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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 20, 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: Black Hammer #13

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

What it is: It was the greatest superhero event of all time, a multiversal crisis. Black Hammer, Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Colonel Weird, and even Madame Dragonflythey united to take down Anti-God, the ultimate evil, on the streets of Spiral City. For ten years, the former heroes have been living in exile. But a new arrival from the main timeline brought new hope. And maybe, finally, its time for them to relaunch . . .

Why we love it: Black Hammer has been one of my favorite reads and it’s appearance at the top of the pile has been a long time coming. This is a story of flawed super heroes who are inexplicably transported to a seemingly idyllic rural town. Life there is simple there, and peaceful, but our heroes are unable to leave, ever. How they were trapped there and why they were sent in the first place is still unknown, but the mystery is slowly unraveling and the story keeps getting more and more intriguing as it does. The scratchy artwork may turn some people off, but fans of Jeff Lemire will already be accustomed to it. Although the illustrations aren’t lush, crisp or highly detailed, they are stark and effectively convey the emotional drama which is the core of Black Hammer’s charm. Love the Death of Superman cover swipe too.

  The Mainstream One: Batman #31 (Tim Sale variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! It’s tough to beat the two biggest puzzlemakers in the world at their own game, and Batman’s gambits have only pulled him deeper into the moral quagmire where the Riddler and The Joker do their dirty work. All of Gotham City hangs in the balance as Batman faces the ultimate conundrum: are brainteasers better than belly laughs?

Why we like it: If you read last issue’s “Ballad of Kite-Man part 2” then you know that this Batman run is unlike any before. Writer Tom King recently stated in an interview that he hopes to do Batman for 100 issues and I’m all for it. The War of Jokes and Riddles wages on but the really surprising thing about this issue is that I’m actually liking the Tim Sale cover B.

The Indie One: Shirtless Bear Fighter #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner
Art: Mike Spicer, Nil Vendrell

What it is: With his home destroyed and his spirit broken, Shirtless must join forces with a hated enemy if he hopes to rise against Logger and his loyal army of chainsaw-wielding Lumber Louts! Don’t miss the pulse-pounding penultimate issue of SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER! 

Why we like it: The title pretty much says it all. But in case you needed more explanation for what this book is about, just take a look at that cover. Unapologetic, ridiculous fun.

  The #1 One: Dark Ark #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Juan Doe

What it is: NEW SERIES! The wickedness of mankind has moved the Creator to destroy the world by way of the flood. Noah has been tasked with building an ark to save his family and the animals of the world. But this is not Noah’s story. For darker powers have commanded the sorcerer Shrae to build his own ark and save the unnatural creatures of the world-such as the vampires, the dragons, the naga, and the manticore. But what will happen on a vessel crawling with monsters, where insidious intrigue and horrific violence are the rule of law? From writer Cullen Bunn (X-Men Blue, Deadpool, Venom) and artist Juan Doe (AMERICAN MONSTER, WORLD READER) comes a sinister tale of biblical proportions that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

Why we like it: I had a hard time picking a #1 this week, so I fell back to an old staple: Cullen Bunn writing a horror title for an indie publisher. Love this premise that injects horror elements into a classic tale.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Infamous Iron Man #11 (Venomized variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Stefano Caselli
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: Riri Williams accidentally causes an international incident that may throw the entire world into chaos! So, you know, no big deal. The prologue to one of the biggest Iron Man stories in modern history!

Why we like it: When he’s on, Adi Granov’s covers stand among the best of this generation. Kneel before Venom von Doom! 


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

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My Fantasy Flight Star Wars Experience

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the days of the original trilogy. Since then I’ve collected and been a fan of the books, toys, comic books, and video games. However, the one area of Star Wars that has deftly evaded me over the years is the role-playing games. Sure, I was aware of them back when West End Games held the license and I even have accumulated several of the sourcebooks, but for some reason I couldn’t find anyone else who played. I blame it on small town life and a role-playing environment that was dominated by Dungeons & Dragons. Nevertheless, my theory was that even though I’m not using the books for their primary reason, I’ll use them for reference books for any fan-fiction I might want to write about. Back then I wanted to know everything there was about the Star Wars universe. Nothing has changed.


After decades of waiting I finally found someone to play with, when I discovered a comics & games shop not far from where I live called Great Stories. This long awaited discovery came doubly useful as I was told participating in a RPG campaign would help me with developing story ideas as I am majoring in creative writing as well. Anyway, it was such a relief to find other fans of RPG games and Star Wars, I couldn’t wait to start playing.


For a first timer, let me first tell you, I had no idea how involved Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Core rulebook was. Learning the dice and what they mean, how to determine what happens when you role, spending your experience points, how to allocate your ranks and characteristics. It’s no small feat. Luckily for me, the group I play with are all very patient with me and help me along. I still haven’t quite mastered it, but I’m definitely learning. Like Anakin, I too, am a slow learner. The best way to learn is to just play and read the rulebook when you have time afterward.

Our group meets once a month on the first Saturday of the month, and typically goes from 6-9 but times can vary as it is pretty flexible. So before my first campaign in Edge of the Empire, I had to choose a species and a specialty. I chose a Wookiee whose name is Chalarra and he’s a scout. My group consists of an ex-imperial medic, a blind hired gun, a human marauder, a pilot, and a pit droid who’s married to our YT-1300 freighter. Yep you heard that right. Every campaign is a blast and I look forward to playing every month.


The way Fantasy Flight Games and Star Wars has brought me together with other fans has been a real gift. I’ve wanted to learn this game for so long and now that I’m finally involved with one I couldn’t more excited. Thanks to Chris Mills and Great Stories, I finally found a place that gathers people from all over the area.

Eric Onkenhout


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Trailer Snark (September 15, 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!

Mother! (Paramount Pictures) – Drama/Horror/Mystery
Rated R for strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language
Tag Line: Seeing is believing
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Chris:  I wonder how mother nature will punish Jennifer Lawrence for making this movie?
Wayne: Mother! ******* was this movie is mostly boring. It is far too intellectual for my liking.
Rob: What a great cast in what looks like a thriller, but doesn’t really appeal or even make sense of what it is.

You can read The Dope Sheet review of Mother! here.

American Assassin (Lionsgate) – Action/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence throughout, some torture, language and brief nudity
Tag Line: Assassins aren’t born. They are made.
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan
Plot: A story centered on counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Rob: At first glance I thought, what is this? A copy of punisher from 2004?
Chris: Michael Keaton is a national treasure, and this movie looks entertaining as all heck.  In!
Wayne: I’m going to check it out just for Keaton.

Brad’s Status (Annapurna Pictures) – Comedy
Rated R for language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer
Plot: A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Wayne: Looks interesting. Maybe.
Rob: Oh look another Ben Stiller midlife crisis movie!
Chris: Hahaha. Rob just summed that one up perfectly.  I got nothing more to say.

Rebel in the Rye (IFC Films) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references, brief violence, and smoking
Tag Line: Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Starring: Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Nicholas Hoult
Plot: The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, “The Catcher in the Rye”.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Chris: Now, that’s a compelling trailer.  I’ve never read Catcher in the Rye, but I may have to go pick out the classic as my next read!
Wayne: YES! Looks like a good story.
Rob: Now this one gave me the Dead Poet Society feel. But with a veteran. This one I can get into. 

Because of Gracia (ArtAffects Entertainment) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for thematic material
Tag Line: None
Starring: John Schneider, Chris Massoglia, Moriah Peters
Plot: Two high-school couples explore friendship and dating along dissimilar lines, leading to courage and transformation for one teen and a personal crisis for another.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Rob: Just another love triangle of high school drama
Chris: This one seems to have some heart and charisma.  Not a theater pick, but I’ll check it out on the small screen.
Wayne: Maybe, I like the JEEP. I bet she dies in the end.

In Search of Fellini (Ambi Distribution) – Adventure/Drama
Rated R for sexuality/nudity and language
Tag Line: Inspired by a true adventure.
Starring: Maria Bello, Ksenia Solo
Plot: A shy small-town Ohio girl who loves movies but dislikes reality, discovers the delightfully bizarre films of Federico Fellini, and sets off on a strange, beautiful journey across Italy to find him.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Wayne: Going to wait for it on Netflix. Looks interesting.
Rob: yes. Let the sheltered child not only finally leave home but go to an entirely different country. What could possibly go wrong? Or… what could go right? Ah love.
Chris: “You’re my fellini?” Must mean cheese in Italian.  😉

Tickets Purchased: Two for American Assassin (Wayne and Chris) and one for Rebel in the Rye (Rob).

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Mother! – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  September 15, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 1 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  2 out of 10

A spoiler review.

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

What you need to know about Mother!:  Don’t go see this.  Honestly, save your money.

What works:  What an amazing cast they have lined up for this film.  All give excellent performances, but they cannot save this film.  Because I have so much respect for all the actors, I’m not going to list them.  Why?  Keep reading.

What doesn’t work:  Everything.  The film had hope as it felt like it was going to be in the style of a Hitchcock film, but it goes way, way out there.  The main character played by Jennifer Lawrence walks around that house always looking for someone.  Honest to God, STOP!  You want to SCREAM at her to stand up for herself and punch someone in the face because no one listens to her.  If you have OCD, don’t watch this movie because it is going to drive you through the roof.  Way too much shaky cam going on, you can’t always see what’s happening.  Fifteen minutes into the film I was wondering where the heck is this story headed and can you PLEASE give me something to interest me.  Nope.  Score to the film, can’t say it played a role at all.  I honestly can’t remember any music until the credits rolled.  The story goes so far into left field that I wanted to leave, but I stayed for all of you who are reading this.  The final act is so obscure and so full of symbolism that it was hurting my head.  My head may have hurt too because the volume was nearly doubled for the entire third act.  I’ve been to movies where the screen transitions to completely white once, this film does it three times.  Who cares?  It pulls you out of the film because you need your eyes to adjust again.  SPOILER!!!   At one point a baby is eaten and the entire scene was disturbing.  Folks, there is nothing good about this film.

I didn’t find anything horrific about the film which is filled with empty drama and the big mystery is who the heck cares about the ending.  Really.  The ending is supposed to be this big reveal and all I could think of was the quickest way out of the theater.  This is the worst movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Mother! a 2.  Do not buy a ticket for this film.  Do not wait to rent it.  A shame with all the talent that was in the film that Mother! doesn’t deliver on any level.

Did you see the film?  If you did, I’m sorry, but do tell us your opinion below.

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IT – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  September 8, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 15 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  8.9 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown (Pennywise), begins hunting children.”

What you need to know about IT:  The movie is based on a novel by Stephen King.  The first adaptation was a made for TV movie series in the 1980’s.  This movie, unlike the TV series, tells the story in linier timeline starting when they were kids.  The story is set in Maine, like many of King’s work, during the 1980’s.

What works:  This young cast can act and act well.  They are able to pull off the comradery that neighborhood kids have.  Although I have not read the book, I’ve been told that this movie is adapted very closely to how King originally penned the story, therefore those who have read the book also enjoyed the film.  I didn’t find the movie to be scary, but those around me were certainly on the edge of their seats as there is usually a buildup of suspense whenever Pennywise is present.  Surprisingly, this movie is loaded with comedic moments that will surely make you laugh far more than one would expect in a horror film.  A standout performance was given by Finn Wolfhard who you may recognize from the Netflix series, “Stranger Things”, and Bill Skarsgard who was also in this year’s film, “Atomic Blonde.”  The make-up and special effects were great, Pennywise looks amazing!

What doesn’t work:  There isn’t anything that stands out to me that I did not like.  Some websites will tell you that there is an after-credit scene.  To save you the time of sitting there waiting for the moment — ALERT, SPOILER – the title pops up and you hear Pennywise laugh.  You won’t miss a thing if you don’t stay for that laugh.

For a horror film, which I’m not always a fan of the genre, this movie is fantastic!  It captures the feeling of a Stephen Spielberg film and that 80’s vibe is spot on.  The acting was excellent and the dialog was superb.  Honestly, I had no idea the movie would have so many laughable moments.  But alas, if you don’t like clowns or have a fear of clowns then you will really have an issue with the film.  Stephen King doesn’t have the best track record for film adaptations of his books.  We don’t have to look too far back to “Dark Tower” to understand what I’m talking about, but this movie is done very well.  Although my viewing was not in IMAX, I’m told that the movie is more intense in that format.

Be sure to check this movie out at your local theater.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give IT an 8.9.  Grab some concessions and enjoy a funny and frightful movie.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

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

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The world lost one of its treasures this week. Len Wein’s influence within the world of comics is legendary. If you name your top 5 favorite Marvel/DC characters, chances are Len wrote for at least two of them. He helped create timeless characters like Swamp Thing, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus. As an editor he championed bold storytelling, like Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal Watchmen. Len was a creative force and belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Comics.

Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Action Comics #987

Publisher: DC
Words: Jurgens
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic, Nick Bradshaw

What it is: ‘THE OZ EFFECT’ part one! The agents of the mysterious Mr. Oz begin to move as the Man of Steel works to stop the chaos they unleash in Metropolis and across the globe. But when Mr. Oz steps from the shadows his identity rocks the Last Son of Krypton to his core. The story that began in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 begins to end here!

Why we love it: We’re a full year into Rebirth and while fan reception of the revamped DC Universes has been generally positive, there are still lingering questions… Like what exactly happened and who caused it? That’s a big one. While I expect most of these loose ends will be unraveled later during November’s Doomsday Clock event, it appears the identity of the enigmatic Mr. Oz will be revealed here in this week’s Action Comics. Ozymandus? Jor-El? Mon-El? Conner Kent? My money’s on Superboy Prime. This issue is also being released with a lenticular cover, if that sort of cover tickles you.

  The Mainstream One: Weapon X #8

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Marcelo Borstelmann

What it is: WHAT IS THE SECRET OF WEAPON H? Doctor Alba’s macabre experiments for the Weapon X program turned one of America’s Finest into a behemoth imbued with genetics gifts of the Hulk and Wolverine. Despite countless iterations, only he survived… What made him the perfect vessel for the curse? And how far will Doctor Alba go to recover her success story?

Why we like it: I’m into Batch H and this smells like an origin story here. I’m enjoying the story carried over from Weapons of Mutant Destruction and the cover art is bad as. For the first time ever, Weapon X is on my pull list. Well done, Greg Pak. There’s also a Venomized Batch H variant cover for this issue. I expect that the Venomized variant will be popular, so grab it if you see it, but personally I’m digging the regular cover.

The Indie One: Babyteeth #4

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Garry Brown

What it is: So, you know how we’ve all been really coy and playful about how this book is going to get dark and bloody and really hardcore at a certain point? This is the issue where that starts happening. Happy reading everyone! (Call your mother. She worries). From Donny Cates, the writer of Buzzkill, Paybacks, Redneck and the breakout hit God Country comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!

Why we like it: I don’t imagine being a single, new mother is easy. It’s probably stressful enough without finding out that your baby is the anti-christ. This series has been a fun read. It’s got horror, it’s got humor and it’s got plenty of heart. And it sounds like writer Donny Cates is about to kick it up to 11.   

 The #1 One: Runaways #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Rainbow Rowell
Art: Kris Anka

What it is: GET READY TO RUN! The ‘IT’ book of the early 2000s with the original cast is back – Nico! Karolina! Molly! Chase! Old Lace! And, could it be? GERT?! The heart of the Runaways died years ago, but you won’t believe how she returns! Superstar author Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) makes her Marvel debut with fan-favorite artist Kris Anka (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) in the series that will shock you and break your heart!

Why we like it: If you’re unfamiliar with the Runaways, they are a group of super-powered teenagers/kids who, after discovering that their parents are secretly super villains, run away (get it?) from home. And while only one of them has a pet dinosaur named Old Lace, they are all awesome in their own way. They are a lovable band of misfits who I have a lot of affection for. I’m not super excited about the creative team on this run, but I’m hoping for the best on Wednesday.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Amazing Spider-man #32

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Greg Smallwood
Cover Art: Alex Ross and Francesco Mattina

What it is: Norman Osborn’s goblin-free battle with Spidey didn’t go the way he had hoped? Now, Osborn needs to find an edge and get the Goblin back, and neither you nor Spidey are ready for the edge he’s going to find! Guest artist Greg Smallwood (MOON KNIGHT) joins Dan Slott for this special issue that sets off the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN event of 2018!

Why we like it: Can’t get enough Green Goblin? Amazing Spider-man #32 has you covered with not 1, but 2 ridiculously cool Goblin covers. The Alex Ross regular cover features a super-intense Harry Osborn donning the Green Goblin mask. The Francesco Mattina variant cover features a venomized Green Goblin. Grab your favorite one or grab them both. That’s a win-win. 


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

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From the Video Screen to the Table Top: The Oregon Trail

There is nothing more nostalgic than seeing something that you grew up on now as a card game.


For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Oregon Trail was a series of educational computer games that taught kids what is was like in the mid 1800’s. Just like in video game, the card game introduces you to all of the trials and tribulations of the treacherous journey from Independence, Missouri to the destination of Willamette Valley, Oregon.


This is a 2 to 6 player table top game that will last from 25 to 30 minutes and has a range rating of 12+.


I met up at the shop with local legend and fellow gamer Timothy Cox to crack open the box and learn how to play this instant classic. Both Tim and I agreed that the more people you get the merrier the game play is. Mostly because our first game Tim died second round by freezing to death… We immediately started over so I wasn’t playing the game alone for the next 30 minutes. So right off the bat, Tim was in love with the game… cough, cough…. You can watch us playing and learning in our live video from the shop


The object of the game is to have at least 1 member of your party survive the trail and make it to Willamette Valley, OR. The competition of the game is who can survive the longest. There are times where you feel that you need to work together to get to the finish, but you also may need to let a party member die in order for the rest of the party to survive. But if one person makes it to Willamette Valley, OR, everybody wins the game. To reach the destination, the party has to lay down 50 trail cards.


The game-play is pretty simple and I would recommend this one for everyone to try, whether with just family or friends. To start off everybody is dealt Trail Cards and Supply Cards.

For your turn you either play a Trail Card or a Supply Card or if you are unable to play a Trail Card, simply draw from the Trail card deck and your turn ends. You must follow the instructions on the Trail Card that you played.

You are most like going to be instructed to draw a Calamity Card and yes, this is where the fun begins. The Calamity Cards will cause instant death or within a round or 2 you will be able to remedy the Calamity situation with your Supply Cards.


As Tim and I learned fairly quickly, you need to have good management of your Supply Cards throughout the game. That is until you draw a Thief Calamity.

What makes this game so fun is the people that you’re playing with. The best part about this game is the surprises that will happen along the trail and getting to watch everyone’s reactions and see how they will figure out their next move to either save themselves or help another party member. When you play this game, you have to play smart. Always know what your other party members are doing and be prepared for what they’re going to do next. But always remember, have fun and good luck on The Oregon Trail.


If you have any interest in learn/playing, purchasing or just trying any of the featured games in a Cards and Counters article, on the Great Stories site or at the shop; all you need to do is ask one of us there or get a hold me and I would gladly meet you there and grab a table.


The Staff at Great Stories is always more than willing to help you get what you need or teach and try anything new.


Until then,


See you across the table

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Trailer Snark (September 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!

It (New Line Cinema) – Horror/Drama
Rated R for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language
Tag Line:  You’ll float too.
Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard
Plot: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
Running Time: 135 minutes

Chris: Looks like the movie the TV movie of yesteryear should have been. I feel strange in saying that I am really looking forward to this nasty little piece, but I am.
Jim: The book was scary and entertaining. It was old news to me by the time the TV movie appeared. Same here, but it looks good enough to check out on video.

Home Again (Open Road Films) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for some thematic and sexual material
Tag Line: Starting over is not for beginners.
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Nat Wolff, Lake Bell
Plot: Life for a single mom in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turn when she allows three young guys to move in with her.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jim: Not a fan of precocious movie kids. That said, might be worth a look for Reese.
Chris: Not much interesting here to me, but that was a very cute little kid in the back seat moment.

The Good Catholic (Broad Green Pictures) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for language including a sexual reference.
Tag Line: What is your passion?
Starring: Zachary Spicer, Wrenn Schmidt, Danny Glover
Plot: Daniel loved his job as a small town priest more than anything. Then he met Jane. God help him.

Chris: Meh………
Jim: What could have come off as dull was helped considerably by a well-crafted trailer and a good cast. Have to admit it held my attention.

9/11 (20th Century Fox) – Action/Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: The world watched it, they lived it.
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg
Plot: A group of 5 people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Jim: How many times will Hollywood go to the 9/11 well for cheap dramatic effect? Can anyone take Charlie Sheen seriously?
Chris: Is this movie a joke? ‘Cause that is just not cool. This looks like pure rubbish. Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg? Ugh…..

Tickets Purchased: One for It (Chris) and one for The Good Catholic (Jim)

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Trailer Snark (September 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!

Tulip Fever (The Weinstein Company) – Drama/Romance
Rated R for sexual content and nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Judi Dench, Cara Delevigne
Plot: An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Wayne: Looks like a great cast, but I hate this time period for films. I’m selling.
Chris: Zach Galafianakis in a serious role? That was unexpected. But all the dramatic theme music the trailer had to offer could not manage to pique my interest in this one.

Unlocked (Lionsgate) – Action/Drama/Mystery
Rated R for violence and language
Tag Line: To stop the terror, they must fight the conspiracy.
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Toni Collette
Plot: A CIA interrogator is lured into a ruse that puts London at risk of a biological attack.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Chris: Awesome cast, and a trailer ripe with intrigue. Is Orlando Bloom producing movies now?
Wayne: Looks like Jason Bourne has a sister. I’d go see this. I’m buying it.

Viceroy’s House (IFC Films) – Drama/History/Biography
Not Rated
Tag Line: The end of an empire.  The birth of two nations.
Starring: Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon, Hugh Bonneville
Plot: The final Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, is tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence, but meets with conflict as different sides clash in the face of monumental change.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Wayne: An amazing cast, but this story doesn’t call out to me. I’m selling.
Chris: I’d watch this on the small screen, but all the tea in India won’t get me to buy a ticket.

Temple (Screen Media Films) – Horror/History
Not rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Naoto Takenaka, Asahi Uchida, Logan Huffman
Plot: Three American tourists follow a mysterious map deep into the jungles of Japan searching for an ancient temple. When spirits entrap them, their adventure quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.
Running Time: 78 minutes

Chris: Looks like a serviceable enough spook flick, but not enough to get me to bite. The real Halloween season kick-off comes next week with It.
Wayne: Yawn. Selling it.

Jackals (Shout Factory) – Horror/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: Sacrifices must be made.
Starring: Deborah Kara-Unger, Stephen Dorff
Plot: Set in the 1980s, an estranged family hires a cult deprogrammer to take back their teenage son from a murderous cult, but find themselves under siege when the cultists surround their cabin, demanding the boy back.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Wayne: Here piggy piggy piggy. Dumb. Selling it.
Chris: Again, another decent looking horror, but one that maybe shows too much. Those masks were creepy. I’ll wait this one out too.

I Do ….Until I Don’t (The Film Arcade) – Comedy
Rated R for sexual material and language
Tag Line: Happily ever after is a lot to ask.
Starring: Lake Bell, Ed Helms, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard
Plot: An ensemble comedy about the meaning of matrimony.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Wayne: Not fun watching relationships struggle and fall apart because there isn’t enough time to put them back together and it feel rewarding. Not a feel good movie, selling this.
Chris: I am with Wayne on the subject matter……and the comedy was completely underwhelming in the trailer aside. Was it supposed to be funny?

Tickets Purchased: Two for Unlocked

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Remote Patrol: Phoenix Forgotten (2017)

Remote Patrol is a blog dedicated to small screen movie and television non-major spoiler reviews from an assortment of contributors.  Be sure to comment and give us your opinions too! Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
Studio: Cinelou/Scott Free Productions
Rated: Rated PG-13 for terror, peril and some language
Starring: Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez
Plot: 20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.
Running Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Review Score: 2 flying saucers (out of 5)
Reviewed By: Keyser Söze

News footage from 1997’s sighting of strange lights over Phoenix

The Good
Phoenix Forgotten is a “found footage” film, a style for me that can cut both ways.  More on this in the next section, but what the film does achieve to an extent is humanizing the subjects of the film.  The story revolves around three teens that choose to cut their journalistic teeth on the appearance of the now famous “Phoenix lights in the sky” on March 13, 1997, venturing out not long after the siting but never to return from the desert.  The first half of the movie documents one of the missing’s older sister as she pieces together what happened almost twenty years before, going home to her now divorced parents and going through archived video footage from her brother’s camera (returned to the family upon conclusion of the investigation).  The footage contains what you would expect….kids trying to be adults…on the adventure of their lives, hinting at a love triangle and making us feel something for the subjects.

The three fictional missing teens at the center of the story

The Bad
Shockingly, she comes across what police investigators apparently could not be bothered to research….a second camera and existing footage in a school supply garage!  The second half of the film centers on this lost footage and the answers to the mystery of their disappearance.  Shaky cameras, UFO phenomena, malfunctioning equipment, and just about every other cliche for this type of film ensues.  But at the end of the day, it does nothing to distinguish itself and do something different from other films of its type.  And the payoff is terribly week at the end of the film, leading us to exactly where we expected the story to go from the beginning with no surprises along the way.  I supposed the only distinguishing quality is the first person style. 

Oh my gosh! You found the secret footage!

The Ugly 
While it has the PG-13 rating, it does have its share of grisly images, with wild animals being shown hollowed and burned.  There is some teen drinking, and some mild language.  But this one stays relatively tame.  Even the intensity of the finale is really not all that overwhelming for the feint of heart.

This is not going to end well

Final Thoughts
Honestly, this movie is probably not worth your time.  If you are looking for a good UFO-style film with unexplained phenomena, check out Fire in the Sky or The Fourth Kind.  Both are excellent selections, and will provide a much more satisfying experience for you.