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Trailer Snark (July 22, 2016 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: The Secret Life of Pets remained at the top of the box office for a second straight week with $50.5M to add to its $203M domestic total.  That makes it five straight wins for animated movies (Finding Dory was the champ for three weeks before the current champ’s run).  Ghostbusters debuted in second with $46M.  The Legend of Tarzan was third with $11.3M to add to its $103M total.  The aforementioned Finding Dory was fourth with $11M and an astounding $445.5M overall, while fifth place belonged to Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates ($7.5M/$31.3M).  The rest of the top ten went as follows: The Purge: Election Year ($6/$71M), Central Intelligence ($5.3M/$117.5M), The Infiltrator ($5.2M/$6.7M), The BFG ($3.7M/$45.3M), and Independence Day: Resurgence ($3.4M/$98.5M).  Let’s take a look at this weekend’s new releases….

Star Trek: Beyond (Paramount) – Sci-Fi/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Tag Line: None
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
Plot: The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Chris: Abrams made me a fan of the franchise.  I know he is not involved in this outing, but momentum is a strong attractant, and I am looking forward to seeing where they are bringing this story.
Jessica: I really have enjoyed these “new” Star Trek movies but not having JJ Abrams on board this one makes me very leery of it. The trailer also does nothing for me. I’ll watch this, but at home. I don’t believe I’ll make the trip to the theater.
Ken: I’ve really enjoyed Abram’s reboot of the classic Trek, and I probably have it in me to see one more. I’d really like it if they did a movie reboot based on the Next Generation crew.

Ice Age: Collision Course (20th Century Fox) – Family/Animation
Rated PG for mild rude humor and some action/peril
Tag Line: One small step.  One giant mess.
Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo
Plot: Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Ken: Never got into this franchise, won’t be starting now. I’d rather watch 2 hours of the squirrel trying to get the acorn.
Chris: Amusing for a small screen outing.  The acorn may be the best inanimate supporting actor in a movie ever.
Jessica: Nope. Haven’t seen any of these and never will.

Lights Out (Warner Bros) – Horror
Rated PG-13 for terror throughout, violence including disturbing images, some thematic material and brief drug content
Tag Line: You were right to be afraid of the dark.
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello
Plot: When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.
Running Time: 81 minutes

Jessica: Looks fun! I love an inventive horror flick!
Ken: Like I need another reason to be scared of the dark. That did look genuinely creepy and I’ll probably catch it at home. Where I can watch with all the lights on.
Chris: Creepy as heck!  YES!

Absolutely Fabulous (Fox Searchlight) – Comedy
Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Tag Line: It’s a huge great bloody movie, sweetie!
Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley
Plot: After attracting both media and police attention for accidentally knocking Kate Moss into the River Thames, Edina and Patsy hide out in the south of France.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Chris: RUN AWAY!
Jessica: Oh gosh, this show always cracked me up, though I wasn’t a die-hard fan when it was on. I’d watch this at home. These ladies still look fabulous and funny.
Ken: Absolutely not.

Don’t Think Twice (The Film Arcade) – Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language and some drug use
Tag Line:  The spotlight’s not on everyone.
Starring: Keegan Michael-Key, Gillian Jacobs
Plot: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Ken: Looks hugely charming but only a little funny. Renter, maybe.
Chris: Appealing little story of struggling artists trying to get their break.  Another small screen viewer.
Jessica: A lot of heart in this one, it’s not a theater viewer, but I would rent it or redox it or Amazon it, whatever the zillion options are today for home viewing.

Hillary’s America:  The Secret History of the Democratic Party – Documentary
Rated PG-13 for some violence, thematic elements and smoking
Tag Line: None
Starring: Dinesh D’Souza, Jonah Goldberg
Plot: Documentarian Dinesh D’Souza analyzes the history of the Democratic Party and what he thinks are Hillary Clinton’s true motivations.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Jessica: Why is the “secret” history of the Democratic party dubbed “Hilary’s America”? I get what he’s trying to accomplish, but I shy away from such biased films. I much prefer something balanced that talks about both sides since both sides are deeply, deeply fractured.
Ken: This year’s Presidential election can be summed up thusly, “would you like your turd sandwich cold or toasted?” I have no love for Hillary, but this made me want to puke.
Chris: A bit too theatrical for my taste.  Just give me the facts, Dragnet-style.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Star Trek Beyond (Ken and Chris) and Jessica stays home to enjoy the Director’s Cut of Superman v Batman.

...because we just had to
…because we just had to
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Trailer Snark (January 29, 2016 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: The Force Awakens was finally dethroned as Box Office Champion, and it wasn’t even a brand new debut that managed it.  The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio took the top spot with $16M in receipts to bring its domestic haul to $119M.  The aforementioned Star Wars sequel placed second with $14.2M added to its astounding $879.2M domestic total.  In third was Ride Along 2 with $12.9M ($59.1M overall).  A trio of new releases occupied the next slots and all came in with very closely matched numbers.  Dirty Grandpa led this group with $11.5M, The Boy with $11.2M in the fifth overall spot, and 5th Wave in sixth with $10.7M.  13 Hours fell to seventh ($9.7M/$33.4M), Daddy’s Home in eighth ($5.2M/$138.7M), Norm of the North tumbling to ninth ($4.1M/$14.2M), and The Big Short closing out the top ten ($3.5M/$56.7M).  This week is a bit light on the release schedule, and here is the lineup.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Dreamworks) – Animated/Family
Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Grab destiny by the rice dumplings.
Starring:  Jack Black, Bryan Cranston
Plot: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Jim: My daughter and I love these movies so, sorry, I’m biased. We’re definitely seeing Po this weekend.
Rob: We love this series of films too.  Will probably just wait and buy it digitally in a few months though unless my youngest forces the issue.
Jessica: I loved the first one but never saw the 2nd and so maybe I’ll have a marathon someday to catch up but also, maybe not.
Ken: The adorable meter is off the charts. More of an at home kind of movie.
Chris:  I prefer Hong Kong Phooey.

The Finest Hours (Disney) – Drama/Action
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
Tag Line: 32 survivors.  Room for 12.
Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster
Plot: The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Chris:  The sea terrifies me, which only ups the dramatic scale.  Count me in!
Jim: If I weren’t from New England, would I have such an issue with Hollywood’s bogus New England accents? Actors must study old tapes of JFK and think they’ve nailed it. Once I get past the annoying accents, the movie might be worth a look.
Rob: Looks pretty decent.  I’d hit up a Red Box for this down the road.
Jessica: Their accents don’t bug me at all. I love a true story like this and I enjoy Chris Pine so I’d watch this at home.
Ken: Could be a fun one to watch on the big screen. Because you know they live.

Fifty Shades of Black (Open Road Films) – Comedy
Rated R for strong crude sexual content including some graphic nudity, and for language throughout.
Tag Line: Way shadier than gray.
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk, Fred Willard, Jane Seymour
Plot: An inexperienced college student meets a wealthy businessman whose sexual practices put a strain on their relationship.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Ken: Should have been called Fifty Shades of White. How many black people do you know with the last name Black?  This movie looks so bad… you’re a cruel overlord for making us watch that trailer.
Chris: The source material was a bad joke to start.  Did we really need a spoof?
Jim: As if Fifty Shades of Gray wasn’t hilarious enough. This looks dumb enough to be enjoyable.
Rob: Pass.  I’d pass twice if that’s an option.
Jessica: Eh. The original movie is funnier than this stuff.

Jane Got a Gun (Weinstein Company) – Action/Drama/Western
Rated R for violence and some language
Tag Line: Strength, justice, power, vengeance.
Starring:  Natalie Portman, Ewan MacGregor, Joel Edgerton
Plot: A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Running Time: 98 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTWArbgeD8
Jessica: Hmmm…intriguing but not movie theater intriguing.
Ken: McGregor channeling Burt Reynolds into that mustache. I’m usually down for a good, old-timey Western, but I’m not sure that Jane is going to qualify. TV, maybe.
Chris: I wanted to like this trailer more than I did.  Hope it pleasantly surprises me on the small screen.
Jim: This touches upon just about every Western cliché in existence, but still looks engrossing. Hopefully this is Black Swan- level Natalie and not Star Wars prequels- level Natalie.
Rob: Natalie Portman!   Ok, I’ll rent this one too down the road.

Tickets Purchased: Two for The Finest Hours (Ken and Chris), two for Kung Fu Panda 3 (Jim and Jessica), and Rob goes to see Star Wars for the tenth time.

Po Panda!
Po Panda!
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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