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Trailer Snark (March 31, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Ghost in the Shell (Paramount) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images
Tag Line: None
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Katano
Plot: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: I have never read the source material, but the trailer looks to be action packed and further cements Scarlet Johansson as a certified female action star.
Jim: Looks freaky-interesting, but I’m a bigger fan of actress Scarlett than I am of action hero Scarlett. We’ll see.

The Boss Baby (Twentieth Century Fox) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Born leader.
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi
Plot: A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jim: A mashup of every animated comedy in the last 20 years, but looks amusing enough to rent.
Chris: Mildly entertaining trailer, but I have been overloaded on kiddie animation thanks for my better half. 🙂

The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus Features) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking
Tag Line: They gave all they had to save all they could.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh
Plot: The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Chris: Ripe with Schindler’s List type themes, and based on a true story.  This is my kind of historical movie.  I am sure it will be moving, and hopefully honors the people whose story it is.
Jim: No disrespect for the source material intended, but this looks like The Pianist meets We Bought A Zoo. I don’t know, maybe I just see too many movies. That said, it could be something to see.

Tickets Purchased:  One for The Zookeeper’s Wife (Chris) while Jim stays home and rents The Girl on the Train.

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 3/29/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday I spotlight some of the new comic book releases that are hitting shelves on Wednesday. It’s been a busy week, so this entry is going to be all whats and no whys. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

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The Top of the Pile: Divinity III Stalinverse #4

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine

What it is: The Stalinverse endures! The world has gone red, and now the epic final confrontation begins as Divinity, Ninjak, Shadowman, Komandar Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, and the Red Brigade all choose their side on the lines of the coming battle? Wait, you think we’ll tell you how this one ends? Nyet, comrade! The universe as we know it hinges on this, so make sure you read this one first, Valianteers!

 

DK38

The Mainstream One: Dark Knight III Master Race #8

Publisher: DC
Words: Frank Mikker
Art: Andy Kubert

What it is: Baal’s Kryptonian army has invaded Themyscira. Wonder Woman and the Amazons will show them why that was a deadly mistake.

 

SR1

The Indie One: Space Riders Galaxy of Brutality #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Fabian Rangel
Art: Alexis Ziritt

What it is: An ancient evil is gathering power throughout the cosmos, and it falls upon the legendary SPACE RIDERS to kick its a**! Having disbanded, the crew of CAPTAIN PELIGRO, MONO, and YARA must reunite for what may be their final ride! The cult comic that electrified comic readers in the brain RETURNS to blast your fragile human psyche into oblivion!!

 

XP1The #1 One: X-Men Prime #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Leonard Kirk, Ken Lashley, Ibraim Roberson

What it is: RESURRXION BEGINS HERE! In the wake of their war with the Inhumans, the X-MEN are at a crossroads. Where do they go from here? Luckily, one beloved X-Men has the answer to that question: Xavier’s dream comes full circle as KITTY PRYDE returns to the X-Men, ready to lead them in their mission to protect a world that hates and fears them. The next chapter of the X-Men’s saga starts here!

 

gr5The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Ghost Rider #5 (Venomized variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Felipe Smith
Art: Danillo Beyruth
Cover Art: Dustin Weaver

What it is: FOUR ON THE FLOOR: CONCLUSION! The gang’s all here: Ghost Rider, Silk, Wolverine, Hulk and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are taking on the big space monster that stole all their powers!

 

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

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Trailer Snark (March 24, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Power Rangers (Lionsgate) – Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, language, and for some crude humor
Tag Line:  Back to action!
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Bill Hader
Plot: A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Chris: I missed the boat on Power Rangers as a child (a little after my time) and I really have no interest in this re-imagining.
Jessica: I am of two minds of this, one it looks just ridiculous and two, it looks like it might actually be okay. I never watched the show and really am not what I would consider a fan so I don’t really care either way. But I do enjoy a GOOD action, superhero film, so maybe this will be that. Maybe…
Jim: I used to watch the show with my daughter and could feel my brains leaking out of my ears.

Life (Columbia) – Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Rated R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror
Tag Line:  Be careful what you search for.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Jim: Seriously? Why don’t they just call it Alien 20? Are there ANY new ideas anymore?
Chris: I have been jonesing to see this movie since I started seeing trailers last year.  The second trailer (featured here) gives you a bit more than the first, but it all look deliciously intense.
Jessica: Oh my goodness, Ryan and Jake in one movie? About alien life? SIGN ME UP.

CHiPS (Warner Bros) – Action/Comedy
Rated R for crude sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use.
Tag Line: Chip happens.
Starring: Michael Pena, Dax Shepard
Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involved some crooked cops.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jessica: <Sigh>. I mean, maybe…No, <sigh>.
Jim: Dumb fun for the most part, rental.
Chris: I can see why Erik Estrada is super upset about this one since they really jazzed up the pervertedness and went total comedy.  I grew up with Ponch and John, and it was considered action drama fare.  I guess he feels disrespected.  I’ll catch it on the small screen.

Wilson (Fox Searchlight) – Comedy
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality
Tag Line: Positively negative
Starring:  Woody Harrelson, Sandy Oian, Shaun Brown
Plot: A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Chris: Woody Harrelson plays so many types of roles.  This one is about as off-beat as some of his most left of center.  Check it!
Jessica: AHHHHH I LOVE WOODY HARRLESON, he’s the reason I saw any of the Hunger Games movies, and this looks fun and weird and everything I love about him.
Jim: This looks like a blast, Woody and a great cast (love Laura Dern!).

Prevenge (Shudder) – Comedy/Drama/Fantasy
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Jo Hartley, Gemma Whelan, Alice Lowe
Plot: Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.
Running Time: 88 minutes

Jim: Delightfully sick and twisted-looking with a premise worthy of Stephen King.
Chris: Pickles, ice cream, and sharp knives.  Cut straight to the C Section.  No thanks.
Jessica: Oh this just looks like a good time. I was laughing at the trailer. Sick, twisted, right up my alley.

The Levelling (Monterey Media) – Drama
Rated R for language and brief nudity
Tag Line:  None
Starring: Ellie Kendrick, David Troughton
Plot: After he brother dies, Clover returns to her family farm in Someset, where she discovers her estranged father is a shell of his former self and the farm is in shambles due to floods that destroyed the area six months earlier.
Running Time: 83 minutes

Jessica: This looks really intense, so I’ll pass. I have enough intensity with school and work thank you, but seriously, this looks like an interesting, well-done and very sad film that I’d watch at home when I needed a good cry.
Jim: Got the TV movie blahs about halfway through.
Chris: A whole lot of high emotion drama in this trailer, but a whole lot of I could care less in my mind.

Slamma Jamma (RiverRain Productions) – Drama/Sports
Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and language
Tag Line:  Sometimes redemption is found above the rim.
Starring: Chris Staples, Michael Irvin, Jose Canseco
Plot: Wrongfully accused and sent to prison, a former basketball star prepares for the national slam dunk competition while finding redemption in himself and in those he loves.
Running Time: 104 minutes
Chris: Looks like an inspirational sports film….made for TV. I’ll pass on that ball.
Jessica: I got dumber typing that title and I didn’t make it through the trailer, I just got annoyed and turned it off so clearly it’s going to be my pick of the week.  😉
Jim: Yeah, not a fan of this title either. Nice trailer, but still  feel I’ve seen it all before.

Tickets Purchased: Two for Life (Jessica and Chris) and One for Wilson (Jim)

Life

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/22/2017

Hey hey comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday here I spotlight some of the new books coming out on Wednesday that I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

bh7

The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #7

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

What it is: Joe Weber: the Black Hammer. A hero from the Spiral Slums. A husband. A father. Gone without a trace. A visitor from the outside world arrives on the farm, looking for the Black Hammer and bringing news of Spiral City to its Golden Age heroes. Her arrival stirs up old memories and awakens new hope in the marooned heroes.

Why we love it:  Lemire recently announced that he will not be renewing his contract with Marvel upon completion in order to focus on his independent work. While unfortunate news for Marvel, it’s a relief for fans of his indie books. There were concerns that the mammoth workload of writing Old Man Logan, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight, Thanos, Hawkeye, Bloodshot, Descender, Royal City and illustrating A.D, was going to delay release dates, or worse affect the quality of work. Much to my delight, it seems as if my favorite series from the hardest working man in comics is back. Seriously, the man must have clones of himself.

 

ac976

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #976

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ finale! As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now-except that you won’t want to miss it!

Why we like it: Thy probably should have put a spoiler alert warning on that cover. As you can tell, the New 52 Superman is somehow back after disintegrating just a little under a year ago. What does it all mean? Hopefully not that Rebirth was just another lazy, line-wide shuffle in an attempt to grow market share.

UW1

The  Indie One: Underwinter #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Ray Fawkes

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! ‘SYMPHONY,’ Part One-Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY – a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.

Why we like it: Light week for independent books. Asides from the relaunches at Valiant, there really weren’t many indie titles that caught my eye. As a fan of both horror and music, this gets a look from me.

 if1

The #1 One: Iron Fist #1 (Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins

What it is: THE GAUNTLET STARTS HERE! K’un Lun is in ruins. The chi fueling Danny’s fists is wavering. Is there a future for the Iron Fist? Danny Rand pushes himself to the breaking point, finding fights to prove his worth. But a bigger fight than he can handle may have found him?

Why we like it: I haven’t started the Netflix show yet, so you won’t find any reveals here. Iron Fist isn’t my favorite Kung Fu fighter, but I am happy to see Marvel giving some attention to it’s martial arts characters (and the sweet Alex Ross variant cover doesn’t hurt any). I hope that we see some of this bleed over into the movies. Although they’ll probably just end up casting Tilda Swinton as the lead.

 

e2

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Electra #2 (Granov variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Alec Morgan
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: ELEKTRA COMES OUT TO PLAY! ELEKTRA has tried to lie low, but she finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous force in Sin City. A string of clues including high tech weaponry, kidnappings and assassins lead her to a game of chance more deadly than she ever expected. Can she outsmart this mastermind?or is she playing right into his hand?

Why we like it: It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be finding this lovely cover out in the wild. It’s a 1:25 ratio variant and if your local comic shop is anything like mine, then they probably wouldn’t have ordered 25 copies of Elektra #2. This cover is an absolute beauty and copies are already trading at close to $100 on feeBay. If you’re lucky enough to see one at your store, don’t hesitate for even a second.

 

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

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A View From Above: Where to Spot Good Writing

As a student of writing, I’m constantly on the lookout for good quality work. Most of the time when we think of good quality writing we think of the classics like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or Milton. Similarly we also think good writing comes from novels and/or plays; forms that are generally thought of as a little highbrow and difficult to connect with. However, good writing can also come from film, television and even comic books.

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I’ve read a lot of classics from Homer’s The Iliad to Beowulf to Paradise Lost. From Edgar Allen Poe to Bram Stoker. They’re all great if you want to learn story structure and expand your vocabulary and I highly recommend you start at the beginning. On the other hand, I’ve also read and watched things that were recommended to me with the thought that I’d like them, but alas poor Yorick I did not. They just didn’t do it for me. Breaking Bad, for example, which is consistently rated as one of the best television series’ of all time. I couldn’t get through the second episode. Don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting premise, but just not my thing. Just the other day I got caught up in a twitter debate about how “great” The Expanse is. Is it? I found the characters boring, and the dialogue weak. I muddled my way through the first season and don’t plan on continuing. How it got renewed for a third season is beyond me. I simply cannot watch anything produced by the SyFy channel. Can anyone tell me why everything looks blue on that show? Ender’s Game was another recommendation. This was one experience where I rather enjoyed the movie more than the book. No. Just no.

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The theory is that I like science fiction. Everyone knows my love of Star Wars. The thing is Star Wars isn’t science fiction. I’m not a fan of any specific genre. I like what’s written well. Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Preacher (the comic not the show, please…not the show), are all very different. This is how I can tell if I really like something; I cannot physically put it down or turn it off. It’s impossible And if I can remember what I’m reading, that’s a sign. The best part of good writing for me is the dialogue. Which any writer, no matter their skill level, will tell you is the most difficult to get right. Garth Ennis, the writer for Preacher gets the dialogue down so perfectly, with speech inflection and all like nobody’s business. Yes, it may take a couple readings to get through a speech bubble, but it pays off later on when you realize it becomes part of the character and their development.

Game_of_Thrones_title_card

What I like about GoT and HoC is not only the dialogue, but the delivery of it by the actors. It’s quick, yet forceful. It’s serious but not overly dramatic. The multilayered storylines give both shows an extra level of intrigue. This made me realize my own novel is way too simple (editors note:  Eric is in the process of writing his first book).

Another show I respect, but am not completely enthralled with is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra to an even lesser extent. I know it’s blasphemy to not love these shows. I really like them, and love how the story and characters develop. I think it’s because it’s animated, which doesn’t make sense at all because I love Star Wars Clone Wars and Rebels.

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I had just caught up with Saga, the comic series written by award winning comic writer Brian K. Vaughan. I’ll say this; it’s definitely original, which is a big plus in my book. It’s well written, but didn’t pull me in as much as Preacher did. I’m also reading his other series, Paper Girls which is also very original. Y: The Last Man, from what I read is really good too! I’ll stay with both for now. A few more examples of good writing came from a recommended comic called Wytches by Scott Snyder. Wow! If you like creepy comics, in the vein of Stephen King, I cannot recommend this one enough. I read the entire trade in one sitting, something I never do. Lastly, Transmetroplitan and Planetary also came recommended, both written by Warren Ellis. I’m excited to dive into those!

I’m all ears for more recommendations. I can’t guarantee I’ll like it, but I’m willing to try. Movies, books, or comics!

Eric Onkenhout

@EricOnkenhout or @WritingEric

Facebook.com/eric.onkenhout

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Trailer Snark (March 17, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Beauty and the Beast (Disney) – Family/Fantasy/Musical
Rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images
Tag Line:  Experience the tale as old as time.
Starring:  Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans
Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.
Running Time: 129 minutes

Chris: I have been impressed with Disney’s live action presentations of their classic animated works.  And from the looks of things, I won’t be changing my opinion any time soon.
Jessica: I’d rather watch the cartoon. I’ve read many versions of the story and I do really adore it, but this does nothing for me for some reason, which is surprising because I love musicals and Hermoine!

T2 Trainspotting (Sony) – Drama
Rated R for drug use, language throughout, strong sexual content, graphic nudity and some violence
Tag Line: Face your past.  Choose your future.
Starring: Ewan MacGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner
Plot: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Jessica: I saw the original and remember liking it years ago, I’d have to rewatch it before I see this one, which looks like a good time to me. I can give or take Danny Boyles movies, but I remember enjoying the original film and you can really never go wrong with Ewan!
Chris: I was not a fan of the original, though I know it holds cult status among certain circles.  My appreciation for Ewan MacGregor’s talents came later than some.  Not my fix.

Song to Song (Broad Green Pictures) – Drama/Musical/Romance
Rated R for some sexuality, nudity, drug use and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara
Plot: Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.
Running Time: 129 minutes

Chris: What is with Ryan Gosling and musicals?  Love that Dion tune!  The trailer, not so much.
Jessica: Eh, looks like typical Ryan Gosling fair, entertaining but not theater worthy.

The Belko Experiment (High Top Releasing) – Horror/Thriller/Action
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Tag Line: Office Space Meets Battle Royale
Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn
Plot: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
Running Time: 88 minutes
Jessica: OH MY GOD does this look amazing. Office workers trying to kill each other? Michael Rooker! John C McGinley! Tony Goldwyn! I AM IN.
Chris: My wife will wonder who she married when I take her to the movies, buy her a ticket for Beauty and the Beast and some popcorn, and tell her I will meet her in the lobby after the showing for this movie. 😉

Tickets Purchased:  Two for The Belko Experiment

Yeah, it's kind of like that.
Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

 

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/15/2018

Welcome comic fans to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday I spotlight some of the new releases that I’m picking up on Wednesday. Happy daylight savings! We may have lost an hour this weekend, but what is dead may never die.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

gc3

The Top of the Pile: God Country #3

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: ‘DEATH IN TEXAS’-When Emmett Quinlan returned from the brink, his son thought his prayers had been answered. They had, but not by the god he’d prayed to. Now DEATH has come to West Texas to show the Quinlan family the price of resurrection…

Why we love it: In just two issues God Country has claimed the top of the pile through its emotive artwork and superb storytelling. A story that is both intimate and fantastically bombastic. God Country is a goddam good read.

 

tah 17

The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #17 (Stonehouse variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: ‘BIG APPLE SHOWDOWN’ CONTINUES! A tale too big for the Big Apple! Extraterrestrial action how you like it! Hulk and his new friends Ms. Marvel, Silk, Shang Chi, Jimmy Woo and Jake Oh take the fight into space!

Why we like it: The Protectors are heading to space for a cosmic adventure. And Stonehouse is still killing it on covers. Count me in!

hl5

The Indie One: Head Lopper #5 (Sandoval variant)

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Andrew MacLean

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWER’-Norgal and Agatha are back! A daring new adventure awaits, looming like the Crimson Tower, home of Ulrich the Twice Damned, sworn enemy of Zhaania Kota Ka. With old friends and new, our heroes boldly enter the bloodied pinnacle with bare steel and steady hearts. The quarterly series HEAD LOPPER has returned!

Why we like it: If his head don’t drop just pull up your socks, and then lop away. Maclean’s back. Maclean’s back. A returning Crank File favorite, Head Lopper returns with more swords and sorcery told in Andrew Maclean’s unmistakable signature style.

ag1

The #1 One: American Gods Shadows #1 (McKean variant)

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Neil Gaiman
Art: P. Craig Russel

What it is: Shadow Moon just got out of jail, only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain as to where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard – thrusting Shadow into a deadly world of the supernatural, where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point. The Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning novel and upcoming Starz television series by Neil Gaiman is adapted as a comic series for the first time!

Why we like it: A delicious mix of horror, fantasy, mystery and satire, this is a great way for fans of Neil Gaiman comics who haven’t ventured into his novels to become acquainted with a modern classic.

v5

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom #5 (Crain variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: IN THIS CORNER: The scariest symbiotic sociopath this side of the Savage Land! You know him, you love him? The one, the only VENOM! IN THE OTHER CORNER: The wall-crawling, web-slinging wonder called THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Step right up and place your bets – the bout of the century is about to begin!

Why we like it: Clayton Crain is arguably the most recognizable Venom cover artist, after McFarlane. So any Crain Venom variant gets my attention. But it was a tough call between this and J. G Jones’ brilliant Batwoman inventive variant. Ultimately I gave this one the nod because it has a King Kong vibe to it.

 

That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re picking up in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (March 10, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros) – Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Tag Line: Awaken the King.
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson
Plot: A team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unites to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong. As their mission becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Jessica: It’s ALL about King Kong for me this week so I can’t even deal with any of these other silly films. 😉
Jim: JL, I wholeheartedly share your enthusiasm. The original ’33 King, to me, is still the greatest adventure film of all time (I even like Son of Kong and the original Mighty Joe Young) and Peter Jackson’s remake was pretty awesome.  The original just gets better every time I see it.  Seeing this one on Wednesday, can’t wait! Great cast, good trailer (although shows a bit too much). The other movies just don’t have a chance.
Chris: I’d love to play Devil’s Advocate here, but the moment I saw this trailer I knew I needed to make it a priority to witness it in all of it’s Big Screen glory!

Raw (Focus World) – Drama/Horror
Rated R for aberrant behavior, bloody and grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying
Tag Line: What are you hungry for?
Starring: Garance Marrilier, Ella Rumpf
Plot: When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Chris:  Hold the bath salts, thank you.  <Puke>
Jessica: No giant apes?  No Loki?  Pass.
Jim: This looks scarier than Kong.

The Ottoman Lieutenant (Paladin) – Drama/War
Rated R for some war violence
Tag Line: In a land on the brink of war the most dangerous place to be is in love.
Starring: Michiel Huisman, Ben Kingsley, Josh Hartnett
Plot: The Ottoman Lieutenant is a love story between an idealistic American nurse and a Turkish officer in World War I.
Running Time: 106 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ9TZlyQSJM
Jim: ZZZZZZ
Chris: Certainly looks better than the Ben Kingsley film we looked at here two weeks ago, but not good enough to drag me to the theater.
Jessica: Nope, not KK.

Personal Shopper (IFC Films) – Mystery/Drama/Thriller
Rated R for some language, sexuality, nudity and a bloody violent image
Tag Line: None
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Edlinger
Plot: Revolves around a ghost story that takes place in the fashion underworld of Paris.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Jessica: Unless they’re buying GIANT shoes for Kingy Kongy, I’ll pass!
Jim: I liked Clouds of Sils Maria, looks interesting (I’m waiting for Kristen Stewart jokes from SOMEbody).
Chris: I suggest a cross-over film where King Kong visit Paris and eats Kristen Stewart, downing her with a glass of wine, while the Ottoman Empire rises and invades Western Europe. I think that covers a combination of all this week’s previous trailers and delivers Jim from disappointment.

The Sense of an Ending (CBS Films) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, a violent image, sexuality and brief strong language
Tag Line: Unravel the truth.
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter
Plot: A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Chris: This one actually caught me by surprise.  Refreshingly understated reflective mystery.
Jessica: I sense an ending with a GIANT APE.
Jim: Maybe worth a rental ’cause of the premise.

The Other Half (Brainstorm Media) – Dram/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Tom Cullen
Plot: A bipolar woman and a grief-stricken man struggle to forge a simple life.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Jim: ZZZZZZ part two.
Chris:  Two minutes…..all it took to put me to sleep.  Probably the darkest (literally) trailer I have ever seen.
Jessica: If the other half of the other half isn’t Kong, I’ll pass.

The Dark Below (Parade Deck Films) – Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: Silence is the most powerful scream.
Starring: Lauren Mae Shafer, Veronica Cartwright
Plot: A woman struggles for survival beneath a frozen lake while a serial killer stalks her from the surface.

Jessica: I came up with lots of jokes that are not printable so I’ll just say, not Kong, not for me!
Jim: Looks pretty intense, whatever it is. Veronica Cartwright, wow!
Chris: Love the concept. Cat and very wet mouse.

Tickets Purchased:  Three for Kong!

 

What are Samuel Jackson's Vegas odds on survival in this film?
What are Samuel Jackson’s Vegas odds on survival in this film?
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 3/8/2017

Hello comic book fans and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that gave up being clever for lent. Every Tuesday I give you a glimpse at my new comics reading pile and let you know what I’m excited about. Another glorious Wednesday is upon us, so here’s what I’m reading this week.

l16

The Top of the Pile: Low #16

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,’ Part One-As a gladiator, Marik Caine brought the light of hope into the one of the darkest corners of the ocean before that darkness swallowed him whole. Now, a new hero arises from the fighting pits of Poluma to carry on Marik’s legacy.

Why we love it: One of my favorite Image comics is back from a scheduled break and I’ve been dying to know where the story goes after last issue’s heart-breaker ending. Low is classic Remender, a story of optimism, family, honor and self-sacrifice, all told while pushing the main characters through the proverbial meat-grinder. Not for the faint of heart nor the small of mind, Low is high-art in low-brow format.

 

 

ac975

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #975

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘MILD MANNERED’ part one! The road to ‘Superman: Reborn’ starts here! With Superman and Lex Luthor back on Earth, the Man of Steel turns his attention to uncovering the mystery of the human Clark Kent living and working in Metropolis. But there’s something off about this guy, and Superman better figure out just what that is, before it’s too late!

Why we like it: I’m totally sucked into this Rebirth mystery. I have a theory that explains the Clark Kent/Superman conundrum. It’s too long winded to spell out here, but it involves Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, Flashpoint, the New 52 and Darkseid Wars.

ch11

The Indie One: Copperhead #11

Publisher: Image
Words: Jay Faerber
Art: Drew Moss

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! Critically acclaimed COPPERHEAD returns with new artist DREW MOSS! Sheriff Clara Bronson’s past and present collide as an old friend arrives in town while Clara investigates the murder of Copperhead’s mayor.

Why we like it: I honestly did not expect to see another issue of Copperhead, so this is a pleasant surprise. I was really enjoying this series before it went on extended hiatus. The last issue, issue #10, was release all the way back in October. Of 2015. Copperhead returns Wednesday and will hopefully be able to stick on a regular release schedule with new artist, Drew Moss. An artist named Drew is as amusing as a quarterback named Chuck.

 

gk1

The #1 One: Grass Kings #1

Publisher: Boom!
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Tyler Jenkins

What it is: From The New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land. Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom? Perfect for fans of True Detective Season One or Scalped. Oversized, prestige format first issue featuring 30 pages of story!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt is one of those creators that I will always check out when they put out new stuff. From his insane, sci-fi Dark Horse titles to his insane super hero work at Valiant, the man never fails to deliver something fresh and interesting.

 

ww18

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Bilquis Evely
Cover Art: Jenny Frison

What it is: ‘GODWATCH’ part two! Godwatch grows, and Diana has her first encounter with the ghost in the machine known as Dr. Cyber!

Why we like it: Jenny Frison has been knocking it out of the park for Wonder Woman since issue #7, but there’s something about Wundy’s pose on this cover that evokes the same iconic feeling as Brian Bollard’s cover to Wonder Woman vol. 2 #72. Insta-classic.

 

That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re checking out in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (March 3, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Logan (Twentieth Century Fox) – Action/Drama/Sci-Fi
Rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Hugh Jackman, Patrick Steward, Dafne Keen
Plot: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Running Time: 137 minutes

Jessica: The Apocalypse XMen movie lost me, but this looks really good. I love the idea of an old Logan and it looks dark and gritty, my two least favorite superhero adjectives, but it’s appealing to me, I cannot lie!
Chris: The advanced buzz on this movie has been crazy good, and the trailer kicked me in the rear and got my attention.  I am certain High Jackman will be leaving the role that he has made his own on a very high note.

Before I Fall (Open Road Films) – Drama/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language-all involving teens.
Tag Line: What if today was the only day for the rest of your life?
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Jennifer Beals
Plot: February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Jessica: Interesting idea. Like a morbid teenage angsty Groundhog Day. Hmmm.
Chris:  Darnit Jess….you stole my Groundhog Day comparison.  Tweens will be all over this.  All that is missing is some 90’s era “I hate my life grunge music.”

Table 19 (Fox Searchlight) – Drama/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, drug use, language and some brief nudity
Tag Line: You are invited to the wedding of the season.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow
Plot: Ex-maid of honor Eloise, having been relieved of her duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway only to find herself seated with 5 “random” guests at the dreaded Table 19.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Chris: I like the concept of this one.  Anyone who has planned a wedding can certainly see the humor.  Will catch it at RedBox in a few months.
Jessica: I really enjoy Anna K. and the rest of the cast are pretty solid low-key comedy talents, looks funny, watch at home fare.

The Shack (Summit Entertainment) – Drama/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some violence
Tag Line: You’re never as alone as you think.
Starring: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Radha Mitchell
Plot: A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called “The Shack.”
Running Time: 132 minutes

Chris: I read this book a few years back, and enjoyed it.  Harmed children is always tough material to digest.  Pretty good cast in this one though, and worth a look down the road.
Jessica:  *crickets*

The Last Word (Bleecker Street Media) – Drama/Comedy
Rated R for language.
Tag Line: An unexpected friendship that begins at the end
Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried
Plot: Harriet is a retired businesswoman who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist takes up the task of finding out the truth resulting in a life-altering friendship.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Jessica:  I do love Shirley McClaine so I’d watch this at home, though it looks a bit like “chick flick” fare.
Chris: Came in expecting to not like it, but actually found it to be a bit charming.  I mean, not get me to the theater charming, but I could see myself watching it with the wife, and joking with her that this could be a vision of her future.  😉

Donald Cried (The Orchard) – Comedy/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: Some people can take a hint. And some people are Donald.
Starring: Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause
Plot: With sudden passing of his grandmother, Peter Latang returns to his hometown and encounters his long lost, childhood friend, Donald Treebeck. What begins as a simple favor, turns into a long day’s journey into the past.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Chris: Talk about trainwreck friendships!  LOL.  Cringeworthy pathos was a phrase within the trailer, and it fits perfectly. 
Jessica: Um, what the heck? Not sure about this one, looks funny and scary.

Wolves (IFC Films) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: You ready to rise up?
Starring: Michael Shannon, Taylor John Smith
Plot: An 18-year-old basketball star who is being recruited by Cornell University seems to have it all figured out: captain of his team, a good student, has a longtime girlfriend and some good friends. But at home he’s struggling with his troubled father who has a gambling addiction. His mother tries to keep the family afloat but does so with great emotional and financial sacrifice.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Jessica: I adore Michael Shannon, he’s so solid so I’d watch this on the power of his name alone, but the rest of the story looks pretty compelling as well. Another watch at home film though.
Chris: I agree with Jess that Michael Shannon is a fine actor, and this could be an understated gem.  It just won’t find its audience on the big screen, I am almost certain.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Logan

Farewell Hugh. You were a better Logan than the movies you starred in.
Farewell Hugh. You were a better Logan than the movies you starred in.