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Beauty and the Beast – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  March 17, 2017
Rating:  PG
Run Time:  2 hours 9 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.5 out of 10

A Non Spoiler Review

The classic animated Beauty and the Beast was great and was the second movie in the resurgence of Disney’s animated films that began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid.  In 1991, Beauty and the Beast was released and was a big success.  Nice story, comedy, singing.  It was your typical Disney animated movie.  Now, over 15 years later we are getting the live action film.

What works:  the story is still intact as this is nearly a literal retelling of its animated predecessor.  There are some minor changes to the films story from the animated movie, but not too significant.  The songs are still peppy and a fun part of the story.  The casting was well done.  The “Be Our Guest” scene is still wonderfully done.

What doesn’t work:  I felt like there were moments in the film where Emma Watson just wasn’t feeling it.  Maybe she was directed that way or didn’t really capture the Belle that we saw in the animated film.   The Beast, although wonderfully cast, was all cgi and it shows far too much and it never allowed me to buy into the performance.  This was also my feeling for all the supporting characters as well.  With live action, you don’t always pull off the fluidity of a scene or in some cases, the scene is arranged such that if you have seen the original you may notice many of the minor changes that couldn’t be done with live performers.

Looking at the film as a whole, the live action film falls short from the original 1991 film.  For those of us who saw the original, we may come out of the movie feeling that it just wasn’t as good as the original.  For those kids today who haven’t seen the original, they may just love it.  The film has been in theaters a while now so it is holding strong, but you may see it fall from first run theaters very soon with the summer releases well under way.

I have a feeling when this movie comes to dvd, more people will want to watch the animated film over this modern day live action remake.  Beauty and the Beast will be best viewed in a theater than home viewing, so if you plan on seeing this movie with kids, go to the theater.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 6.5.

Did you see the movie?  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to read your opinions below.

beauty beast

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Trailer Snark (May 5, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (Disney) – Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content
Tag Line: Obviously.
Starring:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Running Time: 136 minutes

Chris: If anyone thinks this is not going to be the movie I end up seeing, you don’t know me very well.  That said, this trailer gives us all of the campy laughs and charm that the first movie delivered to us.  A feast for your jolly Marvel soul!
Jim: Surprisingly, I was disappointed in the original. However, this is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a while (and scored to “Fox on the Run, nice!). Not only do I want to see this movie, I want to have another look at the original. That, to me, is a successful trailer.
Robert: The Guardians trailer is so exciting to me. It gave just enough not to give any big moment of the movie away, and had laughing multiple times. But I maybe biased since I fan-girl over everything that Marvel does.

The Lovers (A24) – Comedy
Rated R for sexuality and language
Tag Line: A love so strong it can survive marriage.
Starring: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts
Plot: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Robert: This will be a good date with the wife.
Chris: Not a chance.
Jim: Welcome back, Debra Winger. She alone would make this worth a rental.

The Dinner (The Orchard) – Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language throughout.
Tag Line: How far would you go…to save your children.
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney
Plot: Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Jim: I couldn’t get into the book and I can’t get into the trailer.
Robert: This trailer left me confused but interested enough to look into reading the book.
Chris: Looks like a taut thriller/drama.  I haven’t seen much from Richard Gere lately that has made me want to affix me to my seat, but this one has my attention.

3 Generations (The Weinstein Company) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some sexual references and language
Tag Line: Three of the most acclaimed actors of their generations in a human comedy for today.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon
Plot: After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray’s mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris:  This trailer has me confused.
Jim: I’m with Chris—3 accomplished actresses in a hazy trailer.
Robert: That cast is amazing. It’s not my type of movie but I’m happy that a topic like that is getting a good movie

Tickets Purchased:  3 for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2!

Oh, but we do Drax. We do.
Oh, but we do Drax. We do.

 

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Trailer Snark (November 4, 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!

Doctor Strange (Disney) – Action/Fantasy/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence
Tag Line:  Open your mind.  Change your reality.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton
Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Jessica: HECK YEAH!!! This is what Im seeing this week, no question. I know nothing of the source materials, but it looks amazing and Marvel has a stellar track record in my book!
Jim: Not being a comic book follower, I don’t get the chills from this that fans have been getting, but it looks intriguing. That, and Benedict Cumberbatch rocks!
Chris:  It’s a Marvel movie….of course I want to see it.  And though Ken and Rob are absent from this week’s trailer reviews, It would be safe to speak for them as well.

Trolls (Dreamworks) – Family/Animation
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Find your happy place
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Russel Brand
Plot: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris:  I knew it…Russel Brand is a troll!  Pass.
Jessica: Good lord no.
Jim: Despite the surfeit of animated flicks, this looks amusing  enough to be watchable. Have to admit I like the Timberlake tune.

Loving (Focus Features) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements
Tag Line: All love is created equal.
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton
Plot: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Looks well-acted and absorbing.
Chris:  One of the most important civil rights cases in our nation’s history.  How can that not be compelling fare for the big screen?
Jessica: This looks truly amazing and I have definite plans to check this out.

Hacksaw Ridge (Summit Entertainment) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images
Tag Line: When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington
Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Jessica: This looks intriguing, I’d watch this at home.
Jim: Wow. This looks incredible. Interesting that Mel Gibson isn’t mentioned by name.
Chris: This has to be one of the most unique war stories I have ever heard of…..and the fact that it is based fully on the real life story of this incredible young man.  Count me in!

Peter and the Farm (Magnolia Pictures) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Peter Dunning
Plot: A documentary on Peter Dunning, the proprietor of Mile Hill Farm in Vermont who has isolated himself away from his family and often suggests to the filmmakers to make his own suicide a narrative device.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Chris:  An exploration of mental illness or an indictment of society?  I am not really sure, but the trailer managed to grip me hard.
Jessica: Well then, this looks…interestingly intense. I’m curious.
Jim: Ohhhh-kaaaay. I dunno…

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Doctor Strange (Jessica and Chris) and One for Hacksaw Ridge (Jim)

Does that make him the magical version of The Punisher?
Does that make him the magical version of The Punisher?
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Trailer Snark (July 1, 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: Finding Dory was the box office champ for the second week in a row taking in an additional $73.2M for a total domestic haul of $286.5M.  Independence Day:Resurgence had a disappointing second place bow with only $41.6M, which was substantially less than the original’s debut.  Central Intelligence fell one spot to third place with $18.3M and $69.3M overall.  Two other debuts occupied the fourth and fifth slots as The Shallows scared up $16.7M and Free State of Jones took in $7.7M.  The rest of the top ten went as follows: The Conjuring 2 ($7.7M/$86.9M), Now You See Me 2 ($5.6M/$52M), X-Men: Apocalypse ($2.4M/$151.1M), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($2.4M/$77.1M), and Alice Through the Looking Glass ($2.1M/$74.5M).

Fun Fact:  Seven of the ten movies in the aforementioned list are sequels.  And another sequel is on its way this week, along with a reboot of a pre-existing franchise.

The Purge: Election Year (Universal) – Horror/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing bloody violence and strong language
Tag Line: Purge for the people.
Starring:  Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell
Plot: Two years after choosing not to kill the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlene Roan, the front runner in the next Presidential election due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris: This franchise started with a scary concept, and now we are beating the dead horse.  Frank Grillo still rocks though.
Jim: The first time was enough, don’t need to witness Hollywood beating yet another idea into the ground.

The BFG (Disney) -Adventure/Family
Rated PG for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor
Tag Line: The world is more giant than you can imagine.
Starring: Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Ruby Barnhill
Plot: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Jim: Spielberg directing a Roald Dahl story—all I need to know, I’m there.
Chris: I am sure that it is up to the usual Disney quality, but I am just not that interested.  Give me Jack and the Giant Killer any day.

The Legend of Tarzan (Warner Bros) – Adventure/Action
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue
Tag Line: Human. Nature.
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Rory J. Saper, Samuel Jackson, Margot Robbie
Plot: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Chris: Yes, now this looks like a great summer epic movie.  Classic character and fresh new take.
Jim: This story is ageless, even surviving an overblown ’80s version with Christopher Lambert. Would be interesting to see it in the CGI era. Keeping my fingers crossed while walking on my knuckles.

Our Kind of Traitor (Roadside Attractions) – Thriller
Rated R for violence, language throughout, some sexuality, nudity and brief drug use
Tag Line:  Who can you trust with the truth?
Starring: Ewan MacGregor, Stellan Skarsgard
Plot: A couple find themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Jim: Eh, possible rental.
Chris: Could be one of those under-stated gems.  I’ll catch it on the small screen, even if just for the acting prowess of Ewan MacGregor alone.

Satanic (Magnet Releasing) – Horror
Rated R for bloody horror violence, language throughout, brief nudity and some drug use
Tag Line: They unleashed the ultimate evil.
Starring: Sarah Hyland, Steven Krueger
Plot: Four friends on their way to Coachella stop off in Los Angeles to tour true-crime occult sites, only to encounter a mysterious young runaway who puts them on a terrifying path to ultimate horror.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Chris: I love me a good cult horror film, but the trailer just didn’t do it for me.  Maybe I will go back and watch Spellbinder for old times sake.
Jim: Any exorcists available to purge the glut of bad horror trailers?

Tickets Purchased:  One for The BFG (Jim) and one for The Legend of Tarzan (Chris)

Will Disney giants or jungle legends get you to the theaters this weekend?
Will Disney giants or jungle legends get you to the theaters this weekend?
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Trailer Snark (June 17, 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 Conjuring 2 was a hit at the box office with $40.3M last weekend, and topping the list.  In an unusual (of late) turn, the next two entries were also debuts with Warcraft pulling in $24.3M and Now You See Me 2 taking in $23M.  Fourth place was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Out of the Shadows ($14.8M/$61M), and fifth place belonged to X-Men: Apocalypse ($10M/$136.3M).  The rest of the top ten were as follows:  Me Before You ($9.2/$36.8M), Angry Birds ($6.8M/$98.1M), Alice Through the Looking Glass ($5.5/$62.4M), Captain America:  Civil War ($4.3M/$396.8M), and The Jungle Book ($2.7M/$352.6M).  Let’s look ahead to this weekend!

Finding Dory (Disney/Pixar) – Family
Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Tag Line: Have you seen her?
Starring: Ellen Degeneres, Ed O’Neil, Albert Brooks
Plot: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: I liked Nemo okay, I don’t really care about Dory. I am sure people will enjoy it though.
Chris:  Mine?  Mine? Mine?  Yes, all mine and it’s about time.
Jim: Nemo is a classic. It’s Pixar. Most likely another classic.
Ken: The lovable Dory stole the show in the original Finding Nemo. Expect more Pixar cuteness and hilarity from the sequel.

Central Intelligence (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language
Tag Line: Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.
Starring:  Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson
Plot: After he reunites with an old school pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Ken: Feels like a pretty cookie cutter buddy cop movie. Love the Rock and Hart though, so I might rent this one later.
Jim: Looks like an enjoyably dumb time-waster.
Chris: I laughed a lot in the trailer.  Kevin Hart is a favorite of mine.  And who doesn’t love the Rock?
Jessica: NO THANK YOU. Looks really, really, REALLY dumb.

Swiss Army Man (A24) – Adventure/Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language and sexual material
Tag Line: We all need some body to lean on.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Daniel Radcliffe
Plot: A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Jessica: I don’t know … I just … Ugh … This movie makes me feel icky.
Ken: Daniel Radcliff makes Wilson look like a piece of crap. So bizarre that I might have to check this one out.
Jim: Huh?

Chris: *Yawn*

Clown (Dimension) – Horror/Fantasy
Rated R for horror violence and gore, and for language
Tag Line: The kids aren’t alright.
Starring: Andy Powers, Laura Allen
Plot: A loving father finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it is not a suit at all.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Chris:  Couldn’t find a distributor for two years?  It does not paint the whole picture, but I am not encouraged.
Jessica: NO WAY EVER. I hate frackin’ clowns. Now and forever until the end of time.
Ken: Aqua Team Hunger Force already did this in the classic episode, “The Clowning”.
Jim: This could be a good scary movie underneath the terrible trailer.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Finding Dory (Chris and Jim) and Jessica stays home with Orange is the New Black

She may be simple, but we share the same passions.
She may be simple, but we share the same passions.
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Trailer Snark (Captain America: Civil War Edition)

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!

Editor’s Note: We are foregoing the usual format of this week’s blog, because by and large most movie studios have wisely cleared their release calendar for what could very well be the year’s biggest film. Captain America:  Civil War, the third installment in the Steve Rogers series, and really what amounts to Avengers 3 in terms of the ensemble cast showcases the characters we have come to know and love, under the expert tutelage of the Russo Brothers, who take the reins from Joss Whedon.  The team gives their thoughts below, along with their pledge of allegiance to either Team Cap or Team Iron Man.  Enjoy!

Captain America:  Civil War (Disney) – Action/Adventure
PG-13 for violence and thematic situations
Tag Line:  Whose side are you on?
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, and more.
Plot: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Running Time:  146 minutes

Thoughts on the trailer…..
Jessica: I am SUPER EXCITED about “Captain America: Civil War”, I think the trailer looks like yet another hit for Marvel and I do really enjoy the Captain’s story as he finds his place in the “new world” after being asleep so long
Chris: The only thing that exceeds the trepidation of watching to of Marvel’s most famous icons draw the battle lines is to see how they can pull it off effectively and leave fans of both sides satisfied.  And from all accounts, this is one for the ages!

Whose Side are They On?
Ken: Team Rogers, no question.  I agree with Chris that these are beings of unimaginable power, capable of massive destruction and as such should be be held accountable. However, I don’t believe the responsibility of policing the gods should be left in the hands of a few, un-elected individuals. Who died and made Iron Man the sheriff of the MCU?  It’s a question of personal freedom vs conformity. Cap is the ultimate soldier, and like a good soldier he fights to protect his country and the government it represents, but he also fights for the guy next to him in the foxhole. He’s fighting for his brother when he believes that his brother is being treated unjustly. Is there a more noble cause? Like Jess, I sincerely doubt that Tony’s motivations for heading up the superhero registration act are entirely altruistic. What eccentric, billionaire wouldn’t want a position of power with near-unlimited resources at his disposal?
Jim: I don’t know what side I’m on. I just want to be entertained.  I just hope that this isn’t the slog that Age of Ultron was and the squalid excuse for a movie that Batman vs. Superman was. If Hollywood’s going to spend truckloads of money on superhero movies, they can at least make them fun and well-made. Here’s hoping.
Jessica: I am completely torn as to what side I want to be on. I see both sides of it but in the end, I think Tony Stark’s militaristic approach is a bit too much and would have to side with the Captain in the end. His heart is in the right place and I think he has the moral compass to do the right thing, whereas Tony Stark’s moral compass is nonexistent and I simply don’t trust him to make a decision that benefits mankind if it gets in the way of his own ambition and brain powers. I think Stark’s biggest fault is thinking he’s always the smartest man in the room. Whether he is or not, he never takes into account the emotional toll his decisions take and that is a big problem in the long run. So yeah, I’m Team Captain America!
Chris: I love Captain America, and I love the idea of Captain America.  In an ideal world, I would be in his camp, and beating my libertarian drum to the max, but the simple fact is that this is an unreal fantasy world where individuals hold more power than one can imagine.  That power unchecked is a threat to all.  As for who they should answer to is a whole other question, but I find myself aligning with Tony Stark on this one.  This is the movies folks and real world politics do not apply.  Team Iron Man

Added to the Ranks of Team Cap:  Ken and Jessica
Added to the Ranks of Team Iron Man:  Chris
Jumping in on the Winning Side at the Last Possible Moment?  Jim

The debate rages on!
The debate rages on!
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Trailer Snark (April 15th, 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 Boss was in charge of last weekend’s box office taking in $23.4M in its debut.  Batman v Superman slipped to second place with an almost identical $23.4M.  It’s total domestic gross is at $296.6M.  Zootopia placed third with $14.3M and $296M overall.  Fourth place belonged to My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ($6.4M/$46.7M) and Hardcore Henry debuted in fifth with $5M.  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  Miracles from Heaven ($4.8M/$55.8M), God’s Not Dead 2 ($4M/$13.8M), Allegiant ($3.6M/$61.8M), 10 Cloverfield Ln ($3M/$67.9M), and Eye in the Sky ($2.8M/$10.4M).  Taking a look at this week’s new releases we have another Disney film entry, a sequel to a successful comedy, and others….Let’s take a look.

The Jungle Book (Disney) – Family
Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril
Tag Line: The legend will never be the same.
Starring: Bill Murray, Ben Kinglsley, Idris Elba, Neel Sethi
Plot: The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don’t have his best interests at heart.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris: I was pleasantly surprised by Maleficent and then disappointed in the live action Cinderella.  This one actually looks promising to me.
Jessica: Eh. I have never been big fan of this story but that being said, this looks interesting enough for me to want to watch at home.
Jim: Looks like a good, solid epic. Always thought the ’67 Disney flick was one of his best. I’m in!
Ken: My favorite Rudyard Kipling book turned animated Disney film makes the jump to live action movie and it looks epic. Wish they didn’t go so heavy on the celebrity voice actors.

Barbershop:  The Next Cut (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language
Tag Line:  Everybody’s back for a fresh cut.
Starring:  Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall, Sean Patrick Thomas
Plot: As their surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, the crew at Calvin’s Barbershop come together to bring some much needed change to their neighborhood.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Ken: Not a big screener. Maybe not even a small screener.
Chris: I never saw the original.  Should I?  I don’t know…meh.
Jessica: Do not care.
Jim: Didn’t see the original, but this looks funny. Rental.

Criminal (Lionsgate) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Tag Line: The mission is in the memories.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes the he will complete the operative’s mission.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jim: Costner does play a good bad guy and Mr. Brooks was great. He’s due for a hit, looks like this deserves to be one.
Ken: All star cast, interesting premise and explosions all over the place. I’m in.
Chris: Costner plays a great bad guy.  Just go see Mr. Brooks for absolute proof.  This could be a diamond in the rough.
Jessica: I’m half and half on this one, I saw an extended trailer before BvS and the story sounded interesting Add to that Mr. Deadpool, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary freakin Oldman, on top of Kevin Costner and Wonder Woman and it does make me want to see it. I also agree Costner as a bad guy is fantastic to watch.

Green Room (Broad Green Pictures) – Crime/Horror/Thriller
Rated R for strong brutal graphic violence, gory images, language and some drug conten
Tag Line: Now. Whatever you saw or did. Is no longer my concern. But let’s be clear. It won’t end well.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots
Plot: After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Chris: What a departure from type for Patrick Stewart!  Not going to get me to the theater though.
Jim: Ooohhh, scary Picard. Rental.
Ken: I might rent it to see Patrick Stewart playing the villain role, but otherwise totally uninterested.

Sing Street (The Weinstein Company) – Musical/Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking
Tag Line: Boy meets girl, girl unimpressed, boy starts band.
Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aiden Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Plot: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band and moving to London.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Ken: Europeans showing us what a good High School Musical movie looks like.
Chris: This one looks amusing.  I’m in.  Gotta love the 80’s!
Jim: I liked Once and Begin Again, this looks cheerful and tuneful enough to make me want to see it.

Colonia (Screen Media Films) – Drama/History/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nyqvist
Plot: A young woman’s desperate search for her abducted boyfriend that draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, a sect nobody ever escaped from.
Running Time: 110 minutes

Jessica: I…I am honestly not even sure what i just watched, but it has Hermoine and I love Hermoine…
Ken: Apparently the leaders of this Christian cult were none too pleased about Hermoine transferring over from Hogwarts school of witchcraft.
Jim: nothing I haven’t seen before, but Hermione’s always worth watching.
Chris: Am I the only one that is not typecasting Emma Watson at Trailer Snark?  😉

Tickets Purchased:  Two for The Jungle Book (Ken and Jim), One for Sing Street (Chris), and Jessica stays at home reading her Stephen King book.

The original Jungle Book movie came out 74 years ago!
The original Jungle Book movie came out 74 years ago!
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The Female Perspective: The Mary Sue Stuff Must Stop

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Have you heard the term Mary Sue lately? If not, let me offer up the definition:

Mary Sue for female characters and Gary Stu or Marty Stu for male characters is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment. ~Wikipedia

One of the more recent uses of this term is towards Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it annoyed the wholy heck out of me because not only has no one ever used the term “Gary Stu” or “Marty Stu” for a man (I’d never heard of it before today), but because saying a woman that is strong, smart and powerful is “unrealistic” is really, REALLY annoying. The double standard of not using it towards male characters is what really sticks in my craw and my annoyance has been revitalized due to the release of the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer.

crylead
Our newest “Star Wars” protagonist…Jyn Erso

All the ugly anti-feminist argument trolls are out in force people. In FORCE.

In the trailer, we are introduced to a new, female, character named Jyn Erso who has been dubbed a Mary Sue even before anyone has seen the movie. Simply because of the following:

  1. She’s a woman.
  2. She is the lead character.
  3. She clearly kicks ass.

That’s it folks. Let’s take a moment to unravel this a bit. All of these people claiming she’s a Mary Sue and that Star Wars never gets to have powerful male leads, (seriously, that was a Tweet I saw…I can’t even begin to talk about that either it made me so mad) as if there is something wrong with a woman being in control in the Star Wars universe. Have none of these people ever actually seen Star Wars???? Seriously, have you never heard of Princess Leia?

For pete’s sake.  I can’t even, the stupidity is overwhelming me people. Why are there so many stupids all around? Why do they have internet access and computers and, you know, fingers with which to type??? It boggles my mind that people would get so up in arms over a woman being shown as not only capable, but brave and tough too.

Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.
Lucas has admitted that Luke is his character wish fulfillment on film.

The fact is, the term Mary Sue needs to be retired, expunged from our lexicon. Deleted forever from the world. It is sexist, subjective and completely insulting to the female characters it has been attached to. The fact is, if you really look at it, Luke Skywalker (known to be George Lucas’ wish fulfillment character) is a Mary Sue himself! He’s “too” perfect in unrealistic ways. Even wee little Anakin is “too” perfect and yet, no one complains about that. No one cries out “Gary Stu!” (or whatever it is). No. No one does, because Mary Sue is a sexist, anti-feminism term meant to belittle and subjugate the female lead. To make her feel less than, to bring down her potential and to, once again, take a woman’s power and crush it into dust.

Actual Tweets by actual people...Or something resembling people...
Actual Tweets by actual people…Or something resembling people…

Sorry (totally not sorry) to all those who are running around crying foul that “yet another” woman is a lead in a Star Wars film, you’re going to have to get used to seeing the ladies in charge because clearly that’s the way that Disney is going here and clearly it’s well received by those of us who aren’t neanderthal misogynistic morons.

My brain hurts...
My brain hurts…I can’t even deal with this much stupid.

Welcome to the new Star Wars world, it has women in it who do things, important things. Get used to it, and while you’re at it, stop using the Mary Sue terminology. It’s antiquated and lame, not to mention entirely insulting to the female gender who desperately want women to be role models for the younger generation. Feminists don’t want to take down the menfolk, now listen carefully, feminists want to be equal with them.

Why is that so difficult?

What do YOU think of the term Mary Sue? Is it time to retire the term? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

P.S. If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch below, it looks AMAZING.

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Trailer Snark (March 4 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:  There was no stopping the merc with a mouth, as Deadpool spent a third week atop the box office charts, shaking off a pathetic challenge from the second place Gods of Egypt.  Fox scored another $31.5M for their R-rated superhero entry to bring the total domestic haul to $285.6M.  The aforementioned Gods of Egypt took in $14M in its debut.  In third was Kung Fu Panda 3 ($9M/$128.4M).  Fourth place belonged to the Christian drama Risen ($7M/$22.7M) and fifth was the debut of Eddie the Eagle with $6.3M.  Triple 9 could not break the top five and ended up with a $6.1M debut in sixth.  The rest of the top ten went as follows:  How to Be Single ($5.1M/$39.6M), The Witch ($5M/$16.6M), Race ($4.2M/$13.8M), and The Revanant ($3.8M/$170.5M).  So, who are this week’s contenders to Deadpool’s bullet-riddled crown?

Zootopia (Disney) – Family/Animated
Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action
Tag Line: Welcome to the urban jungle.
Starring: Ginnefer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba
Plot: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Chris: I must admit to being amused with the trailer.  Perhaps it is the mood of the political season, but I feel the need for something light-hearted and innocent.
Ken: I saw an extended trailer for this before Star Wars and I thought it was hysterical. Not a theater experience for me, but I’ll definitely catch this one at home.
Jim: Been laughing at this trailer for months, particularly the Sloth version. A must-see.
Jessica: The sloth cracks me up. I’d watch this on the strength of that alone.
Rob:  I’m all over this!!

London Has Fallen (Gramercy) – Action/Drama
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Tag Line: Prepare for bloody hell.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Plot: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Rob: My interest has fallen.  Possible renter on a rainy day.
Chris: Make this the second straight week Gerard Butler has appeared in a movie I have no interest in.
Ken: I’d rather be waterboarded than suffer through this.
Jim: Olympus Has Fallen was pretty good as Die Hard knockoffs go. Not a lot of surprises here— might be good for a rental where I’m half awake on the couch.
Jessica: The first one was enjoyable, a fun action romp so I’d totally watch this at home, for free. What is up with Butler these days? First Gods of Egypt (gag) and now this? He used to be better than this garbage.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Paramount) – Comedy/War
Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, drug use and violent war images
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina
Plot: A journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Jessica: I love Tina Fey and this look like a good film. Not one for the theater but one I’d watch at home and probably very much enjoy.
Rob: What the f?  Come on.  You all wanted to say it.  But I’m betting only a small number want to see it.
Chris: Could be an entertaining flick on the small screen?  A non-Tina Fey role for Tina Fey.
Ken: Starring Tina Fey as herself in someone else’s true story.
Jim: More entertaining than the stupid trailer from  that Tina Fey movie  with Amy Poehler a couple of months ago. Rental.

The Other Side of the Door (20th Century Fox) – Horror
Rated R for some bloody violence
Tag Line: It was never meant to be opened.
Starring: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto
Plot: After her young son is killed in a tragic accident, a woman learns of a ritual which will bring him back to say goodbye, but when she disobeys a sacred warning, she upsets the balance between life and death.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Jim: Not even one frame of film that contains something that I haven’t seen in other horror trailers/movies. I felt like it was yawning at me.
Jessica: Of COURSE she opened it. Looks fairly tried and true as far as horror films go. I’ll pass.
Rob: Horror.  Pass.
Chris: Nothing worse than seeing the main character be so monumentally dumb, you want to reach through the screen and shake them.  Pass.
Ken: Horror movies are generally cliche, but this just looks lazy. The lock that bars the doorway to the realm of the dead is a stick?? Come on!

Knight of Cups (Broad Green Pictures) – Drama/Romance
Rated R for some nudity, sexuality and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman
Plot: A writer indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Ken: Looks like someone made a feature length film out of an ad for cologne.
Jim: As soon as I can figure out what’s going on in the trailer, I’ll tell you that it’s a Terrence Malick movie and worth seeing.
Jessica: I read about this one and have ZERO interest in watching a self-absorbed man wander through life looking for love. Even if that man used to be my secret husband Christian Bale. I got bored watching the trailer. All set.
Rob: No thanks.
Chris: Is this the most pretentious garbage you have seen this year at Trailer Snark?  I thought so.

Tickets Purchased:  It’s a unanimous decision folks!  Zootopia for President!!!!!!

Can we get Judy Hopps to run for President?
Can we get Judy Hopps to run for President?
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The Female Perspective: The “Mary Sue” Of “Star Wars” (No Serious Spoilers)

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I want to start by saying that I am going to do my best to not put any spoilers in here about the new Star Wars movie because I hate dirty rotten spoilers. If you prefer to know nothing about the movie though, don’t read this yet!

Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Daisy Ridley plays the character Rey in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

That being said, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend and simply adored it. Now that I’ve seen the movie I can start reading the millions of articles about it that have popped up. One trend that is annoying the ever loving heck out of me is the people calling one of the new character, Rey, a “Mary Sue”.

In case you are wondering:

Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment. –Wikipedia

I actually didn’t know the full definition and I also didn’t know that Mary Sue’s could also be male characters so I learned something new today and it actually annoys me more because if Rey is a Mary Sue, why isn’t Luke or Han Solo?

Regarding the character of Rey in Star Wars: TFA though, to call her a Mary Sue is to insult a strong, capable female character. It’s not, in fact, the first time the Star Wars Universe has had a strong female character. Have we forgotten Princess Leia???? Or even after her, Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke and Leia? What is all this surprise that a woman who lives in the Star Wars Universe is not only  smart, but capable as well? Why can’t we just accept that and move on?

Strong characters are par for the course in "Star Wars" and I for one am thrilled about it.
Strong characters are par for the course in “Star Wars” and I for one am thrilled about it.

Oh, that’s right, because we live in a patriarchal society that cannot possibly accept a female character as smart, strong and able to get sh&t done alongside her male compatriots. As I said above, you can have a male Mary Sue as well but I don’t believe I have ever heard that term applied to a male character. It’s a clear sexism that a woman who is capable can’t be real but a capable man is totally believable. How annoying!

This kind of pseudo internet anger is infinitely frustrating to behold. The fact is, the new (all of them) characters add depth and dimension to the universe many of us love but beyond that, the Star Wars franchise has always been about the next generation overcoming the rules of the current generation. The original Star Wars starts off with Luke Skywalker, the son of Vader and we follow him and Leia and Solo through their various adventures. Even in the newer films, it is about the rise of Vader and the destruction of the older generation. That’s the whole thing that Star Wars does, it shows us that the wheel of time moves on and the younger kids are eventually going to inherit the mess the previous generation left behind.

could-there-be-truth-to-this-rumor-about-daisy-ridley-s-character-rey-in-star-wars-episod-484712

The fact is, the internet is a hotbed of angry trolls typing forcefully and looking for stuff to criticize. Rey is strong, she is smart and she one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars world because she was written well, she was created as a full person and not some damsel in distress at the first sign of trouble. She has her moment, and who can blame her, when she becomes overwhelmed with the weight of what is before her but instead of descending into tears and woe is me, she fights and she kicks butt. If that’s a Mary Sue, than I’m all for that kind of character being in every film.

leiaposter

What did you think of the new Star Wars? Who was your favorite character and did you think Rey was “too” capable? Sound off in the comments!