Posted on

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.

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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

Posted on

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)

Posted on

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