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Trailer Snark (September 15, 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, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Mother! (Paramount Pictures) – Drama/Horror/Mystery
Rated R for strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language
Tag Line: Seeing is believing
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Running Time: 121 minutes

Chris:  I wonder how mother nature will punish Jennifer Lawrence for making this movie?
Wayne: Mother! ******* was this movie is mostly boring. It is far too intellectual for my liking.
Rob: What a great cast in what looks like a thriller, but doesn’t really appeal or even make sense of what it is.

You can read The Dope Sheet review of Mother! here.

American Assassin (Lionsgate) – Action/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence throughout, some torture, language and brief nudity
Tag Line: Assassins aren’t born. They are made.
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan
Plot: A story centered on counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Rob: At first glance I thought, what is this? A copy of punisher from 2004?
Chris: Michael Keaton is a national treasure, and this movie looks entertaining as all heck.  In!
Wayne: I’m going to check it out just for Keaton.

Brad’s Status (Annapurna Pictures) – Comedy
Rated R for language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer
Plot: A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Wayne: Looks interesting. Maybe.
Rob: Oh look another Ben Stiller midlife crisis movie!
Chris: Hahaha. Rob just summed that one up perfectly.  I got nothing more to say.

Rebel in the Rye (IFC Films) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for some language including sexual references, brief violence, and smoking
Tag Line: Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
Starring: Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Nicholas Hoult
Plot: The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, “The Catcher in the Rye”.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Chris: Now, that’s a compelling trailer.  I’ve never read Catcher in the Rye, but I may have to go pick out the classic as my next read!
Wayne: YES! Looks like a good story.
Rob: Now this one gave me the Dead Poet Society feel. But with a veteran. This one I can get into. 

Because of Gracia (ArtAffects Entertainment) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for thematic material
Tag Line: None
Starring: John Schneider, Chris Massoglia, Moriah Peters
Plot: Two high-school couples explore friendship and dating along dissimilar lines, leading to courage and transformation for one teen and a personal crisis for another.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Rob: Just another love triangle of high school drama
Chris: This one seems to have some heart and charisma.  Not a theater pick, but I’ll check it out on the small screen.
Wayne: Maybe, I like the JEEP. I bet she dies in the end.

In Search of Fellini (Ambi Distribution) – Adventure/Drama
Rated R for sexuality/nudity and language
Tag Line: Inspired by a true adventure.
Starring: Maria Bello, Ksenia Solo
Plot: A shy small-town Ohio girl who loves movies but dislikes reality, discovers the delightfully bizarre films of Federico Fellini, and sets off on a strange, beautiful journey across Italy to find him.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Wayne: Going to wait for it on Netflix. Looks interesting.
Rob: yes. Let the sheltered child not only finally leave home but go to an entirely different country. What could possibly go wrong? Or… what could go right? Ah love.
Chris: “You’re my fellini?” Must mean cheese in Italian.  😉

Tickets Purchased: Two for American Assassin (Wayne and Chris) and one for Rebel in the Rye (Rob).

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Trailer Snark (July 7, 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, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony) – Action/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
Plot: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.
Running Time: 133 minutes

Wayne: I’m buying this trailer.  I think we are going to have our best Peter Parker yet.
Jim: Been anticipating this since Tom Holland stole Captain America: Civil War. After the mess of Spiderman 3 and the two Andrew Garfield snoozefests, this is most welcome. Micheal Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey…there’s almost TOO much entertainment!
Chris: Oh gee…another Spider-Man movie.  Heck yeah, I’m going to see it!  Tom Holland rocked the Parker role in Civil War.  Stroke of casting and scripting genius!

A Ghost Story (A24) – Drama/Fantasy/Romance
Rated R for brief language and a disturbing image
Tag Line: It’s All About Time.
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
Plot: In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris: I was not actually expecting much, but got a beautifully crafted trailer and compelling story.  No Sheet!
Jim: a beautiful trailer. This looks spooky, moody, and intelligent.
Wayne: I’m buying this trailer.  The idea of leaving a piece of yourself behind so that you live on after death is an interesting concept.  The metaphor of the ghost is a great device.  Looking forward to this one.

City of Ghosts (IFC Films) – Documentary/War
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and for some language
Tag Line:  None
Starring: Real people
Plot: A documentary that follows the efforts of “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Wayne: I’m buying this trailer.  If this movie is as good as the trailer, I’ll be very satisfied.  I enjoy a good documentary and this story is very relevant today.
Chris: I see a trailer like this and just realize how thankful I am to have been born in the USA with all of the snowflakes and safe zones.  Maybe Americans could use some perspective and watch this one?
Jim: Too much real life. Pass.

Patti Cake$ (Fox Searchlight) – Drama
Rated R for language throughout, crude sexual references, some drug use and a brief nude image
Tag Line: None
Starring: Danielle MacDonald, Bridget Everett
Plot: PATTI CAKE$ is centered on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$ who is fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.
Running Time: 108 minutes

Jim: I’m not a big fan of rap music, but I have to admit this looks pretty interesting, a lot of passion and arresting images.
Wayne: It is a clean sweep, I’m buying this trailer and all trailers this week.  Is this a white woman’s Eminem story?  Looks fun and I love an underdog story.  Hope to catch this one too.
Chris: I wanted to dislike it, but just couldn’t.  I’ll catch it on the small screen at some p0int.

Tickets Purchased:  Three for Spider-Man, as if you didn’t already know?!

Spider_Man_Homecoming_Tony_Stark
“Let’s talk about your Aunt May.”

 

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Trailer Snark (January 20, 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, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (Paramount) – Action
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language
Tag Line: Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you’re doing it.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Samuel Jackson
Plot: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: I didn’t like the original, and I don’t plan on entertaining the sequel.  Vin Diesel is probably the most overrated action star in Hollywood.
Jessica: NO THANK YOU. I got mad love for Vin, but I didnt like the first one, I don’t want to see a second one.
Jim: This was going along well until that cheesy shot of him running out of the plane at the end. I dunno…

Split (Universal) – Horror/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language
Tag Line: Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy
Plot: After three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Jim: In 18 years, M Night has made one good movie, The Sixth Sense. Pass.
Chris: I am the sad fool who keeps hoping that Shymalan is not the one trick pony that he is known to be.  And like so many of his trailers, this one seems to be full of the promise of a creepy and entertaining ride.  But that has been a familiar feeling with each release after The Sixth Sense.
Jessica: I adore McAvoy, but I detest Sxamalanan, oh however you spell it, I really really really REALLY don’t like this movies. Really don’t. So just in case you’re wondering, this is a pass for me.

The Founder (Weinstein Company) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Tag Line: He took someone else’s idea and America ate it up.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman
Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Jessica: I love seeing Keaton back in the movies and this looks really interesting. Totally something I’d want to see.
Jim: Yes! Another part of the triumphant return of Michael Keaton. Definitely a must-see.
Chris:  Aside from the fact that Michael Keaton is a national treasure, I find the birth of industry and commercial enterprise fascinating.  To see the humble beginnings of what would soon become a giant makes for great entertainment.

The Sunshine Makers (FilmRise) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line:  None
Starring: Nick Sand, Tim Scully
Plot: The story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture.
Running Time: I don’t know man…I’m freakin’ out here. 101 minutes.

Chris: Watching this for me is akin to watching people orchestrating a train wreck.  I suggest art and sport as escapism.  Screw the drugs.
Jessica: This had me at LSD.
Jim: Looks freaky, man.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (High Top Releasing) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG for thematic elements including a crucifixion image.
Tag Line: If church can change him it will be a miracle.
Starring: Brett Dalton, Shawn Michaels, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes
Plot: A washed-up former child star, forced to do community service at a local megachurch, pretends to be a Christian to land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play, only to discover that the most important role of his life is far from Hollywood.
Running Time: 92 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J2AiW2iQis
Jim: Been done before, but it looks entertaining enough.
Chris: Looks charming enough, but has a total tv movie feel to it.  Nice to see Brett Dalton again though.
Jessica: Oh Brett Dalton, this is such a … Massive cliche. Though that being said, if I was sad and bored and it was free, I might watch it.

Detour (Magnet Releasing) – Thriller
Rated R for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language throughout
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen
Plot: A young law student blindly enters into a pact with a man who offers to kill his stepfather, whom he feels is responsible for the accident that sent his mother into a coma.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: I have a weird suspicion this has a twist, like a “Fight Club” twist going on…Meh
Jim: Worth a look if it’s free.
Chris: Absorbed me with the dual personality trailer.  Not sure I’d hit the theaters to see it, but I’ll be putting this one on my watch list.

The Red Turtle (Sony Picture Classics) – Animation/Fantasy
Rated PG for some thematic elements and peril
Tag Line: None
Starring: A red turtle and some dude
Plot: The dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds.
Running Time: 80 minutes

Chris:  No dialogue animated film.  I appreciate the interpretive nature of such films, but at the end of the day, it does not hold much interest for me.  I think I might max out at about 20 minutes before losing interest.
Jessica: Interesting.
Jim: Another beautiful and amazing-looking effort from Ghibli. I’m a sucker for things like this.

Tickets Purchased: Three for The Founder (Jim, Chris, and Jessica) and Jim pulls double duty with a showing of The Red Turtle.

McDonald's Fries should be sanctioned by theaters, and mandatory concession snack for showings of The Founder
McDonald’s Fries should be sanctioned by theaters, and mandatory concession snack for showings of The Founder

 

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Trailer Snark (November 6, 2015 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: Matt Damon is still stranded on Mars and piling up the money as the campaign to save him has now captured $182.8M domestically and still had enough of a draw to take the tops of an anemic box office with $11.4M this week.  Goosebumps remained in second place with $10.2 and $57M overall.  Bridge of Spies was third ($8M/$45.2M).  Hotel Transylvania in fourth ($5.8M/$156M) and fifth place belonged to the slightly delayed and debuting Bradley Cooper film Burnt, which pulled in $5M.  The rest of the top ten featured only one newcomer (Our Brand is Crisis) and went as follows:  The Last Witch Hunter ($4.7M/$18.6M), Paranormal Activity Ghost Dimension ($3.4M/$13.5M), Our Brand is Crisis ($3.4M), Crimson Peak ($3.1M/$27.7M) and Steve Jobs ($2.5M/$14.5M).  A bigger group of new entries are coming this Friday than what we saw last week.  Here they are….

Spectre (Columbia Pictures) – Action/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux
Plot: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
Running Time: 148 minutes

Jessica: So all over this one! I really like Craig as James Bond and I loved the last movie quite a bit. Looking forward to this one, I mean, jeez louise, it looks to be both star and action-packed!
Rob: Bond.  James Bond.  Daniel Craig has proven himself time and again to have what it takes to deliver and excel in the role of Ian Fleming’s British Secret Service agent extraordinaire.  Mendes, who also directed Skyfall, is back for the next installment and based on the trailer it will not disappoint.  
Ken: Being Bond never goes out of style. That looked awesome.  Somebody pour me a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.
Chris:  He was the original superhero to me.  James Bond, no matter the incarnation, is the definition of cool and the movies almost never disappoint.

The Peanuts Movie (20th Century Fox) – Family
Rated G for kids like you and me
Tag Line: Violet.  Original Mean Girl
Starring:  Who cares…it’s Charlie Brown and gool ol’ Snoop!
Plot: Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.
Running Time: 93 minutes
Chris:  I could not help but smile and recall childhood throughout the trailer.  Peanuts re-introduced to a new generation is not a bad thing at all!
Jessica: I want to want to see this but I’m not a huge Peanuts fan, this looks like fun though for people who really love the gang.
Rob: Anyone who skips this movie is a blockhead.  While I wish it was hand-drawn, it is clear to me that they truly wanted to honor the legacy of Charles Schulz.  I can’t wait to see this film!
Ken: The movie looks super cute and fun but I’m more of an old school Peanuts fan. Back before Snoopy hijacked the strip, Peanuts was straight brutal.

Spotlight (Open Road Films) – Drama/Crime
Rated R for some language including sexual references
Tag Line: The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schriber, Stanley Tucci
Plot: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Running Time: 128 minutes

Ken: A priest, a rapist and a pedophile walk into a bar. Then a second guy walks in.  
Chris: I am sick just even entertaining the thought of watching the trailer.
Jessica: Holy crap this looks amazing, terrifying, disturbing and just plain fantastic. The trailer had me going, “Wow” out loud in my office like a crazy person.
Rob: A look at the depravity of one of the most evil groups of men on the face of the earth; the Catholic Clergy.

Trumbo (Bleecker Street Media) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Tag Line: When they tried to silence him, he made the world listen.
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
Plot: In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.
Running Time: 124 minutes
Rob: Looks pretty solid, but not of the big screen caliber.  Then again, don’t let me tell you what to think…
Ken: I can’t watch Bryan Cranston wearing glasses without seeing Heisenberg. I keep wondering when Aaron Paul will show up. Hey Mr. White, it’s McCarthyism yo!
Chris: Meh……
Jessica: I adore Bryan Cranston and as a writer, this speaks volumes to me. Love it.

Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight) – Drama
Rated PG – 13 for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language
Tag Line: Two countries, two loves, one heart.
Starring: Saoirise Ronan, Emory Cohen
Plot: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a new romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Jessica: Okay this one got me. I don’t usually truck with movies like this but it looks well-done and interesting. Not for theater prices but at home viewing for sure.
Rob: Another good looking film, but for the small screen.
Ken: Not my pot of potatoes.
Chris: Not my typical movie fare, but there is some old world charm is this one.  Renter with the wife.

Miss You Already (Roadside Attractions) – Comedy/Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, sexual material and some language
Tag Line: When life falls apart, friends keep it together.
Starring: Dru Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper
Plot: The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill.
Running Time: 112 minutes

Chris:  I was actually quite moved by the trailer. Hope there is triumph in the end.
Jessica: Again, I didn’t think I’d like this one but darnit, it got me. I have a very powerful group of women friends and this is exactly what it would be like in a lot of ways if one of us got sick. I love stories about strong women supporting one another.
Rob: Chick flick.  Pass.
Ken: Looks like the sister movie to 50/50. Another trailer enhanced through the magic of music, this time it’s the classic REM track Losing My Religion.

Tickets Purchased: Four for Spectre (Ken, Jessica, Chris, and Rob) and one for Peanuts (Rob movie double duty)

Dr. Evil has nothing on this tyke!
Dr. Evil has nothing on this tyke!

 

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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