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Trailer Snark (December 29, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

All the Money in the World (Sony Pictures) – Biography/Crime/Drama
Rated R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content
Tag Line: J. Paul Getty had a fortune.  Everyone else paid the price.
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams
Plot: The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.
Running Time: 132 minutes

Molly’s Game (STX Entertainment) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for language, drug content and some violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Plot: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.
Running Time: 140 minutes

Phantom Thread (Focus Features) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis
Plot: Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.
Running Time: 130 minutes

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Sony Picture Classics) – Biography/Drama/Romance
Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief nudity
Tag Line: Love, just like in the movies.
Starring: Jamie Bell, Annette Benning, Vanessa Redgrave
Plot: A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady.
Running Time: 105 minutes

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 27, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a special Boxing Day episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out. It’s the last Wednesday of 2017 and I want to thank all of you for reading this article and wish you a happy 2018.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Doomsday Clock #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: DC and Watchmen characters collide at last! The story that began in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 comes to a thrilling and unexpected crescendo in the pages of this titanic twelve-issue series by the all-star team that brought you BATMAN: EARTH ONE and SHAZAM! In this second chapter: The Dark Knight discovers another relic from the Watchmen world. Lex Luthor pays a devil’s bargain. And killer clowns trek through Gotham seeking a madman. RATED T+

Why we love it: No sugar coating, I was disappointed with issue #1. In fairness, my expectations were pretty high to start. But the first issue was a long, dense read that explained basically nothing except for introducing a few new characters. The $6 price tag didn’t do me any favors either. I’m still holding out hope for issue #2, and really hope it shines some light on where this series is going, otherwise this could be a quick jump off for me.

 The Mainstream One: Thanos #14

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: THANOS WINS Part 2. Thanos has journeyed to the end of time to the moment of his complete victory…and he’s not happy with what he sees! Writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw (God Country) continue the tale of the Mad Titan’s biggest glory and ultimate shame! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The same creative team that brought us the awesome God Country brings us an awesome Thanos story. In the previous issue we were introduced to a cosmic Ghost Rider as well as a future version of Thanos that has succeeded in conquering the galaxy. It was a fantastic setup issue and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

 The Indie One: Redneck #8

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: You never see the thing that gets you in the end. At least, that’s how the saying goes, but with the Bowmans taking on new blood, is the thing that’s going to end up killing them right in front of their very faces? And what does a weird albino boy out in the woods have to do with all this?

Why we like it: Donny Cates makes the list a second time. If that seems like a recurring theme this year, it’s because I think Cates has the potential to be a great comic book writer and Redneck shows off his talent in full view. If you can get past the scratchy artwork, you will be treated to an intelligent vampire story that relies as much on character drama, family dynamics and existential musings as traditional horror tropes.

 The #1 One: Phoenix Resurrection (Artgerm variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is:  She will return, like a Phoenix from the ashes. Years ago, Jean Grey died and the X-Men mourned her. Since then, the world has changed, her teammates have lived without her and died without her. And now, when strange events start happening all over the world, those teammates can only come to one conclusion – the one true Jean Grey is back! Rated T+

Why we like it: There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes and the resurrection of Jean Grey. You just can’t keep a good woman down. I’m super excited for the Phoenix’s most recent return and have high hopes for this creative team. There are a bunch of retailer variants being released for this issue, as well as a slew of store exclusives. I think the Artgerm covers are the best. There is a regular priced version features a red Dark Phoenix. The cover shown above where she’s wearing the classic green and gold Phoenix costume is a 1:100 ratio variant. Good luck finding one on Wednesday.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mace Windu #5 (40th Anniv variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Denys Owen
Cover Art: Salvador Larroca

What it is: Having rooted out the rebellion in their ranks, Master Windu and his companions make their final stand against the AD-W4 and his droid army! Rated T

Why we like it: There have been some good 40th anniversary Star Wars covers, and there have been a few great ones. I think this falls under the latter. Salvador Larroca is a master and he beautifully captures one of the most iconic moments from New Hope here. There’s also a Mace Windu action figure variant for this issue, but I think the 40th anniv variant could be a sleeper.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (December 22, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Columbia Pictures) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language
Tag Line: The game has evolved.
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart
Plot: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting, becoming the adult avatars they choose.
Running Time: 119 minutes

Chris: When I heard about a remake, I just shook my head. But this looks to be a reinvention, and it smacks of great entertainment.
Jim: Ooooeeeee! Some great trailers this week. Despite being yet another “remake”, Jumanji looks like a blast! With the ever-likable Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black and a great premise, this looks like a winner.

The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox) – Musical/Drama/Biography
Rated PG for thematic elements including a brawl
Tag Line: None
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams
Plot: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Jim: An impressive trailer for a very timely subject since B and B said goodbye this year. There are never enough great musicals and this looks like it could be one.
Chris: I am a bit ambivalent about musicals on screen, but this one came across better than expected. I won’t be signing in my theater seat, however.

Pitch Perfect 3 (Universal) – Musical/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and some action.
Tag Line: Last call, pitches.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow
Plot: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris: I have successfully navigated life without seeing the first two. A third entry in the series is not going to change that.
Jim: I’ve seen the other two with my daughter, gotta admit we like ’em. Anna Kendrick is always an asset. 

Hostiles (Entertainment Studios) – Drama/Adventure/Western
Rated R for strong violence, and language
Tag Line: We are all hostiles.
Starring: Christian Bale, Scott Shepherd, Rosamund Pike
Plot: In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Running Time: 133 minutes

Jim: Good, solid-looking western, albeit a mite self-important.
Chris: Wow, did this one take me by surprise. Looks like a must-see!

Downsizing (Paramount) – Comedy/Drama/Sci-Fi
Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity and drug use.
Tag Line: We are meant for something bigger.
Starring: Matt Damon, Christoph Walz, Kristen Wiig
Plot: A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.
Running Time: 135 minutes

Chris: I am sorry but I have been seeing this one plugged in just about every trailer offering in every movie I have seen recently at the local theater, and I am just not buying it. Matt Damon shrinkage issues are not for me.
Jim: Despite the talent involved, this just looks unappealing.

Father Figures (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated R for language and sexual references throughout
Tag Line: Finding Their Father Would Be a Family Miracle.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close
Plot: Upon learning that their mother has been lying to them for years about their allegedly deceased father, two fraternal twin brothers hit the road in order to find him.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jim: A great trailer. What could have been some pretty dumb stuff just looks hilarious. Top-tier comic talent helps.
Chris: I actually prefer Owen Wilson when he takes on more serious roles. He really is a pretty good dramatic actor. We are in definitive rental territory here.

The Post (20th Century Fox) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for language and brief war violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks
Plot: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Chris: Could be a pretty decent drama, but not enough to beat out the draw of Jumanji or Hostiles this week.
Jim: Fairly screams BIG IMPORTANT MOVIE, but there’s no denying the size of the talent involved or the relevance of the subject matter.

Tickets Purchased: One for Jumanji (Chris) and one for Father Figures (Jim)

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 20, 2017

Season’s greetings comic book fans and welcome to a holiday spectacular episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Dark Knights Metal #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The Justice League has been broken and scattered to the far corners of the DCU, each member forced to face their worst fears alone…and the fears are winning. When an unlikely ally reveals a glimmer of hope, they must seize their chance, or risk their window of opportunity closing for good!

Why we love it: As the mystery behind Metal has been slowly revealed, I’ve really started enjoying this horrifyingly, dark read. It took me a bit to warm up to it, but after the events of issue #3 I’m completely sold on the rest of Metal. This mini-series has already enjoyed a measure of success bringing the Sandman universe into the DC universe and spawning a breakout villain with the Batman Who Laughs (and who really needs a better code name).

The Mainstream One: Tales of Suspense #100

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Travel Foreman

What it is: RED LEDGER Part 1 (OF 5) SPRINGING FROM THE PAGES OF SECRET EMPIRE! THE BLACK WIDOW is dead…but someone is killing her enemies. With a broken heart and a bloody trail to follow, HAWKEYE is looking for answers. And the only person alive who may have them is Natasha Romanoff’s OTHER ex-boyfriend, THE WINTER SOLDIER. Can they trust each other long enough to unravel the web of mysteries that Black Widow left behind? Rated T+

Why we like it: Natasha Romanova is dead (it was Stevil Rodgers with a shield on the steps of the Capitol Building). The return of the Tales of Suspense title will involve plenty of cloak and dagger situations and I suspect it will also lead to the return of the Black Widow. Wouldn’t it be funny if Marvel gender swapped Black Widow and one of these dude’s took up her mantle? Matthew Rosenberg is a good writer who hasn’t quite found his footing at Marvel yet, but I always enjoy his dialogue. And I’m really digging the Marco Checchetto cover.

The Indie One: Hellboy Krampusnacht #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Mike Mignola
Art: Adam Hughes

What it is: The only thing more exciting than pitting Hellboy against this Satanic spin on Santa is the team-up of Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes.

Why we like it: Nothing says Christmas like Hellboy fighting the Krampus.

The #1 One: Marvel  Two-in-one #1 (Alex Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: The Fate of the Four Part 1 THE FOUR ARE NO MORE, SO TWO MUST DO! Something is very wrong with THE HUMAN TORCH and only THE THING can help him! It’s the Marvel Universe reunion you’ve all been waiting for (well, HALF of it, at least!). Plus: What monumental secret has DOOM been hiding since the end of SECRET WARS, and how will it completely change the lives of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Rated T

Why we like it: The return of Marvel Two-in-one is likely just the precursor to the full on return of the Fantastic Four. Now that Disney has secured the film rights for Marvel’s first family, the FF’s return in 2018 is pretty much a lock. I like the Art Adams variant cover the best, but had to show the Alex Ross variant here because the body positioning and the look on the Thing’s face are funny to me.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #33

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: John Timms
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: “The Mourning After!”. Reeling from the death of her boyfriend Mason Macabre, Harley desperately needs something, anything else to think about — and deliverance has arrived on Coney Island’s beach, in the form of a strangely hairy, strangely looney distraction!

Why we like it: Another gorgeous piece by the master Frank Cho. The line work is just mind-bogglingly detailed, evoking a woodblock carving style. This is in my top 3 favorites from Cho’s run on Harley cover Bs.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (December 15, 2018 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Disney) – Action/Advernture/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Tag Line: None
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver
Plot: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.
Running Time: 152 minutes

Rob F: It’s finally here!!! We’re going to get some answers about Luke, Rey, and Snoke! We’re going to build on the greatest entertainment franchise in the history of mankind. This is way better than Christmas! Fan event tickets for Thursday’s first showing are locked and loaded on IMAX. May the Force be with you…
Chris: The reinvigorated franchise is back with the middle frame of its latest trilogy, and throngs of Star Wars faithful will never be the same.  Every movie is an event in and of itself.  Let the debate begin on the result.

Ferdinand (20th Century Fox Animation) – Animation/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG for rude humor, action and some thematic elements
Tag Line: This Christmas, BULL-ieve.
Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Canavale
Plot: After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Chris: With this week’s purchase of Fox’s film rights, don’t we technically consider this one a Disney Film?  Is there a princess in it anywhere?  Is John Cena the princess?  Will John Cena now visit my house to bodyslam me through my coffee table?  News at 11.
Rob F: Looks mediocre, but will probably end up watching it as a rental with my youngest down the road.  

Permanent (Magnolia) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude sexual references, language and thematic elements
Tag Line: Hairstyles are temporary. Families are forever.
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson, Kira McLean
Plot: Permanent is a comedy about bad hair, adolescence, and socially awkward family members. It involves life-altering permanents and poorly-made toupees. Obstacles to daily survival ensue.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Rob F: Hard pass. If this were a magazine I would not be a subscriber.
Chris: I wouldn’t buy a ticket with Rob’s wallet.

Beyond Skyline (Vertical Entertainment) – Action/Adventure/Horror
Rated R for sequences of bloody sci-fi violence, and language throughout.
Tag Line: None
Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Iko Uwais
Plot: A tough-as-nails detective embarks on a relentless pursuit to free his son from a nightmarish alien warship.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris:  I hadn’t even heard of this one before seeing the news of its release this week.  But it looks to me like a fun little theater outing.  Frank Grillo is bad*ss.
Rob F: I would probably enjoy renting this. It’s got no chance at the box office though.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Star Wars….like it was a contest.

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 13, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Mister Miracle #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is:  How do you spend your last night on Earth? Why, with the one you love, of course! Having been condemned to death by the new Highmaster, Mister Miracle is going to have to return to New Genesis for his execution. Before he does, he and Big Barda go on one last date. But if Scott Free truly is infected by Darkseid, as Orion says, you can bet some dark force will intervene-only to what end? MATURE READERS

Why we love it: Wait a minute… Mister Miracle #5 at the top of the pile two weeks in a row? So the website I use to track new releases messed up last week and a few of my picks from last week actually are out this week. Sloppy journalism, I know, always double check references. Anyways Mister Miracle #5 is actually out this week and this issue is being framed as a love story. Sounds like Scott Free and Big Barda are getting some QT together but you just know that crazy is going to hit the fan by the end of it.

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #993

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Steve Pugh

What it is: BOOSTER SHOT’ part one! As Superman struggles to cope with Mr. Oz’s true identity, the Man of Steel turns to the only ‘hero’ he knows who can prove once and for all if Oz’s story is true: Booster Gold! But a massive power doesn’t want our heroes venturing through time, and will do anything it can to sabotage their journey! RATED T

Why we like it: Hey kids look, it’s Booster Gold! One of the most notable absences throughout the New 52 and Rebirth has been DC’s super-popular time traveling hero. He’s been effectively MIA since Flashpoint but it appears he’s finally back in the DCU and hopefully here to stay. Only 7 more issues until Action Comics hits the mind-boggling 1000 issue mark, so I get the feeling this Booster story arc is leading to something big.

The Indie One: Rumble #1

Publisher: Image
Words: John Arcudi
Art: David Rubin

What it is: ‘SOUL WITHOUT PITY,’ Part One Rathraq is back! But who is he, exactly? Once an ancient warrior god, he was resurrected as a sword-wielding scarecrow. And now, Rathraq has transformed yet again-or has he? JOHN ARCUDI and new artist, superstar DAVID RUBÍN, give you the new face of Rathraq and a new direction for the series when the critically acclaimed RUMBLE returns!

Why we like it: This #1 is actually the first issue of volume 2. I really liked volume 1 and enjoyed Rumble’s mix of supernatural horror, comedy and drama. The second volume brings a new artist on board and has been on my radar for a while. I will definitely be giving this book a peak on Wednesday.

The #1 One: Giants #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words and Art: Carlos and Manuel, The Valderrama Bros.

What it is: A cataclysm of unknown origins unleashed a race of gigantic monsters whose presence has driven humanity underground. There, two orphans discover that the most dangerous monster is ambition, which unchecked, will grow until it devours you!

Why we like it: I was able to read an advance preview of this book online and I was very impressed with what I saw. You can check out a preview here and decide for yourself: https://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/3001-017/Giants-1

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #27

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ryan North
Art: Erica Henderson
Cover Art: Veronica Fish

What it is: THE FORBIDDEN PLA-NUT Part 1 What happens when we take Squirrel Girl back to her roots? Well, we shoot her into space, OBVIOUSLY. Nancy and Tippy find themselves on an alien world where all is not what it seems. Squirrel Girl needs to find a way to get to the other side of the universe to save ’em, STAT. Intergalactic transport through the cosmic realm? This sounds like a job for the Sorcerer Supreme! I’m sure Doctor Strange will be happy to he – I’m sorry, what’s that? Doctor Strange is gone and now LOKI is Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme? Oh. Well, I’m sure he’ll do his best. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Guess what, in this issue, everything possible goes wrong! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Rated T

Why we like it: We’re big fans of local artist Veronica Fish here at the Crank File. We’re also big fans of the classic Stan Lee/Moebius collaboration, Silver Surfer: Parable, which in my opinion is one of the finest Silver Surfer stories ever told. Veronica absolute nails this cover swipe. A shame that the first printing will be ruined by a horrible, ineffective lenticular cover. I might be holding out for the non-lenticulating second print on this one.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (December 8, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

 

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) – Adventure/Fantasy/Drama
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language
Tag Line: A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon
Plot: An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Chris: Del Toro films are always on point but I am not taken with this trailer.  I am sure it won’t disappoint, however.
Jim: At the very least, this is just amazing to look at. Couple this with the strong cast and this could be another Pan’s Labyrinth for del Toro.

Just Getting Started (Broad Green Pictures) – Action/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for language, suggestive material and brief violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Glenne Headly, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo, Tommy Lee Jones
Plot: A two-hander action comedy in the vein of Midnight Run (1988), about an ex-F.B.I. Agent (Tommy Lee Jones) and an ex-mob lawyer in the Witness Protection Program (Morgan Freeman) having to put aside their petty rivalry on the golf course to fend off a mob hit.

Jim: I was going to say possible rental until I realized it was a Ron Shelton movie. The subject matter still isn’t enough to get me into a theater, but the cast and writer-director upgrade it to definite rental.
Chris: The trailer is mildly entertaining, but not enough to drop the wallet for a theater viewing.  Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones are a solid one-two punch for any movie.

I, Tonya (30West) – Biography/Drama/Sports
Rated R for pervasive language, violence, and some sexual content/nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Plot: Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

Chris: I remember when competitive ice skating turned into a Jerry Springer-like joke of a fiasco.  And I was ready to cry “Why? Why?” at making a movie about it all, but then I saw the trailer, and now I can’t help but be intrigued by the spectacle.  Nice job trailer editing people!
Jim: Margot Robbie is always worth watching (heck, even in still photographs), Allison Janney is amazing, and the unbelievable story held the world captive back in ’94. Definite Rental 2

November Criminals (Sony Pictures) – Crime/Drama/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content including teen sexuality, drug material, brief violence and strong language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Ansel Elgort, Catherine Keener
Plot: A teenager takes on his own investigation of a murder in Washington D.C.

Jim: A nicely done trailer certainly stirs my interest, but not as a visit to a movie theater.
Chris: Alright, you got my attention!  If the movie is as good as the trailer portends, we may have a nice little film on our hands here.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for The Shape of Water

 

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 13, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Mister Miracle #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: How do you spend your last night on Earth? Why, with the one you love, of course! Having been condemned to death by the new Highmaster, Mister Miracle is going to have to return to New Genesis for his execution. Before he does, he and Big Barda go on one last date. But if Scott Free truly is infected by Darkseid, as Orion says, you can bet some dark force will intervene-only to what end? MATURE READERS

Why we love it: Still pretty fuzzy about what the heck is going on in this book but I love it. King and Garad’s Miracle Man is dark, disturbing and fearless, and must not be missed.

  The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #3 (of 7)

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: Tragedy strikes, and the Bat-family face the fight of their lives against an army of super-villains and waning public support. A new discovery reinforces Jack’s plot to jeopardize the Dark Knight’s standing in Gotham City, and Harley’s obsession with The Joker reaches a new height-and threatens to change the game for good! RATED T+

Why we like it: The rumors of Harley appearing as Neo-Joker has provided lot of heat on this book, especially this Sean Murphy cover. Regardless, this series has been great so far and is worth a pickup just for the read.

The Indie One: Extremity #9

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: As Thea and Rollo risk life and limb to revive a fallen friend, Annora proves that the beasts below aren’t the only monsters prowling the Ancient Dark.

Why we like it: Extremity is one of my favorite Image books being published right now. I originally picked this title up for the artwork but have stuck around for the surprisingly deep and nuanced, anti-war narrative.

  

The #1 One: Paradiso #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Ram V
Art: Dev Pramanik

What it is: The Midnight Event forever changed the world. Now, centuries later, Jack Kryznan arrives on the outskirts of Paradiso City, haunted by fragments of childhood memories and in possession of a mysterious device-one with the power to change the destiny of this living breathing metropolis, the people who dwell within, and the guardians who strive for and against it.

Why we like it: Pretty cool premise but I’m always up for a dystopian sci-fi story.  If you’re on the fence, you can check out a preview of issue #1 here https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/09/exclusive-image-comics-preview-paradiso-is-the-pos.html

  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Amazing Spider-Man #792

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: VENOM INC. Part 2 Spider-Man finds himself between Eddie and a mysterious new figure! And Black Cat and her gang find themselves face-to-face with an amped-up villain named Maniac that might just rip those faces right off. Rated T

Why we like it: I think that these ASM Alex Ross covers aren’t getting enough love. I think maybe the Dan Slott hate has gone too far because a lot of these are getting overlooked by collectors. Case and point, this cover one featuring Spidey, Venom and Anti-venom is an absolute beauty that is going right into my personal collection.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (December 1, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

The Disaster Artist (New Line Cinema) – Biography/Drama/Comedy
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Dave Franco, James Franco, Seth Rogen
Plot: When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Chris: I know there is a lot of James Franco hate.  Now you get twice the Franco!  I don’t hate Franco.
Jim: I’m writing this while still trying to get over the trailer for Another Wolfcop. Oh yeah, uh, The Disaster Artist…looks like a nice Portrait of A Jerk, but have to admit it looks interesting. One of Franco’s stronger performances, most likely.

Wonder Wheel (Amazon Studios) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic content including some sexuality, language and smoking
Tag Line: None
Starring: Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake
Plot: On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator and his beleaguered wife.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Jim: I think Woody Allen is an amazing artist (sure I’m getting a few titters at this) and I always look forward to seeing his work. Have you seen the trailer for Another Wolfcop?
Chris: What if Woody Allen directed Another Wolfcop instead?

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) – Adventure/Fantasy/Drama
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language
Tag Line: A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon
Plot: An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Chris: Del Toro films are always on point but I am not taken with this trailer.  I am sure it won’t disappoint, however.
Jim: At the very least, this is just amazing to look at. Couple this with the strong cast and this could be another Pan’s Labyrinth for del Toro. Bet it’s no Another Wolfcop, though.

The Tribes of Palos Verdes (Relativity Media) – Drama
Rated R for drug use, language throughout and some sexual content
Tag Line: None
Starring: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Garner
Plot: When the situation at her idyllic Palos Verdes home turns volatile, young Medina attempts to surf her way to happiness.

Jim: It’s got the appealing Jennifer Garner, but I’ll pass on this drama rife with strife.
Chris:  This one is getting passed on quicker than a taco.

Love Beats Rhymes (Lionsgate) – Drama/Musical
Rated R for language and some sexual material
Tag Line: None
Starring: Common, Hana Mae Lee, Method Man
Plot: When struggling rapper Coco (Azealia Banks) enrolls in a poetry class, she thinks her rhymes will impress her teacher, Professor Dixon (Jill Scott). Instead, Dixon challenges Coco to seek real meaning in her lyrics, setting her on a journey of discovery that takes her through rap clubs and poetry slams, leading her to find her true voice – and true love – in this uplifting movie costarring Lucien Laviscount and Common.

Chris:  Blah Blah Blah
Jim: the message is loud and the message is good, but my dislike for rap’ll keep me outta the ‘hood. Rapping Wolfcops, though, that’d be different.

Gangster Land (Cinedigm) – Crime/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Sean Faris, Milo Gibson
Plot: The story of America’s most famous mobsters and their rise to power, GANGSTER LAND examines Al Capone’s ascension through the eyes of his second in command, “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn. Once an amateur boxer, McGurn is lured into the Italian mafia after the murder of his stepfather. Upon joining, he rises swiftly through the ranks along with friend and eventual boss, Capone. As the Italian mob becomes the most lucrative criminal organization in the country, tensions build with “Bugs” Moran and the Irish mob which ignites a brutal gang war culminating with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jim: Looks like a good, solid old-style gangster pic, nice rental.
Chris: I’m with Jim on this one.  Good one for the living room couch potato.

Another Wolfcop (Vortex) – Comedy/Horror
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Leo Fafard, Jonathan Cherry
Plot: Alcoholic werewolf cop Lou Garou springs into action when an eccentric businessman with evil intentions seduces Woodhaven’s residents with a new brewery and hockey team in this outrageous horror-comedy sequel.
Running Time: 82 minutes

Chris:  Doesn’t it just smack of old drive in movie goodness?  A movie you can’t take seriously and I love that.
Jim: OK. This trailer was just pure genius. Simply put, it’s just a perfect expression of why I go to the movies. If I were in college, I’d write a term paper on it.

Slumber (Vertical Entertainment) – Horror
Rated R for some disturbing material, and language
Tag Line: Welcome to the original nightmare
Starring: Honor Kneafsey, Maggie Q
Plot: A sleep doctor tries to protect a family from a demon that feeds on people in their nightmares.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Jim: Another boring horror trailer that would have looked dull 20 years ago. And for cryin’out loud, it takes place at night, so why no Wolfcops?
Chris: Could be the cure for no sleep.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Another WolfCop!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – November 29, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out. It’s the dreaded fifth Wednesday of the month, when the big two phone it in with annuals and minis. You know the drill by now, it’s going to be a slow week for new books. But I’ll take a slow Wednesday over no Wednesday any time. Besides, there’s still good stuff to be read if you know where to look. I’m here to help.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman Annual #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks

What it is: Travel back in time with us to see the early days of the Bat and the Cat. What was Bruce and Selina’s first date? How did this rivalry blossom into romance, and then go right back to being a rivalry again? Tom King re-teams with his BATMAN/ELMER FUDD collaborator Lee Weeks to show us a little young love with capes and cowls. And a little crime fighting, too.

Why we love it: If you’re a regular here then you might already know that I absolutely adored Tom King and Lee Week’s Batman/Elmer Fudd book. It was hands down the best of the DC/Loony Tunes crossovers, which isn’t saying much in itself but I was raving about it to anyone who would listen. Well, the band’s back together this week with a $5 oversized annual, which isn’t the typical book that makes the list, let alone the top of it, but there is a LOT of buzz about this issue. Don’t expect the first appearance of a hot new character, or a book that skyrockets in value overnight, but be ready for one of the best, single-issue stories of the year. Do NOT sleep on this one.

 

The Mainstream One: Old Man Logan #31

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Deodato

What it is: THE SCARLET SAMURAI Part 1 Old Man Logan – the man who was Wolverine – is up against a foe like no other…the Hand! Logan’s past comes back to haunt him when a former love drags him into battle with the Hand, who have bolstered their forces like never before. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Logan encounters the mysterious Scarlet Samurai! Will Logan be able to discover who she is and take down the Hand? Parental Advisory

Why we love it: Some of my favorite Wolverine stories take place in the Far East. There’s something about Logan’s sense of honor and penchant for blade violence that fits perfectly into the samurai/ninja genre. If you’ve never read an Ed Brisson comic, the best word I could use to describe them is “brutal”, which makes him the perfect writer for OML.

The Indie One: Spawn #280

Publisher: Image
Words: Darragh Savage
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: Death. Destruction. And deception. Spawn piles as much pain as he can in his attempt to protect a young girl who very shortly will be a NEW SUPERHERO much stronger than Spawn himself.

Why we like it: I don’t keep up much with Spawn these days, but I always jump back in anytime there’s a new character. There are rumors that the new superhero is Cyan, and that’s reason enough for me to give this a flip through. Oh Spawn, I wish I knew how to quit you.

 

The #1 One: Mystik U #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Alisa Kwitney
Art: Mike Norton

What it is: Leave the world of the mundane behind and step through the magical doors of Mystik U! After a tragic accident, a young Zatanna Zatara, under the guidance of Rose Psychic, enrolls in a mysterious university that teaches its students how to master their unique brands of magic. Will Zatanna fit in with her new classmates (Enchantress, Sargon the Sorcerer, Faust and more!) and unlock her true potential? Find out in this exciting bimonthly miniseries from novelist Alisa Kwitney (DESTINY) and Mike Norton (Revival, Runaways)!

Why we like it: Zatanna is my girl and I believe it’s only a matter of time before she gets the live-action treatment. A Harry Potter-esque tale set in the DC universe sounds a little derivative but I could see this being a fun mini. Big fan of the Julian Tedesco cover.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Vampirella #8

Publisher: Dynamite
Words: Jeremy Whitley
Art: Andy Belanger
Cover Art: Jorge Fornes

What it is: The perfect jumping on point for anyone who has been curious to try Vampirella! Join brand new creative team Jeremy Whitley (The Unstoppable Wasp, Avengers, Princeless) and Andy Belanger (Southern Cross, Swamp Thing, Black Church) as Vampi and Vicki emerge into a ruined wasteland that hates Vampirella for the unintended consequences of saving them. This Vampirella story has everything: a new adventure, new romance, and the return of a very old evil.

Why we like it: Jorge Fornes apes Jock on this stunning Vampirella cover. Not sure if this counts as a swipe, but I’m getting a strong Detective Comics 880 vibe here. Either way, totally baddass.

 

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