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Comic Shop Talk – Not So Secret Empire

Greetings Everyone,

We are so excited to bring you our very first video blog (vlog for short I suppose).  This will be the first of a monthly series that will bring you the latest in comics and pop culture!  Let’s just get right to it.  We are new to this, and we trust you will see production elements improve over time as we get into the flow of video creation.  We hope you enjoy the first journey!

Film Date: June 4, 2017

Video # 1 is All Secret Empire Talk.  Nick Spencer ticks off Captain America fans everywhere.  Hydra Cap…say it ain’t so!  Check it out and let us know what you think!

Video #2 covers various topics including non-Secret Empire comic talk, movies, and television.

1:09 – The guys talk about what they are reading lately and digging.

18:25 – We begin talking cinematic happenings including talk about DC’s successful Wonder Woman.

29:37 – We start to get into television talk for both DC and Marvel.

Thanks for watching!

The Great Stories Team

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Trailer Snark (August 5, 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:  Jason Bourne took the box office crown with $60M, proving the franchise is still alive and well with Matt Damon back in his famous role.  Star Trek Beyond was second place with $24M and $105.7M overall.  Bad Moms debuted at number three with $23.4M.  The Secret Life of Pets held fourth place ($18.2M/296.1M).  And Lights Out rounded out the top five ($10.8/$42.8M).  Ice Age:  Collision Course ($10.5M/$42.1M), Ghostbusters ($9.8M/$106.1M), Nerve ($9M/$15M), Finding Dory ($4.2M/$469M), and The Legend of Tarzan ($2.4M/$121.8M) rounded out the top ten.  We are one day into the new weekend already, but here is what premiered across the USA last night!

Suicide Squad (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG – 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Tag Line: Worst. Heroes. Ever.
Starring:  Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto
Plot: A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Two Words: Margot Robbie. Definitely this weekend.
Jessica: I’m excited for this one. As I’ve said before I enjoyed Superman v. Batman so I am hopefully this will be as good, or better than that one. It looks crazy and fun!
Rob: Normally I land solidly on the Make Mine Marvel side of the fence, but this looks like a fun & frenzied flick.  Heck, Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn  alone looks to be worth the price of admission.  Plus, I kinda dig the whole comic genre.
Chris: After Batman v Superman, I was a bit deflated on DC’s movie offerings, but this one has the potential to change my tune.

Nine Lives (EuropaCorpUSA) – Comedy/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and some rude humor
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken
Plot: A stuffy businessman finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Chris: A bit shocked that Kevin Spacey is doing something like this.  I was getting a Gremlins vibe for a moment there.
Jim: Kevin Spacey, why? Jennifer Garner, why? Barry Sonnenfeld, from Men in Black to this?
Jessica: Oh Kevin. What the heck?
Rob: Ok, I think Kevin Spacey is one of the most talented actors around, but this is most certainly an odd choice of roles for someone so skilled…absolute pass.

Little Men (Magnolia) – Drama/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some language
Tag Line: Be on each other’s side.
Starring:  Greg Kinnear, Alfred Molina
Plot: A new pair of best friends have their bond tested by their parents’ battle over a dress shop lease.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: Looks like a decent film, just not a big screen type for me.  Netflix queue.
Chris: Not my cup of java.
Jim: Looks interesting, rental.
Jessica: Looks sweet, I’ll probably never remember it though. But if I ever do see it, I’d watch it at home.

Five Nights in Maine (FilmRise) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: David Oyelowo, Dianne West
Plot: A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
Running Time: 82 minutes

Jessica: Holy cow this looks intense!
Rob: Like the rest, I was left wondering what is going on after the last few seconds of this trailer.  That’s not quite enough to pull me out to the theatre, but it was a finely crafted trailer.  Hopefully the film fits the same mold and its worth checking out down the road.
Chris: The trailer has me intrigued, and wondering what the mystery is.
Jim: This one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a long time. What the heck is going on?

Front Cover (Strand Releasing) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: Love is always in style.Starring: Jack Choi, James Chen
Plot: When a gay fashion stylist works with a renowned foreign actor, they both embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jim: Looks well-made, but nah.
Jessica: I love the message, but the trailer left me feeling kind of blah.
Rob: Looks mildly interesting.  Pass.
Chris: I give this movie two snaps, a twist, and a kiss….my butt goodbye…pass.

Tickets Purchased: Unanimous Decision for Suicide Squad!

Put us in coach!
Put us in coach!
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The Front Row View: Batman

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

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If you were breathing during the summer of 1989, you might have fond or not-so-fond memories of Batmania. Theaters, TV, radio, billboards, merchandising (the Internet hadn’t yet reared it’s Batshadow)—you couldn’t get away from it. A pleasant surprise that the resulting movie turned out to be well worth the hype. Tim Burton’s 1989 spectacle Batman still remains a splendid comic book noir (and it looks great on Blu-ray). Everyone knew before they even walked into the theater that Jack Nicholson was born to play the Joker, but Michael Keaton silenced the naysayers with his low-key and thoughtful performance. Bruce Wayne’s romance with Vicki Vale is a tad on the dull side, but it’s redeemed somewhat by Kim Basinger’s appealing presence. Robert Wuhl, Michael Gough and, all-too-briefly, Jack Palance offer memorable support. What carries much of it, though, is Burton’s inspired direction. The cinematography, art direction and editing all combine to make the Dark Knight’s Gotham City come alive with blocks of corroded buildings shooting up into filthy skies. Everything is decayed and cankered. Burton’s production team keeps it from looking too depressing through a glorious palette of blacks, whites and purples (there are wonderful deep pockets of shadow throughout). It’s all held together by Danny Elfman’s dynamic score. The hype machine ensured that Batman would make a ton of money, but Burton and Co. decided to push their passions to make it an artistic triumph as well. Be sure to check out Burton’s underrated 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, but avoid like the Batplague Joel Schumacher’s 1995 Batman Forever and 1997 Batman and Robin. I’m less of a fan than most of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (except for Heath Ledger’s Joker and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, I felt that the series drained the fun out of it), but at least it restored dignity to the character.

-Jim

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The Female Perspective: Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Agent Carter = Awesome
Agent Carter = Awesome

Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Yesterday I wrote about why we need a Wonder Woman movie, today, it seemed appropriate to write a short review about the premier of the seven week mini-series “Agent Carter” on ABC. Here we have a woman carrying an entire show and she does it with grace and dignity. While also kicking lots and lots of bad man butt.

This mini-series is a big gamble for Marvel (and for those of us who pine for a Wonder Woman movie). The success of Agent Carter will tell the studio mucky-mucks that maybe, just maybe a woman can, in fact, hold the attention of an audience while also showing the world that a woman can kick butt and still retain her femininity and humanity. You can bet that the studio heads are paying close attention to the reviews and viewership of this mini-series.

Agent Carter herself is played by actress Hayley Atwell, who also played Agent Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger” along with a short film on the “Iron Man 3” DVD extras. She gives Agent Carter the grace and dignity that the character needs to make her likable. Not to mention, she is not the usual blond, stick-thin starlet we see in so many movies and televisions shows these days. She’s a normal sized, curvy woman who manages to beautifully toe the line between being sexy and being tough. Everything she does is with great style and poise.

The fight scenes during “Agent Carter” are beautifully choreographed. Especially the one when they flash back and forth between the “Captain America” radio program and Agent Carter’s fight scene. That was a work of pure genius, the silly dialogue and inventive sound effects interspersed with “real life” fighting was fun to watch and wildly inventive.

What I also enjoyed was that the show didn’t shy away from showing Agent Carter as having emotions. She cried at the death of her friend and she is clearly still grieving the loss of Steve Rogers. Not to mention, she is very careful about allowing anyone to get close to her for fear of them dying as well. It takes a stern talking to from Jarvis to remind her that even Steve Rogers needed her to keep him grounded.

She is a human superhero. An unusual, complex and delightful character. She can kick serious butt when she needs to (there is nothing quite like watching a woman slug a guy, knocking him to the floor. I’m not a violent woman but I have to say that was quite a bit of fun when she first meets Jarvis) but she also uses her brain and her feminine wiles when needed. The scene were she excuses herself from work for “lady issues” was wonderfully comic (because even to this day, women can still do this and fill men with fear that they’ll start telling them what their “women issues” are!).

All-in-all, I am quite excited for the next few episodes of “Agent Carter”, I think she has the potential to move the studio execs in the right direction, that direction being a full-length movie about a female superhero. Until then, I am excited to have five more episodes of Agent Carter to watch!

She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.
She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.

Did you watch “Agent Carter”?  What did you think? Tell me in your comments!

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The Female Perspective: Where is My Wonder Woman Movie?

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Where is My Wonder Woman Movie?

Wonder Woman. She kicks serious butt.
Wonder Woman. She kicks serious butt.

Think Ladies Don’t Care about Comics? Think Again.

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy audience was comprised of 46% female viewers.
  • The audience for this years San Diego Comic Con was 40% female.
  • Wonder Woman is the longest continually published comic book character to date.
  • She kicks serious butt. Just sayin’

In Case You Didn’t Know

Published by DC Comics, Wonder Woman was created in the 1940’s by the American psychologist and writer, William Moulton Marston. She made her first appearance in 1941 and she has been a constant publication for DC Comics ever since. She is an Amazonian Warrior Princess who, when outside of her homeland of Paradise Island (a land that is free of men which may sound fun but really isn’t), is known by her alter ego Diana Prince. She has a wide range of skills, from superhuman strength to combat and battle skills. She has various weapons, my favorites being the Lasso of Truth, her bullet proof bracelets and her invisible airplane.

In recent years there has been a lot of speculation about when a Wonder Woman movie will make an appearance on the cinematic landscape. The story we fans get is that the studios simply don’t have time (but they do have time to make movies like “The Interview” or other such nonsense). I wonder really if they are so clueless as to think that a Wonder Woman movie would tank. I think studios are completely out of touch with what people want and right now people are digging superhero films! What often amazes me is that, years ago Joss Whedon (who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer) went to them with what I can only imagine was an amazing script for a Wonder Woman movie and he was turned away.

I suspect that whoever made that decision is no longer working at that studio because Joss Whedon writes women as strong, smart and more than capable of saving the world. His Black Widow is fantastic in The Avengers and honestly, Buffy is and always will be a prime example of how to write a strong woman well. He made Buffy powerful but he also made her vulnerable to every day troubles. Boyfriend problems, friend problems, life problems all made there way into the Buffy-verse every episode. All while she fought her way through hordes of demons and vampires. I hope that one day Mr. Whedon gets another chance at the Wonder Woman movie. I honestly cannot think of anyone directing/writing today that could do it better.

Wonder Woman has always fought for truth, justice and equality. According to stats found on Wikipedia, Wonder Woman was named the 20th greatest comic book character by Empire Magazine. Wonder Woman also placed fifth on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time”. Her legacy will endure for years to come and she paved the way for other strong female heroes like Buffy, Black Widow and even the new female Thor. Wonder Woman proved that a woman can be strong, sexy and smart without being trashy or angry.

Still Not Sure? Check out the below Video

The Future…

In the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel we are going to see the first ever big screen version of Wonder Woman. It will be the first time she gets to go head-to-head with both Batman and Superman. While details of her role in the plot movie are scarce, there is hope that she will be as big a part of the storyline as the guys. I am really hopeful that she will be fighting toe-to-toe with these guys.

I am also hopeful that she will make a big enough impact on movie studios that they will finally see the value in a Wonder Woman movie. There is a lot riding on Gal Gadot’s portrayal of this iconic character. I am nervous that they will somehow minimize her role or make her weaker than the guys. Regardless, I will be there opening week with popcorn in hand, hoping that I’m wrong and that Wonder Woman will kick just as much butt as Batman and Superman!

Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Zak Snyder Superman movie.
Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Zak Snyder Superman movie.