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The Least Likelies: Of Dice & Men (Episode I)

First, a word from Chris Mills (Great Stories Founder):

A few years ago, back before Great Stories Comics and Games came to be a modest brick and mortar operation in Uxbridge, MA. we were simply a tiny start-up online entity that would run the local comic con circuits.  It was through these shows that we met some very amazing people who we now call friends.  Some of these friends of ours conspired with us to concoct a story project that would follow an unlikely (or should we say least likely) band of friends as they trekked through their small town of Great Woods, MA in search of fun amidst the drudgery of their real world lives.

We began to put it to video in the summer of 2015 under the direction of a high school friend of mine who was an expert in video production, and with the assistance of a then high school senior who had dabbled in some amateur director work with the hopes of broadening her skills in the field and a possible future in the business!  Like so many projects whose participants are brimming with enthusiasm, we churned out raw production work for the better part of four episodes before the reality of life and career change sought to derail the creative plans.  For my part, I had a 3-5 year plan in place to open a brick and mortar that suddenly became a one year plan, which took much of my time and energy.  Our producer found his career demanding more and more of his time, and he and his wife were blessed with a baby.  Our student director headed for college, and suddenly everything just ground to a halt.

These past 18 months, I have been haunted by the prospects of working to get this limited body of work out to the public, and give our friends the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of their labor.  And we leave open the door to continuing this story beyond what we have already filmed.  There is a fair amount of material story-boarded even now, and I have a fondness for the characters that you will soon see before you on screen.  What you will find in these videos is decidedly amateur film-making, but it was fun to do, and I hope that shows.  And if you see some value in this little project, and enough of you like it, perhaps we will revisit the story in the future if all the stars align.  I’d like to thank all of the people who have been a part of the production so far: Torb Zwirner, Arik Zwirner, Jen Kruh, Chris Doherty, Tylor Hamel, Mike Mitchell, Brian O’Dwyer, Jake Toback, Jason Ravitz, Marjorie Ravitz, Melanie Ravitz, Darth Maul, Melissa Mills, Stan Lynch, Lee Johnson, and Skip Shea.  I am thankful for you all.

Now, onto our very first episode, where you get to meet some of our central characters, and discover who are The Least Likelies!

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American Made – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Sept 29, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  1 hour 55 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  8.0 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

American Made:  “A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.”  The movie is based on a true story, one that is amazing to see unfold.

What works:  A strong cast.  The feel of the 80’s is well done with plenty of pop culture references.  Those who have seen the Netflix show “Narcos” will enjoy this movie.  It tells a side of the narcotics/gun running story not covered in depth in the tv series.  The acting is well done and I really enjoyed Tom Cruise’s performance.  Let’s face it, Cruise in a plane (or jet) is his comfort zone (pun intended).  You pull for every one of the characters knowing that someone is going to lose.

What doesn’t work:  There isn’t anything I didn’t care for in the film.  Very entertaining.

The movie sticks to its main characters and doesn’t get sidetracked with other subplots.  Government illegal actions and the tension and action of being a CIA agent (or not) keeps the viewer engaged.  Without giving away the ending, it was well done.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give American Made an 8.0.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  If you haven’t watched Narcos on Netflix, give it a watch.

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

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – A Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Sept 22, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hour 21 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.8 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Kingsman:  The Golden Circle –  “When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.”  What do you get when you cross James Bond and Richie Rich?  You get the Kingsman.

What works:  A very good cast.  The movie jumps right into the action and keeps moving at a decent pace.  This has the feel of a 007 film with the attractive woman and the classy dressed men drinking martini’s.  I think many will agree, this is a sexy movie that gives you some humor and action wrapped up with some laughable moments.  The movie is rated R for language, adult situations, and violence which actually make the movie a bit more enjoyable for the adult.

What doesn’t work:  The movie feels a tad long, but it did need some time to wrap things up.  Our evil villain feels more like a character out of a Austin Powers movie, but it offers some laughs.

Overall, I enjoyed Kingsman 2 more than the original.  It is definitely entertaining with its tongue and cheek approach to the 007 spy genre.  If you don’t take the movie seriously and just go with the flow (which I think was my issue with the first film), you’ll enjoy this movie.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Kingman: The Golden Circle a 7.8.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  This is movie theater fun done right.

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

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Trailer Snark (September 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!

American Made (Universal) – Action/Biography/Comedy
Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: The CIA. The White House. Pablo Escobar. One Man Played Them All.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright
Plot: A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Tylor: Another Tommy Cruise action film that tries to season cliche story telling with bit comedy. Seems like a “wait for stream” kind of film.
Jim: another action hero job for Dorian Gray….I mean, Tom Cruise. Rental.
Chris: Apparently, I have a higher tolerance for Couch-hopping Cruise than my counterparts.  This one looks like a great time at the theater!

Flatliners (Columbia Pictures) – Drama/Sci-Fi/Horror
Rated PG – 13 for violence and terror, sexual content, language, thematic material, and some drug references
Tag Line: You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Died
Starring: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, Kiefer Sutherland
Plot: Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Chris: Did this really need to be remade?  I don’t think so. Predicting the box office returns to be DOA, too.
Tylor: Mad science + temporary death experience creates pseudo-spiritual awakening until chaos ensues from unforeseen recourse. Its ‘Lazarus Effect’ with some run time dedicated to the “happier side” of playing with death.
Jim: The original Julia Roberts/Kiefer Sutherland head flick was an Ok thriller. This doesn’t seem different enough to warrant a viewing from me.

Super Dark Times (The Orchard) – Drama/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappucino
Plot: Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jim: Interested. Starts out looking like another ET knockoff, but turns darker.
Chris: A tale of morality and mortality.  Looks absolutely haunting, and one that I will be checking out for sure.
Tylor: A young man fails to keep it together after a terrible incident. Now his world and his psyche begins to crumble. I’m actually interested in seeing how this story unfolds.

A Question of Faith (Pure Flix) – Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements
Tag Line: Divided by loss. United by faith.
Starring: Richard T Jones, Kim Fields, C. Thomas Howell
Plot: When tragedy strikes three families, their destiny forces them on a converging path to discover God’s love, grace and mercy as the challenges of their fate could also resurrect their beliefs.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Tylor: It follows the same narrative style as most christian movies these days. One problems that several different families deal with in different ways, but there only one true solution. Not always the best films, but generally touching with a nice lesson.
Jim: Looks well-made and worthwhile, but still not enough to get me into a theater.
Chris: I’ll save this one for my Tuesday community group.

Lucky (Magnolia Pictures) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston
Plot: The spiritual journey of a ninety-year-old atheist.
Running Time: 88 minutes

Chris: Looks quite off-beat in a good way.  The one-liner in the doctor’s office had me belly-laughing.  I am sold.
Tylor: I personally enjoy these “extraordinary life of” style movies. Mix in some wholesome humor and its got my attention for an hour and a half.
Jim: RIP great character actor Harry Dean Stanton—this looks like a nice sendoff for him.

Literally, Right Before Aaron (Screen Media Films) – Comedy/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line:  Her wedding.  His funeral.
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Justin Long, Lea Thompson
Plot: A young man attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Jim: An enjoyable-looking rental.
Chris: I like Cobie better as Maria Hill.
Tylor: Another type-cast awkward Justin Long rom-com. I can’t so I don’t love him, but this is really more a “date night on the couch” movie.

Til Death Do Us (Novus Content) – Thriller
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving domestic abuse, violence, some sexuality and language
Tag Line: When your marriage vows could mean your life.
Starring: Taye Diggs, Annie Ilonzeh, Stephen Bishop
Plot: Michael and Madison Roland had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling ways turned their perfect marriage. With the help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. After adopting a new identity, she meets Alex Stone and learns to love again. All is well, until Michael discovers Madison’s whereabouts, and recreates the nightmare she once lived all over again.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Tylor: This narrative is so over done, I’m already calling it. Ex kills the new lover, but then gets killed by leading lady. Not unwatchable, but we definitely have seen it before.
Jim: In honor of Fatal Attraction’s 30th anniversary, its latest clone.
Chris: I am with Tylor and Jim on this one.  That said, I would not hesitate to pop this one some Friday night with my favorite comfort food.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Super Dark Times (Tylor and Chris) and One for Lucky (Jim)

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 27, 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: Action Comics #988

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patrick Zircher

What it is: ‘THE OZ EFFECT’ part two! As Superman struggles with the ramifications of Mr. Oz’s identity, the mysterious figure’s origins and the long road to Superman’s doorstep finally reveal themselves.

Why we like it: If you haven’t read Action Comics #987 yet, they reveal Mr. Oz’s identity and it is bonkers. If you have read Action Comics #987 then you’re just as wtf as I me… You got some serious explaining to do Dan Jurgens. Another great looking lenticulared cover here.

 

The Mainstream One: Spider-Gwen #24

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Robbie Rodriguez
Art: Jason Latour

What it is: The aftermath of the PREDATORS storyline leaves Gwen in a VERY different place. * Matt Murdock’s plans all come home to roost, and when you plan like our good friend Murderdock does, you know that ain’t pretty. * WHAT IS THE NEXT EVOLUTIONARY STEP FOR SPIDER-GWEN?!

Why we love it: The hype’s been cooking on this one for a while. 3 years ago, Gwen Stacy came swinging back into our lives with new radioactive spider powers and it was love all over again. And this is the moment I’ve been waiting for since then. Spider-Gwen’s getting her own symbiote saga and that can only mean one thing, Gwenom.

The Indie One: Saga #47

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

What it is: Meet Ianthe, who has very big plans for The Will.

Why we like it: After an emotional arc with the heroes of our story, this issue will offer a nice change of pace catching up with one of my favorite secondary characters, the broken bounty hunter The Will. I am also very interested in meeting Mr. Crystal Face Fancy Pants over there.

 

The #1 One: Marvel Legacy one shot (Alex Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic

What it is: EVERYTHING STARTS HERE! It begins at the dawn of the human race, and ends with a child’s prayer! In between, empires fall, mysteries brew, secrets are revealed, quests are undertaken and legends are forged! All leading up to the dramatic return you’ve been waiting for – and one you’ve been dreading! Jason Aaron (MIGHTY THOR) and Esad Ribic (SECRET WARS) usher in a new dawn – one whose rays will touch every corner of the Marvel Universe in the days to come! MARVEL LEGACY: It’s everything you’ve been longing for – and more! ONE-SHOT/Rated T+

Why we like it: Marvel is going to start phasing in legacy characters that have been missing from the Marvel continuity for a while and the come back starts here. They sort of spoil it on the cover (which is amazeballs), but I’m excited none the less. This is not an event book, it’s a one shot issue that Marvel is using to setup story lines for the coming year before they reboot the All-New All-Different universe in 2018. Ha, just kidding… hopefully.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mighty Thor #23 (Venomized Villains variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Valerio Schiti
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: THOR AGAINST THOR! When the Ultimate Thor finally goes too far, Jane has no choice but to stop him. Can she quell the rage of the War Thor before he destroys the very realms he once hoped to save?

Why we like it: Things aren’t looking good for Jane Foster.  This venomized Hela cover however looks totally amazing. I think it’s currently a tie between Clayton Crain and Francesco Mattina for the best symbiote artist. Hela’s playing a central role in the upcoming Thor Ragnarok movie and she should be gaining some fans.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (September 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!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material
Tag Line: Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore
Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.
Running Time: 141 minutes

Rob F: I pledge my spear and sword to Prince Oberyn of House Martell. Pedro Pascal is a phenomenal actor and he isn’t even listed in the credits. Halle Berry isn’t half-bad either. Overall, this looks like an action-packed, fun romp through “The Secret Service” comic world created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Sign me up.
Wayne: Action packed with a killer cast. I hope this one lives up to the hype. The first one was surprisingly good and has set the bar high for the sequel. I’m buying this.
Chris: The very first time I read Mark Millar’s The Secret Service #1, I knew this Kingsman property was something special. The first movie only solidified that position. We may not get Samual L Jackson’s villainous lisp, but you know what we get is going to be good.
Jim: First one was a decent actioner, this one looks to be more of the same—rental. In the barrage of images laboring to get my attention, the coolest was of Colin Firth firing from his umbrella. 

The Lego Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros) – Animation/Action/Adventure
Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor
Tag Line: Find your inner piece.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Michael Pena
Plot: Six young ninjas Lloyd, Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Nya are tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they’re gifted warriors, using their skills and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they’re ordinary teens struggling against their greatest enemy: high school.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Jim: More high octane humor from the Lego people, quips and gags whipping by faster than the human brain can process them. Rental.
Rob F: My six year old would never forgive me if I didn’t bring her to see this one. She’s been talking about it for months and is a huge fan of the toys and the seven seasons of the show. What’s not to love? Legos plus ninjas plus time with my youngest. Hard to beat that! It’s spinjitsu time!
Wayne: Who doesn’t like Lego’s? I don’t think this will be as successful as Lego Batman, but kids love this stuff and it has spilled over to adults with the Lego Movie. Ya, I’ll check it out. I’m buying this.
Chris: I previously doubted the Lego Batman movie based on the trailer, and was proven wrong. I am not going to doubt the creators again, but it won’t be on the big screen for me.

Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight) – Biography/Comedy/Sports
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity
Tag Line: He made a bet.  She made history.
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough
Plot: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Chris: It’s 40 Year Old Wash-up vs. Billy Jean Tennis Queen. Yeah, I am interested, but again it won’t be in the cineplex.
Jim: Now we’re cookin.’ Two great actors in a story worth constructing a movie around.
Rob F: Emma Stone vs. Steve Carell; Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs. Based on the true story of a fabled tennis match that took place in 1973 at the Houston Astrodome. It may still be the most viewed tennis match in history. The build up was intense and showcased emerging feminism and of course it’s counterpart. “I’m gonna put the show back in chauvinism.” ~Bobby Riggs. Looks entertaining, and would definitely watch at home, but not a big screen take for this moviegoer.
Wayne: I’m old enough to remember seeing this on Wide World of Sports. I’m not certain this movie will be overly successful, but the cast alone has me sold and I’m interested in the story of how this came together. I’m buying this.

Friend Request (Entertainment Studios) – Horror/Thriller
Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, and language
Tag Line: Evil is trending.
Starring: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Mosely
Plot: A popular college student graciously accepts a social outcast’s online friend request, but soon finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Wayne: (yawn) Ya, not buying this. Moving on.
Chris: This is my genre, but this looks woefully bad. Deleting this Friend Request.
Jim: Laughable, but fascinating. It’s schlock, but might be worth looking at for the cheese factor alone.
Rob F: Paranormal unfriend request on Facebook. Meh. Not my genre.

Victoria & Abdul (Focus Features) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language
Tag Line: History’s most unlikely friendship.
Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal
Plot: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Rob F: Judi Dench as Queen of England and Empress of India. Based on a true and what looks to be interesting story about an unlikely friendship and the evolving human condition. Not a big screen flick, but I’d enjoy it.
Wayne: This looks like a charming story, but not enough to pull me into a theater. I will check it out when it comes to Netflix. Going to sell this.
Chris: Long Live the Queen! Judi Dench is a fantastic actress, and this one could be one of those understated gems, humanizing the British royalty. But didn’t we just see virtually the same film just a few weeks back (The Viceroy’s something or other), except that one was in India.
Jim: And one for the Mahstahpiece Theatuh crowd—Dame Judi’s always worth watching, looks worthwhile.

Stronger (Lionsgate) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for language throughout, some graphic injury images, and brief sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: Strength defines us.
Starring: Jake Gylenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson
Plot: Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Jim: Yeah, I tried to fight it, but it got me. I felt the lump forming in my throat about 15 seconds in.
Rob F: I can’t. I just can’t watch this. It’s too soon. When I do watch it, you can bet it will be in the privacy of my own home. #BostonStrong #FTerrorism
Wayne: This movie is primed to pull at your heart strings. I’m going to sell this though. The struggle is real for this person, but I’m just not compelled to see it in the theater.
Chris: My heart was just ripped from my chest with that trailer. Yeah, I am in.

Woodshock (A24) – Drama/Thriller
Rated R for drug use, language and a scene of violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Joe Cole
Plot: A woman falls deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Chris: I love Kirsten Dunst, but this movie looks a bit too psychedelic for my taste. Cheech & Chong meets Cabin Fever weird.
Jim: Huh?
Rob F: Pass. Not even really sure what was happening in that trailer, but I think that was their goal.
Wayne: After seeing Mother!, I’m gun shy about going into a movie that I’m not certain what I’m going to get. This looks strange and familiar and I’m not willing to put my money on the line that I’m going to get a story worth seeing. I’m selling this.

Tickets Purchased: Two for Kingsman (Wayne and Chris), One for Ninjago (Rob), and One for Battle of the Sexes (Jim)

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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.

https://images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com/filer_public/5a/eb/5aeb12d2-b699-4822-99b9-1c4493fdd457/swe02_main.png

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

@EricOnkenhout

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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.