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Trailer Snark (October 16, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Matt Damon’s The Martian once again claims the top spot this past week with an additional $37M added to its $108.7M total.  The animated Sandler sequel Hotel Transylvania also managed to stay in its second place spot with $20.5M and $116.8M overall.  The debuting Pan came in third amidst mediocre reviews with $15.5M.  The Intern was bumped one spot to fourth ($8.6M/$49.5M).  Sicario took fifth ($7.3M/$26.7M).  The rest of the list lacked any surprises or new debuts and was as follows:  Maze Runner: Scorch Trials ($5.2M/$70.6M), The Walk ($3.6M/$6.3M), Black Mass ($3.1M/$57.5M), Everest ($3M/$38.2M), and The Visit ($2.4M/$61M).  Let’s see who the contenders are this week……

Goosebumps (Columbia) – Action/Comedy/Adventure
Rated PG for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor
Tag Line: The stories are alive.
Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush
Plot: A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Chris: We have Jack Black as the curmudgeon gatekeeper/author of every Goosebump ever written and about the be unleashed on humanity.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the trailer, with an assist from low expectation.
Jessica: Didn’t read the books, don’t care about the movie.
Ken: Is Jack Black supposed to be playing R.L. Stein? I read a lot of Goosebumps as a child and I only felt the slightest twinge of nostalgia.

Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures) – Drama/Fantasy/Horror
Rated R for bloody violence, some sexual content and brief strong language
Tag Line: Beware.
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston
Plot: In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.
Running Time: 119 minutes

Ken: The visuals look amazing. And who doesn’t like a good haunted house story around Halloween?
Chris: Guillermo del Toro is a true artist (see Pan’s Labrynth as evidence).  This looks to be a clear winner by my eyes and ears.  If you like stylistic horror, look no further.
Jessica: I love me some Guillermo so I’m in! I love a good spooky flick, plus it has Loki and Jax!

Bridge of Spies (Disney) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for some violence and brief strong language
Tag Line: In a world on the brink the difference between war and peace was one honest man.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Plot: An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.
Running Time: 141 minutes

Jessica: What? I fell asleep again. BORING.
Ken: A lot of marquee names on this one: Spielberg, Hanks and the Coen brothers. I’ll check it out when it comes to streaming.
Chris: Spielberg and Hanks are at it again.  This time tackling the Cold War between the us and the Soviets.  Good timing as the Russian bear seems to be rising again to fill the world power vacuum.  Definitely has my attention.

Truth (Sony Pictures Classic) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for language and a brief nude photo
Tag Line: None
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Tpher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Greenwood
Plot: Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Chris: Docu-drama on the forged military service documents of President George W Bush.  Apologist piece or objective presentation?  Who knows…maybe I will catch it on the small screen?
Jessica: This looks really fascinating, stellar, star-packed cast and an intriguing story about fighting the good fight and asking the hard questions. Totally want to see this.
Ken: I think I’m digging this movie’s message, but let’s just all take a moment and acknowledge that G. W. should never have been president in the first place.

Room (A24) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: Love knows no boundaries.
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, William H Macy
Plot: After 5-year old Jack and his Ma escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Ken: Looks like a good story that doesn’t interest me.
Chris: An escape to the real world?  I am not sure what this movie is really about from the trailer, but it looks like it wants to pull the heart strings.
Jessica: Looks intriguing. I’d totally check this out at home.

Woodlawn (PureFlix Cinema) – Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements including some racial tension/violence
Tag Line: One hope.  One truth. One way.
Starring: Caleb Castille, Sean Astin, Jon Voight
Plot: A gifted high school football player must learn to embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jessica: Looks like an uplifting story about acceptance and faith. I’d check this out at home and I do have mad love for Samwise Gamgee.
Ken: Sean Astin needs to stop doing football movies. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
Chris: Faith-based football movie dealing with racism in the Deep South (a popular subject of film-making) in the early 70’s…..actually looks pretty good.  I kind of dig football movies.

Momentum (Starz Digital Media) – Action/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman
Plot: Alex, a mysterious thief, is pulled in by her former partner for one last heist. She quickly finds it was never just about the diamonds. A brutal murder sparks a cat and mouse chase between…
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: Olga Kurylenko does non-Bond action thriller.  This one looks a bit more hard core than the shaken, not stirred English gentleman variety action film.
Jessica: Eh. This didn’t do a whole lot for me. Though, on an interesting note, I did a transcription of an interview between the director of this movie (it’s his first film. he has been Clint Eastwood’s main cameraman for YEARS), seems like a really passionate film guy, gotta respect that.
Ken: There’s just something about foreign accents that makes bad dialogue in action films bearable.

Tickets Purchased:  Three for Crimson Peak

It's that time of fear...er, we mean year!
It’s that time of fear…er, we mean year!
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Trailer Snark (October 9, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: MATT DAMON!  The Martian takes the top prize with the second biggest October opening ever with $55M.  Hotel Transylvania 2 was in second with a substantial $33M haul and $90M overall.  Sicario, which went wide this past week, took third place ($12M/$15M).  The Intern was fourth ($11.6M/$36.5M) and fifth place belonged to Maze Runner: Scorch Trials ($7.6M/$63.2M).  The bottom half of the top ten was as follows: Black Mass ($5.9M/$52.5M), Everest ($5.5M/$33.1M), The Visit ($3.9M/$57.6M), War Room ($2.8M/$60.5M), and The Perfect Guy ($2.4M/$52.6M).  And now, let’s take a look at what is in theaters this weekend…..

Pan (Warner Bros) – Family/Adventure
Rated PG for fantasy action violence, language and some thematic material
Tag Line: In the beginning… he was the enemy.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried
Plot: 12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Rob: Looks ok, perhaps even good, but nobody can hold a candle to the animated classic from where I stand.  May catch it on rental down the road.
Chris: I remember going to see Hook with my family, and loathing every minute.  Perhaps this incarnation will bring the live action Peter Pan some redemption in my eyes?
Ken: You don’t mess with the classics by trotting out a contrived origin story bedazzled in CGI. If the reviews are good I may check it out when it comes out on digital, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Pan gets panned.
Jessica: Don’t make me watch this again, I really have an intense dislike for this movie from the trailers. It looks boring and I think a lot of people are just sick of Peter Pan. All set with this one.

Big Stone Gap (ArtAffects Entertainment) – Romance/Comedy
Rated PG – 13 for brief suggestive material
Tag Line: Small town. Big heart.
Starring: Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jenna Elfman
Plot: In a small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, self-proclaimed spinster Ave Maria Mulligan finds her life shaken up and forever changed after learning a long-buried family secret.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Jessica: What? I think I fell asleep watching this trailer.
Rob: Well, it has Jenna Elfman.  There ends the positive.
Chris: Run….run fast…away from the theater.
Ken: I tuned out after about 10 seconds.

The Final Girls (Vertical Entertainment) – Comedy/Horror
Rated PG – 13 for horror violence, some crude and sexual material, language and drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Adam Devine, and Nin Dobrev
Plot: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.
Running Time: 88 minutes

Ken: Scream and Scary Movie had a hipster child.
Jessica: I just don’t … I can’t figure out if this is total crap or really clever. That leaves me feeling like I wouldn’t want to be the “final girl” (can we please stop calling WOMEN, GIRLS??? I know that seems dumb to some people but for pete’s sake, you stop being a girl somewhere around 18 – WOMEN. THEY ARE WOMEN. I feel very “meh” about this movie.
Rob: Horror comedy combo.  Not likely to see this one, but if I do it wont be on the big screen.
Chris: Looks mildly amusing….but far more likely to be a Netflix or DVD small screen venture.

Knock Knock (Lionsgate) – Horror/Mystery
Rated R for disturbing violent behavior, strong sexual content, nudity and language
Tag Line:  One night can cost you everything.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas
Plot: When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Rob: Who’s There?  Keanu.  Keanu Who?  Exactly.  Two psych girls seduce, torture, and kill Keanu?  Weird.
Chris: I bet Keanu had wished he entered the Matrix instead.  I know…that was week, but Rob stole my knock knock joke.
Ken: I’m scaroused.
Jessica: As much as I genuinely like Keanu Reeves, my stomach turns at the idea that no man can resist boffing two co-eds. I just don’t buy it and I’ll probably skip this one.

Steve Jobs (Universal) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels
Plot: Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Chris: I am torn.  I typically do not get into celebrity behind the scenes fare.  There is, however, a compelling story here about the inception of a life-changing tech company, but how much of the personal story do we have to endure that may or may not be a reflection of the truth?
Rob: Man or monster?  How will the film ultimately paint one of our fallen technological icons?  Will it be accurate?  I’m not sure, but I’d like to find out.
Jessica: I have the book this is based on and haven’t read it yet, I find Jobs fascinating but I’m not fascinated to see yet another film about this guy.
Ken: The man, the myth, the monster? The second Jobs biopic in as many years, Steve Jobs the movie paints a complex portrait of one of the great innovators of our generation.

Trash (Focus World) – Adventure/Comedy/Crime
Rated R for violence and language
Tag Line: You never know what you might find.
Starring: Rickson Tevez, Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen
Plot: Set in Brazil, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from the cops and trying to right a terrible wrong.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Ken: I was a big fan of City of God, and this feels like a spiritual successor.
Jessica: I can’t even figure out what this movie is trying to do, be “Slumdog Millionaire?” Another “meh” for this WOMAN.
Rob: Fitting name.  Pass.
Chris: Looks decent enough of a thriller, but reading half the movie does not appeal to me.

Tickets Purchased:  Ken says “Trash is my kind of treasure.”  Jessica says “The Martian – what? That wasn’t in this weeks pics? I don’t care. That’s what I’m going to see this week.”  But Steve Jobs rises to the top as both Rob and Chris make it their pick.

Steve-Jobs-White-iPhone-4-Cant-Touch-This

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Trailer Snark (October 2, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Animated Adam Sandler takes the top of the box office and virtually guarantees us a second sequel to Hotel Transylvania with over $47 million in its opening weekend.  The Intern, which was collectively panned by our panel, took second place with over $18 million.  The rest of the world must have seen a different trailer to sell that many tickets!  Scorch Trials, last week’s box office champ, slipped to third place ($14M/$51.6M).  Everest came in fourth place as it expanded to more theaters ($13M/$23M).  Black Mass was fifth ($11.5M/$42.6M).  The Visit in sixth ($6.7M/$52.2M).  The Perfect Guy took seventh ($4.7M/$48.8M).  War Room was eighth ($4.2M/$55.9M).  In ninth place was the debut of Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno with $3.5M.  And Sicario continued its slow expansion into more theaters for tenth place ($1.7M/$2.3M), but it will be in much wider circulation this week.  And now on to this week’s contenders….

The Martian (20th Century Fox) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity.
Tag Line: Help is only 140 million miles away.
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean
Plot: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Running Time: 141 minutes

Chris: The last time Matt Damon was stranded on a planet, he turned out to be a real jerk.  This is his chance for a do-over!  BTW, the movie looks fantastic!
Rob: Finally a film I can sink my teeth into.  Looks amazing and with all the amazing discoveries being made about the red planet by NASA currently, it will be interesting to see how close the film comes to still fitting in with our new picture of Mars.
Jessica: This is what I’ve been waiting for!
Ken: I wanted to go into space so badly when I was a kid, and if I’m being totally I honest I still do. That trailer was awesome. It had me feeling like 6 years old again. I can’t wait to see this. We can watch the rest of the trailers, but this is my pick.

The Walk (Sony) – Drama/Biography
Rated PG for thematic elements involving perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking
Tag Line:  Every dream begins with a single step.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte LeBon
Plot: In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the the immense void between the World Trade Center towers.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Ken: This would make for an amazing iMax experience. Spoiler alert, Philippe Petit the guy whose life this movie is based on, still alive.
Chris: Not saying it does not look good, but Man on a Wire was the genuine article and available for all to see.
Rob: An interesting story, but not for the big screen.  Renter.
Jessica: It’s not The Martian? Yeah, don’t care.

Freeheld (Lionsgate) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, language and sexuality
Tag Line: A true story of love and injustice.
Starring: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, and Steve Carell
Plot: New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester, and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, both battle to secure Hester’s pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Jessica: Let’s see, no Mars, no space hijinks? All set.
Ken: This one is sure to be a hit with the Westboro crowd. I love seeing Ellen Page playing an openly gay character and making an honest argument for marriage equality.
Chris: Partner rights are the subject for a same sex couple, coming on the heels of the Civil Rights themed Stonewall film released last week.  Julianne Moore is a quality performer, and I am sure I will catch this one on the small screen.
Rob: Powerful story about equality in love and basic human rights.  Worth a look on the small screen IMO.

Shanghai (RADiUS-TWC) – Mystery/Drama
Rated R for strong violence, some drug use and brief language
Tag Line: In a world filled with secrets, solving a mystery can be murder.
Starring: John Cusack, Li Gong, Yun-Fat Chow
Plot: A ’40s period piece which revolves around an American expat who returns to Shanghai in the months before Pearl Harbor due to the death of his friend.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Rob: Could be decent.  Yun-Fat always impresses me, but not compelling enough to draw me to the theater based on this trailer.
Jessica: Matt Damon, where are you??
Ken: Having spent almost 3 years living in Shanghai, I was very interested in the idea of a period piece set in the Paris of Asia. But the trailer was sort of meh, and the all star cast makes me think the budget for this film must have been huge. The fact that it is being released in the States 5 years after its international release makes me think the rest of the world didn’t think too much of it.
Chris: I was intrigued until I found out the movie was made and released overseas in 2010.  Yeah, you read that right.  Why did it take so long to make it to the US?  Warning bells….

Partisan (Well Go USA Entertainment) – Drama/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Vincent Cassel, Jeremy Chabriel
Plot: Alexander, a boy who has been raised in a sequestered commune, finds that his increasing unwillingness to fall in line puts him on a collision course with Gregori, the society’s charismatic and domineering leader.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Chris: Subversive counter-culture political leader runs his own commune promising shocking and disturbing results…..not getting me to the theater.
Ken: When you create a society built on the principals of rebellion against the established authority, can you really be that surprised when the children, ya  know, rebel against authority?
Rob: Looks disturbing.  A man and women raise a group of children to live outside of societal norms in their own little kingdom, but the oldest boy turns towards darkness.

Addicted to Fresno (Gravitas Ventures) – Comedy
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Molly Shannon, Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston
Plot: This comedy tells the story of two sisters, a lesbian and a sex-addict, who work as maids at a hotel in a city named Fresno. Their lives change when one of the sisters thinks that they might have accidentally killed a man.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: Co-Dependent sisters and their raunchy escapades as maids in Fresno.  Could be funny.  Could be awful.  Can’t decide, but leaning towards awful.
Ken: Looks very weird and offbeat but it is being driven by a stellar cast of comedians who excel at oddball humor.  I also think it could be funny, could be awful, but unlike Rob I’m leaning more towards funny.
Jessica: Nope. It’s not on Mars.
Chris: Was that trailer supposed to be funny?

Tickets Purchased:  Four tickets for the unanimous winner….The Martian

Matt Damon studies the oft-overlooked dermatological effects of deep space travel
Matt Damon studies the oft-overlooked dermatological effects of deep space travel
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Trailer Snark (September 25, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Did anyone think Maze Runner would not take top prize?  The teen audience united for a weekend of adventure and drama giving the second installment (named Scorch Trials) at box office victory with just over $30M in receipts.  The Johnny Depp portrayal of the infamous mobsters, Whitey Bulger, came in second.  Black Mass accumulated just over $25M in business.  The Visit was down two spots in its second week in release with another $11M ($42M overall).  The Perfect Guy took in another $9.6M ($41M overall), and Everest debuted at number five with its limited to IMAX theaters first week ($7.5M).  Everest will expand to wide release this week.  The last half of the top ten fell in this order:  6.  War Room  7.  Walk in the Woods  8. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation  9.  Straight Outta Compton  10.  Captive

So what’s hitting theaters today?

Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sony) – Animated/Family
Rated PG for some scary images, action and rude humor
Tag Line: Drac’s pack is back!
Starring:  Adam Sandler, Adam Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, and Kevin James
Plot:  Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Ken:  Family friendly vampire movies suck more than just blood.
Chris: I wasn’t too enthralled with the original.  Sorry Happy.
Jessica: Didn’t see the first one, don’t care about the sequel.

The Intern (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and brief strong language
Tag Line: Experience never gets old
Starring: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Rene Russo
Plot: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Ken: Looks dull beyond words
Chris: Right you are Ken.  I practically fell asleep during the two and a half minute trailer.
Jessica: I think I fell asleep. What the heck DeNiro?

The Green Inferno (High Top Releasing) – Horror
Rated R for aberrant violence and torture, grisly disturbing images, brief graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use
Tag Line:  Fear will consume you.
Starring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, and Aaron Burns
Plot: A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished.
Running Time:  100 minutes

Jessica: Now THIS is my speed baby! It’s Roth’s homage to the Cannibal films back in the day. “Cannibal Ferox” and “Cannibal Holocaust” and all that disgusting nonsense. I have been waiting for this one for awhile as Roth had problems getting backing for it but you can bet your butts I’ll be there when it comes out!
Ken: Anyone have an extra pair of pants? I like Roth’s horror movies but wish they were more intellectual and less torture fests.
Chris: I have to say my skin was crawling (or was it being eaten?) during this trailer.  I have a feeling the content will be depraved, gory, and horrific beyond words, but I think that is what Eli Roth is aiming for here.  Proceed with caution ye of faint heart.

Stonewall (Roadside Attractions) – Drama
Rated R for sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ron Perlman, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Jeremy Irvine
Plot: A young man’s political awakening and coming of age during the days and weeks leading up to the Stonewall Riots.
Running Time: 129 minutes

Jessica: I’m a sucker for true story movies like this. Not only is it perfect for today’s times it looks dang good.
Ken: Looks solid. A bit gay, but solid nonetheless.
Chris: A piece of civil rights history in the making.  Always interesting topical matter.  Just not on the big screen.

99 Homes (Broad Green Pictures) – Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Tag Line:  Greed is the only game in town
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern
Plot: A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Chris: Effective trailer.  Michael Shannon once played the title character in a movie called The Iceman.  The title could certainly apply to his role here too.
Jessica: Eh. I like Michael Shannon quite a bit and would probably only watch it because he’s in and he looks like he is a bad man.
Ken: The 1% are such an easy target. Michael Shannon might as well be wearing a cloak and monacle, twirling his moustache.

The Keeping Room (Drafthouse Films) – Drama
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault
Tag Line:  Some things are worth fighting for.
Starring: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, and Sam Worthington
Plot: Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three Southern women – two sisters and one African-American slave – must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: I think the trailer showed too much, but the movie looks like it could be a winner.
Ken: That was an unexpected thrill. Keeping Room looks amazing.
Jessica: I’m intrigued about a “female western with bite” but not theater cost intrigued. At home watching intrigued.

Mississippi Grind (A24) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: We can’t lose.
Starring: Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds
Plot: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Ken: Fold.
Chris: I became a Ben Mendelsohn fan after watching Bloodline on Netflix.  Add in a little Ryan Reynolds and this pair look like they may have made a bit of movie magic together.  Count me in!
Jessica: I enjoy Reynolds but I’ll probably never watch this.

Tickets Purchased:  Without the input of Rob and Jim, we are left with a three-way split.  One ticket for The Keeping Room (Ken), one ticket for The Green Inferno (Jessica), and one ticket for Mississippi Grind (Chris)

amazonqueen
Do you know how hard it was to come up with an image to include strong female characters (The Keeping Room), the treacherous Amazon (The Green Inferno), and gambling (Mississippi Grind)? Now you know….
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Trailer Snark (September 18 2015 Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: It was a dogfight for the top spot at the box office this past weekend but in the end, The Perfect Guy ($26.7M) edged out The Visit ($25.6M).  While these are not staggering numbers, both films have already turned big profits thanks to their low budgets.  War Room, last week’s number one, dropped to number three with $7.4M in receipts ($39M overall).  The rest of the field scored under $5M in box office and landed in the following order:  A Walk in the Woods, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton, No Escape, The Transporter Refueled, the debuting 90 Minutes in Heaven, and the foreign film Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos.  There is no doubt, however, that by next week we will be crowning a new box office champion with some serious contenders vying for the honors.  Let’s take a look!

Everest (Universal) – Adventure/Drama/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for intense peril and disturbing images
Tag Line: Never let go
Starring:  Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, and Emily Watson.
Plot: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Jessica: I have a mild to moderate obsession with Mt. Everest so I actually have seen another movie (though the name eludes me) about this exact Everest disaster – it’s a very compelling story and a very tragically sad one. This looks really good, great actors (I love me some Brolin) and hopefully does a good job with respecting the individual stories of that day on the mountain. Either way, it’s right up my Everest alley.
Ken: I’m petrified of heights. I get vertigo watching this trailer on my laptop screen. Windowed. The effects look insane, this might be the one to watch in theaters.
Rob: One of the penultimate man versus nature tales, and it looks like a good one.
Chris: My life group is discussing pushing the limitations of what we believe possible, and I can think of no better physical example than those that brave the perilous journey to the top of Mount Everest.  The movie looks beautiful, terrifying, and riveting.  Can’t miss it.

Maze Runner:  The Scorch Trials (Twentieth Century Fox) – Action/Drama
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language
Tag Line: The maze was just the beginning
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Plot: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Ken: Never read the books, didn’t watch the first movie, wasn’t planning on seeing the second one either but the trailer for Scorch Trails was entertaining. I’ll give it a look down the road when it comes to homes.
Chris: The first movie was decent enough, especially when measured against its teen drama contemporaries, but it is just not my choice cup of tea.  Particularly in the face of such other strong competition this week.  Consider it a rental for me.
Jessica: I read the series that these books are based on and I’ll say this, they were wickedly entertaining and the first movie did a bang-on job with getting the story right. i have a lot of faith that this one will follow its lead.

Black Mass (Warner Bros) – Biography/Crime/Drama
Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use
Tag Line: Based on the true story of one of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history
Starring: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, and Joel Edgerton.
Plot: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Chris: Looks well-acted.  Its a dark story for those of us who have grown up in the Boston area.  Movies such as this run the risk of glamorizing the monster, which I hope the filmmakers manage to avoid.
Jessica: Oh man, there aren’t enough excited adjectives to express how excited I am about this movie. I have total faith that Johnny Depp is going to rock this role, can’t wait!
Ken: Before Disney and that unfortunate late Burton phase, Johnny Depp was considered one of the great American actors of our generation. He’s back to playing serious character roles and the results look spectacular. Black Mass has the makings of a classic gangster film.

Sicario (Lionsgate) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language
Tag Line: The border is just another line to cross.
Starring: Josh Brolin, Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Jon Bernthal
Plot: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Jessica: I was pleasantly surprised that this trailer looks actually quite interesting (and can we say Brolin again!?!?!). I love Del Toro and Emily Blunt is also a fave of mine. I say this looks like a total win.
Ken: Watched the trailer twice and still have no idea what this is going on, other than drug cartels are crazy. Great cast, but is all that star power enough to get me to lay down cash for this movie? As they say in Mexico, no.
Chris: Which Josh Brolin film do I want to see this week?  Sicario looks like incredible cinema to me.  Going to be a tough choice.

Captive (Paramount) – Crime/Drama
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse
Tag Line: Faith. Redemption. Survival.
Starring:  Kate Mara, David Oyelowo, and Mimi RogersPlot: A single mother struggling with drug addiction is taken hostage in her own apartment by a man on the run after breaking out of jail and murdering the judge assigned to his case.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Ken: A formulaic movie that pulls double duty as marketing vehicle for Rick Warren’s devotional, self-help book, The Purpose Driven Life.  
Chris: They should have called the movie by another version of the word.  Captivating.  Two broken people…will they be saved?  I’ll be tuning in.
Jessica: Hmmm … I’m back and forth on this one. Partly sickly sweet, party interesting. I’ll probably catch it online after it’s release.

Pawn Sacrifice (Bleecker Street Media) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual content and historical smoking
Tag Line: In 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the Soviet Union in the greatest chess match ever played. On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.
Starring:  Tobey Maguire and Liev Schrieber
Plot: Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Chris: I wonder at how closely the story follows reality.  Color me intrigued. Big fan of Liev Schrieber.
Jessica: I have a massive case of Toby McGuire dislike. I don’t know if it’s because he was Spiderman and I hate spiders and therefore am not a huge fan of Spiderman (yeah, I know it makes no sense, shush) or what but this one kind of leaves me feeling blah. Could be it’s about chess and I could not possibly care less about chess and Bobby Fisher.
Ken: Might ‘check’ it out.

About Ray (Weinstein Company) – Drama/Comedy
Not Rated
Tag Line: A family in transition.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, and Susan Sarandon
Plot: After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray’s mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jessica: I LOVE that they are making more movies about transgender and a transgender teen? Awesome on top of awesome. This has a powerhouse cast and looks uplifting and sad and everything it should be. I’ll watch it on DVD or on Amazon or Netflix.
Ken: Pass. But I’m rooting for it.
Chris: Seems like a pretty heartfelt movie.  Not my typical style, but I will check it out when it hits the small screen.

Tickets Purchased: 3 for Everest (Ken, Jessica, and Rob), 1 for Sicario (Chris), and 1 for Black Mass (Jessica on double movie duty).

Ken braves the heights and bumbles on his way to Everest's peak!
Ken braves the heights and bumbles on his way to Everest’s peak!
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Trailer Snark (September 11th Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: In a bit of a shock, the faith-based power of prayer movie War Room took the number one spot at the box office in its second week in release, finally knocking Straight Outta Compton from the summit.  It was a relatively weak ticket sale weekend where the top dog took in just under $10 million.  Straight Outta Compton took about $8.8 million bringing its total domestic haul to $147.7 million.  The highest debut came from third place A Walk in the Woods with $8.4M in receipts.  Mission Impossible held in the top four ($7.1M/180M) and The Transporter Refueled managed a top five finish with $7M.  While the rest of the top ten did anemic box office numbers, Jurassic World and Ant-Man finally dropped from sight.  What movies are debuting that could possibly jump-start the sagging theater business?  Here are your candidates…..

The Visit (Universal) – Comedy/Horror
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including terror, violence and some nudity, and for brief language
Tag Line:  Nobody loves you like your grandparents
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunegan, and Peter McRobbie
Plot: A single mother finds that things in her family’s life go very wrong after her two young children visit their grandparents.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Jessica: I saw this trailer awhile back and thought two things, first thought was, oh cool, looks fun and creepy and then … M. Night Shymalan – oh crap no. I have absolutely NO faith in his writing or directing abilities after the horrible “Village” and that suck-fest, “The Happening.” I’ll pass on this.
Chris: Like fools, we all keep trying.  Yeah, that is me every time there is a new M. Night Shymalan movie.  I just want to recapture all of the things I liked about The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs.  Come on brother…I know you have it in you to thrill me again, in spite of a parade of disappointments!
Ken: Like the boss man, I just don’t know how to quit Shyamalan.  It would be an amazing twist if this film doesn’t end up a mediocre load of garbage.  Looks creepy but the M Knight needs to regain my trust before I plunk down money to watch his films in the theater.
Rob: Creepy ass grandparents and kids in jeopardy.  No thanks.

The Perfect Guy (Screen Gems) – Thriller
Rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language.
Tag Line: Trust one, fear the other
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut, and Michael Ealy
Plot: After breaking up with her boyfriend, a professional woman gets involved with a man who seems almost too good to be true.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Rob: Next up, creepy ass stalker guy flick.  No thanks.
Jessica: Saw the “twist” coming a mile away. Trite nonsense that has been done to DEATH. I’ll admit it had a few creepy moments so perhaps I’ll catch it on streaming or DVD.
Chris: Looks like an entertaining enough thriller.  Don’t expect any twists or air of mystery though.
Ken: So spoiler alert, turns out the guy’s actually not perfect. Shocking, I know. A movie so bad they had to put a twist into the title. They should have called it “A Good Movie”.

90 Minutes in Heaven (Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for intense accident and injury images
Tag Line: Hope lives
Starring: Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth
Plot: A man involved in a horrific car crash is pronounced dead, only to come back to life an hour and a half later, claiming to have seen Heaven.
Running Time: 121 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf69T0DUkuQ
Ken: This movie wouldn’t have been as interesting if the guy had been miraculously saved by doctors and medical science.
Rob: Guy “died” and “went to Heaven” after horrific car accident.  Based on a “true” story…  Mhmm…
Jessica: I couldn’t even get through the trailer. It was simply too sickly over the top for me. Great that it’s a true story but I’m all set with this one.
Chris: There is a place in our world for powerful spiritual messages.  Especially in a world that is so obsessed with tragedy.  Triumph may not be as chic, but it is good for the soul.

Sleeping with Other People (IFC Films) – Comedy
Rated R for strong sexual content, language including sexual references, and some drug use
Tag Line: A romantic comedy with commitment issues
Starring: Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis
Plot: A good-natured womanizer and a serial cheater form a platonic relationship that helps reform them in ways, while a mutual attraction sets in.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: For me it is more like Sleeping Next to Other People in the theater.  Skip.
Ken: I wanted to dislike the trailer when I heard the hook but I’ll admit it, Sleeping with Other People looked like good, raunchy fun to me.
Rob: A couple of sex addicts fall in love.  Might have a few good laughs, but I want more from a flick.
Jessica: Jason Sudekis is funny, sure, but he seems to play the SAME guy in every movie. This might have some laughs, it might not. Not going to risk my money on it though. This is an at-home viewer.

A Brilliant Young Mind (Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: Is there a formula for love?
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, and Sally Hawkins
Plot: A socially awkward teenage math prodigy finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Jessica: Loved this trailer, maybe because I know a kid on the spectrum so it meant something more to me than others but seems like a solid cast, good story and I had some feels while watching the trailer. Not all the feels, but some of them.
Chris: Movies such as these help us to understand those that are different.  Probably the best lessons we can take away from such art.
Rob: Looks like it has some heart, but not my cup of tea either.
Ken: Yup.

Time Out of Mind (IFC Films) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Richard Gere, Jena Malone, and Steve Buscemi
Plot: George seeks refuge at Bellevue Hospital, a Manhattan intake center for homeless men, where his friendship with a fellow client helps him try to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Ken: Great track, Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s Far From Me.  Numbers vary, but it’s estimated that somewhere around 25% of persistently homeless adults suffer from some form of mental illness. Trailer looked pretty good too.
Jessica: Sigh. I mean … sigh. I just don’t know, the trailer depressed me.
Chris: This movie trailer makes me sad.  It would make me sadder to lighten my wallet to only increase my depressive state after watching it.
Rob: Richard Gere as a drunk homeless man.  Looks pretty damn depressing.  Why would anyone pay to go be depressed?

Tickets Purchased:  One for A Brilliant Young Mind (Ken) and one for The Visit (Chris).  Jessica and Rob, once again, home on the couch counting their money saved.

bingo
This week proves that all Grandparents are so innocent and loveable!
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Trailer Snark (September 4th Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Straight Outta Compton ruled the box office for a third week in a row, collecting another $13.2 million for a total of $134 million domestic.  And shockingly enough, its closest competition was the debuting religious movie War Room (from the makers of Fireproof), which took in $11 million for second place.  Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends bombed with only $1.8 million on 2300 screen nationwide, leaving the aforementioned War Room as the highest debut (No Escape was technically released early on Wednesday came in fourth as mentioned later).  Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation also continued to pile heaping of cash on its haul in third with $8 million bring its total domestic to $170 million.  No Escape, starring Owen Wilson, scored nearly the same for a fourth place finish, and has $10 million in total domestic receipts.  Sinister 2, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Hitman: Agent 47, The Gift, Jurassic World, and Ant-Man rounded out the rest of the list in that order.  With four new films on the docket for this weekend, let’s check out the trailers.

Before We Go (RADiUS-TWC) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some suggestive content.
Tag Line: One night can change your whole life
Starring: Chris Evans and Alice Eve
Plot: Two strangers stuck in Manhattan for the night grow into each other’s most trusted confidants when an evening of unexpected adventure forces them to confront their fears and take control of their lives.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Chris: I’ll hand it to them….at least it does not look like a paint by numbers romance flick.  Still won’t get me to go see it.
Ken: The movie looks sappy but the track playing in the background is just too good. It’s called England, by the National. Look it up and thank me later.
Rob:  Captain America in a romantic comedy.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.
Jessica: Blah. Boo. Boring. I understand that the Capt is trying something different but this is heavily trodden ground and I could not possibly be LESS interested in watching this pile of sappy nonsense.

A Walk in the Woods (Broad Green Pictures) – Adventure/Drama/Comedy
Rated R for language and some sexual references
Tag Line: This Labor Day, Take a Hike.
Starring: Robert Redford and Nick Nolte
Plot: After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Ken: At a certain age you’re supposed to quit acting a fool. But fools have the best stories, don’t they? This sounds like a fun one.
Rob: Hiking the AT is an amazing and physically demanding adventure.  I actually have a friend doing so right now.  Not sure Nolte would be up to the task.  At least there would be some amazing scenery in this flick.  Might check it out on demand down the road.
Jessica: Redford and Nolte, hmmm …
Chris: As we move towards our own change of seasons, two guys in the autumn of their lives seek some adventure on the Appalachian trail.  Good times.

The Transporter Refueled (EuropaCorp USA) – Action
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, sexual material, some language, a drug reference and thematic elements
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, and Loan Chabanol
Plot: In the south of France, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin enters into a game of chess with a femme-fatale and her three sidekicks who are looking for revenge against a sinister Russian kingpin.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Rob:  A series that is so uninteresting to me that I didn’t even know this was the fourth film.  Generic looking action flick IMO.
Jessica: Never saw the other films but I can say that this trailer actually bored me and I’m usually all up for a good action flick, this does not look like that flick.
Chris: The action series gets a reboot with Ed Skrein replacing Jason Statham.  Meh…..
Ken: Why does the bad guy always feel compelled to give the hero 12 hours to find his loved ones before killing them? What is the motivation there?

Dragon Blade (Lionsgate) – Action/Drama
Rated R for bloody violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Jackie Chan, John Cusack, and Adrien Brody
Plot: When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An teams up his army with an elite Legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius to protect his country and his new friends.
Running Time: 127 minutes

Ken: I love kung-fu flicks, but a few things in this trailer that rub me wrong: John Cusak in an action role, Adrien Brody in an action role, Jackie Chan in a serious role, everyone in Asia speaking English.
Chris: John Cusack is so miscast here, it isn’t funny.   And that one detail kills it for me.
Jessica: John Cusack, really? I can’t. Oh dear lord I just can’t. The trailer was terrible, I can only hope the movie is better than that with someone like Adrien Brody in it but yeah … Not so much. I just can’t stop laughing at the idea of Cusack as a solider here. Yeah, all sorts of no.
Rob: Looks like mediocrity on screen is the soup of the week again.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for A Walk in the Woods (Ken and Chris), while Rob and Jessica stay home admiring their massive collections of books and comics.

trail-through-the-woods-short-cut-dr-heckle-funny-wtf-memes
Inspired by this week’s Walk in the Woods film release, Ken and Chris wisely choose their own hiking trail for some Labor Day adventure!
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Trailer Snark (August 28th Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Without any true strong competition from the new releases, Straight Outta Compton and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation continued to occupy the top two spots at the box office this past weekend, with $26.7 million and $11.7 million respectively.  Compton has taken in $111.7 million since its debut two weeks ago, while the latest Tom Cruise action sequel has gone to $157.7 million domestically.  The top debut last week was the horror sequel Sinister 2, which took $10.6 million for a third place showing.  Of course, it cost less than $10 million to make, so it is still a success.  Hitman: Agent 47, meanwhile, opened to a disappointing $8.2 million in fourth. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. took in $7.4 million which was good for fifth place, but it has only taken in $26 million against its reported $75 million budget.  The rest of the top ten were as follows:  American Ultra (debut at $5.5M), The Gift ($4.3M/$31M), Ant-Man ($4M/$164.5M), Minions ($3.7M/$319.9M), and Fantastic Four ($3.6M/$49.6M).  And now for this week’s new entries….

We Are Your Friends (Warner Bros) – Drama/Music
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexual content and some nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Emily Ratajkowski
Plot: Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Ken: We live in an age where any clown with a Macbook can  call themself a DJ. Given enough money and minimal talent, all it takes is lights, loud music and lots of pretty people to throw a good party. Can the same be said about movies?
Rob: A movie about a DJ trying to make his mark.  Pass.
Chris: Rave music DJ movie….about the antithesis of my core interests at this age.

No Escape (Weinstein Company) – Action/Drama
Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, and for language
Tag Line: Survive together or die together
Starring: Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, and Owen Wilson
Plot: In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Chris: I remember being pleasantly surprised by Owen Wilson’s serious acting turn in the action movie Behind Enemy Lines, and I look forward to his return to the genre.
Ken: Well wasn’t that a pleasant surprise? I saw Owen Wilson’s dumb face and my brain automatically thought “rom-com” and went into hibernation mode but that got real, real quick. Rescue copter? Nope, machine gun copter!
Rob: A family in jeopardy trying to escape Asian war and get to the US Embassy. Pass.

Z for Zachariah (Grindstone Entertainment Group) – Drama/SciFi/Thriller
Rated PG – 13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language
Tag Line: After the end of the world she thought she was alone. She was wrong.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, Margot Robbie
Plot: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Rob: A Post-Apocalyptic Love Triangle.  Pass.
Chris: I saw apocalyspe movie, and I immediately thought another zombie movie. Thankfully it was not.  And it actually looks like it could be a diamond in the rough.
Ken: Z for zzzzzzzzzzz….

War Room (Sony) – Spiritual Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements throughout
Tag Line: Prayer is a powerful weapon
Starring: Priscilla Shirer, T.C. Stallings, and Karen Abercrombie
Plot: A seemingly perfect family look to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Ken: Is it just me or did that feel a little bit churchy? Dear lord, deliver me from this movie.
Rob: Religious Schlock.  Pass.
Chris: The trailer does not delve into too much except about the plot except that its about the power of prayer, but if you have seen Courageous, you know that the filmmaker’s can make a truly inspiring movie.

Queen of the Earth (IFC Films) – Drama/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, and Patrick Fugit
Plot: Two women who grew up together discover they have drifted apart when they retreat to a lake house together.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Chris: With the throw-back 1970’s style trailer, I don’t know if I am supposed to take the subject matter seriously or not.  Creepy, quirky, and exploitive…words that come to mind.
Ken: Holy crap that was so unsettling for so many reasons. Foremost being the narrator’s voice.
Rob: A very crappy looking psychological thriller.  Pass.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for No Escape (Ken and Chris) while Rob stays home to re-enact Billy Madison scenes in his bath tub.

Escape is apparently futile
Escape is apparently futile
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Trailer Snark (August 21 Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Straight Outta Compton busted out of the ghetto and into theaters with a storm taking in $56M.  Tom Cruise slipped to very distant second place with MI: Rogue Nation ($17M/$138M).  The Man from U.N.C.L.E. received some ordinary reviews and only could muster a third place $13.5M opening.  Fantastic Four held fourth place with $8M bringing its total to $42M overall.  It was a log-jam for the rest of the top ten, however as fifth place The Gift ($6.5M/$23.5M) only beat out the tenth place Trainwreck ($3.8M/$97M) by less than $3M.  Ant-Man, Vacation, Minions, and Ricki and the Flash in between in that order.  And now, onto our candidates for cinematic glory this week….

Sinister 2 (Blumhouse) – Horror
Rated R for strong violence, bloody and disturbing images, and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, and Robert Daniel Sloan
Plot: A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Chris: The first was an OK effort, but not nearly good enough for a visit to the theater. This one provides me the same feeling of mediocrity best left for home theater viewing.
Jessica: I barely remembered the first one until the showed the pic with Ethan Hawke and I don’t feel this needed a sequel. That being said, I know I’ll end up watching it at home when it’s on Netflix or something. Though I had a lot of problems with the first one, the biggest being it was so dark the big reveal at the end was less than interesting to me.
Ken:
The first movie had some insanely creepy moments and the premise was solid, but the story fell apart at the end. I think given a budget and a decent script this could be a good horror film.

American Ultra (Lionsgate) – Action/Comedy
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content
Tag Line: The ultimate secret agent becomes the ultimate target
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, and Bill Pullman.
Plot: A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Ken: That looked like a good amount of fun. Could be a sleeper.  
Chris: I like Jesse Eisenberg, but I absolutely loathe Kristen Stewart.  Stoner comedy was funny to me back when I was in college, but I can only take small doses now…no, not small doses of reefer…I meant the comedy.
Jessica: I like Eisenberg but cannot stand Stewart so I’ll skip this one. I cannot possibly watch another movie where Stewart looks awkward and stutters.

Hitman:  Agent 47 (20th Century Fox) – Action
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language
Tag Line:  None
Starring:  Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto
Plot: An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Jessica: Never saw the first one and I don’t care! This looks like fun and I enjoy Quinto quite a bit, especially if he’s the bad guy. I love me a good action movie with totally improbable action sequences. Can I say action more? I CAN! I love action movies with lots of action!
Ken: As a fan of the game franchise, I can tell you honesty that this trailer did nothing for me. Hitman is stealth and precision, not car chases and romantic subplots. It got the CGI right though.
Chris: How many years has it been since the original?  This one looks like a fun theater experience with some great action set pieces and fast-[aced fun.  Some of the key elements to a traditional summer movie….and there aren’t many of those to enjoy remaining on our 2016 calendar.

Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) – Comedy
Rated R for language and some drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner
Plot: Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a day-long journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future.
Running Time: 79 minutes

Chris: Lily Tomlin looks to be rocking this role pretty well from the trailer.  I’ll catch it in another medium.
Jessica: Love this. Love this so much I could watch the trailer a few times and still love it. It’s the kind of movie I’d want to see in the theater but will probably forget and see it at home but Lily Tomlin I adore and holy bejesus, Sam Elliot? I am SO ON BOARD
Ken: I love grandmas and I love Lily Tomlin, so it reasons that I would love this movie. But life is full of little surprises.  

6 Years (The Orchard) – Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Ben Rosenfield, Lindsay Burdge
Plot: A young couple bound by a seemingly ideal love, begins to unravel as unexpected opportunities spin them down a volatile and violent path and threaten the future they had always imagined.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Ken: So angsty.
Chris: Indie movie all the way…..and not the kind I am usually intrigued by,
Jessica: What exactly is the point? I’m too old to watch teenagers deal with their relationship ending or hitting a bump, I’ve been through enough of my own. Big ole pass on this pile of boring.

Digging for Fire (The Orchard) – Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Orlando Bloom
Plot: The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Jessica: What rock did Orlando Bloom crawl out from? This looks like it could actually be some fun and holy bejesus, Sam Eliott again??? And Sam Rockwell? I am in a heaven of awesome Sam’s. I’d watch this at home for sure, could be totally funny but “with a  message” or something
Ken: “A fascinating character study” Translation – boring,
Chris: Orlando Bloom gets top billing here, but I think I only saw him in one scene in the entire trailer….maybe I just wasn’t focusing?  I must have been digging for some pocket change to get me that second coffee I so desperately need.  Yawn….

She’s Funny That Way (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Rated R for some language including sexual references
Tag Line: Showbiz has always been a little screwball.
Starring: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Scott Campbell, and Jennifer Aniston
Plot: On the set of a playwright’s new project, a love triangle forms between his wife, her ex-lover, and the call girl-turned-actress cast in the production.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris:  I was prepared to disregard this one out of hand, but the Own Wilson/Jennifer Aniston comedy actually looks pretty entertaining with its ensemble cast.  Color me surprised.
Jessica: I’m all set with this one, it was just really unappealing.
Ken: She must be funny in that understated, not-funny kind of way.

Learning to Drive (Broad Green Pictures) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated R for language and sexual content
Tag Line: It’s never too late to begin a new adventure.
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, and Jake Weber
Plot: As her marriage dissolves, a Manhattan writer takes driving lessons from a Sikh instructor with marriage troubles of his own. In each other’s company they find the courage to get back on the road and the strength to take the wheel.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: Of all the movies out this week, a movie about an over the hill odd couple feels the freshest.  
Chris: Kingsley plays an Sikh driving instructor whose student, played by Patricia Clarkson, is going through a personal crisis.  Driving skills seem to take a back seat to other life lessons in the process.  Looks charming in its own way, and I may catch it after market eventually.
Jessica: At first I was pretty blah about it but as the trailer went on, I think I kinda dig it. Looks totally charming.

Tickets Purchased:  1 ticket for Hitman:  Agent 47 (Chris), 1 ticket for Grandma (Jessica), and 1 ticket for Sinister 2 (Ken).  With no one to break a Trailer Snark first three-way tie, you be the judge!

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Trailer Snark (August 14 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Marvel’s supremacy at the box office has proven to only reach so far, as the debuting Fantastic Four reboot only managed a runner-up finish with only $26 million in receipts.  One can only hope that this kind of box office disappointment opens the door to Disney reacquiring the film rights to the franchise from Fox, so Marvel’s first comic heroes can be brought into the story lines being woven throughout TV, Netflix, and cinema by the parent company.  So, who landed on top?  Look no further than last week’s box office champion, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation whose $30 million dollar haul jettisoned the fifth in the franchise film over $100 million domestic.  Jason Bateman’s thriller The Gift captured third place with $12 million.  Vacation added $9 million for fourth ($37 million overall), Ant-Man stayed in the top five with another $8 million ($147 million overall), Minions in sixth breaking the $300 million mark with its $7 million weekend, and the only other top ten debut, Ricki and the Flash, earning $7 million in seventh.  Trainwreck, Pixels, and Southpaw rounded out the rest of the list.  And now onto this week’s contenders…..

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity
Tag Line: Saving the world never goes out of style.
Starring:  Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Hugh Grant
Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Rob: Looks fun.  Since the TV show in the 60’s predates my existence I dont know much about the show.  so perhaps I’ll check out the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
Ken: Guy Ritchie lost me after Snatch. A revamp of a TV show that aired decades ago back when we were still fighting the Rooskies. I wonder if the US / Soviet team-up angle loses some of its societal impact. How crazy would this movie have been if they cast an Afghani soldier?
Jessica: This looks like a lot of fun. I’ve never seen the original material but I like Cavill and Guy Ritchie.
Chris: I just saw Kingsman the other day, and it has set my mind afire for espionage spy fare, and this movie looks like it may fit that bill to a T.

Straight Outta Compton (Legendary) – Bio/Drama/Music
Rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence, and drug use
Tag Line: The world’s most dangerous times created the world’s most dangerous group.
Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, and Paul Giamatti
Plot: The group NWA emerges from the streets of Compton, California in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.
Running Time: 147 minutes

Chris: I can see the appeal for a film that details what may have been the most notorious gangsta rap act of their time, and I’d probably catch it on Netflix, but no way is this theater visit for me.
Rob: “Our art is a reflection of our reality”.  An interesting look at the story of NWA and a reality that sorely needs change even today.
Ken: Helllllll yeah…. West coast rap, specifically Dre’s masterpiece The Chronic, was the soundtrack to a large chunk of my teenage years. This movie looks great. I hope they don’t bail on the fallout between NWA.
Jessica: Not a big fan of NWA but these guys definitely have a story to tell, I would watch this in the comfort of my home.

Underdogs (Gkids) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Tag Line:  N/A
Starring: The vocal talents of Michael Broadbridge and Juan Jose Campanella
Plot: A young man named Amadeo sets off on an unexpected adventure with the players of his beloved Foosball game.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica: No. Just. NO.
Chris: Welcome to the Children’s Bargain Bin!
Rob: Animated flick about fusbol players coming to life and a geeky fusbol champ standing up to a bully on a real soccer field.  Is it me or are the lips all out of synch?
Ken: Foosball is more fun than pool or air hockey but not nearly fun enough to make me watch a feature film about soccer that doesn’t involve Shaolin monks. I’m guessing this is a foreign import, it has European funk all over it.  I’m sure the animators will have the mouth flaps synced up for the US release.

Mistress America (Fox Searchlight) – Comedy
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirk
Plot: A lonely college freshman’s life is turned upside down by her impetuous, adventurous soon-to-be stepsister.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Ken: Looks extremely cute and charming but only mildly funny.
Jessica: Again no. No. No.
Chris: You couldn’t find the funny with Fox’s searchlight….see what I did there?
Rob: A comedy in which the trailer didn’t even make me crack a smile.  Probably not the best omen…

People Places Things (The Film Arcade) – Comedy
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief nudity
Tag Line: His next chapter is up in the air.
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Regina Hall
Plot: Will Henry is a newly single graphic novelist balancing parenting his young twin daughters and a classroom full of students while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: This one’s a rental.  Seems to have character and soul, just not of big screen caliber.
Ken: Rats, I was hoping for a song. It will be interesting to see Jermaine’s serious side, which looks surprisingly genuine.
Jessica: I adore Clement since “Flight of the Concords” and he had me at “Im a sassy little hobbit.”
Chris: I wasn’t expecting much from the description, but looks like a real winner.

Return to Sender (Image Entertainment) – Thriller
Rated R for brutal graphic violence and profanity
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, and Nick Nolte
Plot: A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: This one looks like a tough one to watch, content-wise.  In a summer state of mind, and not really up for something so dark in a real world way.  Rosamund Pike is a favorite of mine though.
Rob: Weird freaky rape movie.  No thanks.
Ken: After watching that trailer I need a long, hot shower, a brain enema and my faith in humanity restored.
Jessica: I have to say that at first I didn’t really think much of this but Pike was fantastic in “Gone Girl” and this looks interesting. I’d definitely check it out.

Fort Tilden (Orion) – Comedy
Rated R for language, sexual content, some graphic nudity and brief drug use
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Bridey Elliot and Clare McNulty
Plot: A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach.
Running Time: 98 minutes

Jessica: Looks like it could be really funny and quirky or really stupid.
Chris: Strikes me as the female version of Dude, Where’s My Car.  Might be an entertaining rental.
Rob: Not my cup of tea.  Not sure it is anyone’s cup of tea actually…
Ken: A bromance for women, a womance? Ok I’ll admit it, I thought that looked damn entertaining.

Final Girl (Cinedigm) – Action/Drama/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and some language
Tag Line: The hunted becomes the hunter.
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman, and Cameron Bright
Plot: A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. 13 years later, at 18 she will approach a group of sadistic teens who killed blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: The trailer was terrible, but I think it was because of the way it was edited together. The movie itself looked terrible as well. No excuses there. That looked awful.
Jessica: Totally in. I like the twist. At first I was prepared to give it a big ole no but I like the idea of Breslin being a bad-ass so I’d check this out.
Chris: It started off like a group American Psychopath rip-off, and then took a quite different turn.  Count me in!
Rob: Horror movie in which a group of four scumbags hunt girls and kill them until someone is trained to take them down.  Yep,  they’re defeated by Kit Kitteredge.  No thanks.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Straight Outta Compton (Rob and Ken), 1 for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Chris) and Jessica stays home with a good book.

Who else is kickin' it old school this weekend?
Who else is kickin’ it old school this weekend?

 

What will you be seeing in theaters this weekend?
-The Great Stories Team