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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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The Female Perspective: Character Drama In Adaptations

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

This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Who Ya Gonna Call? The New Lady ‘Busters!

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

Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!
Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!

This week it was announced that the “reboot” (and aren’t we all a bit tired of that term?) of Ghostbusters is actually happening! It’s long overdue, that’s for sure!

What’s exciting about this reboot is the cast announcement. Paul Feig (who did Bridesmaids, a great movie) will be handling this reboot and has decided to make it an all-female cast. OK, color me intrigued, he has a proven track record of being able to write and direct female actors. Add to all of that, the cast, oh my, the cast!

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Nice!

An all-female cast might freshen up the story!
An all-female cast might freshen up the story!

I was very pleased with this announcement, I think that if you are going to do a reboot, then make it something special. Try to make it a little bit different, a little bit fresh. I knew that not everyone would be happy but what shocked me was the response online. On Facebook, the comments under the announcement were vulgar and rude (I won’t bother to reprint them here) and that is unfortunate. There were many sexist comments, weight comments about a couple of the women and an overall tone of disgust and dismay. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to get this angry about something so trivial as a movie!

I mean, why are we judging so quickly and so harshly? Why do people feel that they can insult and demean women (or anyone, really) online and think it’s funny? I think what troubles me most is that the harsh judgements are allowed on social media as par for the course. Oh sure, some people might put up an argument but we all know it’s futile. You have to have a thick skin to be able to tolerate the abuse that gets fired out of Facebook on a regular basis. A few women attempted to step in on the thread and were instantly called demeaning names and mocked. I think my personal “favorite” was when one of the “men” making the insults start saying things like, “Wait, we have to be careful or these b*#@hes will think we’re sexist” – really? REALLY? I have news for you buddy, it’s too late for that. That ship sailed when you called the actresses in the reboot names I can’t repeat in a family friendly blog.

I know that I shouldn’t take it to heart that these trolls are all over the place, hiding behind a computer screen, spewing their venom. It’s obvious that they are unhappy in some fundamental way. I know this and yet, it still bothers me. It bothers me because there is no cure for it. These people will always take to the safety of the internet to spout their disgusting racist and sexist slurs and they’ll think they’re clever and funny. What soothes me is the fact that most likely, in person, these trolls are nowhere near as outspoken. Chances are, they would never say to my face what they say online. Cowards, all of them.

Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!
Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!

Regardless, I am absolutely excited to see what this crew can do with the idea. Not to mention both Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd are all for the all-female cast and while many are cross with Murray for dragging his feet about doing a new Ghostbusters movie, I think this may end up being the right thing. We all saw Ghostbusters 2 and that was not so good. I think that the original ‘Busters had their time and they created a wonderful movie that makes me laugh to this day. I think it’s OK to bring in a new cast, a new director and see what kind of fun trouble they can get into.

I know there are those “purists” out there that get all wound up when these reboots happen, they want it to be “perfect” and to be exactly what they have imagined it to be. Sadly, that is not usually the case but I prefer to reserve judgement until I have more information. Such is the case with the new Fantastic Four movie coming out. Yes, the trailer that was released makes it look very different form what we’ve seen previously, but again, that gives me hope. The first couple tries didn’t work out so great, so try something different. 

The end result is that we, as consumers, really have no control over what Hollywood does or doesn’t do. We can complain all we want about the lack of creativity and the reboots all over the place but that won’t change the fact that people go to see them, these movies make money and therefore, the studios keep making them. Often, these reboots work out great. Star Trek is a good example of this, the first two in the new Universe are awesome, fun movies that pay homage to the source material but still manage to go their own way, to great success.

Let’s try to stem the hate folks, be kind to each other and to these actresses who did nothing more than accept a part in what could be a fantastic and fun movie. Maybe one day, Hollywood will stop “rebooting” things but until that magical day happens, I’m going to sit back and hope for the best!

Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.
Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.

What do YOU think? Did Hollywood get it right with the all-female cast?

Tell me in the comments (but be nice)!