Star Wars “The Force Awakens” Teaser Trailer

 

Forget Kim Kardashian’s butt breaking the internet. Star Wars mania has officially arrived. (Was it ever really gone?) The first shots of the new film hit the internets this morning at 7:15a (PST). Initially I couldn’t get the iTunes Trailer page to load (go figure) but found it on the official Star Wars YouTube page. And after watching it about 50 times, I’m excited.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

– JJ Abrams promised us 88 seconds of footage, but minus all the black transitions, the 11 seconds of sand-nothing at the beginning and titles at the end, we’ve only got about 42 seconds of actual movie footage. Which also works out to 2163 frames. Remove the ratings logo, the empty sand wasteland from the beginning, the black transitions, and the end titles we’re left with 670 frames of actual new stuff. Stormtrooper guy at the beginning got 100, chick on fudgecicle speeder got 73. X-Wing Pilot 26. Creepy guy in the woods, 136.

– No shots of anything actually happening in the “stars” (space)

– We saw things we already knew about, either by leaks or “leaks” (Falcon, the villain, trooper helmets, actors)

– Right off the bat we are reminded that there are also non-white-male characters in this movie. (there was a big deal made of that after the first photo of the cast was released)

– Dear god, please don’t let the volleyball droid be the “comic relief” in this movie.

This Ship
– I also noticed that THIS ship is in a few of the concept art images that are up over at Nuke The Fridge. The Fudgecicle speeder and stormtrooper designs are also holding true to the concept images:

Possible spoiler concept images:
http://nukethefridge.com/…/huge-collection-leaked-star-war…/

Those aren’t complaints, by the way. I can’t wait to see what the next trailer looks like!

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 1.19.22 AM

Transformers: Age of Extinction wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t in the mood for any kind of thinkin’ movies, and this one def’ isn’t that. It was fun and full of eye candy and explosions and more explosions and carnage and explosions. Don’t forget the slow mo close-up of a girl w the sun setting behind her. But they did a better job on the Transformers’ faces this time. Like, you know, they had them. The story was fine, we got some new characters, some old, of course Optimus Prime is front and center, but the Dinobots didn’t show up until almost the end.

I always get the feeling, watching these movies, that someone was only just “aware” of the original Transformers. There will be a name or car or ship that’s from the originals but it’s just not quite right. It’s like someone just saw a couple clips from the old shows and went “Yeah, put that in there.. I dunno.. I heard someone was called Prowl, I guess? Use that for one of the guys, I don’t care if he’s good or bad, whatever.” I’m not asking for a lot here, just get the characters and what they turn into right.

So am I recommending this movie after all that? Sure. If you want a good, fun, shiny movie to watch, it’s that. Just make sure you go to the bathroom ahead of time because, yes, it IS almost three hours long. I think if you get there just as the movie is starting, it’s fine. The nonstop action keeps things moving along. But throw in the 20 mins of previews and whatever commercials before that (depending how early you get there), it does start to seem like you’ve been in your seat forever. It could have been chopped down a little, because let’s face it, we don’t really need three hours of Michael Bay in any one sitting.

‘Batman: Attack on Arkham’ Official Trailer

Just as “Son of Batman” hits the public, DC is hard at work on the next animated Batman feature film.

The movie, entitled “Batman: Attack on Arkham” doesn’t have a release date as of yet, but the trailer will be included on the DVD combo pack of “Son of Batman.”

Here’s a first look at “Batman: Attack on Arkham,” with all your favorite baddies, including the Joker, Harley and more.

“Son of Batman,” the landmark 20th film in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, is now available via Digital HD. The Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD will arrive May 6, 2014 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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Michael Bay Brings “The Last Ship” to TNT

This summer, TNT is going to take viewers on an action-packed ride with the exciting new drama series The Last Ship, starring Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy) and executive-produced by blockbuster filmmaker Michael Bay (Transformers).The Last Ship opens with a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan Jamesavoids falling victim to the devastating tragedy. But now, Captain Tom Chandler (Dane) and his crew must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors. Rhona Mitra (Strike Back) plays Rachel Scott, a strong-willed, intelligent and fearless paleomicrobiologist assigned to the ship. Adam Baldwin (FireflyChuck) is XO Mike Slattery, a former homicide detective and Chandler’s second-in-command. Also starring in The Last Ship are Travis Van Winkle (Heart of Dixie), Charles Parnell(Pariah), Christina Elmore (Fruitvale Station),Sam Spruell (Snow White and The Huntsman) and Marissa Neitling(Leverage). Based on William Brinkley’s popular novel, The Last Ship comes to TNT from Bay’s Platinum Dunes and its partners, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, whose credits include the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bay, Fuller and Form serve as executive producers, along with showrunner Hank Steinberg (Without a Trace, The Nine), Steven Kane (The Closer) and director Jack Bender (Lost). Steinberg and Kane wrote the series pilot, which was directed by Jonathan Mostow(U-571).

 

Optoma Pico-Projector at The Gadget Show

Optoma specialise in digital projectors with a range going from personal pico-projectors all the way up to professional stacking projectors for large-scale installations. Here at The Gadget Show, Optoma were showing off their  ML750, an ultra-compact LED projector about 12 cm square and 4 cm deep. The picture below doesn’t get over how small the unit is.

Optoma ML-750 Projector

James from Optoma runs through the features of the ML750, which with the addition of a small wireless dongle (the little white object in the top left of the photo) allows presentation and streaming directly from the tablets and smartphones over wi-fi to the projector. The feature works with both Apple and Android devices using a downloadable app.

The native resolution is 1280×800 but will show 720p and 1080i video sources. It’ll even do 3D with additional active shutter glasses, though I’m not sure anyone is interested anymore. Still, the feature’s there.

I’m not a big projector expert, but at the event the ML750 was showing a series of film clips and it was very watchable. Obviously nothing like an HD monitor but for a portable device showing a 32″ display, it was impressive.

Available online for GB£400.

Kingston Wi-Drive Review

Kingston Technology LogoIn the final review of this series on Kingston storage solutions for smartphones and tablets, I’ll be putting the Wi-Drive portable wireless storage through its paces. We’ve already seen the DataTraveler microDuo and the MobileLite Wireless so what’s the Wi-Drive’s niche? It’s definitely the most stylish; let’s take a look.

Wi-Drive in Box

The Wi-Drive is a slim shiny unit that’s very similar to some of the 2.5″ external hard drives that are on the market. It’s very pocketable at around 12 x 6 x 1 cm and it feels just right in the hand – not too heavy, not too light. At the bottom centre, there’s a miniUSB (not microUSB) port for connecting the Wi-Drive to a PC and for charging. On the side, there’s an on/off button that lights up green when on, turns to orange when the battery is getting low, before going red when it’s just about to die. Finally, on the top surface are two blue LEDs that display WiFi and Internet connectivity status. It’s all very sleek.

WiDrive

Connecting the Wi-Drive to a PC is the easiest way to load the drive with media and as usual, it’s simple drag’n’drop once attached with the supplied USB2 to miniUSB cable. It’s only USB2, which probably isn’t a serious handicap – I think most people will upload movies and music occasionally for more frequent wireless use.

The Wi-Drive works very similarly to the MobileLite Wireless. Turn it on, and the Wi-Drive becomes a wireless access point. Connect to the wireless network with your tablet or smartphone and then use the Wi-Drive app to access files and media on the Wi-Drive.  As with the MobileLite Wireless, the Wi-Drive can itself then connect to another wireless network so that connectivity to the Internet is maintained. However, unlike the MobileLite Wireless, I did have a problems connecting to other wireless networks – I couldn’t get a successful bridge connection to either a Sagemcom F@ST2504n or a Netgear WNR2200 router. I did successfully connect through to a Huawei E586.

The Wi-Drive app is available for Apple, Amazon and Android devices and I tested it on a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ tablet, a Nexus 10 tablet and a Nexus 4 smartphone. Frankly, the Wi-Drive app is disappointing – it’s like an early beta of the version that was finally deployed with the MobileLite Wireless. While app broadly works and is stable, the user interface is dated, the photo thumbnails are miniscule, the music player is clunky and there’s no use of a tablet’s larger screen. Here are a few screenshots to illustrate my point.

Wi-Drive browser Thumbnails

Music Player Wi-Drive Web Interface

Handily, there is also a web interface for both configuration and for accessing the media, which is great for PCs and Chromebooks; you can see this in the bottom right screenshot. The IP address is always 192.168.200.254 so it’s easily bookmarked.

On the positive side, video playback is smooth and glitch-free, and looked great on the tablets and as with the MobileLite Wireless  you can stream to three devices simultaneously. In terms of video playback, I felt that the Wi-Drive had the edge over the MobileLite Wireless as the latter occasionally stuttered. Battery life was also good: Kingston’s specs for the Wi-Drive say four hours but I was able to get about 10 minutes more with continuous video playback before the Wi-Drive died.

That covers the main areas of the Wi-Drive and to summarise, the Wi-Drive is good-looking and convenient device which is let down in a couple of areas, particularly by the Wi-Drive app. To me, it’s still a beta product that needs the last few bugs ironed out. The 32GB version is available for a little over GB £40 and expect to pay around £70 for the 64GB one.

Looking at all three Kingston storage devices, what are the pros and cons? For a single user with an Android smartphone or tablet that supports OTG, the microDuo is hard to beat as you get lots of storage for not very much money, though it’s going to stick out the side. The MobileLite Wireless will suit those who use SD cards or USB memory sticks as it’s a useful all-round tool for removable storage and although I wasn’t able to test with Apple devices I imagine this might be particularly handy for those owners. Finally, the Wi-Drive is the most stylish and a better choice where children are involved as there’s nothing small to lose or forget. Just get it fixed, Kingston, as it could be great.

Thanks to Kingston for all the review units.

Orca Gear to Launch at NAB

Orca LogoPro gear and accessory firm Orca has announced that their official launch will take place at the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas on 7 April.

With over 30 years’ experience in the film industry, Orca’s research and development team has created a top-flight range of gear bags and accessories. The team produced the entire Orca line specifically for the audio-visual industry, designing a range of smart bags and accessories, carefully crafted to carry and protect video, lighting and sound equipment.

Integrating with their new Trolley System, Orca’s designs include the Audio Bag, Shoulder Video Bag, Light Case, and Backpack, incorporating aluminium frames and multiple access points for both protection and convenience. Additional offerings will include the Rain Cover and LCD Hood, and the full product line will be on show at NAB.

Band Pro Film & Digital have confirmed that they will carry the range following Orca’s NAB launch. Amnon Band, Band Pro’s President and CEO, remarked: “These are the best bags I’ve seen in a long time.  We’ve always prided ourselves on carrying nothing but the best, and that’s what Orca products are.  I’m really impressed with their entire product line.”

Drop in with Orca at the Band Pro Film & Digital’s booth #C10408

Kingston MobileLite Wireless Review

Kingston Technology LogoLast week I reviewed Kingston’s microDuo which is a great solution if your smartphone or tablet supports OTG. Unfortunately, many devices don’t and if yours falls into this category, Kingston can still help you with both the MobileLite Wireless and the Wi-Drive. In this review, I’ll be checking out the MobileLite Wireless and will follow up with the Wi-Drive later in the week.

Kingston MobileLite Wireless Box

The Kingston MobileLite Wireless  is described as “Reader – Media Streamer – Charger” and combines a USB reader, SD card reader, media streamer and USB charger all in one. Sounds impressive, so let’s take a look.

Kingston MobileLite Wireless Left Side

As you’ll see from the picture, the MobileLite is a small rectangular unit, around 12.5 x 6 x 1.6 cm. It weighs 98g and it feels a little lighter than it should. On one end is the SD card slot and on the other two USB sockets; one USB2 and the other microUSB. There’s a power button on the side and couple of indicator LEDs on the top. As well as the instructions, a USB-to-microUSB cable and a microSD-to-SD card adaptor is included in the box.

Kingston MobileLite Wireless Right Side

Taking each of the MobileLite Wireless features in turn and starting with “Reader”, the MobileLite can act as an SD card and USB reader. Simply connect the supplied cable from your PC’s USB port to the microUSB port on the device and two new drive letters or storage locations will appear on the desktop. Drag’n’drop, view photos, play movies, all the usual activities, no problem. Obviously it’s only USB2 but right now, that’s no big deal.

Moving to the “Charger” feature, swap over the cable so that the USB connector is plugged into the MobileLite Wireless and the other end into your smartphone or other power-sapping device. The battery is only 1800 mAh, so there’s really only one full charge of a smartphone in there.

Finally, it’s time for the “Media Streamer” feature, which lets up to three devices stream movies and other content from the MobileLite Wireless over WiFi. Which it does. Here’s Todd and the GNC show on three devices, all streaming from the one MobileLite Wireless.

Streaming To Three Devices

The tablets and smartphones have to load a Kingston app to access the media, but the app is available from Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Amazon’s Appstore.  The inclusion of Amazon is great as it means I can use the MobileLite Wireless with the Kindle Fire HDX – it’s the middle tablet in the shot above. However, the app is fairly basic and largely limited to navigating the folder hierarchy, selecting different content types, viewing and playing content plus operations such as email, copy and delete. It’s designed for smartphones rather than tablets so doesn’t take advantage of the larger screen real estate. Definitely room for improvement here. The app does have a couple of introductory pages to operative the MobileLite Wireless which have a cool hand-drawn feel to them.

App FIle Manager

The MobileLite Wireless also presents a web interface which can be used by PCs and Chromebooks to access the same files, though I didn’t seem to be able to upload content. The web interface has additional tools to adjust the wireless settings for greater security. One cool feature is that you can add the MobileLite Wireless to your main WiFi network and once connected up will pass on any requests onto the Internet, so you can browse the internet at the same time as listening to music coming from the MobileLite Wireless.

Wireless Settings

Battery life is “up to 5 hours of continuous use” and I managed a little under four hours playing a film continuously. Your mileage may vary but it’s enough to watch a couple of films.

In summing up, the MobileLite Wireless is a handy little device that I feel will appeal to those who frequently use SD cards and other removable storage. Obviously it would be great for photographers who want to review material on a larger screen but it’s also handy if you need to transfer material to a smartphone or tablet from a USB memory stick as outside of the Windows ecosystem, few tablets have full size USB ports. It certainly works well for streaming video and music too, but Kingston’s Wi-Drive might be a better solution for those who simply don’t have much space on their smartphone or tablet. The negatives are that the app could do with a refresh and a bigger battery would make the charger more effective, but other than that, there’s little to complain about.

The MobileLite Wireless is available on-line for around £35.

Thanks to Kingston for the review unit.

 

‘Robocop’ packs action but lacks original luster

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POSSIBLE (minor) SPOILERS:

For months and months I moaned and groaned about the new Robocop movie and how bad it was probably going to be, and how they should just throw a “4” on the end of the title and send it right to DVD. When the first trailers were released, I started to think maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. Robocop day finally arrived yesterday and I have to say, it was exactly what I expected. Not great, but not terrible. I originally did not like the casting choice of Joel Kinnaman as Murphy/Robocop, even though I really liked him in “The Killing.” He felt a little too “street” to me for the role of goody cop Alex Murphy, but this was a new, updated cop story. While he’s human cop Murphy, he basically plays the same character as he does on “The Killing.” We don’t see him much as regular human cop Murphy, however, so that’s good. I really liked the silver Robocop suit, as it was very very similar to the original, and very sleek. The black suit is worn during his tactical Omnicorp moments of the movie. Without giving too much away, if Robocop 2 happens, we will probably see a lot more of the silver suit. That’s a plus. In the end, it’s full of action – PG 13 action with stellar performances by Gary Oldman, Sam Jackson, Michael Keaton, Michael K White (who is the new male, black, version of Anne Lewis) and even Kinnaman. Yeah, his version of Robocop didn’t bother me much at all by the end of the movie. They kept a lot of little things, like the way shots were set up, the music, and a mention of NOT buying something for a dollar.

But the reboot was lacking. Lacking the character the original had. Lacking the dog-eat-dog corporate battling that the original had. No Dick Jones vs Bob Morton. Maybe that kind of corporate ladder-climbing was more of an 80’s thing, like the famous Bob Morton coke party, which was also absent from this version. There was no “clever rape scene” (for lack of a better phrase), and most importantly – no diabolically memorable bad guy, like Clarence Boddicker. The bad guys are just kinda.. there to fill a role in this story, which is a little flimsy anyway. Another important absent aspect, was the close relationship Murphy had with his partner in the original.

If you’re looking for the original, this isn’t it, but it’s not too far away. What I’m actually a lot more excited to see, is where they go in sequels, because let’s face it, the original Robocop 2 and 3 didn’t set a real high bar.

If we were rating things by stars, I’d give it a 3 out of 5.