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Comic Pick for August 7th 2013

Great Stories selects…..


George R. R. Martin’s Skin Trade #2 (Avatar)

 

 

Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s critically acclaimed novella of the same name, Skin Trade is a story of a detective that is brought in to investigate a rash of murders that share the same odd connection.  Her best friend, meanwhile, seems to know something that he is not at liberty to share, and a very powerful family is harboring some secrets of their own.  The writer of the epic Game of Thrones series delves into werewolf lore to great result.  Daniel Abraham adapts the novella to graphic novel form with Mike Wolfer (Lady Death, Gravel) handling the art.  Daniel is no stranger to the world of George R.R. Martin, as he writes the Game of Thrones graphic novel adaptations as well.  And the pencils provided by Mike Wolfer are the perfect compliment to Abraham’s re-telling of the source material.  The mystery provided in issue #1 is enough to have us excited to pick up the #2 in stores today.

Skin Trade #2 was released today, but you can still find the first issue (released last month) in comic shops everywhere.

Great Stories are everywhere!

Chris (for the Great Stories Team)

 

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Fresh Popped Corn: August 2013 Movie Trailers

Great Stories’ new column for our movie trailer preview series is here.  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.

 

August 2nd

August brings with it the final month of the summer blockbusters, though admittedly the movies with much less fanfare.  But we have the box office gold Denzel Washington starring alongside Mark Wahlberg in the crime actioner 2 Guns, which sees the two star as undercover specialists from different government outfits trying to bring down the same drug syndicate with no trust for one another the whole way.  Also being released is Lindsay Lohan’s return to the big screen in The Canyons, which looks somewhat intriguing.  The Smurfs 2 rolls into theaters, for those of you who love tiny blue talking things.  Christina Ricci, Brendan Gleason, and Katy Perry lend their voices to the cast.  Cockneys v Zombies is a British import looking to gag it up with the tired zombie trend.  Europa Report looks like a pretty intense sci-fi excursion to one of Jupiter’s moons for a group of brave astronauts.  And The Spectaclur Now features a tale of unlikely love between the shallow charismatic boy who is the life of the party and the “nice” girl, starring Sutter Keely and Shailene Woodley.  At the risk of being unimaginatively predictable, Great Stories is hopping on the Denzel train, and thinking that 2 Guns is a good dose of fun for this Friday night!  Check out the trailer below.

 

 

August 9th

The second week of August features a Wednesday release of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters for this franchise’s second outing.  Matt Damon and the makers of District 9 want to make a political statement with Elysium, about a man who desperately needs to get the medical attention offered on a space station where the well to do have excaped to following the decay of Earth, where the less fortunate still languish.  We’re the Millers is an adult comedy featuring Jennifer Aniston as a stripper and Ed Helms as a small time dealer who along with two younger counterparts pose as a family to bring a large shipment of contraband into the country.  Planes is the heir apparent to the wildly successful Cars series from Disney, sure to capture the hearts of young children everywhere and pick clean their parents wallets through a mass merchandising campaign.  In a World stars Lake Bell as the daughter of a famous voice over artist who tries to defy the male dominated industry by earning a shot at being the voice for the ad campaign of a new blockbuster trilogy.  Lovelace is Amanda Seyfried portraying the first famous adult actress and how a small town girl from a religious family went on to create such controversy, notoriety, and the consequences those decision wrought.  Prince Avalalanche is a low budge buddy comedy about two guys (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) whose job it is to lay traffic lines on new road in remote parts of America.  You’ll find us trying to adopt a kid for a day as our excuse to see Disney’s latest Planes.  Here is the trailer below!

 

 

August 16th

This particular week is stacking up to be our hardest decision yet.  First up, there is Ashton Kutcher’s portrayal of the brilliant visionary Apple creator in the movie JobsKick Ass 2 promises to do exactly that in theaters and in spite of Jim Carrey’s disavowal of the movie due to its excessive gun violence, he looks simply great in his role as Captain Stars and Stripes, vigilante extraordinaire.  One of our favorites, Forrest Whitaker, portrays Lee Daniels-The Butler, a White House butler who served eight administrations, in what appears to be a very cool historical drama piece which also stars Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack.  Paranoia tells the tail of a promising young tech head (Liam Hemsworth) who gets hired by billionaire Gary Oldman to work undercover against his competition (Harrison Ford) and steal the secrets to a new technology promised to be the next big thing.  Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is the tail of an outlaw (Casey Affleck) who falls in love with a young woman (Rooney Mara) and how they run afoul of a local lawman played by Ben Foster.  Austenland stars the wonderful Keri Russell and Stiffler’s Mom…we kid we kid….Jennifer Coolidge as women obsessed with the world of Jane Austen, and how Russel’s life might be changed by meeting her fantasy English regent.  Lee Daniels does not seem the expected summer fare, but looks like a great choice for history buffs like us.  If not for nothing else, after his truly scary role in The Last King of Scotland, this role may wipe Mr. Whitaker’s face from our nightmares.  Check out the trailer here:

 

 

August 23rd

A new franchise for the teens is set to launch with The Mortal Instruments:  City of Bones, which follows the story of a young girl who discovers she is a descendant of a breed of half-angel Shadowhunters, sworn to protect humanity from demons on earth.  Lily Collins is cast in the lead role.  The World’s End features the Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz team regroup in their hometown for the pub crawl of the ages.  Little do they know, their lovely home town has been taken over by robots posing as the residents and it is up to these unlikely heroes to set things right.  You’re Next is a freaky home invasion movie that is sure to make your date hug you close.  Drinking Buddies is a comedy starring Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson, and Olivia Wilde has a pair of couples who may be in the wrong relationships, and that may mean the end of their friendships. Short Term 12 is an indie that features a foster care supervisor who cares for troubled teams while also reconciling her own past.  Frozen Ground stars Nicholas Cage on the hunt for a serial killer played by John Cusack.  Vanessa Hudgens is the young woman who escapes his clutches and triggers the hunt.  Sad to say, but I am not sure Cage has made a good film in the last decade.  As a fan of both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it would be hard to not go with The World’s End.  Here is the trailer below for your enjoyment!

 

 

 

 

August 30th

The last week in August features Closed Circuit, a terrorist/political thriller with London as the backdrop and starring Erica Bana, Rebecca Hall, and Julia Stiles.  The Lifeguard stars Kristen Bell as a young woman reporter/former valedictorian who decides that she needs to hit life’s reset button and moves back to her hometown to be a lifeguard at the local public pool.  Getaway is a action flick with Ethan Hawke as former race car driver whose wife is kidnapped.  At the mercy of a voice (Jon Voight) who provides him instruction, Hawke attempts to save his wife.  Selena Gomez is along for the ride as a young criminal who stumbles into the plot.  Brian De Palma returns to his highly successful erotic thriller motifs (see Dressed to Kill and Basic Instinct) with Passion, which stars Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams as two powerful business women in a deadly power struggle.  With the summer riding out in style, we’ll jump in the backseat of Getaway and go out having a little intense fun while we are at it.  Here is the trailer.

 

 

Thanks for checking into our movie picks for August, and please let us know what you are most looking forward to seeing at the cineplex!

 

Chris (for the Great Stories Team)

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Comic Pick for July 31st 2013

Great Stories selects……..


House of Gold & Bones #4 (Dark Horse)

 

 

 

 

 

 

House of Gold and Bones is a four issue series that is a companion to Stone Sour’s concept album of the same title, which makes for intriguing source material.  The comic is written by Corey Taylor (singer for Stone Sour/Slipknot) with art from Richard Clark, whose work has been featured in the Incredible Hulk and King Conan.  The story follows the journey of a young man who awakes to find himself in a strange land and hunted by a mob and meeting odd yet familiar characters along the way as he attempts to understand the threat he faces and return to his home.

 

 

 

 

 

 House of Gold and Bones #1-3

 

 

Aside from being the primary lyricist for both Stone Sour and Slipknot, Taylor also has penned two autobiographical books (Seven Deadly Sins, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven) that have given insight to his youth and life as a rock star and sometime ghost buster).  House of Gold and Bones, however, is the first foray of his into the non-musical presentation of his creative being.

 

Though the fourth issue just hit stores today, you can find the other three issues in your local comic shops.  Certainly a must-have for fans of Stone Sour, but the comic may serve as a way for non-metal fans to be introduced to an interesting story and become interested in the musical presentation that serves as its natural counterpart.  With a sequel to House of Gold and Bones to be released commercially this year, you can bet we will have another Dark Horse mini series to follow in due time.

 

See you next Wednesday for another pick of the week!

 

Chris (& the Great Stories Team)

 

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Comic Pick of the Week for July 24th 2013

Great Stories selects……

 

Lazarus #2 (Image)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Rucka, the man behind the best Punisher title run in over two decades is back with a new series for Image Comics.  This one features a society in which “families” control all of the food and resources.  The feudal society is highly dependent on what appear to be genetically altered protectors whose skills make them highly effective killers and resistant to death.  Forever is one of those protectors, and we find her facing some serious questions about her role in this life, after dispatching a threat to the family’s property and dealing with an internal betrayal.

 

Michael Lark provides the art, which provides the reader clear set pieces making the action easy to follow and enjoy.

 

The first issue sold out last month and Image is releasing a second printing of it today along with the second issue as seen above.  So, you need not worry about missing a beat if you did not get in on the fun last month.

 

 

 

 

Lazarus #1 (Second Printing) and Lazarus #2 are in stores today!

 

 

Great Stories are Everywhere!

Chris

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Novel Suggestions: Joyland by Stephen King

Great Stories’ regular book review feature will discuss both new and older releases from mainstream and independent authors alike.  The selections are made of the bloggers own personal reading preferences and not solicited in any way.  We would enjoy your feedback and discussion!

 

 Joyland US Edition

 

 

A friend asked what was on my summer reading list, and I replied that I had been reading three books simultaneously over the past few months.  Heck, I have a busy schedule and A.D.D. man (see my earlier blog post from 4/14/13 for those terrible reading habits of mine)!   So, my summer reading list was looking more like picking up where I left off for the past six months.  .  I often find myself contemplating early retirement, just so I can get to that ever-expanding stack of unread treasures that have moved from my room to non-descript cardboard boxes thanks to two separate moves in the last three months.  Still, I took a lunch break at my local Barnes & Noble sometime in late June and browsed around to find all of the books I knew I would not have the time to read.  It was with great surprise that I spied a new release from Stephen King in the “New in Paperback” section.  King could not have released a new book without it going to a hardcover edition first, could he?  But yes.  Hard Case Crime is an imprint that specializes in original works in the paperback format under the topic of…yes, you guessed it…crime fiction.   Joyland’s appealing painted cover stared back at me featuring an attractive redhead in a green dress holding a camera in her left hand, and a look of shock and terror on her face as the lights and scenes of an amusement park set vibrantly in the background.

 

Being the ravenous consumer of all things King, I was obliged to purchase without delay and proceed to forget I had a longstanding list of unfinished materials waiting for me at home.  King’s shorter form novellas and short stories are the stuff of legend.  As much as he is a great novelist, it is important to note that King began his writing career selling short stories to magazines to pay the bills, before his first novel Carrie was ever released beginning  his hugely successful run as one of the best selling and widely recognized authors in modern history.  King’s novellas, one could argue, have spawned certainly his most critically successful movie adaptations (i.e. “The Body” which became Stand By Me, “Rita Hayworth & the Shawshank Redemption” which became simply The Shawshank Redemption, & “The Green Mile” whose cinematic counterpart bears the same name).

From the moment I opened it at home, I fell in love with reading once again.

 

King’s yarn places an inexperienced Devin, a UNH student who is navigating through a superficial relationship with the girl he thinks he loves.  She ditches him for friends and work in Boston in that fateful summer of 1973 leaving Devin to decide a major change of scenery would be for the best. Off he heads for South Carolina to interview for a carnie job at the Joyland Amusement Park.  It is the move that would change his life.

 

A prophecy shared with him by the Joyland fortune teller, who may or may not be a fraud, warns of two transforming encounters with children he has not yet met.  Furthermore, the back drop of the book is the unsolved murder of a young lady years before.

 

King masterfully creates a lead character with whom we can relate in many ways.  Devin is likeable and sincere, and is the prototypical “nice guy”.  Not so much the immediate beneficiary of successful romance or uber-popularity, but the type you have a feeling should win in the long run.  With a heart and mind for his role as a caretaker in this world, he finds himself thrust into a set of circumstances he simply does not have the choice to walk away from.  And all the more do we, the readers, care about his fate.

 

 Joyland-Spanish Edition

 

It is tough to classify this book into any one category.  It is truly one part love story, one part ghost story, and one part crime story.  It never strays too far into one realm until the finale, which really means it is a book that should share a broad appeal amongst men and women, young and old.  Many readers who are not fans of the horror genre have cheated themselves of some great material from Stephen King.  The critically acclaimed Master of Horror is actually much more diverse than he sometimes gets credit for.  And most of his latest works seem not to necessarily tread on the truly most gruesome and dark territories, as with Pet Semetary and Cujo.  The faint of heart should be encouraged to give a chance to one of America’s true literary giants.

 

 Joyland Limited Edition Cover

 

 

King’s decision to publish Joyland through Hard Case Crime is not a first for the author.  He previously published The Colorado Kid through this imprint, which spawned the hit Sci Fy network show Haven (now in its fourth season).    There some distinct advantages and disadvantages to this book for readers.  On the positive side, the book retails for $12.95 in the paperback format, which is about half the cost of a brand new hardcover book.  On the negative side, there is no e-reader edition available for those people who decided to only pack their kindle’s, nooks, and iPads for their summer vacations.  I am going to say on balance, the reader benefits from spending less for an awesome new story above all.

If you are looking for summer reading suggestions, you could certainly do far worse,  And even better, the story clocks out at just over 280 pages is the perfect length for that busy summer schedule as you make time for the kids, outdoor fun by the pool and beach, yard work, and swatting the mosquitos away.  It’s all tough work, yet very rewarding!    So delight your reading palette with the addition of this gem.   And be sure to let us know what you thought of it!

 

Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Kickstart My Heart

Hello Everyone,

It is time for us to give you all a little update on the state of the business side of Great Stories Inc.  Back when the blog started, we promised that there was an evolution in store for the company, and with that evolution comes our first forays into the support of independent art, projects, and literature.

 

In April of this year, Great Stories started to carry the works of Max West, an independent comic artist in the tradition of Charles Schulz.  West’s first creator-owned release, Sunnyville Stories Volume 1, is now available at select outlets in America including Great Stories’ retail site (www.great-stories.net).  We’ll be investigating Max and his creative world in future blogs, so stay tuned for that!  Until then, you can check out his website http://sunnyvillestories.com/twitter/ for continued updates on all that is happening.

 

 

 

In our fiercely competitive creative world, technology is giving the bold and brave the opportunity of a forum to show what they have got.  Enter Kickstarter.com.

 

This month, we looked to Kickstarter for the new and exciting.  The conception of this site offers the perfect breeding ground for new ideas.   When we began our search into a project to get behind, we were not quite sure what we would end up finding.  Much to our pleasant surprise, we came across the brainchild of one Henry Jasper of the UK. Through his self-started games publishing company, Grublin (www.grublin.com), he took a chance and brought to life the soon-to-be-released strategic board game Cornish Smuggler.  We were so impressed by his campaign and the potential of his game, that we decided to jump on board.  We encourage you to check out the website if you are interested and know that Great Stories will be stocking his game here in the United States.  There will be more details on Cornish Smuggler soon to come on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

These works are just the beginning of Great Stories mission to support independent artists.  It is our desire to see more talented and creative folks see their dreams realized and for these visions and works to be shared and appreciated.

 

We would love to hear from you if you know of criminally under the radar projects or artists deserving of more exposure.  Thank you for reading as always friends!

 

Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Fresh Popped Corn: July 2013 Movie Trailers

Great Stories’ new column for our movie trailer preview series is here.  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.

 

July 5th

The holiday weekend brings with it Johnny Depp and his new project, The Lone Ranger.  Starring beside Arnie Hammer (J. Edgar), Depp plays Tonto,  and the movie looks like a fun ride amd perfect summer blockbuster fare.  It may seem odd to have Depp play the sidekick but the role matches his unique personality and quirky nature.  Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly star in the melo-drama, Stuck in Love, which looks like one for the ladies.  Hammer of the Gods is a violent viking (is that an oxymoron?) movie with a bunch of b-list stars and a desire to pillage your cineplex.  Meanwhile Steve Carrell is competing against himself as Despicable Me 2 and The Way Way Back both hit the big screens this week.  Obviously, his vocal talents ore only on display for the first entry, which follows up the hugely successful first movie.  The youngsters and their parents will be flocking to see this one.  The second title tracks the story of a young man coming of age (Sam Rockwell) who struggles to find his place as a new man comes into his mother’s life.  Another movie produced for the women, Just Like A Woman, features Sienna Miller and Golshifte Farahani who are looking to escape the recent tragic events of their lives and find friendship in a road trip to Santa Fe where jobs await as belly dancers.  Suffice to say, I cannot imagine resisting the allure of the fantastic Lone Ranger trailer.  Check it out below!

 

 

July 12th

Pacific Rim is the next summer blockbuster to get a release in July.  It features giant monsters battling giant mechanized warriors for the survival of humanity, and directed by Guillermo del Toro.  Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and David Spade reunite for more laughs in Grown Ups 2.  The DVD hit, V/H/S gets a sequel as well, promising more scares, terror, and mayhem than the first outing (which was better than I had expected, if you are into the horror genre).  Crystal Fairy takes Michael Cera down another strange path and script choices as he plays an American student travelling in Chile who gets caught up with a group of people who are searching for the ultimate psychadelic experience.  Fruitvale Station examines the last 24 hours of Oscar Grant’s life (before he was tragically killed by police..an event caught on camera).  Killing Season is the last entry with John Travolta playing a Serbian soldier who befriends an American military vet (Robert Deniro) with the goal of revenge.  Great Stories bucks are on Grown Ups 2, which looks to be a laugh riot.  Pacific Rim just holds no interest here.  It pains me to say this as Guillermo del Toro is a favorite.  Pan’s Labrynthe is a masterpiece, and the Hellboy movies are fantastic.  Fruitvale Station is also a strong candidate, however, and could be one of those lower profile gems.  In fact, we will feature both trailers below for your pleasure!

 

 

 

 

July 19th

Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star in RIPD, about law enforcers from the afterlife, and strikes an almost shameless resemblance to the Men In Black movies.  Not to be outdone by Steve Carrell, Ryan Rynolds is also featured in two major movie releases in a week as he does the voice of the main character in Turbo, about a snail who wishes he was fast and gets what he wants a la The Incredible Mr Limpet.  Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play portray Lorraine and Ed Wilson, renowned paranormal investigators who investigate the most terrifying case of demonic possession of their carreers in The Conjuring.  Bruce Willis reunites with Hellen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Mary Louis Parker for RED 2.  Kristen Wiig plays a young lady who experiences a breakdown and is left to the care of her questionably fit mother (Annette Benning) in Girl Most Likely.  Ryan Gosling does his mother’s (Kristen Scott Thomas) bidding as the son of a crime lord in Only God Forgives.  Finally, there is a very intriguing documentary on Tilikum, a killer whale in captivity responsible for the deaths of three individuals, called Blackfish.  I cannot imagine enjoying a second RED movie as much as I did the first, but have to try.  The combination of Willis, Mirren, and Malkovich is just too good to resist.  Check out the very promising trailer below!  Also, check out the trailer for Blackfish, which looks like a great candidate for those looking for less standard summer fare.

 

 

July 26thMarvel is back at it in the last week of July as The Wolverine arrives.  Hugh Jackman is back as the famous mutant, and kicking tail in Madripoor.  In The To Do List, Aubrey Plaza plays a repressed and inexperienced former valedictorian attempting to make the transition to college.  Crude humor is what you can expect from this one.  Cate Blanchette plays a middle-aged woman going through a personal crisis on many fronts in a Woody Allen-directed effort, Blue Jasmine.  A relatively lighter week on the release schedule as Hollywood runs scared from Marvel, and with that you must already know which movie I would be putting my money down on.  Here is the trailer for The Wolverine!

 

Thanks for checking in with us at Great Stories for our July movie previews.  Summer is in full gear and we want to know what you will be checking out this month in theaters!

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Under the Dome

Hello Readers,

A brand new TV series is set to premiere on June 24th on CBS at 10 PM EST called Under the Dome.  Fans of mystery-driven dramas and Stephen King’s faithful fans are sure to be glued to their high def home entertainment centers all over the country for this event.  Count me among those who have already set their DVR’s to prevent missing a single moment of what could be the best event series since Lost.

 

 

 

Fans of King, who have already read the novel, know that the story has a huge cast of characters.  The choice to bring this story to the small screen was a wise one, as the strength of this novel is in the various sub-plots that weave through the huge ensemble cast.  Playing the role of the lead protagonist, Dale “Barbie” Barbara is Mike Vogel (Bates Motel, The Help).  The character he plays is an ex-Army vet turned short order cook who decides that life in this particular small town is coming to a quick close.  But the over-arcing events of the story prevent him from taking his leave in a most unexpected way.  The chief antagonist is town selectman James Rennie, played by Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), who is a power hungry politician that proves he is capable of just about anything as panic spreads.

 

As I am not a professional critic, I have seen no advance copy of the TV pilot or the episodes that follow, so my thoughts are merely based on the book I have read.  And with that comes the hope that series creator Brian K Vaughan stays true to King’s source material in his presentation.

 

 

 

Too often, screen plays and directors have served only to strip the humanity and charm from the characters that King has created.  It really is a source of King’s strength that he creates people and places in his stories that evoke a familiar or identifying feeling in the reader’s mind.  Bringing the reader into such territory primes the subject for maximun effect when his stories eventually hit that twist in the plot that brings us to the place of wonder, terror, sorrow, or hope….whatever emotion it is that the author truly wants his readers to experience.  Small screen television provides an opportunity for screenwriters and directors to allow their audience to build a relationship with characters and cultivate emotional investment into their stories.  This is something much harder to do in a two hour big screen adaptation, though we do have some cases of glowing successes pertaining to King’s yarns.  Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Stand By Me were all fantastic films that succeeded in bringing out the best aspects of the source material.  Of course, all of these movies were based on novella-length works without the sprawling cast of characters that are prevalent in more than a few of King’s epics.  I am not sure I have ever heard anyone argue that the small screen version of King’s masterpiece The Stand could hold a candle to its source material.  Such stories require more attention, time, and patience on the part of filmaker and audience.  Other small screen adaptations like Rose Red and Bag of Bones produced decidedly mediocre results.  Storm of the Century, which has been reviewed on this blog previously was a great success, but King wrote this specifically as a screenplay for television.  The Golden Years was dead on arrival as a Stephen King original television series (not based on any of his books), meanwhile the Anthony Michael Hall version of USA’s The Dead Zone was a great success, though the episodes held only a loose connection to the original book who kept the apocalyptic premise as a long-play story arc with constant departures into characters and stories that were exclusive to the screen version.  King’s The Colorado Kid has spawned a four season and running Scy Fy original show, Haven.  But this is again only loosely based on King’s work.

 

 

 

I, just like many other Stephen King faithful, will await with breath held in anticipation for the release of Under the Dome to audiences shortly, and it is my hope that it can do his work justice, and be a commercial success that justifies a continuation beyond this season.  If it doesn’t, we can all still hope for Rob Reiner to get his Dark Tower project lifted off the ground and out of developmental H E double hockey sticks.  😉

 

Have you read Under the Dome, and looking forward to the series premiere?  Or maybe you were not a fan of King’s epic?  We, at Great Stories, would love to hear from you!

 

Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Fresh Popped Corn: June 2013 Movie Trailers

Great Stories’ new column for our movie trailer preview series is here.  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.


June 7th

This week features a battle between the comedic duo of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in The Internship and the deadly serious Ethan Hawke thriller, The Purge.  In the former, Owen and Vince star as salesmen who have been left behind by technology and decide to hit the re-start button by becoming over-aged interns at Google!  And the Hunger Games-themes The Purge has a family battling for its life against a home invasion on the one 12 hour period a year when rule of law is made obsolete.  Also in limited release are the Morton Downey Jr, docu-crama, Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Story, Craig Robinson (who is all over the place these days) starring with Anna Kendrick in Rapture-Palooza, about a young woman who is left behind after the rapture only to become the object of the Devil’s affections in another slice of comedic fare, and the foreign thriller entry Wish You Were Here, which has three friends dealing with the disappearance of a fourth friend after a vacation to the far east.  Dirty Wars chronicles an investigative reporter’s search for the truth in America’s covert wars across the globe, while Joss Whedon takes time away from super-heroes to bring us the artsy Much Ado About Nothing, Alexis Bledel and Saorise Ronan are two teen hit women taking on organized crome in the quirky Violet & Daisy, and Judy Blume’s novel Tiger Eyes gets the theatrical treatment with Willa Holland and Tatank Means in the leads.  For us, The Purge is looking like just the type of intense thriller I have been waiting for.  And I must admit to being a pretty big Ethan Hawke fan.  Check out the trailer below!

 


June 14th

The second week of June boasts the much anticipated release of Man of Steel.  The Superman franchise is looking to correct all of the faults of the last reboot attempt and I, for one, could not be more hopeful for this film.  Henry Cavill is the new guy filling the shoes made famous by George Reeve and Christopher Reeves.  Also on tap is the promising This is the End, starring a bunch of Hollywood actors who play themselves including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, and more as they face the apocalypse from the Hollywood Hills.  20 Feet from Stardom is a documentary chronicling the life of back-up singers to some of the top artists in the industry.  The Bling Ring follows a group of California teens who, obsessed with the glamorous life of celebrities, tracked and robbed them of millions in a movie based on real events.  Hatchet III leaves nothing to the imagination in this third movie following the legend of Victor Crowley….horror fans rejoice.  The choice is obvious here for me, and I encourage you to check out the Man of Steel trailer below as ample evidence of a justifiable excitement for the new relaunch!

 


June 21st

A lighter release schedule for the third week of June brings us a kid-friendly sequel, Monsters University, which reunites the characters voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal along with Hellen Mirren and Steve Buscemi.  Competing for a different group of cineplex dollars will be the much-anticipated Brad Pitt apocalyptic action/thriller World War Z.  Appearing in more limited fashion will be the foreign A Hijacking about a boat being taken by Somali pirates, and the small independently produced This is Martin Bonner, about a man who moves to Reno to take a prison job and is befriended by an ex-con who helps him to adjust to his new surroundings.  As much as the zombie thing is beginning to be a bit passe for me (Walking Dead still rocks it), World War Z promises a little different spin on the subject matter and certainly makes it appealing to me.  If I had to drop my bottom dollar, it would be on this one.  Here is the trailer below!

 


June 28th

As we come to the end of June, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy come roaring back to the big screen with a cop buddy movie done for the women in The Heat.  Channing Tatum and Jaime Fox star in a movie we just saw done a few months ago in White House Down.  Somebody really needs to tell these movie studios that they don’t have to rush out their own version of the next big idea.  Go create your own ideas for crying eye!  Olympus Has Fallen was a decent movie in spite of some flaws, but this one looks downright laughable.  But I digress….Byzantium tells the story of two women who claim to be vampires move into a British town, where they meet a decidedly skeptical community until strange things occur.  Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan star.  And finally we have the historical drama, Copperhead, which tells of a community torn apart by the politics of the Civil War in Northern New York.  I am truly hoping that this movie gets wide enough release to not require too much travel as it is the pick of the week.  No big names, but it looks to be a gem amidst the big summer blockbusters!

 


Please excuse our absence over the past few weeks, as some very wonderful personal things have been occuring of late including the exchanging of marital vows and new homes.  We are back on our creative horse now, however, and looking forward to blogging on more topics weekly!  Check back with us again very soon!


Chris (and the Great Stories Team)

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Spending Those Elusive Entertainment Bucks

We all struggle to spend our hard-earned entertainment budget wisely.  There are certainly many things worse in life than making a misstep on this front, but it’s always nice when we get a little guidance from those with similar tastes.

 

In March, I had the good fortune to be guided by my favorite author, George RR Martin, to explore a seven-volume series I hadn’t yet heard of.  It’s always enlightening to explore the works that have inspired those who have, in turn, so deeply inspired me.   So, I very eagerly ordered a copy of the first book in Maurice Druon’s series; The Accursed Kings.

 

The Accursed Kings (Maurice Druon)

Iron King The Strangled Queen

 

“Pope Clement, Chevalier Guillaume de Nogaret, King Phillip, I summon you to the Tribunal of Heaven before the year is out, to receive your just punishment!  Accursed!  Accursed!  You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation of your lines!”  The haunting words of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, as the flames of his funeral pyre consumed him set the tone for a tale for the ages.  Burned at the stake in 1314 by the order of King Philip, Molay was the last of the Grand Masters of this ancient monastic order.

 

This series is the seven-volume telling of the fall of the Capetian dynasty and the very roots of the Hundred Years War.  According to many, this is historic fiction at its finest!  While I have only just finished reading the first book, The Iron King, and have eagerly dove into the second volume, I am already inclined to agree.  The depth of character, political intrigue, and sense of historic immersion are incredible.

 

British publisher, Harper Collins, is planning on publishing all seven volumes in English.  The seventh book has never before been offered as such.  While there are no plans for a US edition of the books, through the power of the internet you too can partake in this fantastic series.   Maybe we can even talk the Great Stories crew into making a few copies available for direct purchase.  I’ll see what I can do.

 

Ten Grand (J. Michael Straczynski & Ben Templesmith)

 tengrand01_cova tengrand01_covb

 

Then there are other times when we just get lucky.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a comic I grabbed on impulse last week; Ten Grand #1 – “Blood Oath”.  A great fusion of grit and the supernatural, this one caught me by surprise.  You can even scan a QR code in the back of the book for an excellent audio performance of the story as you flip the pages.  Even better still, there’s an alternate cover by Bill Sienkiewicz of Moon Knight fame (yep, I worked Moon Knight into my guest blog with minimal effort).  So what’s the story here?

 

As mob enforcer, Joe Fitzgerald, laid dying and staring across the room at the corpse of Laura, the love of his life, he was offered a deal.  Where he was going, he wouldn’t want her to follow.  Where she was going he couldn’t follow.  But, if Joe agrees to work for a mysterious and seemingly angelic force, he will be brought back to life again and again, with the promise that should he die a righteous death he will be given five minutes together with Laura.  Would you endure an eternal cycle of pain and death, to be reunited with the one you love?

 

If that doesn’t whet your appetite, I’m not sure what will.  This story has a lot of promise, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the arc.  Ten Grand #2 – “Angels Never Lie”, is slated for a June 5th release.

 

And more…

300px-Savage_Wolverine_Vol_1_6_Textless

 

Of course, if you haven’t yet read George RR Martin’s series A Song of Ice And Fire (The first book is A Game of Thrones), David Eddings’s Belgariad (The first book is Pawn of Prophecy), or Raymond Feist’s Faerie Tale, you’ve got some other amazing stories available to you as well and I’m only scratching the surface.

 

On the comics front, June looms, and then you can pick up Savage Wolverine #6 with artwork by the amazing Joe Madureira.

 

 

These are just a couple ideas on entertainment spending.  But remember, your local library carries a veritable plethora of fantastic tales too.  Take advantage of that!  Nothing stretches your entertainment dollars more than enjoying so many options for free.  And when you do purchase a book or movie with your hard-earned money, you can almost always donate it to your local library when you are done with it to further develop their catalogue.

 

So get reading, or better yet writing and drawing, and let us know what you would recommend!

 

~Rob