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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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The Crank File: The Fantastic Fourplay

Welcome back for the fourth installment of The Crank File. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. In today’s episode of the Crank File we discuss the end of a Marvel icon and the beginnings of a new era. And a familiar face makes an unexpected appearance.

Fantastic Four issue #642 kicks off The End is Fourever story arc. The End is Fourever will be the final chapter in the seminal Marvel series The Fantastic Four, which will lead us into Marvel’s big 2015 event, Secret Wars. You heard that right true believers. The Fantastic Four has been cancelled.

Created in 1961 by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel Comic’s The Fantastic Four was the title that launched the Marvel Universe. Just a few years after The Fantastic Four exploded onto the comic book scene, Marvel had created some of the most recognizable heroes in pop culture history, including Spider-man, Thor, the Hulk, the Avengers, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Dare Devil and the Silver Surfer.

But while other characters rose to stardom and beyond, fame was not as kind to the group once known as the world’s greatest heroes. While the Fantastic Four team was unique and diverse by Silver Age standards, as comics grew up the Fantastic Four sort of stayed the same. Their old school persona and mediocre movies didn’t endear the group to a new generation of comic book readers. And with lower popularity leading to sagging sales, I guess they just couldn’t afford to keep the lights on at the Baxter Building.

I have a soft spot for FF personally because of the “Marvel Secret Story of ” series of books. Does anyone else remember this?

The Secret Story of the World's Greatest Superheroes

A set of four hardcovers, I discovered “The Secret Story” books as a child at my public library. Each book highlighted a different Marvel superhero. There was The Hulk, Spider-man, Captain America and The Fantastic Four. I’d check out any of these books whenever I could. The Fantastic Four might not have been my favorites but they were always there on the shelf, waiting just for me.

I haven’t seen much of the FF since then, outside of their obligatory cross-over appearances. So what better place to start getting reacquainted than at the end? If issue #642 is representative of the series, then Fantastic Four certainly isn’t being cancelled for a lack of quality. Writer James Robinson puts a lot of heart into this story, where we find Marvel’s first family vulnerable, separated and under assault.The artwork is outstanding throughout the issue and I absolutely love the Jim Cheung variant cover, a beautiful homage to the genesis of the Fantastic Four.

FF 642 variant cover

There’s also a great line swipe from Allen Moore’s Watchmen; a nod to a series that in many ways revolutionized comics for its own generation.

Watchmen Swipe    FF watchemn swipe

It is almost poetic that the end of the Fantastic Four would also bring about the start of a new era in Marvel comics. For months now Marvel has been teasing 2015’s upcoming Secret Wars, and The End is Fourever story arc should lead us into this monumental event. From the press releases, we know that in Secret Wars the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe will be destroyed with the remaining fragments forming a patchwork planet called BattleWorld. This event is set to shatter the 616 universe as we know it and promises to have profound effects on almost every Marvel title. Although it is not officially being called a franchise reboot, Marvel is promising that Secret Wars will mark a completely new direction for the company.

And we can expect that the members of the Fantastic Four will be involved in Secret Wars. After all, cancelled doesn’t mean dead. Although they might not have their own name on a book for a while, don’t expect it to last forever. Comic books don’t die. They are undead. Sometimes they even come back better and wiser than before. All the best ones do.

Minor spoiler ahead.

On the last page of Fantastic Four #642 we are reintroduced to the SleepWalker. Published for only three years during the early 90’s, SleepWalker was supposed to be Marvel’s response to Vertigo’s popular Sandman series (lol!). Sleepy hasn’t been relevant in comics for decades, if ever, but his sudden appearance at the end of issue #642 indicates that he could play an important role in the Marvel Universe’s transition into Secret Wars. This news has caused prices for the first appearance of Sleep Walker to soar. A recent dollar-bin book is now regularly moving on eBay for $10, with some BIN auctions surpassing $15.

Sleepwalker cover

I can’t find an estimated print run number for this issue, but considering that it came out during the height the first comic book boom… I would guess hundreds of thousands. Check your long boxes and your LCS’s dollar bins and flip them while the flipping is good. It might finally live up to it’s promised “Collector’s item!” status.