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Tube Watch (Week of March 27th)

We are back with another round of Tube Watch.  So what were the Great Stories family and friends watching this week?  Let’s see…..

 

Our friend Jim watched some classic pscho on a plane-type action with Turbulence, which he quite enjoyed.  Ray Liotta and Lauren Holly star in that one.  He also screened Unknown, starring Liam Neeson.  A truly awesome suspense flick!  And knowing how much Jim appreciates older films, you had to know that there was going to be something made before yours truly had a license to drive….The Purple Rose of Cairo with Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels (under the direction of that creepy Woody Allen).

 

Rob, on the other hand, did not spend so much time watching movies, but did take some time to catch up on The Walking Dead, as well as attending a Game of Thrones Season Four Episode One viewing party hosted by HBO in Boston.

 

Marcel took in a viewing of Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie, and claims that it is far and away a better movie than the first!

 

Chris risked life and limb by starting a new (to him) series from A&E called Bates Motel starring Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as the young version of the character made famous in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  Only one episode in, but it has him hooked for more, much to Melissa’s Chagrin.  He also watched a very dull 1996 frontier adventure movie called The North Star, starring Christopher Lambert, James Caan, and Catherine McCormack, about a Native American who attempts to lay claim to a goldmine owned by an immoral land baron in Nome, Alaska in the gold rush of the 1800’s.

 

Melissa and Chris both took a 2012 movie called Lawless (starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Guy Pearce), about backwoods moonshine runners and dirty cops during prohibition.  Not a bad flick.  She also caught up on more Lost Season Three episodes….who doesn’t love that show, right?

 

What are you watching this week?

 

We’ll check in again next week, but would love to hear some recommendations from you!

 

-The Great Stories Team

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Comic Picks of the Week (March 26, 2014)

Wondering what books are hitting the comic shelves tomorrow?  Well, as always, there are quite a few, but which will prove to be a worthy read?  I’m going with four titles this week!


Blackout #1, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #3, Origin II #4, and The Superior Spider-Man #30.

 

 

 

 

First introduced in 2013’s Dark Horse Presents #24, Blackout is the story of Scott Travers.  He has discovered a suit that lets him move through the world both unseen and untouchable within a shadow dimension.  But at what price and where did this mysterious suit come from?  Seems like a tale worthy of a read.

 

My second selection needs little explanation.  If you haven’t watched Firefly or Serenity, then you should start there.  Although admittedly, it boggles the mind that such could be the case.  Once you’ve done that, grab the prior two issues of this series as well.  Serenity: Leaves on the Wind continues the story of the best crew in the ‘verse about nine months after the events of the feature film.  There are also two one-shot stories out there by Dark Horse that you can hunt down.  “You can’t take the sky from me.”

 

Next up is Origin II.  First of all, the issue is packed with Adam Kubert artwork; which, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission.  Second of all, you’ve got more of Wolverine’s backstory penned beautifully by Kieron Gillen.  Still not sold?  How about I mention Sabretooth and Sinister are involved as well.  Give it a shot.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Last, but by no means least is The Superior Spider-Man #30.  This is part four of the Goblin Nation Arc and everything has certainly come to a head.  Marvel is teasing the issue saying “Once this happens, it CANNOT be undone!”  Once What Happens?!?!  Guess there’s only one way to find out…

 

Great Stories are everywhere!

 

~Rob

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Tube Watch (Week of March 20th)

Hi Everyone,

Just checking in to let you know what the Great Stories family have been watching at home in our living rooms and snuggled in bed.

 

Chris watched You’re Next, a home invasion horror movie, much to his wife’s chagrin.  Yes, banished to the office to watch on the PC since this movie was not sanctioned as acceptable.  LOL.  He recommends it if you are looking for a good intense movie experience.  He did happen to watch the comedy Last Vegas (with Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, and Kevin Kline), to make up for his “poor taste”, with his wife.

 

Marcel watched Hours, starring the late Paul Walker, but claims the movie was a bit disappointing.  For a 12 year old, he has some pretty sophisticated taste in movies.  He does recommend Freebirds, the time traveling turkey movie with Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson providing voices, as well as Justice League: War (the animated DC movie).

 

Melissa watched the Disney animated classic Peter Pan.  Heck, anything with Tinkerbell is going to find a prominent place on her viewing list. She also continues to catch up with the rest of the world viewing Lost Season Three episodes (only the best tv show in the last couple of decades!).

 

Our friend and sometimes columnist Rob watched all thirteen episodes of the just released Clone Wars:  The Lost Missions as well as Perks of Being a Wallflower (drama/romance), which stars Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman.  He recommends both very highly, but what does a man who thinks Moon Knight is the greatest character in the Marvel Universe know?  😉

 

And finally, our friend Jim spent his week watching lots of classics including North By Northwest (Hitchcock), My Fair Lady (Audrey Hepburn), andThe Owl and the Pussycat (with Barbara Streisand).  He especially recommends North By Northwest, as one of Hitchcock’s best films!  On the more recent front, he viewed Inside Lleweyn Davis, a movie about the folk music scene in 1970’s era Greenwich Village, which he also recommends highly even though the lead character is a “complete jerk”.  LOL.  Plainly spoken Jim!

 

 

What are you watching this week?

 

We’ll check back in again in a week to let you know the next movie Chris picks that gets him ex-communicated from the bedroom once again!

 

-The Great Stories Team

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Comic Pick of the Week (March 19 2014)

Great Stories selects…..

 

The Witcher #1 (Dark Horse)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Horse brings graphic novel rebirth to a character born in a fantasy book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski  in the 90’s (and recently translated into English!).  The comic adaptation is penned by Paul Tobin with art provided by Joe Querio, and this first of five issues sets up quite a creepy tale as our protagonist Geralt meets a hunter with a tragic history.

 

This incarnation of the comic is actually the second go around for The Witcher in this medium, and we recommend you pick up a copy.  If you really enjoy it, you can then go on a true treasure hunt for the six comic series that was released between 1993-1995.  The novels, which have also been adapted into a video game series, may just shoot to the top of our reading list as well.

 

Great stories are everywhere!

 

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

 

P.S.  Thanks to Rob Fossey for last week’s comic pick of the week, as well as his support for my fascination with all things Greg Rucka.  😉

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Comic Picks of the Week (March 12, 2014)

 

I’ve gotta be honest here, there wasn’t a clear winner for me in this week’s new comic releases.  I’m very excited to read both Dark Horse’s The Star Wars #6 (of 8) and Marvel’s The Superior Spider-Man #29.  However, both are in the middle of existing story arcs and it’s hard to advise people to hop on mid-arc.  But, if you are looking to grab some back issues then by all means go to town!  Both stories are well told.

 

 

 

 

The Star Wars is an adaptation of George Lucas’s original rough draft screenplay.  It’s quite different than the Star Wars you saw on the big screen and for Star Wars fans it’s a great treat to see how things might have been.  You could of course wait a few months for the trade paperback or hardcover of the collected issues.

 

The Superior Spider-Man is coming to an end and this issue is part 3 of 5 of the Goblin Nation story arc.  If you’ve been living under a rock, then you may not know that Otto Octavius is the “Superior Spider-Man.”  But, good old Peter Parker will be back next month.  As things come to a head, this issue will be packed with the nefarious spiderslayers, Spider-Man 2099, The Green Goblin, and his army of henchmen all gunning for “Spider-Man”.  What’s an octopus in spider’s clothing going to do?

 

To be honest though, you would do well to also hop in a time-machine and go back a week and grab a copy of Moon Knight #1.  I’m particularly fond of the Skottie Young variant.  Or, you know, you could just go to the shelf with last weeks releases if you don’t have a time-machine…whatever works.  Of course, I could be somewhat biased since The Fist of Khonshu ranks up there with a certain webhead on my list of personal favorites.  The truth is that this really should have been the pick of the week last week if someone around here didn’t have a giant man-crush on a certain Punisher storyteller…

 

 

Great Stories are everywhere!

~Rob

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Fresh Popped Corn: March 2014 Movie Trailers

Once per month, we will be taking a look at movies released for the upcoming month, and telling our readers where we would be spending our movie dollars each week, based on the look of the trailers.  Links to the chosen trailers will be provided so you can see just what we are so excited about.  Movie release dates are subject to change.

 

March 7th

The first week of March begins with the sequel to a big box office blockbuster, 300: Rise of an Empire, which will surely bring in another huge take.  For the kids, we have Mr. Peabody & Sherman starring the voice talents of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, and Allison Janney.  The big question is if their target audience will connect with characters originating from the 1950’s?  The Grand Budapest Hotel starring Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Bill Murray, and many others in this ensemble cast looks to be an entertaining look at a renowned concierge who takes a young man under his wing at a five star hotel between the two world wars.  Face of Love stars Ed Harris as the uncanny look-alike of a widow’s (Annette Benning) husband and the effects of their love affair.  Robin Williams is in support here.  Grand Piano seems to be a thriller with tons of potential starring Elijah Wood as an emotionally fragile master pianist who is tormented by a very sinister John Cusack.  Also in that thriller vein is In Fear, which is a film about a young couple who get lost in the wooded backroads on their way to a hotel getaway and are tracked by a menacing threat.  Iain DeCaestecker (Marvel’s Agents of Shield) and Alice Englert star.  Some really good candidates for a night out at the theater amongst this group, and with their being two winners, we will give you two trailers.  Here are Face of Love and Grand Piano for your viewing pleasure!

 

 

 

 

March 14th

The second week of the month has the video game turned movie Need for Speed, starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, and Imogen Poots.  Looks more like Fast & Furious Part 14 to us!   Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club will get the housewives out to the theaters with their girlfriends, but you can count the Great Stories team out on that one (at least…as long as our wives don’t make us go).  Veronica Mars, starring Kristen Bell, looks to bring the popular tv show character to the big screen.  The Art of Steal stars the great and powerful Kurt Russell!  Add in the talents of Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, stuntmen in need of big paydays, grand criminal schemes, and you pretty much have all the info you need on that one.  Bad Words takes Jason Bateman on another inappropriate comedic journey….this time as a man who travels around to beat little kids in spelling bees by gaining entry on a technicality (him not having graduated from 8th grade).  Enemy looks like a mind-warp with Jake Gylenhaal running afoul of his doppleganger and becoming obsessed with finding out more at his peril.  Patrick: Evil Awakens looks like pure grade c horror fare from the UK as a comatose hospital patient with a supernatural abilities.  And The Right Kind of Wrong is a comedic drama about the tragic subject of a woman’s blog that goes mainstream as he suffers the indignity of his life exposed but then re-focuses his life in an ill-advised pursuit of a recently married neighbor.  There is only one movie seemingly worth dropping the full movie ticket price…and that is Enemy.  Check out the creepy trailer below!

 

 

 

March 21st

Week number three presents Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, and Jai Courtney.  A movie about a futuristic world broken into virtue classes, and a movement to destroy those who are special (divergent).  Muppets Most Wanted finds our childhood legends embroiled in a jewel heist while on tour in Europe.  Bring the kiddies and the popcorn!  Anita is a biopic about the Clarence Thomas hearings before congress and the woman at the center of the controversy.  Maladies stars James Franco as a maladjusted soap opera writer in this quirky comedy.  McCanick features David Morse as a narcotics detective on the hunt for a low level criminal who knows information on a cop’s past.  Brandon Routh, Mike Vogel, and Rachel Nichols co-star. Nymphomaniac Volume One is a Lars Von Trier film (first of two volumes) that recounts a woman’s stories of deviance retold to a man who saves her life.  Huge ensemble cast featuring the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsguard, Uma Thurman, Christian Slater and many more, but the subject matter may be an acquired taste.  Rob the Mob is a criminal heist movie about a bunch of nobodies who decide to make it big by ripping off…you guessed it…the mob.  But our pick of the week is going to be Blood Ties starring Clive Owen….this guy needs a bounce back film.  Hopefully this is it!

 

 

 

March 28th

We finish out the month with the Biblical epic Noah, starring Russell Crowe.  We hear that as part of the promotion for the film, the leading man actually met with the Pope to try and get his endorsement.  Not sure how that turned out, but the movie seems to take some liberties with the history presented in the Good book.  We expect bigger box office for this one than the recent Son of God, however.  Sabotage stars Schwarzenegger and Terence Howard as DEA guys being hunted by a dangerous cartel.  The Boys of Abu Ghraib is a re-telling of the scandalous military prison in Iraq run by American soldiers during the recent occupation starring Sean Astin and Luke Moran.  Breathe In features Guy Pearce as the patriarch of a host family to an attractive European student who turns the family on end following her arrival.  And Michael Pena stars in Cesar Chavez as the hero from the streets in this biopic about the labor organizer.  Rosario Dawson co-stars.  It’s a tough one, once again, this week!  Noah and Sabotage make this one a toss-up and depending on your tastes, we don’t think you can go wrong with either one based on the trailers.  Check them out!

 

 

 

That is it for another edition of Fresh Popped Corn.  Coming up next on the blog are reviews for graphic novel Robot God Akamatsu with art and words from our friend James Biggie, as well as Jim and Chris’ picks for top comedies in an April Fool’s edition of The Honor Roll.  See you back here soon!

 

The Great Stories Team

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Comic Pick of the Week March 5 2014

Great Stories selects…….

 

Veil #1 (Dark Horse)

 

 

 

A new brand of horror comic from the mind of Greg Rucka and illustrated by Toni Fejzula.  A young woman of unknown origin awakes in a subway station naked and alone amidst a sea of vermin.  As she makes her way into the world we know, she is immediately confronted with the best and worst of our society.  But Veil, as she is named, is not as helpless and vulnerable as she seems.

 

As we became familiar with Greg Rucka’s writing through Punisher and later through his wonderful creation, Lazarus, it is quite apparent that he has a talent for writing strong female characters.  More evidence can be found in his two Whiteout graphic novels.  Veil seems to be no exception, and if horror graphic fiction is your cup of proverbial tea, then we encourage you jump aboard for this tale and see what twisted paths Mr. Rucka has planned!

 

Great Stories are everywhere!

 

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Comic Pick of the Week February 26 2014

Great Stories selects….

 

Dead Body Road #3 (Image/Skybound)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story revolves around a man (Gage) seeking revenge for the murder of his wife after a heist goes bad.  Following the few leads he has, it is a race against time as the orchestrator of the deed is out to tie up all of the loose ends to cover the tracks.  What we have is a tale that has probably been told a hundred times before in print and on screen, but we find compelling just the same due to the artful way in which it is presented to the reader.  Writer Justin Jordan and artist Matteo Scalera may have just scored for Skybound/Image Comics, which continues to shine with its fine creative output.  The gritty pencils provided by Scalera are in perfect concert with the hardened story that is unfolding within these pages.  A good one for the more mature comic reading crowd.


Great Stories are everywhere!

 

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Comic Pick of the Week February 19 2014

Great Stories selects….

 

Punisher #2 (Marvel)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel’s new Punisher series with Nathan Edmonson and Mitch Gerads at the helm is a return to the Punisher’s glory days stylistically from the early 90’s with a strong supporting cast and our favorite vigilante networking heavily to gain information and supplies on the streets of his new town…Los Angeles.  His main target, the dangerous gang Dos Soles has a new weapon in their efforts to take over Tinseltown thanks to the terror organization AIM.  Meanwhile, two separate adversaries are on the trail of Frank Castle and determined to bring him down.

 

 

 

The action and story are really starting off very strong in this book.  Do yourself a favor by picking up the first two issue which can be found in comic shops from coast to coast!


Great Stories are everywhere!

 

-Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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The Honor Roll: Valentine’s Day Picks (Part Two)

The Honor Roll is a Great Stories feature column that gives you the best in class movies, books, and multimedia from the Great Stories team.  This month Jim and Chris make their top picks for the best Valentines Day features of all time!  Here are Jim’s selections!


Titanic“Nothing on Earth could come between them.”

 

 

The most expensive movie ever made up until that time became the most successful movie ever made up until that time (not adjusted for inflation). This is an all too rare case of a movie living up to it’s blockbuster hype. It still sucks me in every time I see it, even 18 years after I saw it for the first time. James Cameron’s sweeping epic is a triumph of both technical filmmaking and old-fashioned storytelling, expertly dovetailing eye-popping visuals (the actual sinking is just unbelievable) with an absorbing love story. Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet deservedly became superstars (and still are!). Titanic needs no help from me in feeding it’s hype, but I have to admit—it’s one example of a movie that makes people into lifelong movie fans.

Chris’ Comment:  Ho-hum…how original!  Haven’t we just seen this one before?

 

Roman Holiday

“Romance is romantic in Rome!”

 

 The moonbeam that is Audrey Hepburn graces our movie screens for the first time in a leading role. Gregory Peck stands back and lets her glow. I was never much of a Peck fan, always found him a tad dull and upright. Here, though, he relaxes and enjoys himself as a cynical reporter. His smoothness blends nicely into the enchantment that Audrey creates. Eddie Albert is on hand with some bits as Peck’s photographer pal. Put them together with the lively feel of early ‘50s Rome (it was shot in it’s entirety there) and you have a Romance Classic for the ages. 

Chris’ Comment:  A fine selection and true classic.  Gregory Peck is a strong lead along with the beautiful and charming Audrey Hepburn.  The story bears a striking resemblance to many of the formulaic Disney animated princess tales that we are all fondly accustomed to, with the exception of the non-Disney ending.  Watch without fear of wasted time!  

 

Moonstruck

“Life.  Family. Love.”

 

 

 

A boisterous valentine. Cher’s best movie performance, as well as one of Nicolas Cage’s best early roles (oy, whatever happened to Nicolas Cage?!).  Great  support by many others including Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis and John Mahoney. The Italian stereotypes abound, but since the movie keeps it’s footing just outside of reality, there’s nothing here that I’d call offensive. John Patrick Shanley’s Oscar-winning script overflows with great lines (Feodor Chaliapin Jr. has a couple of well-timed comic triumphs). It’s impossible to feel depressed after watching this movie!

Chris’ Comment:  If you like your movies done with over-the-top motif and grand stereotype, you may have found the perfect film to satisfy your romantic heartstrings.  Featuring Cher as the adult daughter of an Italian family that is struggling through their relationships and Nicholas Cage in one of his earliest and finest performances as the disaffected brother of Cher’s hapless suitor (played by a very entertaining Danny Aiello), this romantic film manages to not take itself too seriously.  Check out the scene with Cher confronting Nicholas Cage about attending his brother’s upcoming wedding in the basement of the bakery for one of the best performances of Cage’s career. 


When Harry Met Sally

“Can men and women be friends, or does sex always get in the way?”

 

Rob Reiner’s modern classic, with Nora Ephron contributing the witty script. It’s now pretty much considered the prototype of the modern romantic comedy, although you could argue that Annie Hall and Manhattan got there first. Billy Crystal is at his absolute best (some of his observations about love and dating really hit home with me) and a new movie star was made with Meg Ryan (she’s missed!). With cinematography by future Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld.

Chris’ Comment: Really Jim….you thief!  LOL.  Just kidding.  My man Jim does have a keen sense for quality most of the time.  Here is no exception, but you can see my comments in yesterday’s entry.  🙂



Say Anything

“A Lloyd meets girl story.”

or

The Spectacular Now

“Life is a series of moments called now.”

 

 

 

 

 

Both of them have misfits finding each other at the conclusion of the turbulent high school years. Say Anything is Cameron Crowe’s wonderfully eccentric directorial debut, with his warm and mellow humor leaking out all over. John Cusack made women all over the world fall in love with him and made guys all over the world want to be him (well, except maybe for the kickboxing aspirations). Ione Skye isn’t completely convincing as a superbrain about to become part of some illustrious thinktank, but she’s attractive, appealing and matches up well with Cusack. With a dream of a supporting cast, including John Mahoney as Skye’s slippery dad. James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now is the most recent addition to my list. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley make the most electric cinematic couple I’ve seen in quite some time (this is one of those movies where you yell at the screen, telling the hero to wise up already and go out with her!). Looking at them, there’s no question that they belong together and they belong together NOW. This doesn’t have the hangdog appeal of Crowe’s film, but it has a smart humor all of it’s own.

Chris’ Comment:  Tale of two movies here folks.  On the one hand, you have a classic 80’s teen romance with John Cusack under Cameron Crowe’s fine direction.  The other, a movie that in my mind will fall into the dustbin of celluloid history with nary a whimper.  And that is not to say it is a terrible film.  It is just that The Spectacular Now, to me, features one of the most unlikeable leads in the history of romance movies.  Miles Teller, whose most high profile role to date was in the equally unimpressive Project X, could end up making a living off of portraying these types of characters but I am hoping that there may be a role for him in a future film that does not ask to be punched between the eyes by the average movie-goer.  Not that I would ever stoop to such a level of course.  

 

 

 

 

And that does it for this edition of The Honor Roll.  We’ll be back with a graphic novel review and another comic pick of the week in the coming days.  Hope you had an awesome Valentine’s Day!

 

-Chris and Jim for the Great Stories Team