Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review - Sharingzone.net

Sharingzone.net is sort of a paid p2p program. It boasts that you can find ANY file and there are practically unlimited high seeds all with TBs of files and unlimited gigabytes of speed.

Sadly, this is not the case. Because if it was the case, I wouldn't be writing this article I would simply be downloading all the rare movies I could think of and selling them on campus! Don't get me wrong, the service is good and is worth the price, in fact it was actually a little better than I thought it would be. However, to the everyday BitTorrent user there really isn't much else offered.

Once in a while you will find that "rare" file that does transfer at about 500/megs per second. I have however achieved this same result on BitComet before for free though. Sharingzone.net does have built in security so if you are a little wary of law enforcement knocking on your door then I suggest you look into this. This is a great way to not get caught downloading illegal files.

If you are an everyday college student or someone security conscience that does not want to end up in jail I would highly recommend this product. However if you are a Torrent and p2p guru then there is really nothing much here...


Overall - 3/5

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home Theater TIPS!

A home theater is a great way for you and your family to enjoy the latest blockbuster movie or video game. The following home theater design tips will help you plan your home theater so that you will get hours of family entertainment and be able to impress your friends and neighbors with the sights and sounds of a first class home theater.

  1. Location: When thinking about home theater design, consider that an ideal location for a dedicated home theater room is a room that is isolated from the rest of the home, such as a basement. You do not want people walking in and out of the room when you are trying to enjoy your favorite movie. It is also important to keep in mind the surrounding rooms. If you share a wall with a neighbor, your new subwoofer that is the pride and joy of your home theater system may shake the pictures off their wall during intense action scenes. Of course if they have a dog that sneaks over into your yard to do his business this may be a good way to get even.
  2. Acoustics - Acoustics are what help determine the sound qualities of your home theater. The goal is to both absorb and reflect your sound. A room with too little reflection would resemble having your theater outside and would be dull and lacking bass. If your home theater design includes too much reflection the sound will echo, resembling an old stone cathedral. The goal is to include sound absorption between the screen and the seating area. This can be in the form of professional sound absorption materials or it could be in the form of drapes, carpet or bookshelves.
  3. Shape of Room - The shape of the room is important for a number of reasons. One reason is for sound quality. Bass and mid range sound can be distorted near the walls and corners. Avoid rooms that are cubic such as 8' x 8' x 8' as well as rooms where 2 of the 3 dimensions of the same. Another consideration is for the room to be as enclosed as possible and not have an open space shared with other rooms.
  4. Size of Room - The amount of available space and intended use of your room will dictate your home theater design. Some people prefer a small intimate setting for their families, while others want their home theaters to feel like the local movie theater and want to use it for entertaining friends. Neither choice is right or wrong. Just keep in mind that the room should be large enough to comfortably place several recliners or sofas. For those that want to imitate the local theater you will want to design the room big enough for several rows of dedicated home theater seating. The distance between the screen and your seating should be 1.5 to 2 times the width of your screen.
  5. Lighting - A home theater with a limited amount of natural lighting is best, especially if you plan on using a projector where it is best to keep the room as dark as possible. Lighting should be placed so that it does not cause a reflection on the screen. Lighting should be soft and comfortable. Keep in mind functional lighting that will allow guests to make it safely to the exits for a bathroom break without having to turn on all the lights.
A home theater that is placed in the right location with the correct attention to sound and lighting will allow you and your family to be immersed in the action.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Review - Satellite TV for PC

I decided to review Satellite TV for PC after remembering one of my friends has been using it in his dorm for quite a while. He always sort of tried to "impress" people by his (back then) 2000+ channels all on his 26 in monitor. Well now that number has ramped up to over 3000+ so I finally decided to see what it is all about for my self.

Well, while my friend really liked the product, I felt it was a little on the "under developed" side. Don't get me wrong it is a good service but for 50 bucks I expected a little better user interface. If UI's arnt your thing though, you should have nothing to worry about with Satellite TV for PC. You get tons of movies and channels for over 70 countries which is really neat to watch when your bored. :)

There is a lot of educational channels very similar to the History Channel in there as well, which I have always used for sort of "background noise" when writing reports or studying just so its not dead quiet. The "premium" channels are here as well(MTV, Discovery, Rapture, etc). Aljazeera TV is also here as well - delivering you pretty crazy and uncensored look into the Iraq war. One of my friends walked in the other day and saw me watching this and just gave me a blank stare and shook his head haha.

If you decide to pull the trigger on this I don't think you will be disappointed at all, it is a very good product I just wished it was a little more polished. Hopefully a release will improve the UI a bit but until then have fun!


Overall 4/5

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wall-E Movie Review

Went out to see the movie Wall-E earlier and decided to put up a review for you guys...

BOTTOM LINE: Pixar have done it again, producing another fantastic, visually stunning computer animated film about a trash-compacting robot with a heart that kids (and adults) will love.

THE GOOD: Pixar Animation Studios has built a reputation for establishing the benchmark of quality for computer animated films; in watching "Wall-E", it's not hard to see why. Much thought and care and has gone in to the character design, story and visuals to create an incredible future world where humans have left Earth because they've turned it into a garbage dump and only trash compacting robot Wall-E is left over, dutifully going around doing his job.

However, he's been doing it for so many centuries that he's developed a heart; he's lonely and yearns for company. His lonely world is changed when a visiting space ship deposits a probe called Eve on Earth. At first, Wall-E is frightened, and almost gets blown to pieces by Eve's arm gun (in a number of amusing scenes, Eve switches from sweet, sleek probe to gun-toting probe out to destroy in a second). Eventually, Wall-E convinces Eve he is no threat and starts to show her around his domain. When Wall-E shows her a plant he found, a series of events take place where the two end up back at the human space ship Axiom where the human race has been living for the past seven hundred years. Now with proof that life can grow on Earth again, the humans can return to Earth but not before the Axiom's autopilot tries to stop them in a fairly funny 2001-esque riff.

The story is quite nice and cute, and the amazing thing is that director Andrew Stanton and his animators successfully convey a 90 minute-long story with virtually no dialogue. In the first half of the film with the two robots, everything is conveyed visually, and this is where the strength of the Pixar animators is on display: the character animation is first rate (as an example, Eve has a sleek, reflective design and throughout the film, even the detail of the reflections of her body is flawlessly rendered), the visuals on the wasteland of Earth are absolutely stunning (you'd think they were really filmed), and the sound is perfectly captured in the audio track. Of course, kudos has to go to the execution of the characters, with Wall-E in particular conveying a number of quirky character traits. There are also a number of nice touches as well such as the fact that humans have turned in to fat, lazy slobs who do not do anything except sit in hover chairs watching TV all day, allowing the computers to do their work. Wall-E is another strong film from Pixar which should not disappoint unless you're not in to this type of thing.

THE BAD: As good as this film is, there are a few minor points. Wall-E himself, although spectacularly realised and designed, bears more than a striking resemblance to another loveable character, E.T. Wall-E's head, both in design and movement, is very similar to E.T (albeit faster) and it might have been nice to try something different. The other minor point I would make is that the visuals seem more computer-animated in the second half of the film when Wall-E and Eve show up on the Axiom. The humans on the ship are computer generated and unfortunately the film also has some scenes featuring real humans so the basis of comparison is glaringly obvious, despite the fact that they have an explanation for the visual design of the humans in the film. Also, compared to the stunning visuals in the first half, the shots on the Axiom seem more like a cartoon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review - iSoftwareTV

First product/service review is iSoftware TV...

This product immediately caught my eye because it boasts that you can watch 3000 Internet TV channels on your PC, FULL DVD quality movies, and music videos. The pricing is about 25 bucks which in my eyes is a really great deal for this kind of service.

To be honest I was a bit skeptical at first, but after reviewing the service for a little over two days now I am highly impressed with the product. There are no recurring payments or monthly payments of any kind - what you pay is what you pay no hidden fees or anything like that. You also immediately receive the service and your membership right after you sign up which is always a good thing. The movie section of the service is really good, which I figured would not be the case. The "full dvd" quality that they boast isn't necessarily the same quality you get when you run to Walmart and buy it, but it is pretty much the closest thing I have seen and most likely the difference is unrecognizable to the casual movie-goer.

The service also has TV sitcoms, sporting events from around the world(which is pretty cool), radio, and local news from pretty much anywhere(really cool as well). Overall I was really impressed with the quality of the UI and the service as a whole. I highly recommend this to any movie lover on a budget or someone who is even mildly interested in movies and entertainment as it really is a great value.


Score - 5/5

Really great deal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Max Payne Movie Review!

BOTTOM LINE: The spectacular visuals and moody atmosphere give Max Payne the feel of a rich graphic novel rather than a video game adaptation, but the two-dimensional, flat characters and predictable storyline never allow you to get all that interested.

THE GOOD: "Max Payne" is based on the video game of the same name, but you wouldn't necessarily know that by watching it. The film has a very unique visual style that is obviously inspired by the likes of "Sin City" but is more realistic. As a result, the film has a very definite dark and electrifying atmosphere that almost single-handedly carry it. The action is designed by altering time and spatial orientations, a little bit like the way the Matrix trilogy did it, but in its own original, different way. The film is also quite moody and subdued in many areas. Video game adaptations tend to be noisy and over the top, but the filmmakers have gone for atmosphere which is very welcome given the rather simple, action-oriented nature of the plot. The images of the angels, demons and hell are a fascinating element thrown in to the mix, particularly in the first half of the film when everything is still mysterious and we're trying to work out if a human, or something unworldly, is behind the treachery unfolding.

THE BAD: Once you step away from the visuals and action, the problems with "Max Payne" start to emerge. The storyline is predictable; Max is driven to find those that brutally murdered his family but it turns out that the person who was ultimately responsible was someone close to him, forcing him to face betrayal and the showdown. I won't give away who the bad guy is but you'll be able to pick it ten minutes after that character is introduced. The characters are another problem; they are so flat and boring. Mark Wahlberg is an interesting actor; sometimes he's great and sometimes he stinks. It appears he needs the right kind of director to draw out the best from him and unfortunately director John Moore is not one of those directors. Wahlberg is playing a character who is driven by an incredible personal tragedy but he plays him with such a monotony that you really couldn't care less.

As a result, the narrative becomes mechanical, making only the visuals and action the reason to watch the film. The remainder of the cast are not much better, particularly Beau Bridges who starts off reasonably well as the semi-father figure for Max but ultimately becames a ridiculous caricature by the end of the film. One aspect of the film that was also a let down were the images of angels, demons and hell. The images are fabulous, but when the story pauses to explain that they are all hallucinations created by a drug that people are taking, the scare-factor and intensity gets lost immediately whenever they appear on screen. You know they have no impact on the characters so they just become cool effects. "Max Payne" is a lesson in how a predictable, under-developed story with flat characters cannot make a film; no amount of cool shots, well executed action sequences or visual styles can overcome that.

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Post - Introduction

So earlier today I bought one of those paid subscriptions to a "movie" site. The pitch pulled me in, I got excited about the hundreds of NEW movies that I could watch all from my home computer. Upon getting signed up and handing my info over, I was extremely disappointed. The "newest" movie that they had was DEEP RISING from 1998! WTF!

I have always been pretty excited about getting good deals on movies without having to run down to the local Blockbuster, or without having to shell out serious $$$ on NetFlix and the like. So, I decided to create a site that will honestly and thoroughly review each movie or entertainment product/service out there. Why am I doing this? Well you see I am just a regular college guy who happens to LOVE movies...however this love affair is not cheap. When you buy a product that I reviewed and you think you might like it - you click my link and buy the product from that company. Then, I got a little "kickback" for referring you.

Don't be alarmed by this, I am basically just making ends meet since I have to go shell out what you paid to just review the item. I will always honestly review the product and service in question and will not be swayed into saying ALL THESE PRODUCTS ARE AMAAAZING when in fact, they are downright ugly.

So thanks alot guys and I hope I can help you guys out! I will also be posting movie reviews and the like as well for some filler in here. :)