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Comic Pick of the Week for August 28th 2013

Great Stories Selects…..

Locke & Key Alpha (IDW)







Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, is an accomplished writer on his own.  With the novels “NOS4A2”,  “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Horns”, as well as the short story collection “20th Century Ghosts”, he is carving out his own little spot in the halls of horror-themed fiction.  Having read both his short story collection and first novel, I can say with certainty that his gift for spinning a yarn is a hereditary boon.  Locke & Key, however, may be his most impressive work to date.  The graphic novel might be his most impressive work of them all, however.  Telling the story of a mysterious house in a small Massachusetts hamlet that hold some amazing secrets for a family that has been afflicted with serious tragedy.  We don’t want to spoil this series for you, and even though the current issue of Locke & Key is our pick of the week, readers should really do themselves a favor and pick up the graphic novel releases with a story that originated in February of 2008.  The first collection, available in hard cover and paperback, is entitled “Welcome to Lovecraft”.  “Head Games”, “Crown of Shadows”, “Keys to the Kingdom”, and “Clockworks” all followed as the formal collections to the monthly comic series.  We cannot recommend this series highly enough.  Along with “Morning Glories”, this may be the best long-running independent comic series on the market today.  And once you get caught up on all of that reading, pick up the story in “Locke & Key Alpha #1”.




Great Stories are everywhere!



Chris (for the Great Stories Team)

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Comic Pick of the Week for August 21 2013

Great Stories Selects


Conan the Barbarian #19 (Dark Horse)








Conan the Barbarian #19 begins a new story arc called Black Stones from the team of Brian Wood (writer) and Paul Azaceta (art).  We have been following Dark Horse’s Conan run since the start and have really enjoyed the re-telling of the classic saga.  The previous eighteen issues explored Conan’s early travels with a focus on his seafaring mercenary days that saw him at once battle a pirate queen, only to join her crew and become her lover.  Belit, as she is so named, saves Conan from captivity later on in the series and even joins him for an arduous journey back to Conan’s homeland where tragedy greets them both.  The Black Stones story arc finds the deadly pair rejoining their crew on the Tigress and heading back to open waters and the hunt for more merchant vessels to plunder.  But they get more than they bargain for in the form of their latest quarry…something that could very well lead to their undoing once and for all!


Fans of epic fantasy should know the Conan brand very well.  From the imagination of author Robert E. Howard, the intellectual property has spawned three movies, the Red Sonja spin-off movie, many comic runs, tons of merchandise, and a recently rumored new movie trilogy!


You can find Conan the Barbarian #19 in comic stores everywhere today.


Great Stories are everywhere!


Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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Comic Pick for August 14th 2013

Great Stories Selects……






Writer Jonathan Hickman (Avengers, Fantastic Four) teams with artist Nick Dragotta (Captain America: Forever Allies) to bring you a very original look at a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse story.  The series began five issues ago with a look at the American Civil War and a look at what 2064 looks like for the now ‘Seven Nations of America”.  America is fractured and lost.  Even the President is not safe from the coming judgement and the unfolding story is both compelling and feels unique.  What more can one ask for as a reader?  Nick’s art portrays the desolate landscapes that inspire the despair of a world teetering on the edge of extinction, and serve as the playground for the very different but wholly dangerous horsemen.


In a week that sees Marvel role out its latest epic cross-title arc, “Infinity”, we are still more excited for this issue of East of West as the pick of the litter.  Fans of Westerns and Futuristic Sci Fi will enjoy this title, and for those of you who like to wait for trade paperback collections, one should not be too far behind as the first arc starts to wrap up this month.

Great Stories are everywhere!


Chris (for the Great Stories team)

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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!


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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 (  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 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


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 (, 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 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!