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Trailer Snark (September 30, 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!

Your trailer snark now comes with more thrills and less fill!  Let’s get right down to it!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (20the Century Fox) – Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril
Tag Line: Stay peculiar.
Starring:  Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel Jackson, Judi Dench
Plot: When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
Running Time: 127 minutes

Jessica: I didn’t read the books but hear they’re really good. I also really love Tim Burton though for some reason, this one leaves me feeling a bit blah. Not sure why. I’m sure I’ll eventually see it at home, but not a big theater film for me.
Chris:  I might catch fire for this, but I have never been a big Tim Burton fan.  He has talent and a signature style of his own, to his credit, but his calling cards typically don’t call to me.  That said, this trailer had me hooked and eager to see this film.
Jim: always worth checking out a Tim Burton movie, even if his stuff isn’t always up to par. Here’s hoping for a Beetlejuice and not an Alice in Wonderland.  Let’s hope this hangs together as a movie and not a showcase for special effects.

Deepwater Horizon (Summit Entertainment) – Action/Drama
Rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language
Tag Line: When faced with our darkest hour, hope is not a tactic.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell
Plot: A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Jim: Certainly looks well made, but it’s clearly a case of I’ve Seen This Trailer Before.
Chris: Wahlberg and Russell combo has me intrigued.  Seems like a solid action thriller with Peter Berg (have you seen The Kingdom?) in the director’s seat. All signs point to a good result.
Jessica: I saw about 30 million commercials for this the other day on Hulu and I can say confidently that I have no desire to see this movie.

Masterminds (Relativity Media) – Action/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, some language and violence
Tag Line: What would you do with $17 million?
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig
Plot: A night guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Jessica: Wait, TRUE STORY? This looks hilarious and its some top-notch comedians (to me, anyway). Though I wouldn’t pay to see this, I am totally curious and would watch it at home.
Jim: Yep, how can you pass up THAT cast?  That said, most likely a rental.
Chris:  I am with Jessica here.  Comedies are not often presented as true stories, but the trailer had me quite amused and I am always up for an Owen Wilson film….a guy who can do both funny and serious.

America Honey (A24) – Drama
Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout, drug/alcohol abuse-all involving teens
Tag Line: None
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LeBeouf
Plot: A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.
Running Time: 163 minutes

Chris: Two hours and forty three minutes of I couldn’t care less.
Jessica: I truly have ZERO interest in anything Shia LeBOOF does, because lately his movies have bored me to tears. I miss the goofy Shia. That being said, this really does nothing for me. If I want to watch a “road movie” I’ll watch “Natural Born Killers”.
Jim: Bonnie , Clyde, Thelma, Louise…their outlaw road movies said it well,  this doesn’t look like anything new.

Denial (Bleecker Street Media) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for thematic material and brief strong language
Tag Line: The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it.
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson
Plot: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Jim: This definitely had my attention, what a gripping trailer. And man, Peter Pettigrew sure looks different outside of the Harry Potter movies.
Jessica: Ahh, I was getting worried I wouldn’t want to see any of the pics this week, but this one caught my attention. I didn’t know this story and would love to learn more about someone trying to say that the Holocaust didn’t happen. Fascinating stuff.
Chris:  How could I honestly sit here and tell you that a movie about a politically charged debate would not interest me?  And one of such important historical significance?  Sold.

Danny Says (Magnolia Pictures) – Documentary/Biography
Not Rated
Tag Line: When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.
Starring: Justin Bond, Danny Fields
Plot: Danny Says is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. Danny Says follows Fields from Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion, once deemed defiant and radical, has turned out to have been prescient. Danny Says is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant garde turning prophetic, as Fields looks to the next generation.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Chris: I’ll just listen to the music, which speaks for itself.
Jim: Looks  interesting, great bands, but definitely home viewing.
Jessica: As a fan of these bands, this looks right up my alley.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Denial (Jim and Chris), One for Miss Peregrine (Jim going for a double), and One for home viewing of Luke Cage on Netflix (Jessica)

Tis' the season for debate!
Tis’ the season for debate!
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The Female Perspective: Halloween Costumes Gone MAD!

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

It’s that time of year again, when I get to look over the Halloween costumes selection and find joy in how ridiculous the designers get with what they deem a “sexy” costume. I found some good ones this year folks!

Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn't that sound fun?
Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn’t that sound fun?

To begin, I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to wear a sexy costume. This list is all in good fun because honestly, has anyone ever thought, “Gee whiz, I want to be a sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle this year”? There are plenty of the traditional sexy costumes like Harley Quinn, Egyptian Goddess, Witch or Milk Maid, but there are also some very, very silly options that I like to highlight here.

Read on, and if you pick one of these, please, for the love all things holy and fun, post a pic!

Women’s Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away Costume


Are you looking to be a sexy version of Princess Leia without all those pesky layers of white robe? Well, have I got the solution for YOU! Behold the Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away costume. Not only does it not bother to cover your legs with something as silly as a skirt or pants (Eee gads, not PANTS!) it even comes with a HOOD. So if you get cold you can just curl up into the smallest ball humanly possible and get into that hood of yours.

Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle


Sure, you like turtles, you even like ninja turtles, but are they sexy? I suppose to other turtles they might be … Hmm … Anyway, I came across this picture at random and had a good chuckle at the idea of trying to make the TMNT gang sexy. Or really, trying to make any ninjas sexy seems slightly ridiculous since ninja’s at their core, are meant to fly under the radar, not jump up on a table for all the attention. Perhaps I’m getting too literal? Regardless, whatever way you go with your turtle love, make sure you can at least eat pizza while in your costume, otherwise, what’s the point of even being a TMNT?

Sexy Optimus Prime (yes, you read that right)

Autobots! Roll Out!
Autobots! Roll Out!

Now, I can’t be alone in saying that the big OP has a sexy voice (for a talking Mack Truck) and he does some heroic stuff (“You got the power!”), but sexy? I did not think it could possibly get any sillier than a sexy TMNT ensemble, but I was wrong. This one gave me quite the chuckle, I mean it’s adorable, but if you’re a true Transformers fan, there is no way that this is going to be your costume. At least, I have never seen a woman in such an outfit at any of the Comic Con’s I’ve been to. Typically if you dress as a Transformer, you wear something blocky and bulky, the total opposite of sexy.

I will, however, admit that this one might be my favorite, the skirt is actually adorable.

Sexy Chucky Costume 


There are literally no words.

What About The Dudes?

You might be wondering, why are all these costumes for women? Well, I wondered that myself and decided to do a quick search of sexy men’s Halloween costumes. You know what I found? Stuff I can’t put in this blog for one (too risqué) and then it’s boring stuff like a guy in a suit, dressed as a Scottish Highlander (with pants under his kilt, so wrong) and other stuff like that, carpenters, firemen, etc. Nothing at all to the level of the women (see Sexy Chucky above). Though I did find this one and if anyone can tell me what the heck it is, I’ll send you a lollipop.


It seems sad that men can’t get in on the super sexy costume game like women do, but then i realized oh wait, it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they don’t feel as if they have to. Not to take this blog to a serious place but the fact is, we live in a patriarchal society where women are groomed to think they always have to be sexy or attractive and god forbid if they do something else. The other side of that is that the tide is changing, many women are choosing costumes that reflect who they are and not what society expects them to be. Not to mention, on Halloween it’s all about being someone else and sometimes that means getting a wee bit sexy. As I said before, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s on your terms and not something you feel you have to do in order to please someone.

What are YOU going as for Halloween? Let us know in the comments!


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/28/2016

Hey there comic book fans and welcome back to the Crank File. Here at the Crank File we have the best comics reviews on the planet. Nobody has better comic reviews than us. They’re great. Trust me. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who love them.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: Saga #38

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

What it is: ‘THE WAR FOR PHANG,’ Part Two When your babysitter’s a ghost, death is never very far away.

Why we love it: Another month, another issue of Saga at the top of the pile. May it rein for 100 issues. Yes, it’s honestly that good. At the risk of sounding like a broken records, you should really read Saga… read Saga… read Saga.



The Mainstream one: Spider-man Deadpool #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Joe Kelly
Art: Ed McGuinness

What it is: Her name is Itsy-Bitsy and she’s Spider-Man and Deadpool’s worst nightmare!

Why we like it: A new villainness makes her first appearance here, and she’s half-Spidey/half-Pooley. This team-up series has been laugh-out-loud hysterical and each issue has gone back for multiple printings. Make sure to grab a copy on Wednesday in case Itsy-Bitsy turns out to be big.



The Indie One: Hillbilly #3

Publisher: Albatross
Words and Art: Eric Powell

What it is: The Flesh Eating Witch Child of Hoodoo Ridge crosses paths with the tear stained traveler Rondel!

Why we like it: Hillbilly is a southern-fried mix of fantasy and horror with Eric Powell’s unmistakable artwork. The first two issues were instant sell-outs. Look for issue #3 to do the same.



The #1 One: Surgeon X #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Sara Kenney
Art: John Watkiss

What it is: What do you get if you cross a far-right British government with an antibiotic apocalypse and a gruesome murder? The birth of Surgeon X and her renegade practice. Extreme times call for extreme medicine.

Why we like it: When Karen Berger is working on a book, you pay attention. She was instrumental in the success of DC’s Vertigo imprint, bringing us essential series like Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Hellblazer, Preacher, V for Vendetta, Y: the Last Man, Fables and 100 Bullets.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #7

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp
Cover art: Jenny Frisson

What it is: One god down-how many more to go? Diana takes another step closer to the truth, and Steve Trevor confronts his past!

Why we like it: I thought I was done with Wonder Woman after Cho was kicked off the alt covers, but this Frison cover is absolutely gorgeous.


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

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Trailer Snark (September 23, 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!

Your trailer snark now comes with more thrills and less fill!  Let’s get right down to it!

The Magnificent Seven (MGM) – Western/Action
Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material
Tag Line: Justice has a number.
Starring:  Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke
Plot: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Running Time: 132 minutes

Chris: One trailer in, and I cannot imagine anything overtaking this one.  Denzell and Pratt are favorites of mine, and the Old West never looked so wild and good.
Jessica: All over this one. One, it’s a Western. Two, it’s Denzel. Three, it’s Chris Pratt. Four, it’s a WESTERN.
Jim: Oh yeah. Great cast, good director, awesome source material (Seven Samurai and the 1960 original) and a well-made trailer. Get thee to a big screen.

Storks (Warner Bros) – Animated/Family
Rated PG for mild action and some thematic elements
Tag Line: A bundle of trouble is coming.
Starring: Adam Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Kelsey Grammer
Plot: Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Jim: Kids movies are a pretty crowded field. This doesn’t look much different than the rest—possible home viewer.
Chris: I’d rather watch Sporks….you know…an animated tale of the school lunch utensil’s answer to the platypus.
Jessica: Eh. Still not a fan of animated films so I’ll pass.

Queen of Katwe (Disney) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements, an accident scene and some suggestive material
Tag Line: One girl’s triumphant path to becoming a chess champion.
Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo
Plot: An Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Jessica: This looks super sweet — perhaps TOO sweet, it is Disney so I am sure they gloss over how horrible her life truly was, but I’d watch it at home at some point.
Jim: Inspirational in a TV movie kind of way. Home viewer.
Chris: Chess movies usually don’t stir much interest for me, but this one has a nice human interest element to it.

The Dressmaker (Broad Green) – Drama
Rated R for brief language and a scene of violence
Tag Line: Revenge is back in fashion.
Starring: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth
Plot: A glamorous woman returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Chris: Not sure what to make of this one…….how about a dress?
Jessica: This look like a decent bit of fun. I enjoy Winslet and Thor’s little brother? AND HUGO WEAVING? Yeah, I’d watch this one at home.
Jim: Looks OK, good cast, but not worth plunking down the ten bucks. Home viewer.

Goat (Paramount) – Drama
Rated R for disturbing behavior involving hazing, strong sexual content and nudity, pervasive language, violence, alcohol abuse and some drug use
Tag Line: Cruelty. Brutality. Fraternity.
Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas
Plot: Reeling from a terrifying assault, a 19 year-old boy enrolls into college with his brother and pledges the same fraternity. What happens there, in the name of “brotherhood,” tests the boy and his loyalty to his brother in brutal ways.
Running Time: 96 minutes
Jim: If I want to watch morons for 2 hours, I’ll put in Dumb and Dumber. No way.
Chris:  Makes me glad I went to a school that lacked fraternities.  I’ll pass.
Jessica: What the F? Why do I care about a bunch of boys doing stupid things to be in a frat? I got annoyed and turned off the trailer. All set with this one. Forever. And no one else should see it either.

Tickets Purchased:  Unanimous decision for The Magnificent Seven!

This town ain't big enough for eight.
This town ain’t big enough for eight.
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The Female Perspective: Pumpkin Spice Whaaat??

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

I make no secret of the fact that I love all things pumpkin spiced. “The spice must flow!” Is a favorite meme/motto of mine. I have always, since I was a wee little Jessica, loved fall and fall flavors and smells. So you can imagine my delight with the fact that Autumn starts “officially’ tomorrow! I thought I’d get a jump on it and reveal some of the tastiest looking treats the fall has to offer this year. Some I’ve tried, some I have not, but all look quite tasty!


Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese


Can you say yes please, slather that stuff all over my bagel, my toast, my fingertips and toes (see what I did there)? I enjoy a good spread on my bagels, but add a little pumpkin spice flavor to the mix and it’s just bananas’.

Organic Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches


Okay, really? This is the best of both worlds. Summer and Fall all sandwiched together in a delicious little sandwich. Using graham cracker crusts as the “bread” and pumpkin pie filling, you can’t get much much better. Not to mention, they’re organic so that means they’re good for you…Right?

Godiva Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle

get in my belly, now!
get in my belly, now!

“Pumpkin spice and cheesecake ganache in a milk chocolate shell.”

I can’t even…I think I just drooled on my keyboard.

Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds


So maybe sweets aren’t your thing, maybe you like a healthier alternative to your pumpkin spice addiction  desires. Try out these yummy spiced almonds. I actually might look for these in my local market too, they sound dang yummy.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Bread


This is the perfect bread to slather with pumpkin spice cream cheese while you sip pumpkin spice coffee and burn a pumpkin spice candle while listening to the siren call of the pumpkin spice people from a land far, far away. Where it’s always fall and everything smells and tastes like love.

I’m sorry what? You think that I have a pumpkin spice problem? Shush, just look away. Look away. There’s nothing to see here — she says as she cries over a pile of pumpkin spice crumbs on her plate.

I’ll tell you, I could literally go on and on and ON about the various pumpkin spiced flavors of stuff these days and I still wouldn’t even tackle half of this stuff on the market. Sufficed to say, if you are as addicted to pumpkin spice as I am, you have more than enough choices to satisfy your gourd loving spicy self. I was kind of amazed when I saw Pop Tarts, Nutri Grain bars, ice cream, wine, marshmallows and so many more items as I scoured the internets for all things pumpkin. It’s staggering to think just a few short years ago there was so very little pumpkin spice that a girl had to go into back alley’s and do shady pumpkin spice deals all over town. Now I can walk into any CVS or Shaws and BOOM! Pumpkin spice all up in my face.

It is truly a glorious time to be alive.

If eating pumpkin spice isn’t quite enough, then check out the line of pumpkin flavored bath soaps. I am in current lust with the Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte flavor, seriously I wish I could eat it, it’s so delicious!

How about YOU? Do you love Pumpkin Spice or do you hate it? 

Why or why not?

Sound off in the comments!


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/21/2016

Greetings comic book enthusiasts and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. What cranks here, stays here. A couple of store exclusive variants featuring the evil spidey-symbiote made a lot of noise last week. KRS Comics commissioned a badazz cover for Deadpool Bank in Black  by Tyler Kirkham which sold out within hours. Frankie’s Comics announced a Venom variant by the hottest cover artist in the game, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, which sold out within hours without the artwork even being revealed. The variant market has seen some crazy movement in the last decade. There are duds which can be easily picked up at cover price, but the most desirable, high-ratio variants can climb into three figure territory just weeks after release. I have a feeling that these two variant covers have potential to fall into the latter category. The variant bubble will pop eventually, but there’s money to be made in the short term if you know how to place your bets.

It’s a good week for new books, with a lot of my personal favorites not even making the cut. Let’s take a look at what did make it.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: The Vision #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Del Mundo

What it is: The Avengers draw a line in the sand. They tell Vision he is not to cross this line. If he does, they will destroy him. ‘Remember,’ they say. ‘You’re an Avenger. First. Always.’ ‘Stay where you are,’ they say. ‘Don’t cross the line,’ they say. Vision nods. He tells them he understands. Then Vision crosses the line. The end is coming for the most critically acclaimed book of the year, and no one is safe. Don’t miss the issue everyone will be talking about. Also, hail Hydra.

Why we love it: Vision still has my vote for best comic series of the year. Two issues to go before this tragic tale of synth-imitating-life reaches it’s inevitably tragic conclusion. I’ve abandoned all hope of a happy ending, so I’m strapping in and bracing for the G’s. This is going to be train wreck ugly and I can’t look away.



The Mainstream one: Trinity #1

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Francis Manapul

What it is: ‘BETTER TOGETHER’ part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes, but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?

Why we like it: I’m a big fan of Manapul’s artwork but not all that familiar with his writing. I’ve read some of his work on ‘Tec, so I know at least he can write a good Batman. With DC’s big three under the same roof this is a can’t miss issue. Let’s just hope that it’s more entertaining than BvS.



The Indie One: Black Hammer #3

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

What it is: Long before Spiral City’s greatest heroes were written out of their universe, the Martian champion Barbalien was already stranded far from home. Disguised as churchgoing Mark Markz in the timeless farming community where the heroes find themselves trapped, Barbalien faces a terrifying personal decision, even as he relives his painful past!

Why we like it: Black Hammer is what would happen if the Avengers crash landed on the set of the television series The Prisoner. Jeff Lemire is a master at writing non-superhero, superhero books and Black Hammer is no exception. The scratchy artwork takes some getting used to, but the characters, drama and dialogue are instantly relateable.



The #1 One: Seven to Eternity #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jermoe Opena

What it is: The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperat e bid to free their world of the evil God, or accepting his promise to give Adam everything his heart desires. Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jermoe Opena and Matt Hollingsworth to take you on a hard road through the strange fantasy world of Zhal. All men have surrendered their freedom for fear. Now, one last free man must choose.

Why we like it: There’s a bunch of DC #1’s out this week, including the aforementioned Trinity and also New Teen Titan alums Cyborg and Raven. But I have a huge man-crush on Rick Remender and will always pick up the first issue of any series that he’s writing just to hear what one of the best voices in comics has to say. I can’t say that the description did much for me, but Remender and Opena are a creative dream team and Seven to Eternity will definitely be towards the top of Wednesday’s stack.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #4 (Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Connor
Art: Joseph Linser
Cover art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: ‘108 MILLION WAYS TO DIE!’ Even though she hates to leave Coney Island as it rebuilds after the zombie apocalypse, Harley must set out on a journey that will take her around the world-and into the clutches of a bizarre robotic enemy! Too bad her Mecha-Harley suit didn’t fit in the overhead bin?

Why we like it: Harley and Ivy, comic book fans’ favorite BFFs with benefits.


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

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Trailer Snark (September 16, 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!

Your trailer snark now comes with more thrills and less fill!  Let’s get right down to it!

Bridget Jones’s Baby (Miramax) – Comedy/Romance
Rated R for language, sex references and some nudity
Tag Line: We’re going to need bigger pants.
Starring: Renee Zellwegger, Colin Firth
Plot: Bridget’s focus on single life and her career is interrupted when she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch … she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Jessica: Don’t make me watch this again. Ever. I liked the first movie and that’s it. After that I have no interest in a boring, self-centered moron stumbling about doing dumb things with other dumb people.
Jim: Looking forward to this, along with the wife. Nice to see Renee Zellweger in something high-profile again.
Chris: I make it a point to not read women’s diaries, let alone watch one unfold on the screen before me.
Ken: Yawn. Wake me up when it’s time for Bridget Jones’ funeral.

Blair Witch (Lionsgate) – Horror
Rated R for language, terror and some disturbing images
Tag Line: There’s something evil hiding in the woods.
Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez
Plot: After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Ken: Looks a lot like the original, but with a little less shake in the cam. I hope one of these kids was smart enough to bring a weapon with them.
Jessica: I loved the original and I am hesitant to say that this looks promising, it’ll never be as freaky deaky as the original, but maybe? (She says, feeling hopefully optimistic because she wants to see a really scary movie).
Jim: The original’s a masterpiece, but this looks pretty cookie-cutter to me. Leave well enough alone.
Chris: Is this a remake or a sequel?  Either way, I am hesitant.  I found the first found footage movie to be a bit underwhelming.

Snowden (Open Road) – Drama/Thriller/Biography
Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line:  The only safe place is on the run.
Starring:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto
Plot: The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.
Running Time: 134 minutes

Chris: You have my attention.  Hero or villain.  I am with Jess, as I cannot decide.  Oliver Stone is a bit of a wonk, but his films are entertaining.
Ken: Oliver Stone has won a lot of awards for his controversial, political films, so there’s potential here. I wish this was a documentary and not a Hollywood affair though.
Jessica: I honestly am not sure how I feel about the real Snowden, but I adore JGL and would watch this at home to see one side of this tale.
Jim: Looks pretty intense—with the combo  of the story, JGL and Oliver Stone, could be worth a peek.

Wild Oats (Weinstein Company) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for sexual content
Tag Line: None
Starring: Demi Moore, Jessica Lange
Plot: Everything changes for Eva when she receives a life insurance check accidentally made out for $5,000,000 instead of the expected $50.000. She and her best friend take the money and head out for the adventure of a lifetime.
Running Time: 86 minutes

Jim: Have to admit this looks pretty funny—always good to see a buddy comedy trailer that doesn’t make me cringe.
Chris: I’d catch this on the small screen while none of my guy friends were looking.
Ken: Grannies gone wild. Pass.
Jessica: Oh my gosh, this movie had me as soon as I realized who the leads are. Not a theater flick, but I will totally check this out. Two amazing actresses in what looks to be a pretty funny story.

The Good Neighbor (Vertical Entertainment) – Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line:  You never know who’s watching.
Starring:  James Caan, Logan Miller
Plot: A pair of mischievous high school kids create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting neighbor. While keeping his every reaction under surveillance, they see much more than they bargained for.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Jessica: I LOVE James Caan, I’d watch this with glee to see him being evil.
Jim: Looks like this could be  a good one for James Caan…looks interesting.
Chris: Oh yeah.  Thrillers are always more effective when they are “close to home”.  I haven’t seen much of James Caan over the past couple of years, but his turn as a sinister neighbor looks brilliant from the trailer.
Ken: Of all the people in the neighborhood, why would you pick the creepy, mentally unstable, old man that lives alone to mess with? The trailer was intense and definitely had me in suspense.

Miss Stevens (The Orchard) – Comedy/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line:  Everyone needs a chaperone.
Starring:  Lily Rabe, Oscar Nunez
Plot: A comedy focused on a teacher who chaperones a group of high schoolers to a state drama competition.
Running Time: 86 minutes

Ken: A must miss.
Jessica: This looks adorably uncomfortable. I do like Lily Rabe from American Horror Story and I’d probably catch this at home one night. Looks enjoyable, but weird and quirky. Like me!
Jim: Seconding JL’s comment, looks enjoyable.
Chris:  I was relieved that it didn’t go down some creepy Mary Jo Laterneau road.

Silicon Cowboys (FilmRise) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line:  They risked their future to create ours.
Starring: A bunch of real people.
Plot: Three friends dream up the Compaq portable computer at a Texas diner in 1981, and soon find themselves battling mighty IBM, for PC supremacy. Their improbable journey altered the future of computing and shaped the world we now know.
Running Time: 77 minutes

Chris: Always interested in tech giant documentaries…..this one is no exception, but I will stream it on Netflix instead.
Ken: I’m a techie and a documentary junkie, so this is a definite watch for me.
Jessica: While I get how important these guys were to the computing world, I got bored halfway through and started doing other stuff. Not for me!
Jim: This looks really interesting, and definitely worth a rental.

Tickets Purchased: Two for The Good Neighbor (Jessica and Chris), One for Wild Oats (Jim), and One for Silicon Cowboys (Ken)

Not sure James Caan's turn as a Good Neighbor even has wifi, but he sure has some secrets....yikes.
Not sure James Caan’s turn as a Good Neighbor even has wifi, but he sure has some secrets….yikes.
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The Female Perspective: What I’m Reading, the “American Gods” Edition

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

“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
~Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

By Neil Gaiman
By Neil Gaiman

I am just about finished with my 2nd read of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, his take on the old Gods, the new Gods and what a man caught in the middle does when he learns their secrets. I read this book a couple years ago and I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan. I had heard so many good things about it, but I wasn’t ravenously inspired by the story nor did I quite understand why it was such a popular novel. I decided to give it a 2nd read because I am excited about the upcoming show and I thought, “Let me give this bad boy another chance to impress me.”

The 2nd read has done it folks. I am loving this book now. I totally get it. This book is fantastic. Maybe not in my top 5 favorite books, but definitely in my top 10 without question.

I admit also that I’m not a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I thought the Stardust movie was better than the book and while I enjoyed what I’ve read of the Sandman series, I’m not so overcome with love for Gaiman that I have to devour every book he puts out. I think I’ll be giving his catalog of books a 2nd chance though because I like how he writes. He’s like Stephen King, but with a strange, twisted in a non-horrific way that I totally dig.


If you have not read the book, stop here if you don’t want to know anything about it.

Take the main character in American Gods, Shadow, first off, great name. Secondly, you kind of fall in love with him immediately. He’s down on his luck, in prison for a crime and sure, he’s a criminal, but you immediately sense that there is more to this guy than just doing something wrong and going to jail for it. Besides, he just got out of prison early because his wife is dead. He seems lost, out of sorts, unsure of what to do in the free world.

Then he meets a mysterious man and things get seriously weird.

“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

We start to suss out the story, there are Gods on Earth. Old Gods and the New, more annoying, Gods. We have Gods of the media, of electronics, of our pop culture that reflect back at us our own failings, our own systemic-self indulgence. We (as the reader) look at the new Gods and we scoff at them, thinking, I don’t believe in a God of TV. But the fact is, we do– In our own way– worship the boob tube and we will continue to do so until our dying day. We think, the old Gods are so much cooler than the new Gods. But then the story is over and we realize that the old Gods are just as messed up and flawed as the new ones and they are lead by liars and cheats.
“American Gods”, art by Chris Buzelli

American Gods is a story about worship, about the culture we live in, about lies and truth. Belief and disbelief. Shadow is trying to make sense of this world he’s stumbled into and it continually zigs and zags away from him, become more confused and convoluted with each God we meet. And we meet some good ones, Odin, Loki, Horus, Gods from Hindu mythology and Gods I have no idea where they came from. In the midst of it all, a storm is coming, a war is imminent and we think we know which side is the “right” side, but by the end that’s all flipped and maybe we realize there is no right or wrong side. There’s just the side that wants blood and the side that doesn’t.

“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

American Gods is a great tale to read today, with our insane politics and just in general in the midst of a world obsessed with selfies and Instagram and Snapchat. We’ve created new Gods even in the time since Gaiman wrote this. Gods of Facebook, Gods of Twitter. It’s amazing how the tides of worship flit from one to another, creating a God and then abandoning it to flounder and starve when it is ignored, unloved. It’s a fascinating idea, to think that belief in a thing can make it into something “real”, something with ideas and feelings, and it’s even more fascinating to think that once the tide of belief has turned to something else, that God that’s been created is left in a world that no longer cares as it desperately attempts to become relevant again.

American Gods is a mix of fantasy and mythology. It’s also a love story, a story about a man trying to find his way in a world that’s forgotten him and a story about belief. It’s so much more than I thought it was when I first read it and if you’ve read it and didn’t love it, I suggest you give it a 2nd read because you might just see more than you thought was there. You might begin to believe.

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of "American Gods'!
Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of “American Gods’!

What are YOU reading? Have you read American Gods yet? Are you planning on watching the TV show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/14/2016

Greetings comic book aficionados and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the crankiest place on the net. This Saturday, September 17 is Batman Day (happy birthday Bats!) and that means there’s a good chance that your local comic shop will be giving away all sorts of free stuff. For those not in the know, Batman Day originated in 2013 as a celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary. It was such a hit with retailers and fans that DC has promoted it every year since. So get out there this weekend and grab that sweet Bat-swag.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: All-Star Batman #2 (Shalvey variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: John Romita Jr

What it is: ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ part 2! All aboard the train ride from hell! Batman and Two-Face continue their journey to Harvey Dent’s cure through an assassin-infested landscape. But can the Dark Knight continue his crusade across the countryside when Two Face turns one of his greatest allies against him?

Why we love it: With Batman Day coming up, it’s only fitting that he takes the top spot this week. Issue #1 was classic Snyder, throwing us headfirst into a crazy adventure in progress, quickly bringing us up to speed, only to crack a bombshell reveal over our slack-jawed heads in the closing panels. Issue #2 drops this week and surprisingly I’m passing on the Jock cover in favor of this sweet Shalvey variant.



The Mainstream one: The Flash #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico

What it is: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE’ part 6! You’ve seen glimpses of him. You’ve witnessed the carnage he’s unleashed on Central City. Now meet Godspeed, the super-speed serial killer who murders speedsters and steals their powers. Barry Allen is going to need help!

Why we like it: I really hope this is when we quit getting teased with half page cameos and finally witness the epic head-to-head showdown with Godspeed that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting since Rebirth. I also hope that they finally give August Heart a proper superhero moniker.



The Indie One: Lady Killer #2

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Joelle Jones
Art: Joelle Jones

What it is: Josie accepts an offer to team up and discovers the partnership is a match made in hit heaven. But not everything is smooth sailing when the local hit squad discovers who her new partner is.

Why we like it: Everyone’s favorite suburban assassin-slash-homemaker is back with a new volume, packed with all the kills and thrills we’ve come to expect from Lady Killer. Come for the retro pinup covers, stay for the murder and intrigue.


The #1 One: Doom Patrol #1

Publisher: DC (Young Animals)
Words: Gerard Way
Art: Nick Derington

What it is: The atoms are buzzing. The daydreams crowd sentient streets, and the creative team has been warned, ‘Turn back now or suffer the mighty consequence of sheer, psycho-maniacal mayhem.’ Generation-arsonists unite-this is DOOM PATROL, and the God of the Super Heroes is bleeding on the floor. A blenderized reimagining of the ultimate series of the strange, DOOM PATROL combines elements from classic runs, new directions, and things that could not be. Our entry point is Casey Brinke, a young EMT on the graveyard shift to abstract enlightenment, with a past so odd that she’s not entirely sure what is real and what is not. Along with her partner, Sam Reynolds, the pair blaze a path through the city and its denizens, finding the only quiet that exists at 3am is the chaos of the brain. When the pair answer a hit-and-run call, they find themselves face to face with a familiar figure: Cliff Steele, AKA Robotman. ‘It gets weirder from here,’ writer Gerard Way had to say about the book, with artist Nick Derington gripping tightly on the wheel of the ambulance. The pair’s only communication? Shouting out of the open windows while at high velocity. Who needs a new roommate? Who names a cat ‘Lotion’? And when do we get to see all those muscles? Find your answers inside the pages of this comic book, as we set the stage for new beginnings, as well as the re-introduction of some classic DOOM PATROL characters, including Niles Caulder, Negative Man, Flex Mentallo, and Crazy Jane. The debut title of DC’s Young Animal line kicks off with a removable sticker on its cover: Pull back the gyro to reveal its secrets, but be warned-there is no turning back.

Why we like it: Yeesh, did anyone understand what the heck that was supposed to mean? I am not familiar with Grant Morrison’s classic run on Doom Patrol and don’t know if that would help put this bizarre description into any kind of context, but there’s been major buzz surrounding DC’s Young Animals imprint and this is going to be the line’s flagship title. I have no idea what exactly to expect, but I expect it to be all sorts of weird and entertaining. Also, apparently you can peel off the gyro off the cover to reveal something hidden underneath.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #10

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Joelle Jones
Cover art: David Aja

What it is: The murder of a famous warlock takes the SCARLET WITCH to KYOTO, JAPAN! But little does she know, that as WANDA hunts the murderer, the murderer is also hunting her!!!

Why we like it: Aja is a master. With a palette consisting of just three colors, he has crafted gorgeous cover after gorgeous cover during this Scarlet Witch run. I will also pick up the Black Panther Udon variant if I can find it for a decent price.


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

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Trailer Snark (September 9, 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!

Your trailer snark now comes with more thrills and less fill!  Let’s get right down to it!

Sully (Warner Bros.) – Drama/Biography
Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language
Tag Line: The untold story behind the miracle on the Hudson.
Starring:  Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart
Plot: Story of the man who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of the airplane flights 155 crew and passengers.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: Eastwood and Hanks = Instant Winner
Jessica: If anyone can do this role justice, it’s Hanks. I honestly didn’t realize that the real Sully went through so much after the landing, looks interesting, but a home viewer for me
Ken: Could Tom Hanks be our greatest national treasure? If anyone else was playing the lead, I would have given this a pass.

When the Bough Breaks (Screen Gems) – Drama/Horror/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality/partial nudity, thematic elements, some disturbing images, and language
Tag Line: She’s carrying more than just a secret.
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall
Plot: A surrogate mom for a couple becomes dangerously obsessed with the soon-to-be father.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Ken: Move along. Nothing new to see here.
Chris: I will not brake for this movie.
Jessica: This ground has been mostly well-tred before but it looks like a decent adaptation and it’s Juice from Sons of Anarchy! Again, another one I might check out at home, if I came across it accidentally and went, “Oh yeah, i remember this from Trailer Snark”.

The Disappointments Room (Rogue Pictures) – Drama/Horror/Thriller
Rated R for violent content, bloody images, some sexuality and language
Tag Line: Some mysteries should not be unlocked.
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Lucas Till
Plot: A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Jessica: Anytime a trailer starts with someone saying “Its a new beginning”, you know bad things are about to go down. I got bored during the trailer, I’ll most likely skip this one. It doesn’t look engaging enough to even be a fun kind of scary movie. Just looks like stuff that’s been done before.
Ken: The real disappointments room will be theater screening this movie. Maybe the trailer just wasn’t very effective but it didn’t evoke even the slightest feeling of dread.
Chris: Just what the scary doctor ordered!

The Wild Life (Lionsgate) – Family/Animation
Rated PG for mild action/peril and some rude humor
Tag Line: Adventure’s in full swing.
Starring: Matthias Schweighofer, Kaya Yanar
Plot: A daring parrot recounts how Robinson Crusoe came to be stranded on a tropical island.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Chris: Mildly amusing and may be a nice one to watch at home with my animation loving wife.
Jessica: This did nothing for me whatsoever.
Ken: This has direct to DVD written all over it. If that’s Robinson Crusoe then the ship that wrecked was a slaver ship on a mission to haul slaves across the Atlantic from Africa. Sort of makes it hard to sympathize for the guy.

Other People (Vertical Entertainment) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford
Plot: A struggling comedy writer, fresh off a breakup and in the midst of the worst year of his life, returns to Sacramento to care for his dying mother.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Ken: This looks funny and touching, and Molly Shannon surprised the heck out of me with her dramatic acting chops. That said, this feels like well worn territory but could be worth a rental.
Chris: It’s probably a fantastic Lifetime movie.
Jessica: I have to say, Molly Shannon surprises me here and Jesse Plemons was fantastic on “Friday Night Lights”. I’d watch this, not in the theater, but I’d totally watch this at home and probably laugh/cry.

Kicks (Focus World) – Adventure
Rated R for violence, drug/alcohol use and language throughout, and sexual content – involving teens
Tag Line: They aren’t just shoes.
Starring: Jahking Guillory, Christopher Jordan Wallace
Plot: Brandon is a 15 year old whose dream is a pair of fresh Air Jordans. Soon after he gets his hands on them, they’re stolen by a local hood, causing Brandon and his two friends go on a dangerous mission through Oakland to retrieve them.
Running Time: 80 minutes

Jessica: All I could think of was that movie that I can’t think of the title of that has Jake Gyllenhaal and that dang rabbit, this kid has an astronaut. Interesting looking film, but not interesting enough for me to shell out my hard-earned dollars at the theater.
Ken: Makes me glad I grew up in white-bred suburbia. This looks like a damn fine movie about coming of age in a black urban community in the vein of Boys in the Hood.
Chris: My kids would love this movie…me, not so much.

Come What May (Cohen Media Group) – Drama/War
Rated R for some war violence/bloody images
Tag Line: France, May 1940. Millions abandon all they have. One father searches for all that matters.
Starring: Olivier Gourmet, August Deihl
Plot: In may 1940, the German troops enter France. Frightened by the progress of the enemy, the people of a small village of Pas-de-Calais decide on the recommendations of the prefecture, to give up everything to go on the road, fleeing to the coast.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Chris: I am a sucker for WWII movies, so count me in.  I like that the Germans actually deliver their lines in German.
Jessica: I usually love WWII movies as well, but this one kind of left me a bit blah. Could be a great film, but the trailer was lackluster.
Ken: Yuck, subtitles. I usually watch movies when I’m feeling too lazy to read.

Demon (The Orchard) -Comedy/Horror/Thriller
Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Itay Tiran, Agnieszka Zulewska
Plot: A bridegroom is possessed by an unquiet spirit in the midst of his own wedding celebration, in this clever take on the Jewish legend of the dybbuk.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Ken: As if it didn’t look creepy enough, the movie’s director hung himself after he completed this film.
Chris: The trailer is sufficiently creepy but The Disappointments Room is all that plus Kate Benckinsale.  Sorry Demon…but you lose.
Jessica: Now this looks intriguing! If I had to choose between the Disappointments movie and this one, I’d hands down go with this one. Using an old world legend in a new world? I’m SOLD. Looks creepy and artsy and as if it’ll make you jump a bit.

Tickets Purchased: One for Demon (Ken), One for Other People (Jessica) and One for The Disappointments Room (Chris)

Molly Shannon cuts a PSA to remind people to use the bathroom before grabbing your theater seat so you don't miss her dramatic turn in Other People!
Molly Shannon cuts a PSA to remind people to use the bathroom before grabbing your theater seat so you don’t miss her dramatic turn in Other People!