Posted on

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)

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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)

Posted on

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)

Posted on

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

 

Posted on

The Front Row View: Take Your Stinkin’ Paws Off the Original Movie!!

Howdy—the other night on Mad Men they had two of the characters at a movie house watching the original 1968 Planet of the Apes. They showed the famous Statue of Liberty in the Sand ending while the two characters in the movie house gaped in awe (the show is set in 1968, so this was the first time that the world had seen it).

This got me thinking about how perfect the 1968 original was. Watching it on network television for the first time when I was a child, it was one of my first non-Disney movie memories. It had a lot to offer—an interesting plot, great (non-digital!) action, some interesting musings about society, some rousing (some would say over-the-top) acting, and some extremely convincing make-up, especially for it’s time. It still remains an experience that shows viewers what movies can be capable of.

My question: why redo it if it’s perfect the first time?

Hollywood’s unspoken answer: DINERO!!!

Which is why they went ahead and “reimagined” it in 2001.

The remake was mediocre at best, the most positive thing that could be said about it being the improved make-up. But realistic make-up does not a good movie make. The new film was pretty hum-drum. Despite my usual enjoyment of Mark Wahlberg, let’s face it—endearing overactor that he was, Chuck Heston could’ve eaten Marky Mark for breakfast in this one.

I won’t pick on the amazing 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as I don’t consider this a true “remake.”

Some other contenders for the Why Bother to Remake It award:

Poseidon—a good meat and potatoes disaster movie all in all, but the more realistic take wasn’t anywhere near as entertaining as the campiness of the original Poseidon Adventure. I also missed those two great old hams Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine—“HOW MANY MORE LIVES??!” “ALL RIGHT YOU—THAT’S ENOUGH!!” Classic.

Superman Returns—Christopher Reeve did it proud in his first two movies as the Man of Steel—what Brandon Routh did in 2006 was to offer a Christopher Reeve impression without any of his charm or likability. Deeply disappointed in Kevin Spacey’s Luthor (should have been great) and in Bryan Singer’s directing (this was the guy who did The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men after all).

The Amazing Spider-Man—not a bad flick on it’s own, but did we really need a retelling a mere ten years after the first Spiderman? Emma Stone is amazing, but I think she needs to start turning down scripts that require her to still be in high school.

Does anyone have any other contenders?

Hope that everyone’s enjoying the day!

Jim

Posted on

Fresh Popped Corn: May 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.

 

May 3rd

May is officially the start of the summer movie season, and this one starts off with a bang.  Iron Man 3 (which actually opens two days early on May 1st) features the return of Robert Downey Jr to the role he was born to play.  Keanu Reeves stars as an escort service driver for two dissimilar women and the friendship that they form amidst  the destructive lifestyles they lead in Generation UmGreetings from Tim Buckley is about the true life coming of age for a young Jeff Buckley who has to rise from his folk singer father’s shadow.  What Maisie Knew, with Julianne Moore,  is about a little girl whose parents split under auspicious conditions and forge knew relationships with some unexpected results.  And The Iceman depicts a family man whose secret life as a hitman is revealed after two decades of carnage, starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, and Ray Liotta.  This movie looks outstnanding, and seems like a must see, but there is just no way we can miss Iron Man 3.  The Marvel Comics studio machine is churning out great action and iconic character studies, and Robert Downey Jr is a personal favorite.  Check out the trailer below!

 

 

May 10th

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the big screen adaptation of the literary classic The Great Gatsby, with some help from Tobey Maguire.  Bruce Greenwood plays a shell-shocked Advertising CEO who wakes up from a couch potato session only able to communicate in commercial catch phrases in And Now a Word from Our Sponsors.  Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier do the Meet the Parents formula in Peeples.  Eli Roth battles natural disasters and desperate people in the thriller Aftershock.  Aaron Eckhart follows up his role in the entertaining Olympus Has Fallen with a starring role as an ex-CIA operative targeted for assasination, along with his daughter,  in Erased.  And finally Sightseers brings us two new lovers out for a drive where events lead them down a murderous path in this dark comedy.  Truthfully, it looks like a weak offering.  We wanted to like the trailer for The Great Gatsby but am just not feeling it.  Erased and Peeples look underwhelming at best, and our recommendation is to catch The Iceman, in its second week of release!  Check out the trailer below!

 

 

May 17th

The third week of May brings us JJ Abrams follow up to his successful Star Trek relaunch.  The second film, Star Trek: Into Darkness, brings back the previous film’s cast as they deal with a terrorist in their midst that threatens to destroy everything they know.  Black Rock pits Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, and Kathryn Aselton against a group of men when a chance meeting on a remote island leads to a misunderstanding leading to a horrific chain of events.  The English Teacher features Julianne Moore in her second starring role of the month, as a teacher whose life of books and siamese cats gets far more complicated when she becomes involved with a former star pupil who returns home after trying to make it as a playright in New York City.  The pick of the week has to be the JJ Abrams-helmed Star Trek sequel, especially after the great re-launch of the franchise.  It very well could be that this man has the midas touch!

 

 

May 24th

Fast and Furious 6 hits the big screen with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodrigues all returning to reprise their roles.  The Hangover III staggers into theaters with not much interest from us.  Before Midnight has Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy attempting to convince themselves of their love for one another.  And finally, our pick, Epic features the vocal talents of Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Johnny Knoxville, and more.  Here is a look at what looks to be a fun time for the whole family.

 

 

 

May 31st

After Earth reunites Will Smith and his son in a sci fi actioner that sees the aforementioned stars return to Earth after the planet had been abandoned to find a world fraught with danger.  Kings of Summer gives us three boys looking to escape from their parents and deciding to build a home in the middle of the woods where they attempt to survive and get some life lessons along the way (emoting a bit of Stand By Me).  Now You See Me is our pick of the week, with an outstanding cast that features Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Isla Fisher in a film about street magicians who perform huge bank heists.  Take a look at the great trailer below.

 

 

Thanks for checking our Great Stories May movie picks.  Next up is a mystery blog by our friend Jim Cannizarro!  Hope you all have an imaginative week.  🙂

 

Chris (for the Great Stories team)

Posted on

New Writers at Great Stories

Hi Everyone,

Checking in again this week to let you all know that we have our very first guest bloggers appearing for Great Stories starting the week of April 29th, and continuing through the week of May 6th.  It has always been a goal to have this blog offer up some opinions outside of what the proprietors of Great Stories, Inc have to offer, and we are excited to begin this pursuit featuring two very good friends of ours.  Please indulge me for a couple of moments of your time as I give a little preview of who your blog authors will be in the next couple of weeks!

 

Jim Cannizarro is no stranger to the blog world, and had his own blog dedicated to movies, a major passion of his.  His blog was active through 2005 until pursuits both personal and professional took him in other directions, but he was eager to brush off his great writing talents and theatrical insights for us.  Born in Philadelphia in 1965, Jim moved to the New England area quite a few years back.  His love of movies is so deep that he can recite every Best Picture winner since the inception of the Oscar ceremonies at will!  He is also not just a fan of this creative medium, but also a trained actor.  Jim had leading roles in community theater productions of The Odd Couple, Flowers for Algernon, and A Christmas Carol to just name a few (and close to twenty productions in all).  He is also no stranger to both big and small screen with appearances in a major hollywood movie, A Civil Action, as well as the independent production Romeo and Juliet, and local commercials.  We are not sure what his plans are for his blog entry, but we know that it will be an interesting read during the week of April 29th!

 

Robert Fossey, a fellow Stonehill College graduate of mine and dear friend of over twenty years will be making a guest spot appearance during the week of May 6th.  Fiercely loyal to his friends and to the creative works that inspire his imagination, Robert is sure to bring an enthusiasm to whatever topic he chooses.  He’s a devotee of George Lucas, Lord of the Rings (for which he even has a credit on imdb.com), and the artwork of Joe “Mad” Madureira.  And he is a fine artist in his own right, published in a college magazine, whose work will also be featured by the Great Stories brand in the future.  With a mind full of incredible ideas and the talent to put them into action, we at Great Stories have hopes that you will one day find his work available in a commercial capacity in a time not too far away.

 

Thank you all for welcoming these fine people into the Great Stories family and giving them a chance to inspire you.

 

See you next week for our May movie previews.  Summer blockbusters start here!

 

Chris (for the Great Stories Team)

Posted on

Divided Attentions

Greetings Everyone,

I am writing today to admit that I have a problem to you all.  I suffer from an acute form of ADD when it comes to my reading habits.  No, it is nothing that I have been to a doctor about.  It is not a problem for which I seek any medicinal treatment.  It is just one of those self-diagnosis issues for something that I simultaneously revel in and get frustrated about.

 

You see, I have this inability to read one book at a time.  My reading assignment list is reminiscent of that of a college student engaged in multiple classes with a heavy workload.  It is a personal chaos within which I seem very comfortable yet not as efficient as I would like when there is so many incredible works and worlds to become a part of.

 

Of course, there are rules within the chaos.  I can never read two books that have themes that run too close to one another.  This would lead to cross-pollination of characters and confusion.  Another rule is that the book I choose to read at any given moment is geographically driven.  I have a book that I read at work, one that I read when I am at my fiance’s home, one that I have in my bedroom, and one random book that I will read “anywhere else”.  Yes, you could call that some kind of OCD issue, but I would prefer you didn’t.  Haha.  I already feel odd enough about my reading habits! 🙂

 

At this time, here is a look at what I am reading:

 

On my bedroom nightstand is

 

At my fiance’s house is

At work, I am reading

 

And the book I am reading at random times and in random places is

 

 

And with my personal life being so busy these days (as you can see I am getting ready for a gigantic event in my life), I have not been very good about finishing any of the books that I am currently engaged in reading.  House hunting, house selling, wedding planning, and packing have been dividing my attentions in a way that has not been conducive to my reading agenda.  Please don’t read this as much of a complaint.  I am thankful for all of the great things that are happening in my life and a more normal routine will return at some point soon.  But I wonder at how much more enjoyment would be reaped  from my moments of literary escape had I a more focused set of habits.

Is there anyone else out there who has similar quirks, or even other unorthodox rituals when it comes to reading?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

Great Stories will be back with another blog this week, so check back with us soon!

 

Chris (and the Great Stories team)

Posted on

Fresh Popped Corn: April 2013 Movie Trailers

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

 

April 5th 2013

The first week of April’s biggest and most talked about releases are a remake and a re-release, which does not impress too greatly.  First is Tri-Star’s re-imagining of the Sam Raimi horror classic, Evil Dead.  Does the trailer look creepy?  Sure. But, it is hard to wipe away the image of Bruce Campbell showing off his chin and his scream king qualities in a role that made him famous.  Moving on, we have Jurassic Park 3-D.  Have to say that this 3-D thing is getting far overdone, and this release just does not offer anything new.  This has shameless cash grab written all over it.  Julianne Moore stars in a horror flick called 6 Souls, which is sure to get the “quick to DVD” treatment as horror fans flock to the aforementioned Evil Dead.  Then there is The Brass Teapot, starring Juno Temple, which features a recently married couple who discover a unique item that gifts them money for all the pain they inflict on themselves.  In an effort to prevent a sudden urge for slef-flaggelation, we shall wait for the DVD release.  And with that, we bring you the Great Stories pick of the week.  It is the Robert Redford/Shia LeBeouf drama, The Company You Keep, which tells the story of a suspected 60’s era radical who is sought for a crime committed years before and his efforts to clear his name.  Check out the trailer below, which caught our attention!

 

 

April 12th 2013

The second week of April sees the release of the much-anticpiated Jackie Robinson story, 42, starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford!  After that, we suffer through Scary Movie V, which by all rights should have just quit after the first two.  Disconnect, which stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, and an ensemble cast about the struggles of people in a modern information age society where technology exacerbates their issues and failings as people looks interesting.  It’s a Disaster is a comedy starring Julia Stiles which we predict will be dead on arrival in terms of comedic delivery.  And finally, there is Ben Affleck following the brilliant Argos, with the artsy romance of To the Wonder.  Great Stories is going to go with 42, which combines a sociological history lesson with America’s past time in what sincerely looks to be a fine sports drama (with Harrison ford, no less!).

 

April 19th 2013

Oblivion with Tom Cruise is the big budget release of the week and looks promising with Morgan Freeman in support.  The sci-fi actioner is looking to help Cruise rebound from the sluggish ticket sales of his last effort, Jack Racher.  Home Run gives us another baseball themed drama, with Scot Elrod playing the role of superstar Cory Brand, whose bad boy antics get him suspended from his team and he goes home to find redemption coaching a Little League team.  Kon-Tiki is the true story of a 1947 expedition from Peru across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft by a small team of Norwegians who are out to prove that Polynesia was settled by similarly sea-faring South Americans.  Rob Zombie returns his directorial talents to the big screen with the much-anticipated Lords of Salem, which tells the story of a modern day coven terrorizing Salem, Massachusetts.  As much as we are excited to see the Massachusetts-based horror effort, we were stunned by the beauty of the cinematography for the Kon Tiki trailer, and it looks like just the kind of movie you would want to see on the big screen!  Check out the trailer!

April 26th 2013

Pain & Gain is the new Michael Bay produced off-beat actioner starring Mark Walhlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as two body builders setting out to make something of themselves and end up caught in a kidnapping/extortion plot.  The Big Wedding brings Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and more together, as a very religious and traditional family are set to join in union with a family that boasts the opposite values.  Laughter ensues.  Dennis Quaid stars as a family farm owner whose son (played by Zac Effron) forgoes the family trade to become a race car driver in At Any PriceFilly Brown tells the story of a talented urban writer who forges ahead to make a name for herself amidst the chaos of a broken family by becoming a hip hop artist.  Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children tells the story of two children born within moments of India’s newly gained independence from the British Empire in what looks to be a gripping drama.  Colin Firth plays a man who changes his identity to start a new life when he meets a thief (Emily Blunt) who is similarly trying to escape her own past in Arthur Freeman.  But the winner for us in the final week of April looks to be Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey as a fugitive living in the woods who forms a friendship with two boys who help him evade the bounty hunters looking for him while he seeks to be reunited with his true love.  After seeing the trailer, this could be the role that re-establishes McConaughey as a big name in Hollywood, especially after some great buzz at Cannes!

Thanks for checking out Great Stories movie picks for April, and we welcome your thoughts on what has you excited to visit the theaters this month!

Chris (for the Great Stories team)