feeling kind of blah.
Rob: Looks mildly interesting.  Pass.
Chris: I give this movie two snaps, a twist, and a kiss….my butt goodbye…pass.

Tickets Purchased: Unanimous Decision for Suicide Squad!

Put us in coach!
Put us in coach!