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Trailer Snark (August 4, 2017 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, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

The Dark Tower (Columbia Pictures) – Action/Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action.
Tag Line: There are other worlds than these.
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McCaunaughey, Katheryn Winnick
Plot: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: Being a King fan, I feel a bit sheepish in saying that the epic work of his literary career is among my least favorite of his creative endeavors. That said, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are awesome which make this one worth checking out.
Jim: I’m a King fan, but for some reason I’ve never had any interest in reading the Dark Tower books. Despite the great cast, this looks like a pretty blah and routine actioner/thriller/whatever.

Detroit (Annapurna Distribution) – Drama/Crime/History
Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language
Tag Line: It’s time we knew.
Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith
Plot: Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.
Running Time: 143 minutes

Jim: Looks like another winner from the red-hot Kathryn Bigelow. A great example of how a trailer can effectively sell a movie.
Chris: Intensity! Based on a true story, and definitely makes me want to know more. I’ll be checking it out.

Check out The Dope Sheet Movie review here!

Wind River (The Weinstein Company) – Action/Crime/Mystery
Rated R for strong violence, a rape, disturbing images, and language
Tag line: Nothing is harder to track than the truth.
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Kelsey Asbille
Plot: An FBI agent teams with a town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: Two Avengers reunited. Love the setting for this murder mystery, with the feeling of isolation leading to greater danger. I am in.
Jim: A pretty lackluster trailer (and come on, not even touting the names of the actors—they’re two of the Avengers, man!) Pass.

Tickets Purchased:  One for The Dark Tower (Chris) and one for Detroit (Jim)

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Trailer Snark (November 11, 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!

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Sony) – Drama
Rated R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug use
Tag Line: None
Starring: Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin
Plot: 19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions.
Running Time:  110 minutes

Jessica: I usually enjoy a well done war movie, but I’m not sure about this one. The trailer really doesn’t tell me much about why it’s called “The Long Halftime Walk”, but then again, I can’t take Vin Diesel as a serious actor so that might be why i feel so lukewarm to this one!
Jim: This week’s trailers don’t bode well for the Holiday Movie season. The solemn chorus is telling me that I should feel moved, but have to admit it left me cold. Still, the fact that it’s an Ang Lee movie gives me hope.
Chris:  It’s a double dose of heck no with both Vin Diesel and Kristen Stewart in starring roles.  That is enough to kill my interest.

Almost Christmas (Universal) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, drug content and language
Tag Line: Five days together?  Oh joy!
Starring: Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover
Plot: A dysfunctional family gathers together for their first Christmas since their mom died.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Chris: This one seems full of yuletide jeer……pass.
Jessica: Blah. I’d rather see Bad Santa 2!
Jim: Looks more like Festivus. Nah.

Arrival (Paramount) – Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Tag Line:  Why are they here?
Starring:  Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Plot: A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Jim: Yet another Close Encounters/Independence Day knockoff.
Chris: Effective trailer that amps up the drama.  Plus the wife loves Amy Adams (her favorite actress, thanks to Enchanted). 
Jessica: I’ve seen this trailer a lot recently and I just don’t care what’s going on. Something about it just annoys the holy heck out of me.

Shut In (EuropaCorp USA) – Drama/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for terror and some violence/bloody images, nudity, thematic elements and brief strong language
Tag Line: Don’t believe everything you see.
Starring:  Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton
Plot: A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Jessica: Ditto for this one. Look like well trod ground and unless someone can tell me it’s not, I’ll pass.
Jim: (cue Homer Simpson voice) Booooring!
Chris: The trailer left me cold, but without that spine-tingling shiver.  Naomi Watts is always fantastic, but this one is probably better left as a home viewer.

The Love Witch (Oscilliscope) – Comedy/Horror
Not Rated
Tag Line: She loved men….to death.
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Laura Waddell
Plot: A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a tribute to 1960s pulp novels and Technicolor melodramas.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Chris:  Not with Jim’s eyes, and Jess’ wallet.
Jessica:  this was the most horrible, long-winded, horrible trailer I’ve ever seen. I get what they were trying for but they told the ENTIRE STORY in this trailer and it just looks awful. Pass.
Jim: Yeah, this was…UNBELIEVABLY bad. Almost like a fake SNL trailer, except not funny.

Tickets Purchased: One for Arrival (Chris) while both Jim and Jessica stay home to watch old Jack Sparrow movies and eat chocolate.

Can I come crash your house?
Can I come crash your house?

 

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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 (July 31st Theatrical Releases)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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