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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.
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

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Trailer Snark (August 7th 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: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation reigned supreme at the Box Office this past weekend, and it wasn’t even a contest!  Cruise and company pulled in $56 million, leaving the second placed Vacation sequel in the dust.  The Helms/Applegate comedy took in just under $15 million and really not much ahead of Ant-Man, which scooped up another $13 million (for a total domestic haul of $132M).  Look for the next Vacation movie to go direct to DVD for National Lampoon as word of mouth is likely to kill its second week (cinema-goers did not give it high enough marks to pull in a casual audience).  Minions ($12M/$287M) and Pixels ($10M/$46M) rounded out the top five.  Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck managed to take in almost another $10M in sixth ($80M overall), Southpaw fell to number seven ($7.5M/$31.5M), Paper Towns came in eighth ($4.6M/$23.8M), while Inside Out ($4.5M/329.5M) and Jurassic World ($3.7M/$631.4M) rounded out the bottom half of the top ten.  Still stunned by Jurassic World’s summer performance.  Let’s see what competition is in store for Team MI!

Fantastic Four (Fox) – Action/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and languageTag Line: When you change the world, prepare to defend it.
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell
Plot: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Chris: Hopefully better executed than the last incarnation.  I am intrigued, but find myself wishing this property had been sold back to the parent company.
Ken: I’m not one to complain about movies taking creative liberties with established characters. But where are the Thing’s underpants? Maybe a new origin story for how Ben Grimm got his superhero name?
Jessica: Totally in to this new take on the familiar Four. I’ll go see this when it comes out. I’ll admit that I don’t mind artistic license if it makes sense, I’m willing to watch this and see if it does, in fact, make sense.
Rob: It’s Clobberin’ Time!  Trailer is decent, but doesn’t blow me away like Deadpool just did.  Still, might get me to show up at a theater….

The Gift (Blumhouse) – Mystery/Thriller
Rated R for language
Tag Line: The Sins Of The Past Will Become Your Present.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Plot: A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.Running Time: 108 minutes

Ken: What’s in the box?! Looks like a pretty formulaic, revenge thriller.
Jessica: Blah. Meh. I don’t think so.
Rob: Meh.  Psycho revenge thrillers aren’t really my cup of tea, and this one looks pretty cookie cutter.
Chris: I like Jason Bateman, and a good thriller.  This one could be played by the numbers, as it does not seem to hold a too imaginitive plot twist, but maybe that is OK if the execution is there.

Ricki and the Flash (Tri-Star) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG – 13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language
Tag Line: Get Ready for Ricki
Starring: Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, and Kevin Kline
Plot: A musician who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom returns home, looking to make things right with her family.
Running Time: 102 minutes

Jessica: Not a theater viewing but maybe someday, in a cable galaxy far-far away I’ll watch it. I do enjoy Streep.
Rob: No.  Just no.  I would rather eat broken glass.
Chris: Meryl Streep as an aging rocker absentee Mom who has a chance for a do-over.  Streep is always excellent, but this has Lifetime Channel written all over it.
Ken: The absent mother is played by the always luminous Meryl Streep. The daughter is played by Mamie Gummer, Streep’s RL daughter. So much Streep.

Shaun the Sheep (Studio Canal) – Family/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG for rude humor
Tag Line: On the lamb.
Starring: The voice talents of Justin Fletcher, Emma Tate, and John Sparks
Plot: When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Chris:  Not with Rob’s eyes, Ken’s ears, and Jessica’s money.
Ken: Love the claymation art direction in the style of Wallace and Gromit, but an 85 minute feature length film with zero dialogue is too much. A horde of mighty Minions couldn’t pull it off, what chance do sheep stand?
Jessica: I love Wallace & Gromit but I’m not sure…it sure does LOOK adorable.
Rob: Aardman animation delivers.  Stop motion animation is a medium I truly enjoy and these guys look to have made another great film.

Cop Car (Focus World) – Thriller
Rated R for language, violence and brief drug use
Tag Line: Their first drive could be their last.
Starring: Kevin Bacon and two breakout kids
Plot: A small town sheriff sets out to find the two kids who have taken his car on a joy ride.
Running Time: 86 minutes

Ken: Well that turned south fast. I was hoping this was a comedy about a couple kids joy riding in a stolen cop car.
Jessica: Totally in, I love when Kevin Bacon goes bad-boy, he does a fantastic job.
Rob: Started off somewhat interesting and then became quite the opposite.  But, hey this is an opportunity to point out that my Bacon Number is 2.
Chris: Kevin Bacon takes a sinister turn in his thriller about two kids who go on a joy ride they are about to regret.  Maybe this is the thriller I was waiting to see?

Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Picture Classics) – Drama
Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity, drug use, language and drinking-all involving teens.
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, and Alexander Skarsgard
Plot: A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
Running Time: 102 minutes

Rob: It’s like Diary of a Wimpy kid mixed with a young girl exploring her sexuality.  That’s one weird vibe.  No thanks.
Chris: I will avoid watching this as I have spent a lifetime avoiding reading them.
Ken: I closed the browser window that the trailer was playing in after she politely asked anyone listening without her permission to stop. The first twenty seconds looked cute though.

The Runner (Alchemy) – Drama
Rated R for language and some sexual material
Tag Line: N/A
Starring:  Nicholas Cage, Connie Nielsen, Peter Fonda, and Sarah Paulson
Plot: In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.
Running Time: N/A

Ken: Fictional story that highlights the double edged relationship between contemporary politics and the media. Nice to see Nicholas Cage is still getting work.
Chris:  I just know Rob’s hopes got high with this title (he is our resident triathlete after all). But I digress…I have to admit when I saw Nicholas Cage’s name pop up, I was ready to dismiss it out of hand, but this movie actually looks fairly decent.  I won’t see it in theaters, but I might be inclined to rent it.
Rob: A cheating congressman, blackmail, and an oil spill.  I wont be spilling any popcorn in the theater while watching this one.

Dark Places (A24) – Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Rated R for some disturbing violence, language, drug use and sexual content
Tag Line: N/A
Starring:  Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult, and Corey Stoll
Plot: Libby Day was only seven years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Twenty-five years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jessica: I really enjoy the world of Gillian Flynn, read this book after seeing the trailer. Its a dark book and it looks to be an equally dark movie. I’ll watch it even though Theron is bad casting – I adore her though so I think she can pull off the character well.
Rob: A weird thriller surrounding the Kansas Prairie Massacre in which a son is imprisoned for killing his parents and his sister escapes.  Years later a group called the Kill Club reaches out to her because they think he is innocent…  No where near good enough to separate me from thirteen bucks….
Chris: Another good rental on a dark and stormy night….when the wife is not around, that is.
Ken: That was certainly dark. No idea what was going on, but this looks genuinely creepy.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Fantastic Four (Rob and Jessica), 1 ticket for Cop Car (Chris), and Ken stays at home binge watching Wet Hot American Summer First Day of Camp on Netflix over and over again.

Bloggers Rob and Jess on their way to get tickets to Fantastic Four.  ;)
Bloggers Rob and Jess on their way to get tickets to Fantastic Four. 😉


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Trailer Snark (July 31st 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!

Before we tell you about last week’s Box Office results, the team would like to give a shout out to our friend Jim (Front Row View) who has not blogged with us for a few weeks due to having surgery.  We are pleased to report that his recovery is going very well and we hope to have him back with us soon!  Thanks for joining us in wishing him a continued speedy recovery!

Last Week:  Ant-Man dominated the box office for the second week in a row ($25 million for a total of $106 million), fending off a challenge from Adam Sandler’s Pixels (debuting with $24 million), while Minions proved its staying power with a strong third place (adding $22 million for a total of $262 million).  And Rob has still not gone to see it!  Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck was in fourth bringing its two week total to just over $61milliion, and Southpaw took the number five slot with a $16.5 million haul in its debut week.  The teen drama Paper Towns was in sixth ($12.5 million).  Inside Out (now over $320 million), Jurassic World (now over $628 million), Mr. Holmes (just over $6 million), and Terminator: Genisys (just over $85 million) rounded out the top ten.  And now for this week’s releases……

Vacation (New Line Cinema) – Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content and language throughout, and brief graphic nudity
Tag Line: What could go wrong?
Starring:  Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chevy Chase, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Beverly D’Angelo
Plot: Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Jessica: I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first but the trailer has me laughing (I mean, Thor alone cracked me up for a few good minutes) and I do enjoy Ed Helms. I’ll definitely be seeing this one.
Chris: Looks like some goofy fung…I mean fun.
Ken: Rusty Griswald following in his old man’s legacy. I was really enjoying the trailer until that last scene. That was just too gross. Yuck, Chevy Chase.
Rob:  I am on vacation with Vacation. (Rob unreachable for further comments..<snicker>)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Paramount) – Action
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity
Tag Line: Go rogue.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames
Plot: Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Ken: I’ve never been a huge fan of the MI series so this is a pass, although they almost had me with the flute gun.
Chris: I was also one of those who could not stand the first one, but this series has gotten progressively better in my opinion.  Hoping they can continue that trend….the outlook is promising.
Jessica: I’ll admit, I think the first few MI movies are dull as dirt (actually, they might be duller than dirt) but the last one was a lot of fun and this one looks to be just as fun and hey, Tom Cruise REALLY did hang off that plane while it flew, pretty bad ass if you ask me!

Listen to Me Marlon (Passion Pictures) – Documentary/Biography
Not Rated
Tag Line:  The definitive Brando in his own words.
Starring:  Marlon Brando
Plot: A documentary that utilizes hundreds of hours of audio that Marlon Brandon recorded over the course of his life to tell the screen legend’s story.
Running Time:  95 minutes

Chris: I recognize that Marlon Brando is a Hollywood icon, but I just don’t much care for this behind the scenes introspection.  I don’t think anyone on this blog team is pretentious enough to make this their pick of the week.  😉
Ken: I’m not a film buff and my exposure to Brando is limited to his later work like Apocalypse Now and The Godfather. Still I’ve always been curious about the man many consider one of the greatest American actors. Looks interesting enough, could be a contender.
Jessica: A fascinating look into a fascinating man.

Best of Enemies (Magnolia) – Documentary/History
Rated R for some sexual content/nudity and language
Tag Line: Buckley vs. Vidal. 2 Men. 10 Debates. Television Would Never Be The Same.
Starring: William F. Buckley Jr., Gore Vidal
Plot: A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Ken: Two opposing cultural ideologies going head to head during one of the most tumultuous periods in US history. Another good history lesson.  
Jessica: Oh my gosh, this looks wildly entertaining and informative. Totally into it.
Chris: At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, considering my thoughts on celebrity voyeurism, I admit to being very intrigued by the real life relationship between Gore Vidal and William Buckley.  The narrators of political history unfolding before us in the 1960
tumults and beyond.

The End of the Tour (A24) – Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Tag Line:  Imagine the greatest conversation you’ve ever had.
Starring: Jason Segal, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, and Ron Livingston
Plot: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’
Running Time: 106 minutes

Jessica: As an author myself this one really appeals to me AND I have mad love for Jason Segal. This looks like a  story that’s been told loads of times but the actors are engaging and the story looks good.
Ken: Insightful, honest and devastatingly tragic. I didn’t know this movie existed until now but I desperately need to see it.
Chris: Seems that Segal and Eisenberg boast some real nice chemistry from the trailer.  Could be good.

A Lego Brickumentary (RADiUS-TWC) – Documentary
Rated G
Tag Line:  N/A
Starring: Jason Bateman
Plot: A look at the global culture and appeal of the LEGO building-block toys.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris: I run a pop culture company.  How could this not be required viewing?  Just maybe not in the theater.
Ken: Legos, the original Minecraft. I love that Jason Bateman is the narrator and wonder if he got cast because of his “twenty miles to Lego Land” line from Arrested Development.
Jessica: Oh heck yeah! Having lived with little boys who LOVE Lego’s I would love to watch something all about LEGO’s, totally in.

Tickets Purchased:  2 tickets for Vacation (Jessica and Rob), 1 ticket for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Chris), and 1 ticket for The End of the Tour (Ken)

Grumpy Jonathan Toews cat, FTW!
Grumpy Jonathan Toews cat, FTW!

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

Posted on

Trailer Snark (July 24th 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: (Chris Comments) Something tells me that Rob may have missed the mark on his Ant-Man analysis last week….oh yeah,that something was my eyes, ears, heart, and the fist that went flying in the air in triumph after watching Marvel’s latest on the big screen this past weekend.  And it appears that Jessica, Ken, and I were not alone at its opening weekend as Ant-Man claimed first place with a $58 million haul.  Now, that may not seem so much considering the openings of most of Marvel’s films of late, but it could be great word of mouth that prevents a big second week drop-off.  Here is to hoping that some of those Pym Particles can boost up the box office returns Ant-Man so richly deserves.  Coming in at number two was Minions (my wife’s pick to be number one again this week) with another $50 million ($217 million overall),  Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck premiered in third place with $30 million.  A huge drop off in box office receipts after that with Inside Out and Jurassic World battling it out with just over $11 million a piece (Inside Out cracked $300 million and Jurassic World went over an astounding $600 million overall).  Terminator: Genisys, Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, and Ted 2 were all next with the tenth spot occupied by the debut of Mr. Holmes.

Pixels (Columbia Pictures) – Comedy/Action/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive comments
Tag Line: Game On.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Dan Akroyd, Michelle Monghan, Sean Bean, and more
Plot: When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Rob: Mindless fun based on the video games of our 8-bit youth.  Yeah, you heard me right you young whipersnappers only 8-bit!
Chris: Adam Sandler has been due for a hit…actually, he is due for a decent movie.  Pixels is certainly tapping into nostalgia for the forty-something crowd which could be a magnet to those parents who hope to make a connection with their video-game culture kids.
Ken: Rated M for middle aged. I don’t think the nostalgia factor will be enough to drive a thin premise for almost 2 hours and I’m afraid that the retro arcade references will be lost on younger audiences.  I love the spirit of this movie but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s gonna suck.
Jessica: Actually this one surprised me, I might actually see this though Adam Sandler and Kevin James don’t fill me with confidence the story seems funny/interesting and it might actually be good. Or it could suck big time, hard to tell.

Southpaw (The Weinstein Company) – Drama/Action/Sports
Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Tag Line: Believe in Hope.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, and Curtis Jackson
Plot: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jessica: So all over this one! I’m a fan of Gyllenhaal and I love a good boxing/redemption story.
Ken: This is essentially a vehicle for Eminem to promote himself. That’s his name on the title track, his boy Fitty acting in it, and his life story being told, except he’s a boxer in the movie. Metaphors like metafives.
Chris: It’s Jacked Gyllenhaal vs the System as a parent coping with family tragedy, dangerous career, and questionable life choices.  After his total creep turn in Nightcrawler, I find myself interested in Jake’s movie roles.
Rob: Looks promising if it can focus more on the main character’s  ambitions as a father instead of those of a boxer.

The Vatican Tapes (Lionsgate) – Horror
Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, and some sexual references
Tag Line: For 2,000 years the Vatican has recorded evidence of evil. May God have mercy on their souls.
Starring: Michael Pena, Kathleen Robinson, Dougray Scott, Djimon Housou, and Olivia Taylor Dudley
Plot: A priest and two Vatican exorcists must do battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Chris: After seeing Michael Pena in his goofy role in Ant-Man, this is quite the departure as he plays a priest who may be trying to exorcise the Anti-Christ.  The last image in the trailer recalls the ever so skincrawling Prince of Darkness from the great John Carpenter.
Rob: Horror.  Religion.  Couldn’t be less interested.
Jessica: At first I was very “meh” about this one but there are some good actors in this film and it COULD be an interesting take on the whole exorcism thing. Doesn’t look scary at all but more intriguing. I wouldn’t see in a theater but I’d watch it on Amazon or Netflix for sure.
Ken: Religious horror fascinates me because demonic possessions are recorded events. These things actually happen. This movie however looks fake beyond belief. Not a good sign when the trailer doesn’t scare you.

Paper Towns (20th Century Fox) – Drama/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity – all involving teens
Tag Line: Get Lost. Get Found.
Starring: Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff
Plot: A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Ken: Romantic optimism battles the rebellious, cynicism of youth. Being young was awful, so many conflicting feelings to process. I’m so glad I grew out of it. But I like to remember it fondly.
Jessica: BORING. BORING. BORING. The trailer bores me, I actually have seen it a couple times now before movies and I’m all sorts of set. Teen drama, blah blah blah. I think I’d rather watch anything other than this. Oh wait, I still have to talk about Smoosh. Hold please.
Chris: It’s a coming of age film filled with mystery and possibilities for, especially for a young man who just wanted to be noticed by the girl of his dreams.  Looks like a winner.
Rob: Jogn Green can write and this looks like a fun ride complete with mystery and a search for greater purpose.

Smosh: The Movie (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, some drug content and violence
Tag Line: Based on the YouTube channel “Smosh” launched by Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla in 2005.
Starring: Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla
Plot: An embarrassing video of Anthony surfaces online right before his fifth high school reunion. The Smosh dudes then race to pull down the clip before it blows Anthony’s chances of reconnecting with his teen crush Anna.
Running Time: 84 minutes

Jessica: Smosh or Smoosh or whatever it is: NO THANK YOU. I’d rather watch Paper Towns. On repeat, for days.
Chris: Weak….just weak.
Rob: It’s like Bill & Ted took a portal into Youtube only 10,000 times more poorly executed.  Just no.
Ken: I’m probably dating myself horribly when I say this, but I don’t know what a Smosh is or what is going on with this movie. 

American Heist (Lionsgate) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexual material and brief drug use
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jordana Brewster, and Akon
Plot: James owes his life to his older brother, Frankie after taking the rap for a crime they committed together. While Frankie served time, James worked to turn his life around, got a steady job and began courting his former girlfriend Emily. Now, Frankie is released and back on the streets with no money and no place to go.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Rob: Thought it might be decent, then I heard Hayden Christensen use a whiny tone of voice.  I’m out.
Ken: The word cliché gets thrown around a lot in this forum.  
Chris: Lionsgate with three movies in one week?  In spite of Hayden Christensen, this movie looks like a good time at the theater.  Adrian Brody is on board, speaking of actors who truly need a successful movie, as he plays a seriously troubled young man who owes favors to all the wrong people.
Jessica: Eh. I like Adrian Brody but this story has been done to death and seriously, Jordana Brewster, stop doing car/heist movies! Yeesh.

Unexpected (The Film Arcade) – Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: No one is ever really prepared.
Starring: Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean
Plot: An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ken: The working title for this film was Stand and Delivering Babies.
Rob: A teacher and one of her students both become unexpectedly pregnant and explore the consequences of their choices.  Something maybe they should have thought about first…maybe the film will help some folks do just that.
Chris: Cobie Smothers plays a teacher who finds herself striking a special relationship with one of her students as they both become pregnant.  It looks like a big screen Lifetime movie…..yawn.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Paper Towns (Ken and Chris) and 2 for Southpaw (Rob and Jessica)

Remember when Jake couldn't punch his way out of a plastic bag?
Remember when Jake couldn’t punch his way out of a plastic bag?
I Ain't No Bubble Boy No More!
I Ain’t No Bubble Boy No More!

What will you be watching this week?
-The Great Stories Team

Posted on

Trailer Snark (July 17th 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:  There were a 115 minion reasons (sorry, had to do it) an animated feature was tops at the box office last week, and Rob’s small concern they may not be able to carry a movie seems to have been dispelled.  The Gallows, in spite of the bad reviews, debuted at number 5 with $10 million (with a $0.32 budget, it is a huge hit!).  Meanwhile Self/less appears to have suffered from it’s non-traditional summer themes coming in at number 8 with only $5 million.  Jurassic World is still making lunch meat of the box office by staying at number two and it has taken in $590 million domestically…astounding!  Inside Out was right behind it at number three with it’s overall box office take now at $283 million. Terminator: Genisys held the number four position, but has failed thus far to meet its $155 million budget with only $68 million so far.  And now onto this week’s debuts!

Ant-Man (Marvel) – Action/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Tag Line: This July, summer has no bigger hero.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, and Corey Stoll
Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Ken: This touches on all the summer feel-good buttons. Action, humor, heists, an reformed convict trying to do right by his kid. I think it could be a surprise hit.
Rob: Even the Mighty Marvel cant hit a home-run with every at bat.  Might be ok for Blu-Ray.  I’d almost go just for the Deadpool trailer and Stan Lee cameo if I thought we would get a trailer.
Chris: Much like Guardians of the Galaxy, nobody is expecting much from this one.  But I have a feeling, this is going to be one of the most fun rides at the theaters this summer.
Jessica: Going this Friday to see it! CAN’T WAIT. Besides having a lady crush on Paul Rudd, it has Michael ‘Freakin’ Douglas in it – I feel this is going to be a great flick and have high hopes for it.

Trainwreck (Universal) – Comedy
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
Tag Line: We all know one.
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton and Lebron James
Plot: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
Running Time: 125 minutes

Jessica: Can’t wait for this one, it looks funny and Amy Schumer is hilarious.
Chris:  I think this film has been aptly named.
Rob: Looks mildly amusing at best.
Ken: Amy Schumaker is a rude, classless **, and it’s hysterical. Amy aside, this looks like a formulaic rom-com with a dash of role reversal. And LeBron James. And was that John Cena at the movies? The champ is here!

Mr. Holmes (Roadside Attractions) – Mystery/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements, some disturbing images and incidental smoking
Tag Line: The man behind the myth.
Starring: Sir Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada
Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.
Running Time: 104 minutes

Rob: Looks entertaining but not amazingly so.  Sir Ian McKellan certainly knows how to select a good script though, so it may well be better than the trailer makes it appear.
Ken: Yes! Finallly, someone doing a proper Sherlock Holmes story.  Conan Doyle Sherlock, not RDJ’s gun toting, pit fighting abomination. Somewhere, some young kids are disappointed with how Hollywood has ruined Sherlock Holmes for this movie.
Chris: Going to agree with Ken here all the way.  Looks like Sherlock Holmes as I believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have intended.  Sir Ian McKellan is fantastic with everything he does, so expect a winner!
Jessica: I love Sir Ian McKellan and I love Sherlock Holmes, totally in for this one.

Irrational Man (Sony Picture Classics) – Mystery/Drama
Rated R for some language and sexual content
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey
Plot: A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: It’s a Woody Allen film.  I don’t support creeps.
Jessica: Won’t watch the trailer, I detest Woody Allen’s films (I know, I know) and I KNOW I won’t go see it. Unless I am tricked, like my friend Tara did to me once, she tricked me by saying Woody Allen did not direct “Vicky Christina Barcelona” – that is, to this day, the only WA film I’ve seen in recent years.
Ken: There’s something unsettlingly meta about Woody Allen’s latest. film Rent you later.
Rob: Doesn’t look very good.  The rational and irrational will both be skipping it methinks.

The Stanford Prison Experiment (IFC Films) – Drama/Thriller
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, and Tye Sheridan
Plot: Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Ken: Truly disturbing look into prisoner/guard psychology and the darkness of the human heart. Don’t think I’d subject myself to this as entertainment though. The guy who conducted these real life experiments did a TED Talk about the experience and it’s pretty remarkable.
Jessica: I watched another version of this with Adrian Brody and Forrest Whitaker, it’s a terrifying true story and I will see this film because it looks well-done and creepy as heck.
Chris: Compelling docu-drama.  Guaranteed viewing on Netflix/Blue-Ray when it is available.
Rob: Dark and depraved.  An experiment gone horribly wrong or exactly as intended?  Could be interesting.

Tickets Purchased: 3 for Ant-Man (Jessica, Ken, and Chris) and Rob stays home with a good book.

After this weekend, everyone will know how Ant Man does it!
After this weekend, everyone will know how Ant Man does it!

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

Posted on

Trailer Snark (July 10th 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!

Note:  We want to send best wishes to our good friend Jim Cannizzaro, who is getting surgery done, and will not be with us for a time.  Please join us in keeping him in your thoughts.  And now, let’s get back to the fun….

The Gallows (Blumhouse) – Horror/Thriller
Rated R for some disturbing violent content and terror
Tag Line: Every school has it’s spirit.
Starring:  Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, and Ryan Shoos
Plot:  20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.
Running Time: 81 minutes

Jessica:  30 seconds into the trailer and I knew this was an at-home viewer. Haunted high school, blah.  And I love horror flicks, but this only looks OK.
Chris: My cousin asked me if I had seen the trailer to this one.  He could not stop gushing.  When I did see it, I wasn’t exactly blown away.  Summer horror usually gets more play in August after the blockbusters have made their mark.  Still might be a decent flick.
Rob: Haunted school.  Horror.  Meh.

Minions (Universal) – Family
Rated PG for action and rude humor
Tag Line: Meet Stuart, Kevin, and Bob.
Starring:  The voice talents of Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, and Jon Hamm.
Plot:  Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Rob: Banana!  A bit worried these little guys can’t carry a whole feature, but the trailer makes me think they might be able to with the help of Ms. Overkill.
Jessica: This trailer actually made me laugh so I might catch it at home eventually. I’m not usually a huge fan of kids movies.
Chris: Yes, the best thing about Despicable Me is many things…and they are Minions.  Its about time they get to run the show.  Count me in!

Self/less (Gramercy) – Thriller
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, some sexuality, and language
Tag Line: God created man. Man created immortality.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, and Ben Kingsley
Plot: An extremely wealthy man, dying from cancer, undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man. But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Chris: It has two of my favorites in Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley.  This thriller does not seem like summer fare to me but I will catch it on Netflix for sure.
Jessica: Looks good, I enjoy both Reynolds and Kingsley. I’d def check it out.
Rob: Immortality has a price indeed.  Looks pretty cool in both premise and execution.  I’d give it a whirl.

Tangerine (Magnolia) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for strong and disturbing sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout, and drug use
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor
Plot: A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
Running Time: 88 minutes
WARNING:  Only the unedited Red Band Trailer was available for viewing, which is not recommended for anyone under 17 years of age.

Rob: Can I have those two minutes of my life back please?  Garbage.
Chris: Is there a non-red band trailer for this movie?  I could not find it.  Anyway, its independent film schlock with two ladies of the night dealing with ladies of the night things.  Not my cup of tea.
Jessica: I don’t think it looks like trash, it looks like it could be really interesting but I’ll watch it at home, not in the theater.

Tickets Purchased:  2 for Minions (Rob and Chris), while Jessica watches Netflix at home.  🙂

Bruce the Minion
Bruce the Minion

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

Posted on

Trailer Snark (July 3rd 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!

Terminator: Genisys (Paramount) – Action/Adventure/SciFi
Rated PG – 13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language
Tag Line: The rules have been reset.
Starring:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, and Courtney Jai
Plot: John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.
Running Time: 125 minutes

Jessica: I’m having a hard time with this, I mean, I LOVE the Terminator franchise (I even solider through the 3rd one every so often) but something about this one leaves me feeling blah, but I’ll most likely check it out.
Chris: After the last couple of ho hum sequels, I am a bit hesitant.  The trailer does a good sales job though.
Rob: Emilia Clarke?  Yes, please.  Skynet?  Yes, please.  Arnold?  Yes, please.  Solid movie franchise, and yes…I’ll be back.
Ken: Haven’t watched a Terminator movie since #2, which was wayyy back in ’91.  Every character in the Terminator universe has been recast except for Schwarzenegger.   How is Arnold still making these movies? Do they ever explain how the Terminator ages?
Jim: The trailer does a good job of making a sagging franchise look interesting. I’d see it.

Magic Mike XXL (Warner Bros) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
Tag Line: Back to the grind.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, and Kevin Nash
Plot: Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Ken: Ha, good one Chris. Trying to make us watch the Magic Mike trailer.  
Jessica: I’m a lady so I am the core audience for this one, that said, I didn’t LOVE the first one but I’m not ashamed that once i heard there was MORE dancing that I got interested. Yep, I’ll go see it, that Channing Tatum is one smooth dancer…he can Channing MY Tatum anytime (gross but i had to do it).
Jim:  Well, not exactly a movie genre that I’m particularly into, but I have to admit that the first one was well done by a great cast and director Steven Soderbergh. Like the first one, I’ll probably watch this once on video and be done with it. Honest!
Chris: I’ll leave it to Jess to tell me how magical this one was.
Rob: Not even going to watch the trailer.

Cartel Land (The Orchard) – Documentary/Action/Drama
Rated R for violent disturbing images, language, drug content and brief sexual material
Tag Line: None
Plot: A physician in Michoacán, Mexico leads a citizen uprising against the drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Across the U.S. border, a veteran heads a paramilitary group working to prevent Mexico’s drug wars from entering U.S. territory.
Running Time:  98 minutes
Chris: Wow.  This is the real deal.  Probably the biggest threat to America lies directly south.  This defines brave film-making.
Jim: Like Ken, I usually don’t see docs in the theater, but this looks good enough to check out at home.
Rob: Looks amazing.  There’s a world of s*** happening out there and this documentary looks to shine a light on some of the darker things taking place in our own back yard.
Ken: I love documentaries, but I hate watching them at the theater.  Cartel Land looks like a pulse pounding, thriller. Will check this one out at home.
Jessica: Looks absolutely fascinating, I’d check it out on Netflix or Amazon.

Jimmy’s Hall (Sony Picture Classics) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for language and a scene of violence
Tag Line: Where everything goes and everyone belongs.
Starring: Barry Ward, Frances Magee, and Aileen Henry
Plot: During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
Running Time: 109 minutes Love the set designs, costuming and sure to have an amazing sound track.
Jessica: I’m a sucker for a true story, especially an IRISH true story (being an Irish lass myself), looks decent.
Chris: It’s a more edgy Irish version of Footloose with less bacon.
Rob: Looks solid with a compelling story and strong characters. Will check it out down the road as a rental.
Jim: Looks interesting and passionate—— —. Soundtrack might be worth getting.
Jackie & Ryan (Entertainment One) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some suggestive material
Tag Line: Sometimes they stay.  Sometimes they go.
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Ben Barnes, and Clea DuVall,
Plot: A modern day train hopper fighting to become a successful musician, and a single mom battling to maintain custody of her daughter, defy their circumstances by coming together in a relationship that may change each others lives forever.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Jim: I usually like Katharine Heigl (unlike seemingly half the world population), but this one looks pretty formulaic and predictable.
Rob: Looks decent.  Possible rental.
Chris: Is it possible to fall asleep in the space of a 1 minute and 46 second trailer?  Yep.
Jessica: Ugh, I’m all set, I will PASS on this one – mostly because I cannot stand Heigl.
Ken: Snoooze.

Tickets Purchased: 3 for Terminator: Genisys (Rob, Ken, and Jim), 1 for Magic Mike XXL (Jessica), and 1 for Cartel Land (Chris)

Ah-nuld is determined to be a star again.  Is a number one box office showing possible?
Ah-nuld is determined to be a star again. Is a number one box office showing possible?

What will you be going to see at theaters this weekend?
-The Great Stories Team

Posted on

Trailer Snark (June 26th 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!

Ted 2 (Universal) – Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Tag Line:  Ted is coming, again.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, and Morgan Freeman
Plot: Newlywed couple Ted and Tami-Lynn want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted will have to prove he’s a person in a court of law.
Running Time:  115 minutes

Ken: We get it Seth McFarlane, you’re a funny guy and I’ll check out your latest Ted movie when it inevitably hits Comedy Central . While I’ll admit to a few chuckles during the trailer, even a Tom Brady cameo isn’t enough to get me to the theater for this one.
Rob: Crude and hilarious…to a point.  Not the kind of flick I would drop my hard earned money on to see on the big screen, but I’ll catch it down the road on Blu-Ray.
Chris: I know these movies have a tendency to be a bit over the lines of good taste, but I could not help laughing through the trailer.  This one has potential, and Tom Brady.
Jessica: Looks hilarious, can’t wait!
Jim: Looks just as funny as the first one. Will definitely see this, as will many others.

Max (MGM) – Drama/Family
Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
Tag Line: Best Friend. Hero.  Marine.
Starring: Thomas Hayden Church, Jay Hernandez, and Josh Wiggins.
Plot: A dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Jessica: The trailer made me get a little weepy when I saw it before ‘Jurassic World’- I’ll probably never watch it but it looks halfway decent.
Chris: Looks like a tremendous affair of the heart.  Dog owners and military families get their due.
Jim: Sorry, looks too sad. Can’t deal with sad right now. Rob: Looks like a great flick that will tug the heartstrings for sure.  No doubt that dogs are man’s best friend.
Ken: Sappy. If you love dogs and love Murca then you’ll probably love this movie.
Rob: Looks like a great flick that will tug the heartstrings for sure.  No doubt that dogs are man’s best friend.

Escobar: Paradise Lost (RADiUS TWC) – Romance/Thriller
Rated R for violence including grisly images
Tag Line: Welcome to the family.
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hutcherson, Claudia Traisac, and Carlos Bardem
Plot: In Colombia, a young surfer meets the woman of his dreams – and then he meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Jim: No thanks, think I’ll just watch Scarface again.
Jessica: Eh. I enjoy Del Toro but I can take or leave Hutcherson and the story looks a bit syrupy to me.
Chris: Benicio Del Toro is one of the better actors in Hollywood, but I am a bit concerned that the filmmakers are attempting to humanize a monster in my eyes.  Maybe I am wrong?  I’ll check it out when it hits home markets.
Rob: Medllin?!?!  Where’s Vince?  Yeah, that’s right I’m catching up on my Entourage.  Wonder if that had anything to do with the development of this film…. it looks really good, just not sure I want to spend my dough seeing a film that glorifies “The King of Cocaine.”
Ken: Too much romance, not enough Pablo. Say hello to the bad guy…’s nephew in law.

Big Game (EuropaCorp USA) – Action/Adventure
Rated PG – 13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some language
Tag Line: Big Action. Big Adventure.
Starring:  Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Stevenson, Ted Levine, and Onni Tommila
Plot: A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Rob: I love Samuel Jackson but this looks like such a lame ass generic action flick it hurt to watch the trailer.  Are we sure this isn’t going straight to DVD?
Chris: As much as it pains me to agree with Rob , I am forced to agree that this trailer was absolutely wretched. Prepare for one week in theaters and then don’t see it on DVD/Netlfix in two months.
Jessica: ARE YOU SERIOUS? Seriously. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? I am SOOOOOO all over this. It made me laugh and SLJ as the Prez? I AM SO IN I AM IN IT LIKE SUPER IN. Love these kinds of fun flicks.
Ken: This looks so terrible that it might be ironically funny. If  anyone else besides Sam L Jackson was cast as the president, no way this movie gets made.
Jim: Did the people that made this trailer really mean to make it look this ridiculous? 25 years ago, I could see Leslie Nielsen playing Sam Jackson’s part.

Batkid Begins (Warner Bros) –  Documentary/Biography
Rated PG for some mild thematic material
Tag Line: None
Starring: A bunch of very real people!
Plot:  On one day, in one city, the world comes together to grant one 5 year old cancer patient his wish. Batkid Begins looks at the ‘why’ of this flash phenomenon.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jessica: Adorable. I followed this story when it was actually happening. I will totally watch this.
Rob: The best of humanity.  In the face of his deadly battle against leukemia, one kid’s wish becomes a reality. …and it’s a doozy!
Jim: Again, sad— but it also looks inspiring. Might be worth a look.
Ken: Wish well spent. So relieved when Jess pointed out that Batkid is currently in remission. Inhospitable proof that there are few things in this world more powerful than a child’s belief in super heroes.
Chris: This is one of those rare feelgood true stories that don’t get enough attention from media and Hollywood alike.  The type of documentary that just might restore your faith in humanity as a whole.

Glass Chin (Phase 4 Films) – Drama/Thriller
Rating N/A
Tag Line:  Murder is an art.Starring: Billy Cudrup, Katherine Waterson, Corey Stoll, and Elizabeth Rodriguez
Plot: A down-on-his-luck former boxing champ is forced to make a choice between friendship and ambition when he is framed for murder.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jim: Looks boring and cliched.  Pass.
Jessica: Mmmm…I’d probably watch this at home. I like Corey Stoll and Billy Crudup.
Ken: Pulp crime and boxing, a winning one-two combination. Is that gym located next door to Paddy’s Pub?
Rob: Looks decent.  Has potential.
Chris: Crime thriller on a shoe string budget.  But that is just fine!  Color me intrigued.

Tickets Purchased:  2 tickets for Batkid Begins (Ken, Rob), 1 ticket for Big Game (Jessica), 1 ticket for Max (Chris), and 1 ticket for Ted 2 (Jim).

Best of the Brave, and in Remission!
Best of the Brave, and in Remission!
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Trailer Snark (June 19th 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!

Dope (Open Road Films) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language, drug content, sexuality/nudity, and some violence-all involving teens
Tag Line:  It’s hard out here for a geek.
Starring: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons
Plot: Life changes for Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Rob: I’m down with OPP, but what the hell is this movie even about.  Complete trailer failure.  Looks like there’s a second trailer but I can’t bring myself to bother clicking on it.
Chris: Shameik Moore sounds exactly like Don Cheadle.  I am liking the off-beat and not so typical characters that have been written into this script.  Could be a fun go at the theater!
Jessica: I’ve seen this trailer a few times now in the theater and I was unimpressed because it gave no sense of a story. I’ve seen the longer trailer now and it seems…interesting but overall I’ll forget about it after I write this.
Jim: Looks funny and intelligent. Very refreshing for a mainstream comedy these days.

Inside Out (Disney/Pixar) – Family
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Tag Line: Meet the little voices inside your head.
Starring: The vocal talents of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Diane Lane
Plot: After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Jim: Pixar movies are almost always worth seeing. This looks like a good one. Funny that my 12 year old doesn’t have any interest in it, and maybe this is one time that the adult will have to drag the kid to see the kid’s movie.
Jessica: I don’t have any interest. In fact, once I realized which movie this was I said, “Ugh. I don’t want to see this trailer again,” that’s how much I don’t want to see this movie. It looks boring.
Rob: So that’s what all those voices in my head are…….  I had been wondering about that….until they told me not to. Disney and Pixar rarely disappoint.  Especially if you’re a fan of animation and quality storytelling.  This one’s clearly a winner, and I don’t need to watch any other trailers before telling you which one movie I would see this week.
Chris: The wife would be all over this one, and I would too if the kids were younger.  Guaranteed to be in our Blu-Ray library upon release.  

Burying the Ex (Image Entertainment) – Horror/Comedy
Rated R for sexual content, partial nudity, some horror violence, and language
Tag Line: Some relationships just won’t die.
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, and Alexandra Daddario
Plot: A guy’s regrets over moving in with his girlfriend are compounded when she dies and comes back as a zombie.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Chris: The bad relationship that just won’t die….literally.  Looks like a fun low budget affair.  And my man Anton Yelchin deserves a shout-out after his criminally overlooked turn as Dean Koontz hero Odd Thomas.
Jim: Wow. The trailer doesn’t make it look that great, but seeing Joe Dante’s name on it gives me hope. Maybe worth a rental.
Jessica: Looks okay. I like the lead kid there, can’t remember his name, but it’s not a theater pick, MAYBE a rental or maybe a Netflix pick.
Rob: Mildly amusing.  Zombie Ex.  This one has DVD at best written all over it.

The Overnight (The Orchard) – Comedy
Rated R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, language and drug use
Tag Line: Pucker up
Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, and R.J. Hermes
Plot: Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family “playdate” becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on.
Running Time: 79 minutes

Jessica: I enjoy Adam Scott and Schwartzman so I would give this a watch, but not in the theater and who doesn’t enjoy a good sex comedy once in awhile?
Rob: Looks somewhat funny and the cast has talent.  Could be a complete trainwreck though…
Jim: Have to admit, the trailer makes it look interesting. Could be good, could be terrible.
Chris: I’d rather watch the undead girlfriend eat her man than these weirdo neighbors. Mercifully short at 79 minutes, so that is a plus.

Manglehorn (IFC Films) – Drama
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some sexual content and language, and for accident and surgery images
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, and Chris Messina
Plot: Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost many years ago, Manglehorn, an eccentric small-town locksmith, tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Chris: Al Pacino seems to be on a comeback (between this and Danny Collins, released earlier this year).  Not sure it would be my pick for the cineplex, but the trailer cut makes it worth a look!  
Jim: Interesting title. Al Pacino has been coasting for awhile, but this great actor is always worth watching. Still, this trailer doesn’t pique my interest all that much.
Jessica: Looks interesting and with talent like Pacino it deserves a watch I think.
Rob: Mime in trailer.  Alert.  Alert.  Mime alert.  You have been warned.  Pacino is looking venerable, but still shows his skills.  This one’s too melancholy for me though.

Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Picture Classics) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language
Tag Line: N/A
Starring: Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana
Plot: A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Jessica: I already love this movie because Mark Ruffalo is in it.
Rob: Mark Ruffalo in a green polo and all I want to hear is HULK SMASH!  At any rate, this one looks good and how could it not with Zoe Saldana starring?  It looks to be a heartfelt story of an imperfect family tackling the world.  Something so many of us can easily relate to.
Chris: Mark Ruffalo as a bi-polar outcast forced into a heroic role…this time he is not big and green though.
Jim: It’s got Mark Ruffalo in it. Worth seeing, ’nuff said.

Gabriel (Oscilloscope Pictures) – Drama/Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: N/A
Starring:  Rory Culkin, Emily Meade, and Lynn Cohen
Plot: A troubled young man searches obsessively for his first love, risking everything in an increasingly desperate pursuit.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: Looks like some strong acting by Culkin and I’m somewhat intrigued.  Possible Redbox pick down the road.
Jim: No thanks.
Chris: Rory Culkin stars in this moody thriller about a disturbed young man who seeks first love.   Could be one of those diamonds in the independent film rough.  
Jessica: I’m left feeling very “eh” about this. I’m sure I’ll check it out when it’s out of theaters but I have low tolerance for “moody, haunting, blah, blah, blah” movies.

Tickets Purchased: 2 tickets for Inside Out (Jim, Rob), 1 ticket for Burying the Ex (Chris), and 1 ticket for Infinitely Polar Bear (Jessica)…..Ken sleeping off the jet lag.  😉

Mood Swings Ahead!
                 Mood Swings Ahead!

What will you be watching this week?
-The Great Stories Team