REVIEW — X-Men: Days of Future Past

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This is the XMEN movie that we have waited for since X2. Wiped away is the taint that was XMEN Last Stand. Instead we get a much more emotional tale of superior quality that sees two great ensemble casts work together as one. What makes X-Men DOFP so good is the duality of timelines that are created the by the Days of Future Past story from the comics written originally by Chris Claremont. Now I am sure the really finicky internet forum fanboys will have their superhero underoos in a bind because of the changes to the source material. Their loss. The rest of us will be delighted watching Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine claw his way through 1973. We will get nerd sweats watching McAvoy and Fassbender portray the iconic Xavier and Magneto again. These two scene stealers are dynamite, particularly in scenes they share.  You will awe at the epic scale of the action, because Bryan Singer composes carefully thought out battles that are brought to life with some awesome special effects.  Again the two different timelines allowed for a larger ensemble that felt none to crowded and no mutant felt unnecessary which is criticism I had about past X-Men properties like Origins:Wolverine and X3. One mutant in particular, however, will stand out: Quicksilver. This film is a MARVELous return to it’s once former glory if not the best X-Movie yet, XMEN DOFP is a great summer movie and it is easy to say that I will be watching this one again and again in the Days of my Future Past. 9.1/10

Robocop Reviewed

The new Robocop is very much it’s own movie that at times felt drastically different from the original yet payed remarkable homage to its source material. It ignites on a much more emotional cylinder and it’s cool to see what Robocop would be like as envisioned by the actual 21st century of today and not the 80s vision when dial-up modems were cutting edge. It set out to be a reimagined version of the original and it was exactly that. The veteran actors in it are fantastic. Samuel L Jackson always delight and it’s great to Michael Keaton working again. The guy who played Alex Murphy himself was all well and good but clear upstaged by the rest of the ensemble and outshined by suit itself. While Robocop won’t be walking the red carpet at the Oscars for any awards it will certainly satisfy your craving for a good, knowingly mindless, action sci-fi romp. And isn’t that what we truly want most of the time anyways?

The 3rd Hobbit Film Goes All “Five Armies”

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In a surprise move Peter Jackson and his gang of movie-making hobbits have changed the name of the third and final act of their epic, albeit not as critically acclaimed, trilogy. What was once intended to be entitled “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” will now be known as “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”.

This name draws direct attention to what becomes the final climactic clash in Tolkein’s book that the trilogy was based on. Personally I think this name change is fantastic and really let’s the world know what they are getting into when they buy tickets for this Holiday must-see. This name implies that we are in for a Helm’s Deep level of awesomeness, whereas, “There and Back Again” could imply to the casual movie-goer that we are just out for a leisurely Middle-Earth stroll.

Peter Jackson confirmed their reasoning behind this 11th hour name change in an official statement:

“Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived ‘there’ in the ‘Desolation of Smaug’.

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate. And so: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, ‘There and Back Again’ encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.

And there’s also The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Cut, which we’re in the process of finishing, with over 25 mins of new scenes, all scored with original music composed by Howard Shore.”

Nintendo Game Boy Turns 25 Today…Whoa…I’m Old.

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Yes, 25 years ago we saw the true beginning of mobile gaming come to life. All at once people around the world were introduced to a little puzzle game called Tetris and the world has never been the same.

I remember quite vividly the day I got my first Game Boy. It was my 9th birthday. I was never the same. I do not think at the time my parents may have fully realized what they had done. Being able to take my love of Nintendo any where I want seemed light years ahead of its time. Car trips were awesome because I was at full liberty to play and play…until my 4 AA batteries burned out. 

Fast forward 25 years and now we have mobile gaming coming out of our ears. Think about it for a moment. If it is a device that has screen and is portable odds are it plays a game on it in one form or another. Even the old Nokia call phones had Snake on them!

How about you? What was your earliest mobile gaming memory?

Nike Shuts Down Fuelbands

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Nike announced on Friday that they are taking a bold step in the direction of their FuelBand line but not in the direction that most of us would have expected. They are reportedly firing the 70 person Nike FuelBand team and shutting down the production of the FuelBand. This decision seems to have caught a large majority of its wearers by surprise (myself included) considering the popularity of the device. It shares a flooded marketplace with other Tech Wearables like the Up by Jawbone and the Shine; but Nike hands-down was the top contender in this arena. In fact, it could be argued that Nike has probably the created the most successful piece of wearable technology to date. The FuelBand looks great with its minimal design, it was hip, worked easily, made for a great watch, and it offers an amazing suite of socially fueled apps. So this begs the question, “Then why shut down FuelBands?” And the truth is, in my opinion, that Nike can see the writing on the wall. It comes down to what the future in wearable technology holds.

Smartwatches are coming, my friends, and they are coming fast. Samsung is throwing out sub-par smartwatches with interactive displays just so they can say they were the first. Motorola is in development of a smartwatch amongst others, and how can we forget the forever speculated iWatch from Apple. Based on what we know, everything that makes these watches so amazing is that not only do they tell time and interact with your phone, but they do everything that the FuelBand can do. IWatch or no, Apple intends to enter this foray because they have long been developing and showcasing with minimal secrecy the Healthbook app.

Healthbook is coming.

So with all of this new health tracking tech wizardry becoming the new standard Nike was quick to realize, that as a gadget manufacturer, they stood absolutely no chance. Within the next fiscal year their Nike FuelBand is about to look as archaic as an iPod next to a portable CD Player.

But Nike isn’t closing up shop entirely. They may have surrendered in the hardware battle, however, they still have an amazing advantage in the software game. All of this wearable health tech still needs software to interact with the hardware and Nike has created some really fantastic apps that play really well with social media. Not to mention, all of their FuelBand Wearers of today are still committed to their Nike progress. Think of all those Nike FuelPoints they’ve earned! No one wants to throw those away! So now it stands to reason that Nike wants to be the number one piece of software that all these wearables will use. They want to be the king of your health-tech! Microsoft didn’t build hardware. They built a massive empire by simply being the software standard we all used. The OS on every cell phone was a mess until iOS on the iPhone. Then later Android became the new standard for ALL of the other hardware manufacturers. You can’t find a mobile device out there these days that isn’t running iOS or some form of Android.

So Nike decided to let everyone else build the hardware and watch everyone else come to them for app integration. While I am shocked and saddened to see the shut down, it is actually a stroke of genius. Nike is pulling up stakes at the perfect time. No extra money wasted by trying to fight a war they cannot win. Shareholders will be happy and all of us will be happy that all of those precious FuelPoints we’ve sweated so hard for will follow us to our next piece of wearable technology.

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below!