Monthly Archives: May 2013

 

“Now You See Me” stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.  I described this movie to my brother before I went to see it as looking “kinda like Ocean’s Eleven with magic.”  I walked out of the theater with exactly the same impression.  I enjoyed it, but there isn’t much to review.  The characters are shallow, there is decent dialog, there is misdirection, there are heists.  It is “kinda like Ocean’s Eleven with magic.”  I had fully intended to write a comprehensive review, but there is no need.  If you are a fan of the Ocean’s movies, you will enjoy this.  Done.

 

Ticket Price: $10.75 Adult (courtesy of MoviePass)

Trailers: The Lone Ranger, Rush, Prisoners, Carrie, The Heat, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Red 2

 

*I had a nice pretty logo up, but then realized that I was violating the Terms of Service by posting it without their written consent!  Zoinks!

 

MoviePass is a subcription service that allows you to watch theatrical releases for one, relatively low, monthly fee.  Sign up for your membership, wait for your card to arrive in the mail and download the app for your smartphone.  The app will ask you to verify that you received your card, and when you have, you are off and running.  Go to the theater, check in to the movie and showing of your choice and then use your card to pay for the ticket at the kiosk.  Easier than it sounds.  But wait, there’s more!

There’s something that most people should know about MoviePass:  It’s probably not for you.  That being the case, I will tell you the potential pitfalls first and then lead into what’s great about it.

Let’s begin by reviewing the Terms of Service.  It is pretty restrictive and will leave you feeling as though they could come and take away any pets and/or children that you have if you violate the rules.  On top of that, they had to put in a lot of boundaries, due to how the service works.  No 3D movies, no IMAX, no seeing more than one movie per day, no seeing the same movie twice.  If you didn’t look closely, you would probably think that you could see a movie every single day.  The Terms will not make that easy on you.  Know what you are signing!

The subscription is $34.99/month, but you are agreeing to a year contract when you sign up, complete with scaled cancellation fees.  Your subscription is also limited to participating theaters, so make sure they work for you!

The process of buying your ticket is also inherently restrictive.  You must check in to the theater, movie and showing of your desired film using the smartphone app in order for your card to be credited the amount of the ticket.  Once your location is verified and the card is credited, you have 30 minutes to complete the transaction at the kiosk.  This means that, unless the kiosk happens to be selling advance tickets, you will only be able to buy a ticket for that day.  You can probably forget trying to see midnight openings and opening weekend showings for the big releases.

If that hasn’t scared you off, let me tell you the good stuff!  This subscription is for the movie lover that doesn’t care too much about the glitz and glamour of 3D and IMAX.  This is for the viewer that is looking for an excuse to see movies that they normally wouldn’t drop their hard-earned money on.  This is for a person who finds themselves with a few hours here and there throughout the week that they wouldn’t mind spending in the cool, dark comfort of a movie theater.  With the proper mindset, the service can be an incredible value, but potential subscribers will need to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

I will be writing mini-reviews for the movies I see, complete with ticket price and trailers.

P.S.  A word of advice:  If you want to get the most out of your MoviePass, look beyond your closest or favorite theater.  Some theaters hold onto movies longer than others or have access to films that others do not.  While browsing through the list of theaters on my phone, I noticed that one of the participating theaters showed second run movies.  This is a good way to go and see the cheap movies as well as the newest available.

*I signed up for the Regal Crown Club today.  I will post how well this works with the MoviePass service.

*This service is fully compatible with the Crown Club free membership.  I am now happily earning Regal rewards.

Credit CNET

 

Short, but sweet!  Microsoft did what they needed to do today.  They showed the system, kept the spec talk to a minimum and showed what you can expect when you upgrade to the new system.  In short, it’s everything they do well now, done better.  Here is a recap:

The Reveal:  Don Mattrick started off the show with a “Previously On” type video showing past accomplishments within the Xbox division, followed immediately by the reveal of the system.  They took peoples’ biggest problem with the Sony announcement and delivered an actual system, beautifully styled and elegant.  The system and the separate, but included, Kinect camera have a blend of black matte and gloss finishes and a blocky, industrial design.  The controller design remains largely the same as the existing 360 controller, which is no surprise, as it is considered by many to be the best controller ever made.

 

Credit CNET

 

The Kinect showcase:  Simply saying the phrase “Xbox on” will turn on your system, your display and associated components to take you directly into your personal dashboard.  The Xbox One will recognize each users’ voice and deliver their content, from games, to live TV, to music and more.  This is mostly an expected evolution of the current technology, but I am very curious about how it will turn on my television and amp through voice control.  Hopefully they will talk more about this at E3, as this won’t be that easy of a promise to keep.  Motion control has been similarly upgraded.  The camera was very responsive to both commands and gestures, with none of the latency that can annoy current users.  There was also a quick mention of Kinect being able to read your heart rate during exercise.  Interesting…

 

Credit: Venture Beat

The Dashboard:  This seems to have gotten the lion’s share of the improvements, with app multi-tasking and lightning fast switching.  You can bring up a secondary app in a side bar that occupies roughly 1/5 of the screen.  Examples shown were Explorer and Skype each brought up while a movie or live TV were taking up the main area.  They also showed off something that will be very interesting to fantasy sports fans, where you will get pop up updates to your fantasy scores during live games, keeping you updated without having to check a secondary device.  The system has an integrated guide for live TV that keeps track of your favorites and shows you what is trending up to the minute within the Xbox Live community.

Credit: Engadget

 

The Hardware and Architecture:  I don’t suppose I need to write much about the hardware specs.  The slide I included below pretty well lets you know what’s what.  The news here is that the Xbox One is running three separate operating systems that work in concert to provide the impressive response and switching between applications that was demonstrated during the show.  One operating system is dedicated to gaming, one is a Windows kernal and the third acts as a translating and coordinating system for a fast, smooth and seemingly irritation-free experience.  The cloud and gaming servers are also getting supercharged, both in functionality and number, to provide such user benefits as increased number of players in games, persistent world gaming and game DVR with editing and sharing.

 

Credit: Ripten

 

The Exclusives and Partnerships:  Microsoft Studios is currently working on or publishing 15 exclusives, including 8 new IP’s, including Remedy’s Quantum Break and their own Forza Motorsport 5.  There are also extensions of existing exclusivity deals with Call of Duty that puts DLC out first on Xbox for a limited time.

The Xbox Entertainment Studios has a Halo television series being produced by Stephen Spielberg that will be a flagship title for their scripted offerings.  The NFL also signed deals with Microsoft to offer special content in the form of fantasy football integration and other interactive content.  There seems to be a similar deal with ESPN and UFC that would be a natural progression from what we see on the current system with their respective apps.

 

Credit: Game Informer

 

The Wrapup:  What can I really say here?  It looks great.  I expected it to look great.  Will it be a day one purchase for me?  That is hard to say.  I mostly use my existing 360 to stream Netflix and other shows through my home network.  Sure, it would be nice to do that with no delays, but that alone probably wouldn’t justify the expenditure.  There is much to learn before the launch this fall, so it’s entirely possible that they will win me over before then!

pgl-2011-blog

Geoff and Jordan talk about Marvel, Xbox Infinity, upcoming SNL departures and the rest of the week in entertainment.  The music in the audio program is “Posse” by Kimbra.

*We lost video this week, but the show is available on Zune Marketplace in all it’s edited audio glory!