Why I Could Miss “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

SW-THE-FORCE-AWAKENSOkay, I think that we all know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is coming this week. I suppose this is the landmark movie release of the year, and it will make a whole lot of money.

To me, I don’t know if I wanted it. I’ve probably said this before a year ago, and if I missed it, I’m not certain if I would be too upset. Granted, it won’t look as good on the little screen as on the big screen, and if it is in 3D, that would be kind of cool too.

The issue is it shows how big Star Wars is as a franchise. The original trilogy were all landmark films, and it was something that audiences had never seen before. The original Star Wars was epic science fiction like nothing before, The Empire Strikes Back took the story to another level but to a darker degree, and Return of the Jedi put a big cherry on top of it. In fact, it was such great closure, that you didn’t need more. When the prequel movies came out, everyone was excited because we were going to see Star Wars movies again. Not only that, these prequel movies were canon, making the story great again with a large six-part story.

Yeah, those first three parts were good, but just not great. When I think Star Wars, I don’t really consider these prequel movies as part of the greatness. I think of them as derivative of the greatness. I cannot imagine that another Star Wars film could be great, and so my expectations are so low because I know the original films can’t be topped.

So here is the thing, I’ll probably see Star Wars: The Force Awakens because I’m curious. I don’t trust J.J. Abrams as a filmmaker, because the man has made shows like Lost and Fringe that started good, and then go nowhere. This is the man who can make some only decent Star Trek films, so how can he revive Star Wars to what it once was.

Apple Watch can work with a GoPro, will Apple buy GoPro?

GoPro HeroThere is a new Apple Watch compatibility application that allows the watch to control GoPros. That’s right, imagine controlling one of those cool cameras that everyone has to have.

This application will allow GoPro users to record videos, preview shots, and adding “HiLight” bookmarks. This has allows a lot of videos to show up on YouTube done with Apple Watches.

You want to hear some more interesting news? As it turns out, it is rumored that Apple is going to acquire GoPro. Now, Apple hasn’t made any formal announcement of this, and this could be a rumor just to get GoPro’s stock price to go up.

Hello rumors! I’ve never heard of Apple buying something like this, but whatever. So, this might not have any bearing, but hey, you realize that I report on news that could happen, not necessarily about what will happen or has happened.

Source 1 and Source 2

The “Orange and Teal” Effect on Most Movies

Orange and TealI was visiting a friend the other day, and we were having a conversation about current movies and TV, and he discussed how upset he was at the “Orange and Teal” effect on the show Gotham. I don’t watch Gotham, because I usually don’t watch Batman shows that don’t have Batman in them. My friend warned me about having my eyes open to “Orange and Teal”, and I can see why.

See those movie posters there? Why do you think that the dominant colors are orange and teal? Part of it is because that orange is a color that stands out, and a lot of people say that this trend began with the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou. I would recommend this film, as it has a sepia tone look to it to creates something that was unique for the time. Nowadays, most films are done digitally, and it is easy to hit a few keys to create the sepia tones with orange on them.

It is also easy to make shadows darker through digital processing as well. This is why a lot of films come out looking kind of bluish. As a result of this blue look, the orange objects, like people, tend to stand out all the more.

As a result, this creates a lazy digital processing technique so all films look alike. It is even planned to have orange and teal objects, which means that it is just easier to do that rather than giving your film a unique color look.

Personally, I don’t like this effect, because I enjoy watching films that have a color effect that is unique. Now, Orange and Teal can work on films like Mad Max: Fury Road, but the biggest culprit of this two-color fad is the Transformers movies. With Bumblebee being orange-ish in color and many background colors were blue.

But hey, everyone on the Internet makes fun of the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Now there is another reason why with this Orange and Teal effect. Let’s hope that this fad passes, and Orange of Teal will just date older films.


Speculative Fiction Saturday: Her

Her MovieThis film is just very interesting, and it is one that honestly doesn’t deserve the “speculative fiction” label. The story is about a man who is very lonely and develops a relationship with an operating system on his computer and smartphone. I believe that I actually talked about this film earlier this week.

Okay, this story, told by Spyke Jonze, a director who has done a lot of experimental films in the past, did a lot of things right in this film, and there is one choice that could have been made differently. This film seems to imply that it takes place in the future, and it is smart enough not to give the exact date. The only thing that looks futuristic is this holographic projection TV, not to mention the vocal operating system.

Personally, I think that with Siri and Google Talk, this story could have taken place today, and maybe this is the point. Her clearly illustrates that human beings are attempting to deal with their inherent loneliness with technology. The sad part is that it could work, but it will take its toll.

So in the film, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a man who works at a place called BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, and if you enter that in on your computer now, it will direct you to a website about Her the movie. In the film, this company will write a handwritten letter for you, because apparently there is a market for that in the future. Is this supposed to be some commentary on how traditional handwriting letter has died in an age of technology? I think so, and again, this is also the point.

What is interesting is who Theodore lives in a city that is essentially L.A. (in fact, it says that it is Los Angeles). However, the shots of the city feel bigger than the L.A. that I visited, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they doctored this up. After the film shows Theodore at his job which is essentially writing letters to help people feel less lonely, he goes home and the city looks just empty of humanity. It looks so good and technological, but it feels so devoid of feeling. To make it even more lonely, it is learned that Theodore is going through a separation. Of course, Theodore indulges in online sex, which has negative results.

Once he learns that he can update his Operating System, it is easy for him to just start talking to her after it is revealed that this OS can have a woman’s voice, who calls herself Samantha. Now, this OS can actually do a lot, like get rid of emails, as well as being a good friend.

Now, this film could have gone several different directions. At first I thought that perhaps there was no new OS, and that Theodore is just crazy, hearing a voice in his head. Of course, since the world established that other people have these near-sentient operating systems, that wasn’t true. In fact, it is revealed that some people have developed relationships with their operating systems. In fact, there is one person revealed who has a relationship with someone else’s operating system. So not only are there intelligent operating systems, but they can two-time on their user.

So, here’s the weird thing about this film. I would not support anyone who is having a relationship with their operating system, but with this film, I am kind of rooting for Theodore and Samantha. If it was about having an emotional connection, I would be for this, maybe. Seriously, because if we can connect to our pets, can we not connect with some computer operating system?

The issue is that Theodore and Samantha cannot have physical relationship. I don’t really support premarital sex, and I will have to say that the way Samantha tries to fix this problem is unusual to say the least. Samantha starts a relationship with a woman via messaging named Isabella, and then tells Theodore that this real woman can have sex with him, like some kind of surrogate. Now, no money is exchanged in this setup, but it is weird. Isabella shows up at Theodore’s apartment, but does not speak. Instead, Theodore gives her a wireless earpiece and a camera that looks like a beauty mark. So when Theodore goes to try and have sex with Isabella, he just can’t bring himself to do it. Honestly, I can see his non-motivation, but many males would be all over that kind of relationship.

There are times where I spoil a film because I like to say what I believe that the ending says about the movie, but I don’t think I will that this time. I think that the ending is very good and I think it needs to be experienced.

Our Review of Kung Fu Panda Showdown of Legendary Legends

Kung Fu Panda ShowdownI was quite pleased to try out Little Orbit and Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends. Yes, that redundancy of that tile is deliberate.

I will be honest in saying that I’m not really into brawler games. When I showed Showdown of Legendary Legends to my son, he compared it to Super Smash Brothers. I suppose that is the biggest thing to compare it to, and he isn’t old enough to play Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat X.

Personally, I think I can give this game a good review based on how my kids couldn’t wait to play it. There is something fun about playing this game, even if you are losing. I have to say that these games are all about doing both offensive and defensive moves, and these button-mashers allow for a lot of them.

In fact, there are over twenty characters that can be played like Po, Tigress, Shifu, and there will be even more of them for download after Kung Fu Panda 3 comes out. The only main characters that aren’t playable are Viper and Mantis, but they show up in the game has something you can use to attack your opponent, one of many.

Oh yes, I like this game. The only thing that I wish to see more of is hearing Po and other characters say a little more. Maybe I wouldn’t like it if I kept having to hear Po say “Skadoosh” all the time.

Anyway, it is available on pretty much every console, and the movie Kung Fu Panda 3 comes out next month.

The Smartphone on its way out? A.I. could take its place

20151118_152157Okay, I decided to write about this because it is not an issue that is affecting us now, but it will. I mean, my Source shows that there will be eight billion connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, and other wearables.

So, why have a headline that says “are smartphones dead?” I mean, that’s like saying that televisions are on their way out, because holographic technology, that isn’t really very well-perfected as 2-D displays, because it could. I think we all know that most of the technology that we use will be outdated, and I would imagine that most of us aren’t using a land-line phone, a dot-matrix printer, or black and white TV.

This weekend, I’m going to be writing about the film Her, which talks about a man who begins a relationship with a personal digital assistant. I don’t use my Google voice for much, as I feel like I need the screen. In that film, the main character doesn’t really spend a lot of time looking at a screen, but talking.

I have to admit, taking away the screen would be good as it would force the user to imagine something rather than looking at it all the time. I suppose that we could just have an earpiece, and just tell it everything.

Yeah, I think it is going to be a while before we get to this era. Perhaps we are just going to walk around and the next screen that we see will be a touchscreen.


MokaCam is a GoPro Killer and Everything that Implies

MokaCamGoPro is big. Big, period. Big, exclamation point. This is not a GoPro, but the MokaCam is a “GoPro Killer”. Oh yeah, they said it.

Yeah, this is MokaCam, and it is a 45 x 45 mm with 4K video potential. Yeah, let’s see the GoPro Hero do that! Oh, yeah, it does. There is a battery with magnets so you can stick to metallic surfaces. I don’t think that the GoPro Hero can do that.

The MokaCam is water resistant, and there is some housing that can be purchased in case you want to go fully underwater. There’s a motion detector to make the MokaCam for monitoring your home.

This is an IndieGoGo project, and it should cost $169, which is a small price to pay for killing GoPro.


Samsung and Skybound Entertainment Presents VR movie Gone

Last January, when I attended CES, Samsung was bragging that it was going to bring Milk VR to their Smart TVs, and I had heard that the people who make the The Walking Dead series would be preparing it. It looks like some of this is happening, as there will be Gone.

Gone is an interactive story which is about a daughter who disappears in the daylight. There is a lot of viewing the mystery through different characters, and solve the mystery.

These episodes are broken down into five to six minute chunks that are shot in 360 degrees, which means you will have to be turning your head to find all the clues. There will be a lot of rewatching to solve this story, I’m sure.

I have to admit that I am very interested in watching VR works, because I am not certain how it will go. It really is a new type of medium that is not quite movie and not quite video game. Someone is going to perfect it, and perhaps Gone will be a good start.


Our Review of Lander’s Neve Charging Cable and Powell Cases

PowellI have reported about Lander products before, very recently, in fact. I got a chance to review the Neve Charging Cable and the Powell Case.

I’ll start with the Powell Case. It is pretty good with a Slim Fit, with raised bezel, textured edges, and some stylish ridges. As you can see, the case on the iPhone looks like the bottom of a raft. Too bad that it doesn’t float.

All in all, it is very excellent and non-bulky outdoor inspired phone case, in many colors, for about $34.95. It is also available for the iPhone 6/6S Plus and Galaxy S6 on the Lander site.

Lander NEVEThen there is the Neve cable, and I had a chance to this Lighting charging cable for the Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

The Neve Lightning cable or just about any type of these cables has Illumaweave reflective technology for some quick location in the dark. By the way, it is made of durable nylon, flat, tangle-free design, and it is MFI Certified. It also has some enhancements with Everpull connectors to avoid breakage and rips of place on other cables.

There is a lot of Neve cables at the Lander site for about $29.99, and it not only has Lightning ability, but it is available in micro USB to USB availability as well.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: The Maze Runner

Maze RunnerOkay, this particular film has a particular place in my heart, because I have written a book known as The Labyrinth House that has a…somewhat similar plotline. I’ve already talked about the similarities on another post, and I just don’t think that I want to kill that dead horse all over again.

This is based on a book by James Dashner, and I suppose that this successful book series for young adults was put to the screen for the sake of that Hunger Games/Divergent money. Like Divergent, I’m starting to see formulaic patterns in these young adult dystopian adaptations.

In the case of The Maze Runner, there are some interesting speculative fiction elements that work to the film’s credit. It begins when a boy goes ascends an elevator in and finds himself in a place called “The Glade”. The main character is amnesiac, and all of the boys in this place are too.

Eventually, he remembers his name is Thomas, and he discovers that The Glade is in the center of a maze. This maze has doors on it that close at night, and within this maze are these half organic/half technological constructs called Grievers. Yeah, they kill people.

So, what is up with this film? It is a big mystery, and that is what is supposed to draw the viewer in. Does it? I think so, but I have to admit that the film differs from the book in several ways.

I’ll go ahead and say what I don’t like about this film. The original book was pretty cerebral, as they had to use their brain to find the exit out of the maze. Here they kind of find the exit, and figured something out.

Now, when I read the book, I saw that there were scenes were there would be hallucinogenic flashbacks. I knew that when I would watch the movie, they would do that weird and scatterbrained way they show flashbacks in movies, and they did.

Now, in case you are wondering why in the world these boys (and eventually a girl) are in this big maze? There actually is an answer, but I’m not exactly certain why. It kind of makes sense, but it feels odd to me. I think I will have to see the sequels or read the books to find out why.