Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh Popped Corn #2: May 2013 Theatrical Trailers

Great Stories' new column for our movie trailer preview series is here.  Once per month, we will be taking a look at movies released for the upcoming month, and telling our readers where we would be spending our movie dollars each week, based on the look of the trailers.  Links to the chosen trailers will be provided so you can see just what we are so excited about.

May 3rd
May is officially the start of the summer movie season, and this one starts off with a bang.  Iron Man 3 (which actually opens two days early on May 1st) features the return of Robert Downey Jr to the role he was born to play.  Keanu Reeves stars as an escort service driver for two dissimilar women and the friendship that they form amidst  the destructive lifestyles they lead in Generation UmGreetings from Tim Buckley is about the true life coming of age for a young Jeff Buckley who has to rise from his folk singer father's shadow.  What Maisie Knew, with Julianne Moore,  is about a little girl whose parents split under auspicious conditions and forge knew relationships with some unexpected results.  And The Iceman depicts a family man whose secret life as a hitman is revealed after two decades of carnage, starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, and Ray Liotta.  This movie looks outstnanding, and seems like a must see, but there is just no way we can miss Iron Man 3.  The Marvel Comics studio machine is churning out great action and iconic character studies, and Robert Downey Jr is a personal favorite.  Check out the trailer below!

May 10th
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the big screen adaptation of the literary classic The Great Gatsby, with some help from Tobey Maguire.  Bruce Greenwood plays a shell-shocked Advertising CEO who wakes up from a couch potato session only able to communicate in commercial catch phrases in And Now a Word from Our Sponsors.  Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier do the Meet the Parents formula in Peeples.  Eli Roth battles natural disasters and desperate people in the thriller Aftershock.  Aaron Eckhart follows up his role in the entertaining Olympus Has Fallen with a starring role as an ex-CIA operative targeted for assasination, along with his daughter,  in Erased.  And finally Sightseers brings us two new lovers out for a drive where events lead them down a murderous path in this dark comedy.  Truthfully, it looks like a weak offering.  We wanted to like the trailer for The Great Gatsby but am just not feeling it.  Erased and Peeples look underwhelming at best, and our recommendation is to catch The Iceman, in its second week of release!  Check out the trailer below!

May 17th
The third week of May brings us JJ Abrams follow up to his successful Star Trek relaunch.  The second film, Star Trek: Into Darkness, brings back the previous film's cast as they deal with a terrorist in their midst that threatens to destroy everything they know.  Black Rock pits Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, and Kathryn Aselton against a group of men when a chance meeting on a remote island leads to a misunderstanding leading to a horrific chain of events.  The English Teacher features Julianne Moore in her second starring role of the month, as a teacher whose life of books and siamese cats gets far more complicated when she becomes involved with a former star pupil who returns home after trying to make it as a playright in New York City.  The pick of the week has to be the JJ Abrams-helmed Star Trek sequel, especially after the great re-launch of the franchise.  It very well could be that this man has the midas touch!

May 24th
Fast and Furious 6 hits the big screen with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodrigues all returning to reprise their roles.  The Hangover III staggers into theaters with not much interest from us.  Before Midnight has Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy attempting to convince themselves of their love for one another.  And finally, our pick, Epic features the vocal talents of Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Johnny Knoxville, and more.  Here is a look at what looks to be a fun time for the whole family.

May 31st
After Earth reunites Will Smith and his son in a sci fi actioner that sees the aforementioned stars return to Earth after the planet had been abandoned to find a world fraught with danger.  Kings of Summer gives us three boys looking to escape from their parents and deciding to build a home in the middle of the woods where they attempt to survive and get some life lessons along the way (emoting a bit of Stand By Me).  Now You See Me is our pick of the week, with an outstanding cast that features Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Isla Fisher in a film about street magicians who perform huge bank heists.  Take a look at the great trailer below.

Thanks for checking our Great Stories May movie picks.  Next up is a mystery blog by our friend Jim Cannizarro!  Hope you all have an imaginative week.  :)

Chris (for the Great Stories team)

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Writers at Great Stories!

Hi Everyone,
Checking in again this week to let you all know that we have our very first guest bloggers appearing for Great Stories starting the week of April 29th, and continuing through the week of May 6th.  It has always been a goal to have this blog offer up some opinions outside of what the proprietors of Great Stories, Inc have to offer, and we are excited to begin this pursuit featuring two very good friends of ours.  Please induldge me for a couple of moments of your time as I give a little preview of who your blog authors will be in the next couple of weeks!

Jim Cannizarro is no stranger to the blog world, and had his own blog dedicated to movies, a major passion of his.  His blog was active through 2005 until pursuite both personal and professional took him in other directions, but he was eager to brush off his great writing talents and theatrical insights for us.  Born in Philadelphia in 1965, Jim moved to the New England area quite a few years back.  His love of movies is so deep that he can recite every Best Picture winner since the inception of the Oscar ceremonies at will!  He is also not just a fan of this creative medium, but also a trained actor.  Jim had leading roles in community theater productions of The Odd Couple, Flowers for Algernon, and A Christmas Carol to just name a few (and close to twenty productions in all).  He is also no stranger to both big and small screen with appearances in a major hollywood movie, A Civil Action, as well as the independent production Romeo and Juliet, and local commercials.  We are not sure what his plans are for his blog entry, but we know that it will be an interesting read during the week of April 29th!

Robert Fossey, a fellow Stonehill College graduate of mine and dear friend of over twenty years will be making a guest spot appearance during the week of May 6th.  Fiercly loyal to his friends and to the creative works that inspire his imagination, Robert is sure to bring an enthusiasm to whatever topic he chooses.  He's a devotee of George Lucas, Lord of the Rings (for which he even has a credit on, and the artwork of Joe "Mad" Madureira.  And he is a fine artist in his own right, published in a college magazine, whose work will also be featured by the Great Stories brand in the future.  With a mind full of incredible ideas and the talent to put them into action, we at Great Stories have hopes that you will one day find his work available in a commercial capacity in a time not too far away. 

Thank you all for welcoming these fine people into the Great Stories family and giving them a chance to inspire you. 

See you next week for our May movie previews.  Summer blockbusters start here!

Chris (for the Great Stories Team)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Divided Attentions

Greetings Everyone,
I am writing today to admit that I have a problem to you all.  I suffer from an acute form of ADD when it comes to my reading habits.  No, it is nothing that I have been to a doctor about.  It is not a problem for which I seek any medicinal treatment.  It is just one of those self-diagnosis issues for something that I simultaneously revel in and get frustrated about.

You see, I have this inability to read one book at a time.  My reading assignment list is reminiscent of that of a college student engaged in multiple classes with a heavy workload.  It is a personal chaos within which I seem very comfortable yet not as efficient as I would like when there is so many incredible works and worlds to become a part of. 

Of course, there are rules within the chaos.  I can never read two books that have themes that run too close to one another.  This would lead to cross-pollination of characters and confusion.  Another rule is that the book I choose to read at any given moment is geographically driven.  I have a book that I read at work, one that I read when I am at my fiance's home, one that I have in my bedroom, and one random book that I will read "anywhere else".  Yes, you could call that some kind of OCD issue, but I would prefer you didn't.  Haha.  I already feel odd enough about my reading habits! :)

At this time, here is a look at what I am reading:

On my bedroom nightstand is

At my fiance's house is

At work, I am reading

And the book I am reading at random times and in random places is

And with my personal life being so busy these days (as you can see I am getting ready for a gigantic event in my life), I have not been very good about finishing any of the books that I am currently engaged in reading.  House hunting, house selling, wedding planning, and packing have been dividing my attentions in a way that has not been conducive to my reading agenda.  Please don't read this as much of a complaint.  I am thankful for all of the great things that are happening in my life and a more normal routine will return at some point soon.  But I wonder at how much more enjoyment would be reaped  from my moments of literary escape had I a more focused set of habits. 
Is there anyone else out there who has similar quirks, or even other unorthodox rituals when it comes to reading?  I'd love to hear from you!

Great Stories will be back with another blog this week, so check back with us soon!

Chris (and the Great Stories team)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fresh-Popped Corn #1

Great Stories' new column for our movie trailer preview series is here.  One per month, we will be taking a look at movies released for the upcoming month, and telling our readers where we would be spending our movie dollars each week, based on the look of the trailers.  Links to the chosen trailers will be provided so you can see just what we are so excited about.

April 5th 2013
The first week of April's biggest and most talked about releases are a remake and a re-release, which does not impress too greatly.  First is Tri-Star's re-imagining of the Sam Raimi horror classic, Evil Dead.  Does the trailer look creepy?  Sure. But, it is hard to wipe away the image of Bruce Campbell showing off his chin and his scream king qualities in a role that made him famous.  Moving on, we have Jurassic Park 3-D.  Have to say that this 3-D thing is getting far overdone, and this release just does not offer anything new.  This has shameless cash grab written all over it.  Julianne Moore stars in a horror flick called 6 Souls, which is sure to get the "quick to DVD" treatment as horror fans flock to the aforementioned Evil Dead.  Then there is The Brass Teapot, starring Juno Temple, which features a recently married couple who discover a unique item that gifts them money for all the pain they inflict on themselves.  In an effort to prevent a sudden urge for slef-flaggelation, we shall wait for the DVD release.  And with that, we bring you the Great Stories pick of the week.  It is the Robert Redford/Shia LeBeouf drama, The Company You Keep, which tells the story of a suspected 60's era radical who is sought for a crime committed years before and his efforts to clear his name.  Check out the trailer below, which caught our attention!

April 12th 2013
The second week of April sees the release of the much-anticpiated Jackie Robinson story, 42, starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford!  After that, we suffer through Scary Movie V, which by all rights should have just quit after the first two.  Disconnect, which stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, and an ensemble cast about the struggles of people in a modern information age society where technology exacerbates their issues and failings as people looks interesting.  It's a Disaster is a comedy starring Julia Stiles which we predict will be dead on arrival in terms of comedic delivery.  And finally, there is Ben Affleck following the brilliant Argos, with the artsy romance of To the Wonder.  Great Stories is going to go with 42, which combines a sociological history lesson with America's past time in what sincerely looks to be a fine sports drama (with Harrison ford, no less!).

April 19th 2013
Oblivion with Tom Cruise is the big budget release of the week and looks promising with Morgan Freeman in support.  The sci-fi actioner is looking to help Cruise rebound from the sluggish ticket sales of his last effort, Jack Racher.  Home Run gives us another baseball themed drama, with Scot Elrod playing the role of superstar Cory Brand, whose bad boy antics get him suspended from his team and he goes home to find redemption coaching a Little League team.  Kon-Tiki is the true story of a 1947 expedition from Peru across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft by a small team of Norwegians who are out to prove that Polynesia was settled by similarly sea-faring South Americans.  Rob Zombie returns his directorial talents to the big screen with the much-anticipated Lords of Salem, which tells the story of a modern day coven terrorizing Salem, Massachusetts.  As much as we are excited to see the Massachusetts-based horror effort, we were stunned by the beauty of the cinematography for the Kon Tiki trailer, and it looks like just the kind of movie you would want to see on the big screen!  Check out the trailer!

April 26th 2013
Pain & Gain is the new Michael Bay produced off-beat actioner starring Mark Walhlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as two body builders setting out to make something of themselves and end up caught in a kidnapping/extortion plot.  The Big Wedding brings Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and more together, as a very religious and traditional family are set to join in union with a family that boasts the opposite values.  Laughter ensues.  Dennis Quaid stars as a family farm owner whose son (played by Zac Effron) forgoes the family trade to become a race car driver in At Any PriceFilly Brown tells the story of a talented urban writer who forges ahead to make a name for herself amidst the chaos of a broken family by becoming a hip hop artist.  Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children tells the story of two children born within moments of India's newly gained independence from the British Empire in what looks to be a gripping drama.  Colin Firth plays a man who changes his identity to start a new life when he meets a thief (Emily Blunt) who is similarly trying to escape her own past in Arthur Freeman.  But the winner for us in the final week of April looks to be Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey as a fugitive living in the woods who forms a friendship with two boys who help him evade the bounty hunters looking for him while he seeks to be reunited with his true love.  After seeing the trailer, this could be the role that re-establishes McConaughey as a big name in Hollywood, especially after some great buzz at Cannes!

Thanks for checking out Great Stories movie picks for April, and we welcome your thoughts on what has you excited to visit the theaters this month!

Chris (for the Great Stories team)