Posts Tagged ‘ Review ’

The Cemtrex “Smart Desk”?


It is quite true.  This desk has some fancy features.  Cemtrex SmartDesk is your work and office completely reinvented. This advanced workstation combines and reimagines all the needs of the modern office in a beautiful, intuitive sit/stand desk.  Check out more details below.

‘Tag’: Spoiler Free Review.


‘Tag’ is a film that will make you both laugh and cry.  Myself, coming from a background of two different groups of very close friends, staying connected is extremely important.  Even with its ‘Hangover’ style antics, ’Tag’ will be quite resonant with people who have their “boys” that they have stayed connected with for the majority of their lives, and this movie has that impact on people whom share that similarity.  The first thing I noticed was the amazing soundtrack of the film, from the opening moments, you can tell that whoever picked these songs, knew what they were doing.  Even seeing the trailer alone, you think you can tell the type of film this will be, but it’s a bit different. (And luckily the trailer doesn’t give away all the best parts of the film)

The entire cast meshes well together, and there are some interesting rules to the “game” that aren’t covered in the previews.  The trailers would have you believe that this group of friends is constantly attempting to tag one another, but there is a bit of intricate teamwork involved.  Team members tag each other on purpose in order to achieve a common goal. Their specific rules aren’t expressly stated at first, but as the film moves along, you figure out the specificity of the rules.

The movie isn’t without its loose ends and unfinished plot points however.  Rashida Jones’s character is a welcomed inclusion to the cast, but her storyline has no real end, or consequence.  To speak on the end of the movie in general, there are quite a few points that are never tied up.  A bar tender dying to get into the game, is just never touched upon after a certain point, and there are several ‘Breaking and Entering’ situations that just seem to have NO consequence whatsoever.

Following the film’s conclusion, there are several shots of the real people involved in the game, which are AMAZING.  I highly recommend staying for the end credits.  (There’s a bit with an old woman that is in the film, but seeing the actual incident in real life is much more gratifying).  One of the two stand out stars of the film is Hannibal Buress, who you would wish had more to say in the film, but his lines, are simply one-liner jokes that help make the film as funny as it is. The other is Isla Fisher, (who I just realized that I have a strange crush on).  But her character Anna is a person who you wish would play the game with the guys, and when she’s able to, she is quite the competitor.  

Another interesting bit is Jermey Renner, and his ability to evade his friends, using a Sherlock Holmes style mental process (The Robert Downey Jr. version) he can predict whenever he’s about to be potentially tagged.  This leads to some creative and interesting action sequences.  We KNOW from the film that the physical training from “The Avengers” is part of the reason Renner is able to do the things that he can do in the movie, much like Keaunu Reeves had the training for John Wick, because of the Matrix.  But a number of Renners evasion techniques are quite impressive. 

Aside from some certain plot points that are crucial to the story-line that never come to fruition, the film is quite good. There are extra players that you never see, and the main purpose of the majority of the plot is for one character is write an article on the entire story, but you never hear anything about it when the film wraps up. There is also an interaction between two characters, that would be quite funny, but you never see anything of it.

Although this story is based on real life, there is a “dead baby” joke (and thats in quotations for a reason). But that just sort of fades away after a while, which would NEVER happen between friends.  However this script, movie, and over arching story is a good one, filled with hilarity and depth that one wouldn’t expect.  It is very much worth seeing, and the giant crowd of critics that clapped and cheered at the movies’ end would agree.

Game Night: (Non Spoiler Review).


From the game pieces dropping in the opening titles, to the VERY unique ending credits, and everything in between Game Night is solid comedy.  If you enjoyed ‘The Hangover’, then ‘Game Night’ is right up your alley.  One thing that sticks out past the Ironman jokes, and anti Trump humor is the visual beauty in the movie.  For a ‘Pineapple Express’-esque comedy, the visual style of the different neighborhoods, some of the car chases, and one particular scene involving an egg, are wildly innovative.  Luckily those shots aren’t in the trailer, which leaves something to look forward to.

What IS in the trailers are most of the best jokes in the film.  From time to time theres a small quip, or a lengthy joke that offers up some respite from the old jokes that got you into the theater to begin with.  Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman are a believable couple, and work quite well, while Billy Magnussen’s character is just a baffoon that doesn’t seem like he would be friends with the rest of the group in real life.  Lamorene Morris (Winston Bishop from the show ‘New Girl’) is essentially the exact same character as Winston, so you know what to expect in terms of humor.

But the stand out character is by far “Gary”,  played by Jessie Plemons, a creepy cop who just wants to be invited to game night.  Unfortunately only one character seems to be funny at a time,  and with a cast this diverse it seems like they should be able to play off one another a bit better.  There are a few surprise cameos that are used to good effect, and the themes of sibling rivalry create an unexpected depth.

With the random knowledge that some of the main characters have, their knowledge of trivia should have played a larger role in the film, and with the Hangover style jokes, the movie has very little re-watch value.  Although the plot ranges from a little predictable to having too many twists, ’Game Night’ is a film you’ll enjoy, although it is a very funny film but after you see it once, there’s not too much reason to see it again for a while.

The Incredible Final ‘Star Wars: Rouge One’ Trailer.


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The action-packed final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is here, and it features plenty of exciting new footage from the Gareth Edwards-directed prequel.  We get our first proper look at Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso, more of Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera, and of course another glimpse of the returning man in black, Darth Vader.

Sausage Party: Spoiler Free Review.


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When a film titled ‘Sausage Party’ was announced last year, many a good folk on the internet thought it was a joke.  Not only just the name, but the simple premise of an animated film that was NOT for children at all, was something that hadn’t particularly been conceived of before. As the green-band, and red-band trailers began to surface, the hype grew in circles of youth who enjoyed films like ‘Superbad’ and ‘Neighbors’, and upon it’s release it will definitely satisfy those audiences.  Once again, this is not a film for children… or grandparents.

That being said, the niche of crass, inappropriate joke loving, 20-to-30-something’s that are excited for this film will not be disappointed.  The film is far, far, far more intense than even the red-band trailers would suggest.  This movie, as a comedy is unique because the characters themselves are in most cases “the joke”.  You can’t know or show anything about the primary antagonist in the film, because it would take away from some of the best jokes in the movie. So the trailers leave out quite a bit, which is a relief.
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The things that can be said however, may seem negative, but the audience this movie is directed at, will not mind at all.  ‘Sausage Party’ is wonderfully, beautifully, hilariously, and horribly racist, sexist, and any other “ist” you can shake a sausage at.  Arabic, Jewish, Black, White, LGBT, Nazi, drug addict, and Native American jokes are only the tip of the iceberg.  I sat down with a fellow press writer, and we discovered that the ONLY people who were left out of the food fight of controversial jokes, were Russians and Buddhists, this film should have been NC-17, not R rated. Aside from that, there isn’t a classification of individuals who doesn’t get a stereotypical joke thrown at them… even the people from the great state of New Jersey get their dose of put downs.
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However, the brunt of the film focuses on religion in a way that’s eloquently woven into the plot.  The film’s protagonists start off viewing humans as gods (and even open the film with quite the interesting song about it).  And throughout the movie, the message of “Don’t worship everything you hear about” is reoccurs often.  The one thing that is also impressively touched upon, is “If peoples views don’t align with yours, you should respect that, and not harbor hatred towards them”, which I personally feel is quite the positive message.
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In terms of negative points, the film struggles with being dated easily, from the music, to the popular cultural references, to some of the language. In 5 years it will be easy to see how much this movie has aged.  Many of the best jokes are for shock factor, meaning after you see it once, there may be little see as humorous on a second watch.  There is also one particular scene towards the end of the film, where it felt like Seth Rogan and the writers, just decided to throw everything at the wall at once to see how many people they could make uncomfortable.  It literally had people asking “what the hell am I watching?”, which is not exactly the response you want from trying to push the envelope. (Believe me, you will know that scene when you see it)

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‘Sausage Party’ on the whole is quite the unique and original movie, which is extremely refreshing.  With nods to films like ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Terminator 2’, ‘The Matrix’, and ‘Stargate’, there are no ends to jokes that (the age range this movie is aimed at) will appreciate.  From the surprises, to the genuinely broad sense of humor, this movie is worth checking out if you have a strong stomach, and have enjoyed the trailers.

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The New ‘Suicide Squad’ Character Posters Are To Die For.


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WB has just released a batch of new Suicide Squad character portraits to promote the film. It seems the marketing campaign really wants to reinforce the tattoo motif. Will “skin-ink” actually factor into the plot of David Ayer’s story? And what of Common’s mysterious villain?  We’re roughly two months away from the release of the film yet (thankfully) we still don’t know a whole lot about what Deadshot (Will Smith) and co. will be facing other than a crazed Joker (Jared Leto).

via CMB.com

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Central Intelligence: Spoiler Free Review.


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The movie ‘Central Intelligence’ would at first glance, appear from it’s trailers to yet another run-of-the-mill buddy cop comedy featuring Kevin Hart’s character from Ride Along.  Luckily this isn’t (exactly) the truth.  The film has a consistent underlying message about the problem of adolescent bullying, the issues it leaves people with later in life, and the effects that simple kind acts can have on a person.  This message is rather cleverly draped in a story about a disenfranchised overweight boy Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson) and high school all star Calvin ‘The Golden Jet’ Joyner (Kevin Hart).  The circumstances of their reuniting 20 years after high school is a bit contrived, but believable, due to a simple act of kindness committed by Joyner.

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What ensues after they reunite is an interesting romp that sends Joyner ping ponging back and forth between the CIA and Dwayne’s character (who renamed himself Bob Stone shortly after high school.)  Neither Joyner nor the audience knows exactly who to believe at any given time, and the supporting characters help move the story along quite nicely.  All in all, the movie isn’t as “by the numbers” as one would expect, and much better of a picture than ‘Ride Along’ or its sequel.

When delving into specifics, the first thing to be noticed is “Fat Rob”, in the first two seconds, the CG effects that put The Rock’s face onto an amorphous adolescent body, seem a bit off, but quickly get better for the short amount of time they’re needed.  Retrospectively, it’s difficult to tell weather Kevin Hart’s de-aging is done digitally or is just a result of him shaving off his facial hair, and good make up.

Aside from the look of the characters as their teenaged selves, their behavior two decades later is strangely indicative of who they were in the past.  The film’s trailer makes The Rock’s “Bob Stone” seem like a well put together CIA warrior, when he’s actually still very much the odd, bumbling nerd he was in high school, just in a different physical frame.  Johnson’s strangeness can be a bit off putting at times, but when balanced with Kevin Hart’s “dimmed down high school star” persona, it works quite well.  There are quite a few moments that are unexpectedly funny due to the duo’s comedic chemistry.

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Aside from Johnson and Hart, there are two or three surprise cameos in the film that the media screening enjoyed, and some well placed jokes that aren’t in the trailers.  That being said however, the plot seems like it could take some well welcomed twists, and is blandly predictable at times.  When big name actors show up for only two minutes and disappear again, you know they’ll return at some point later on in the film, making things fairly easy to predict.  The most off putting attribute however, was an overtly obnoxious mindset that high school defines you.

The entire movie has a thematic hue suggesting that high school is the precipice on which your entire life will be determined, which (to any high schoolers reading this) is completely untrue.  There are also a few action set pieces that are a bit off the mark.  At one point Dwayne Johnson’s character places a bullet in exactly the right place with perfect accuracy, but has trouble shooting anyone throughout the rest of the film.  The movie also harkens back to 1984’s ’16 Candles’ multiple times for comedic effect, but if you’ve never seen ’16 Candles’ those jokes would make no sense.

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When everything is said and done, ‘Central Intelligence’ is a movie worth checking out if you have a free weekend, and definitely will be remembered when discussing the film credits of both Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson.  Their on screen chemistry is reflective of their being friends in real life, and only adds to the strengths of the film.  The film leans a bit on typical action tropes, but still delivers a solid message against the trend of bullying in schools, and doing whatever kinda acts you can to help someone in need.  ‘Central Intelligence’ comes out in theaters this Friday the 17th in the U.S.

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Batman v Superman May Not Have Been The Movie We Needed, But It Had The Soundtrack We Deserved.


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Composer Tom Holkenborg (better known as Junkie XL) teamed up with the legendary Hans Zimmer to create the score on the extremely controversial ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’, and it was a work of art.  Regardless of what the (very divided) public thinks of the film, its soundtrack is something to be held in high regard.  From the guitar shredding theme of Wonder Woman, to deep piano and horns of Lex Luthor’s theme, this film shines from a sonic standpoint.  Superman’s theme from the ‘Man Of Steel’ film makes a resurgence, and Ben Afflecks’ Batman receives a new and ominous sound.  Check out the entire, official soundtrack below.

 

Ever Wanted To Go To The Maldives?


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Trendsetting Huvafen Fushi has been raising the benchmark since its first inception two years ago. Opening its doors to feature the world’s first underwater spa, Huvafen Fushi has since earned its spot on the coveted Conde Nast Traveller MagazinesUK and US Hot List. This discreetly luxurious, contemporary retreat is located on its own lagoon on a tiny island in North Male Atoll. I arrived late into the night direct from Singapore, the flight doesn’t get in until 10pm (note: book Emirates instead to arrive during the day). Waking up in the Maldives is something everyone should experience before they die.

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BEST TIME TO GO

Jan until May

COOL FACTOR

The friendly, laid-back staff: guests in pavilion accommodation get a 24-hour butler service, while the rest of the resort gets a FISH (Fast Island Service Host), which amounts to the same thing. The underwater spa is a must.

FACILITES

Three restaurants, a lively bar, a seriously cool well-stocked underground wine cellar, an over-water yoga pavilion and the world’s first underwater massage treatment rooms complete the picture.

COST

Bungalows from US$880

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This year, Huvafen Fushi is proud to announce three new initiatives. An übercool 70ft luxury yacht, an exclusive compilation with one of the world’s most famous DJ and Producer, Ravin from Buddha Bar, Paris as well as an uplift to the world’s first underwater spa.
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What Happens When You Mix Asia, Cuba, And New York?


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It’s Asian cuisine engineered by a Cuban born and raised chef done with a Latin twist. It speaks true to the character of New York City as its innovative, appeals to the senses and runs the fine line between sophisticated and whimsical. There’s a representation through the food of one man’s dream to make it big in New York, this man being chef Luis Pous but more importantly it holds a much larger significance within a unique social context. The menu is exquisite and genuinely original. From black bean & plantain empanadas to ginger & papaya marinated palomilla, there’s something for every persons taste. What’s most fascinating is how chef Pous has found intricate and delicate connections between two cuisines which traditionally have never mixed. It’s a classic example of art imitating life as the worlds of innovation and cultural diversity have originated from within a social context and transferred into an exciting gastronomical experience. It’s the New York mentality which has allowed such an amazing thing to occur.

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The vision and inspiration behind the menu is particularly interesting as it’s an exploration by chef Pous into the evolution of Cuban cuisine. His belief being that the menu he has developed is a representation of where Cuban food would be had they had access to a wider range of global ingredients within the past 50 years.  Food is only really half of this amazing tale though. The other 50% is in Asia de Cuba’s sleek and modern design. Its clean, minimal, classical and a great interpretation of old Havana within a modern context. Conceived by renowned designer Rafael de Cárdenas this beautiful layout has characteristics of 1950’s Hollywood, it’s a little ‘mad men’, somewhere cool to escape the streets in salvation of a good drink and a nice meal.

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via Cool Hunter

The Suicide Squad Viral Campaign.


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Director David Ayer and the cast of Suicide Squad have taken to social media to unveil the first official (and very awesome) posters for the highly anticipated DC Comics adaptation, and they offer up a very unique take on the Task Force X villains.  The minimalistic art style lends beautifully to the uniqueness of the film and the characters in it.

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‘Concussion’: Spoiler Free Review.


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Will Smith will always be known as an acting juggernaut, more than capable of bringing in a crowd regardless of the film.  Some of his ventures have been hit or miss (Winter’s Tale, Jersey Girl, Legend of Bagger Vance) but over all, he’s capable of playing incredibly memorable, and powerful characters, and ‘Concussion’ continues that tradition.  Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered a connection between football injuries and brain damage in the early 2000’s, and was met with an incredible amount of resistance by both scientists and the NLF.  From the opening scene of the film when Bennet Omalu lists off his academic accolades, the entire movie theater was impressed.  And Will Smith does a great job filling the shoes of a brilliant doctor.

The most notable factor about the character of Dr. Omalu is his Nigerian accent.  Accents haven’t been Will Smith’s strongest suit (After Earth for example), but even though his accent in ‘Concussion’ does waver in and out, it’s not enough to take you out of the film… (like in After Earth).  Oddly enough the accents are one of the only weak points of the film.  Alec Baldwin’s Dr. Julian Bailes has an odd wavering southern accent at certain parts of his sentences, and the rest seems like regular Baldwin.  This however is NOT to discredit his incredible acting in the film.  After 30 Rock, Baldwin can be hard to take seriously because of the show playing his dry, straight faced humor as his strongest card.  ‘Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation’ is filled with seriously played lines from Baldwin that the audience took as a joke because it sounded like a 30 Rock line.  ‘Concussion’ however jumps this hurdle, and Baldwin’s character Bailes comes across as a deeply conflicted, emotionally dignified character who belongs on screen next to Smith.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who was amazing in Under The Lights) plays Prema Mutiso, Omalu’s room mate/love interest.  To her credit, she does very well with what she’s given, her acting is superb, and every motivational speech, or heart breaking moment she goes through feels real, and substantial.  That being said, Prema is a nurse dating a doctor, and didn’t seem to lend much help to the medical plot points of the film.  At certain points in the movie it was almost as if she was there simply to have things explained to her, so that the audience would understand.  Case in point: when Will Smith demonstrates a brain in a skull by showing her a peach in a jar half filled with water, and shakes it around.  (She’s a nurse, I’m fairly certain she knows how a concussion works.) 

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As for the film itself, there are a few more humorous moments than one would expect from a film with such serious subject matter.  There are many deliberately awkward moments between Omalu and any of the other characters that serve as good humor, and the film balances this well with darker moments that even drew a few gasps from the crowd.  ‘Concussion’ has a unique way of making its point using real NLF footage.  Even from the opening monologue from “Iron Mike Webster” (played brilliantly by David Morse) the movie intercuts with highlight reels, and gives the film a much more visceral feel.  There are even moments of police footage that are used to astonishing effect.  Smith’s character even uses dialog to illustrate his point in graphic manor, describing men “being hit in the head with sledge hammers” or “pouring wet concrete down a sink” relative to choking a brain.

The overall writing in the film is also superb, and doesn’t seek to demonize the NLF, but simply demonstrate that certain individuals within its ranks would do whatever it took to keep the league unshakeable.  There are lines like “You’re going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the WEEK… The same one that the Church used to own.” that demonstrate the gravity of Omalu’s plight.  Omalu even has a few very stirring lines of his own, including the now famous trailer scene “When I was a boy, Heaven was here, and America was here [just below]” (which I’ve read was an actual quote from the real Dr. Omalu).

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All in all, the film comes from a great true story about helping people, and not being afraid to speak the truth.  The conclusion of the film may not be as satisfying as some movie-goers may want, however, it’s the way things work when it comes to real life.  ‘Concussion is very well written, and treats its characters like real people.  There is no general antagonist just counting money in the NLF offices doing evil things to keep people down, every character seems conflicted in their motivations, and has reason for feelings the way they feel.  The doctors, and scientists especially, rely on facts and evidence before making decisions, and sometimes even state that although they may dislike Omalu, and his reasoning, or his motivations, they cannot deny the scientific evidence… which is the way REAL scientists behave.

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The emotional moments in the film (especially a break down, beautifully acted by Will Smith) all have weight, and resonate with the audience.  Some cast members shine brighter than others however. On the high scale, David Morse as Mike Webster was shockingly strong, and on the other hand Luke Wilson as the NLF commissioner was barely even in the film.  ANY person with hair could have played that role.  There are one or two scenes that may not fit into the film, like an awkward club scene that was just there to give Nina Sky some more royalties, but as a whole, ‘Concussion’ delivers as a heartwarming story of a person who will not stand for letting the truth be unheard.  I definitely recommend it this christmas.

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Black Mass: Spoiler Free Review.


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Just to get this out of the way up front, James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr. is an Irish-American convicted murderer and a former organized crime boss of the Boston Irish mob crew known as the Winter Hill Gang.  I personally was unaware of his story until the screening of Black Mass just a day ago, and what a story it is.  The only thing as incredible as the story is Johnny Depp’s performance as Bulger.  With big stars, it can be typical for their performances to be over shadowed by their stardom (Will Smith will always just be Will Smith no matter what movie he’s in) but every so often, you get a transformation like Heath Ledger into the Joker, and Depp’s portrayal of Whitey Bulger is of the same caliber.

The crux of the film isn’t just the violence of the Winter Hill Gang, but Bulger’s involvement with both the government and the FBI.  Gangster films can be much like dance movies, you know what’s going to happen, but the dance moves get better every time.  You know someone’s going to get shot, and the gangsters get caught at the end, but the fact that Bulger and Winter Hill were being protected by federal agents makes the plot far more interesting.  The other noticeable difference about ‘Black Mass’ is that the use of violence in the film is orchestrated so well, that every time a gun goes off, everyone in their seats had an “oh wow” moment.  ‘Black Mass’ isn’t overly saturated with guns, and focuses more on the relationship between its characters, Bulger as a father, and the things in life that can impact people with power, not merely on showcasing the violence of organized crime.

BlackMass_MainTrailerThe cast was full of incredible talent, and aside from Depp, Joel Edgerton’s performance as FBI agent John Connelly was remarkable.  Benedict Cumberbatch also had a break out roll, but after watching Sherlock for 3 years (which he references with a quick “Baker’s Street” line), Cumberbatch’s Boston accent was a bit off kilter. The cast was so strong in fact that some of them may have been under utilized, specifically Dakota Johnson (who just disappears after a scene, and never really comes back) or Jesse Plemons as Kevin Weeks.  Kevin Weeks is the first character to come to life in the movie, but his importance diminished as the film progressed, to the point where I forgot why I was supposed to care about him first place.  The only flaw in casting may be that some of the Winter Hill Gang members looked too much alike, and at one point I found myself asking, “Didn’t that guy die already, or is that the other one?”  However, certain scenes like the ‘steak scene’ in the first trailer for the film are masterfully acted, and have such an amazing air of tension.

thumbnail_21462Some of the most interesting facets of the film centered around the gang landscape of Southie (Boston), and Bulger as a parent.  Depp plays the role of Bulger immensely well, and he doesn’t just feel like some ruthless lunatic, but like a person with real motivations, emotions, and reasons for making the decisions he did.  I will say however that the film doesn’t spend enough time showing what Bulger actually did to make his money, and assumes you know his story before you walk into the theater.  After the screening I even had another writer ask me “So what happened to all the money?  And why did they keep talking about vending machines?”  But the writing should be commended as well as the acting, and although certain characters have wavering Bostonian accents, some of the lines in the film were unforgettable, specifically scenes with Bulger speaking to his son. “Don’t ever throw the first punch… Throw the first TWO punches.”

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But all in all, the film shines as a gritty gangster story, with a strong cast, and even stronger story that focuses more on the criminals and their connections as people than the actual crimes.  Even the score (especially towards the end of the film) brings out the tension and the horror of certain situations, but the star of the show is Johnny Depp.  It seemed a bit far fetched that Captain Jack Sparrow could pull off playing one of the most notorious criminals in American History, but he brought out the anger, and the danger of living life around Whitey Bulger.

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‘No Escape’ – No Spoiler Review.


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Once again tonight, the good folks at the Weinstein Company invited me to a pre-screening of their latest release “No Escape”.  The story centers around Owen Wilson, simply trying to get his family out of what he believes is a random bout of civil unrest in South East Asia.  I’ll let you take a look at the trailer (if you haven’t seen it yet) before I delve into the spoiler free review.

 

 

So presuming you just took the two minutes to watch the trailer, you would assume you get the idea of the film.  However, the first point I have to make is that the movie is a bit deeper than what the trailer would have you believe, which is refreshing.  Long gone are the days where trailers would get you interested in a film, and instead you can see an entire movie in two minutes.  ‘No Escape’ manages to entice audiences with the story without giving away all of the surprises it has in store.  (If you think throwing a little girl off a building is the best the film has to offer, you’re quite wrong.)  The movie is uncommonly tense, with an unrelenting pace that drives home the stakes and the stresses of this very real feeling, very terrifying situation.  From the opening scene of the film, the severity of events to come is boldly apparent, and the depiction of characters is quite true to life.  There is also a welcomed lack of typical film clichés, (If people are hiding, no one sneezes and accidentally alerts their pursuers) and there are a handful of moments that seem to go in a typical direction, and take a drastic turn.

 

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All the characters in the movie behave as one might expect them to in the real world, especially Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare, (the two daughters), and their mother played by Lake Bell is a perfect balance of what someone would do, and what someone should do in the film’s context.  Some may wonder if funny-man Owen Wilson would be properly suited for a movie like this, but rest assured his acting chops shine with a perfect balance of intensity, intelligence, and a bit of humor in the right spots (primarily the film’s first act).  Owen Wilson isn’t some type of John McClane style, American action hero, he’s simply a man who has to do what is necessary to keep his family safe, and escape the situation they’ve been placed in.  One of the best parts of the film however, is Pierce Brosnan.  His brash, rude, wise cracking character Hammond seems to be an oddity at first, but later on in the film makes his importance known, and he delivers my favorite line of the film… “I’m going to head to a strip joint.  I should put on my sweat pants…. so they know I mean business.”

 

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The events portrayed in “No Escape” never jump the bounds of reality, yet can be horrifying in spots (after you watch the film look at the photo below again, when you know who’s holding that gun.) Everything seems to be extremely well thought out. Even at the level of sound design, when a bullet whizzes past, and strikes a wall, it SOUNDS terrifying.  The CGI in the film is minimal, and even when it is used, is barely noticeable.  There are some ultra violent scenes, with people getting hacked to death with machetes, or run over by cars, or shot in the face, however, the point of those scenes isn’t for the gore, it’s to show the shockingly low level some humans can get to when they are forced to.  The film does slip in a few places however, starting with the over use of “shaky cam”.  Spots in the first act seemed to try a bit too hard to establish danger with shaking the camera to the point where I thought I was going to get a headache.  There were also certain slow motion shots that seemed a little too long lasting, or just pointless all together.  Also we see some type of an odd divorce sub-plot that doesn’t really go anywhere for some reason, and a few scenes ended with a quite predictable rescue of a character, while others were the total opposite, by seeing the family saved by things that seemed to come out of nowhere for no reason.

 

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All in all thought, this is an amazing, real world, tension filled film that, despite a few leaps on geopolitical logic, is one you should see when it comes out on August 26th, (Sorry Vick, I got the release date mixed up).  It’s nice to an exilerating story that isn’t a remake, or a reboot, or a sequel come to the big screen, and although the film is extremely graphic, it’s base in realism stands firm.  The cast shines, and the balances of challenges, issues, themes, characters, and motivations all make perfect sense (which is hard to find in many modern films).  I highly recommend ‘No Escape’ as your movie film for this weekend.  It damn near makes me want to attend some type of survivalist training camp, just so I would know what to do if things ever went that south.

 

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Dr. Doom Is a-Comin’.


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“He’s stronger than any of us, but he’s not stronger than all of us.” It’s the Fantastic Four versus Doctor Doom in domestic and international trailers for the movie, and as well as getting a new look at that iconic villain, we also see The Thing speak and tear apart a tank. Check it out…

Fantastic Four stars Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as The Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, Jamie Bell as The Thing, and Toby Kebbell as Victor Domashev/Doctor Doom. Directed by Josh Trank and written by Simon Kinberg, Fantastic Four is set to be released on August 7th, 2015. What do you guys think about this latest look at the movie?

The New Power Rangers… Via: Goni Montes.


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You may have strong, fond memories of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as a child, or maybe you had to buy the toys for your kids, maybe you lived in Siberea from 1992 until 1999, and have no idea what I’m referring to… But regardless of your association these colorful heroes, they are getting a big budget reboot soon.  Atlanta native Goni Montes, has taken his illustration skills to create some extremely impressive solo posters for the Rangers.  Check the method.

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The ‘Entourage’ Movie Review… NO SPOILERS.


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So I was recently invited to a pre-screening of the long awaited Entourage movie, and anticipation could not have been higher.  Walking into the theater, you could see the immense diversity in the crowd.  It was a blatant reminder that this show has touched ALL sorts of people, of all different demographics, and out of everyone in attendance every single person laughed loudly before the film was over.  I’ll start the review by saying, if you’ve never watched the show, you might not want to read this review, however, I’m not spoiling any surprises about the film.  But if you’d rather not know anything about anything, this may not be the article for you.  (Like my sister, who introduced me to the show in the first place.)

I love it when shows do one of two things… either change their title sequence to something new every season, or they stay absolutely the same throughout the whole run of the show.  Entourage chose the latter, and remained with the same basic title sequence the entire time (as the show progressed, actors names were replaced).  But this new “movie credits sequence” is an amazing build upon the original, and can almost be surmised as the difference between the show and the movie.  “Yeah that was always good, but THIS is way better.”

Some people may be wondering how or way certain things have changed between the show and the film, but the logic behind 99% of the things in the film are there.  Things are explained briefly, and quite well, with the exception of a only few minute details.  The main plot points are fleshed out with ease and questions people may have after watching the trailer are answered… like if this crew are all so rich, why would one movie effect them in such a big way.  But the explanation for their plight makes a good deal of sense.

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Of course ‘Entourage’, its essentially a glorified 104 minute episode, but don’t let this dissuade you from seeing it.  This isn’t a rehashing of some old story line, or some origin story, or reboot.  The story is a new, fresh progression after the events that show concluded with.  All the actors, as well as the characters they play are at the top of their game, even though I would say when Ari Gold gets upset, he has had better lines in the show than in the movie.  This movie also corrects some of the “issues” people took with the final episode, and if you’ve seen the post credit scene of the series finale, you get a great explanation as to what came of that situation.

Everyone gets their moment to shine, obviously the 5 main characters get their time, and their individual story lines differ, yet weave well between each other.  You don’t ever lose interest in anyone’s plight, and everyone in the group feels important.  The sub-characters get their moments as well.  Mrs. Ari, Lloyd, Dana Gordon, and even Ari’s new assistant have smaller moments that bring out the best in the main characters, and the movie. (Although one important sub-character is straight up missing, and I would have loved to see a little bit more Debbie Mazar).  The movie does an unmistakable job of telegraphing EVERYTHING that is backbone of the show in a creative way.  This is also mainly done in the very beginning, so you can come into the theater not having watched a single episode, and understand who everyone is, what they’ve been through, and essentially why they behave the way they behave.

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The natural progression in the characters is easy to see, and how well they’re doing for themselves is appropriate for the amount of time that has passed.  I have to say though that the reveal of just how successful Turtle has become, is AMAZING.  The basic elements of the show are still there, at no point do you think “They had to reformat that from the show, because this is a movie and things have to be different”, everything just fits, and well.

Music has always been a big part of this show.  From breaking new artists, to brining classic songs back to the forefront of peoples memories, to taking tracks from obscurity to the limelight.  The soundtrack of this movie is one that I would buy with no hesitation, although, the frequency at which songs appeared in the movie could have been a bit more dense.  There just wasn’t as much as I would have wanted of a good thing.  All the music was well placed, however there are two songs in particular that could not have been chosen better.  (One, when someone is “drugged”, and the second, when a new car is taken for a first drive)  Those two moments in particular are amplified immaculately by the music that supports them.

The one interesting thing that I noticed during the screening was, you could tell by the laughter in certain areas who is familiar with the show, and who is being introduced to these characters for the first time via the movie.  For instance, if you’ve followed the show, you know Drama cooks for the group on a regular basis, but the way him cooking for Vince is presented in the movie, makes it somewhat comical to the newcomers. It’s just somewhat easy to tell who has known these characters for years, and who hasn’t.  There are a multitude of tiny references fans will appreciate, but theres a specific scene that lends itself to both parties better than the rest.  During that scene, if you’re a fan of the show, you KNOW what comes next, and you’re quite happy to watch it all over again.  Although it is a MAJOR plot point of how things wind up in the show, all the people watching the movie without knowing the characters specific and detailed history have no clue about whats about to transpire, and that makes it fun for both parties.

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Doug Ellin made some great writing choices, and even includes things about characters backgrounds we’ve NEVER seen before… for instance, (and this isn’t a spoiler) Vince was “found” by Ari after doing a Mentos commercial, its referenced multiple times in the show, but we never see that commercial.  You’ll see it in this movie, and its glorious. There’s video “young” Drama, A photo of Eric working at his pizza place, and you FINALY get the reveal of Turtles full name.  (Which is like 10 years coming).

As would be expected, the cameos are out of control in the best way possible.  In my personal opinion, TI has the BEST one, followed swiftly by Armie Hammer.  In a few case however, there are so many short cameos that they can be easy to miss.  (Like Common).  There is an incredible 4 minute sequence early in the film where almost EVERY single memorable cameo from the show appears in the same place, at the same time, and the reasoning behind very much holds up.  It stops you from wondering “Why would Gary Bussey, Mark Cuban, Pharrell, and Bob Saget, ever be in the same location at the same time?”  But that scene works so will, it’s irrelevant.  I do have to say though that I feel like too many people missed the Warren Buffet cameo.  (Which I feel like folks would have gasped at even though he was shown in the trailer.)  The new characters are an awesome addition to the show, and Haley Joel Osmit is great.  He’s a character you’re just supposed to loathe, and he does such a good job playing his role, you WILL.  Ronda Rousey proves that she’s as good of an actress as she is a fighter, Mark Whalburg is great as usual, and I cannot state this enough, T.I. and his wife Tiny are the best cameo of this film.

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So what’s bad about this movie?  My only real complaint is that people laugh SO hard at the jokes, you miss whatever else happens afterwards.  Which normally isn’t a big deal, but at one point, theres a major plot point that I missed because the audience was cracking up so hard at what came before it.  I missed the explanation for something crucial, because a joke in the movie was just way too funny.  But other than that, the rest of my criticisms are just minor gripes.

There are some odd, and unspecified time jumps (specifically towards the end), but thats just an attempt to wrap things up in time for the end of the movie.  However, if your very first time jump that states in writing “8 Months Later”, you should explain how long the gaps in time are when you make other clear jumps forward.  Also, the movie ends on a great note, however, you no choice but to STAY for the mid credits scene.   When the credits first roll, things seem very unresolved, there seem to be tons of lose ends.   But when you stay for the (quite lengthy) mid credits scene, 99% of those same issues are touched on and cleared up.

All in all its amazing, (or as “The Weekly Planet” guys say “Best Movie Ever”)  and the film brings a new chunk of the story to the Entourage cannon, and leaves things slightly open for a sequel.  Because this movie was completed longer ago than you would expect, some of the cultural references are a bit off.  There’s a reference to ‘The Avengers’ that seemed a bit off, but its not that big of a deal.  If you’re a fan of the show, there’s nothing you will miss.  Every aspect what made this story great is in the mix, friendship, loyalty, naked titties, comedy and a great deal of heart.  Go check it out on June 3rd.

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The Final Trailer For The Entourage Movie Is Here.


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Warner Brothers just released a new trailer for the cinematic adaptation of the hit HBO series “Entourage.” In what looks like an extremely fun, extended episode of the show, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) and the boys continue to navigate the choppy waters of Hollywood as Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) declares he wants to become a director.  But enough about the plot! The trailer features plenty of bikini-clad ladies, super-cars and yachts — all of which will undoubtedly lure the show’s faithful fanbase into theaters.  The movie also promises myriad celebrity cameos. Some standouts include Warren Buffett and Ronda Rousey, but there are literally too many to name here.

(via Business Insider)

The First Official Trailer For James Bond’s 24th Adventure.


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During my brief time working with Sony, I’ve had to marvelous opportunity to see some of the best work put out under their umbrella.  My closer friends know my particular connection with this movie, but now that it’s been officially released, I’m proud to present the first teaser trailer for Spectre… the 24th adventure in the James Bond series.

DJ Storm Reviews ‘Fables’ by Manni Phantom.


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Up until now November 7th was just a date in the eleventh month of our year, but as of now, it represents one of the most unique EP releases by an independent artist in recent memory.  Manni Phantom’s latest drop ‘Fables’ is a short, but dense collection of stories, interludes, and unforgettable beats that will catch the ear of any type of music lover.  From the first track in the 6 song collection, “Dead Man Walking” starts off strong.  The track boasts a bass-heavy beat, composed of classic piano’s and strings, but drizzled with extremely digital vocal harmonics that create a great foundation to support the heavy lyrical content that starts off this EP.

‘Dead Man Walking’ is rife with complex flow and true feelings about the start of a career in music.  “My daily routine is chasin’ a dream/ sellin’ beat for the same price as an eighth of some weed.“… “I swear its so close I can taste it now/ and everybody want the dream, but nobody wanna chase it down/ and that’s where I excel on everyone/ because investing in yourself costs less than having fun.”  With such a dynamic lyrical output, you can hear the emotions that were meant to come through on every song.  The second track, titled the same as the EP, Fables, reflects more on the feelings of affection towards a particular, unnamed woman.

The lyrical prowess of the song falls in line with the high standard of the rest of the collect, yet what’s exceedingly special about this track is the genre it falls into.  Some albums by hall of fame artists morph between genres as the project continues, the song ‘Fables’ does this all in 4 minute and 35 seconds.  In one song, Hip Hop, Electronic, Dub Step, R&B, Classical, Alternative, and New Wave inspirations can clearly be heard, without the song turning into a car-crash of different ideas.  The mellifluous transition between musical styles sets the track “Fables” into a bracket of its own.  Next on the list is ‘Cursed/33 Percent’.

 

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The first of this divided song, ‘Cursed’ lyrically touches on a variety of different subjects, from the obsessions people have with money (As expressed by the chant “Cursed by a dollar bill”), to the perceived view of people starting in the entertainment industry.  “Tell me your passion, it better not be rappin’/girl why can’t you be in college or somethin?/ every female I meet is like a model or somthin’/ it’s crazy, addicted to the bottle or somethin’, like that/ addicted to game, or addicted to fame/ roll it up, spark it up, she’s addicted to flame./ cursed by her own poison self inflicting the pain/ cursed by a f*ckin dollar, aint no cents in her brain.”  After a swift, but fluid change, one song becomes the next, and ’33 Percent’ begins.

Opening with a quote from Brett Sweeny of BRE and Team ISO, the song ’33 Percent’ is a mellow, Hip Hop based, well presented breakdown of  what makes Manni Phantom a great artist.  “33 percent strugle, 33 percent hustle, 33 changed, 1 percent stayed the same, I ain’t frontin, so I keep it 100 percent.”  The beat remains relatively in one place, and allows the views, and opinions to be expressed without being drowned out by production, and once again the lyrical content is light years above the gambit of unsigned artists in the Bay Area, which makes both ‘Cursed’ and ’33 Percent’ stand out.  The interlude ‘The Camera’ (a short, simple, opinion on what can happen on the other side of the camera) slides perfectly into the next track in the collection, ‘Presence’.

Pieces of ‘Presence’ are quite reminiscent of the Timbaland and Magoo days, sprinkled with a generous amount of Kanye West, which makes for some very happy listening.  The complexity of the beat once it gets going is enough to keep any listener engaged.  As the beat marches on, Manni has a mellifluous way of flowing over the beat in different pitches that reflect the tone and gravity of the lyrics he’s presenting.  It’s this style of presentation that makes ‘Presence’ the most radio-ready song of the collection.  ‘Presence’ is ahead of it’s time, but it the song best apt to draw new listeners into the entire ‘Fables’ project.  The final track on this 6 song EP, is ‘Ghost Stories’.

‘Ghost Stories’ breaks the mold that hold the previous 5 songs together, without sounding too abstract to be on the project.  The sound, emotion, composition, and delivery on ‘Ghost Stories’ is unique in its own right, yet shows more of the diversity Manni Phantom is capable of as an artist and a producer.  Although having a minor key, and a slight darkness in it’s undertones, ‘Ghost Stories’ presents some of the most playful lyrics on the project, “…know some homies that ain’t make it, that’s ghost stories (for real)/ and that’s real talk, no fib, no fable, no toy story.”  But ‘Ghost Stories’ is the final act in what is a very well rounded, unique sounding project that is worth the listen from fans of any style of music.

 

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In conclusion, ‘Fables’ is a perfect example of how not everything that people listen to on repeat has to be something they heard in the club.  The project has a definitive hand in making the point that “dope” music doesn’t just consist of a 4 note loop over 808’s placed way too high in the mix.  ‘Fables’ is produced, and performed (which entails rapping and singing) by the same person, (which is extremely rare these days), which most emerging artists could never fathom.  The engineering is not too simple, nor is it too gaudy, which provides the right sound for both the beats and the lyrics, (another factor many a developing artist is lacking now a days.)  And over all, one of Manni Phantom’s strong points is finesse, his ability to go crazy with production, but knowing when to do so, and when to keep it simple.  Everything all said and done, the only two points left to make are that, ‘Fables’ is for sure worth the listen, and as Manni Phantom stated himself… ‘The competition’s better dead.’  Click any of the photos to take a listen.

The Traktor Kontrol S8.


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The TRAKTOR KONTROL S8 introduces a new era in DJing. Create in the moment. Connect with your crowd. And perform with unrivaled, cutting-edge power. Driven by touch-sensitive controls, high-res displays put TRAKTOR PRO software within sight, keeping you focused on the music – not on your laptop. Innovative touch-and-see workflow makes browsing, editing, effects and Remix Decks instantly accessible, cheek the method below.

A Look At The PLX-1000’s.


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We’ve been paying close attention to the story of Pioneer’s new vinyl turntable that originally got leaked by QBert right after the NAMM convention in January, and today the details have dropped. The new PLX-1000 is a direct drive analog turntable that’s very similar in design to the Technics 1200s and many of the other super OEM models that have come after it. There’s a standard layout, long pitch fader with a range of tempo adjustments from ±8% and ±16% to ±50% and a reset switch, and a lighted speed guide on the platter.  A lot of DJs have speculated over the need and presence for additional I/O options besides the traditional RCA and power – and it looks like many might be disappointed as Pioneer has kept it completely analog in the unit, with just a single pair of phono outs, a ground cable attachment point, a Kensington lock slot, and a power supply. The lack of digital interface is something that we’ve heard from Pioneer is very much an intention to keep the sound quality very pure and analog – but we’re left wondering why easy connection for timecode users to a Pioneer certified mixer like the DJM-900 Nexus or SRT didn’t seem like the better play for the market.

 

User Review: Neon Dreams – By Victoria Fisher.


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As we are reaching the mid way point of 2014, electronic dance music (better known as EDM) has progressively taken over the music industry. With concerts and festivals that fill the summer, no matter what coast you live on you are more than likely pumping your fist or nodding your head to some awesome beat drop.

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More well known DJs are now more often making longer songs that can last as long as over an hour straight; these are known as sets. The ability to keep somebody’s attention for more than the duration of a regular song (3-5 minutes) can be pretty difficult; especially if your music is not carrying a focus on the lyrical context. EDM is all about how the music makes you feel; the journey that it takes you and your mind on when listen to it. The Neon Dreams Compilation track by DJ Storm & Jeff Phantom (with a total duration of 1 hour 13 minutes and 30 seconds) does just that- takes you on an amazing musical journey.

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When I was first shown the track, I thought “Omg an hour?  Okay  well I’m already in for the night, I’ll just put it in on and let it rock.” And I did just that… best decision ever! The music is both soothing and energizing; the lyrics are not heavy in context but they provide just the right amount of coupling next to the beats that change consistently and smoothly. The next thing I thought about was how much I wanted to download it and go in at the gym to it! EDM music always helps me run like Forrest when I get on the treadmill and I knew that Neon Dreams was a perfect fit.

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As the song progresses, I became more entranced and excited to see what was coming next. Every song perfectly transitioned into the next, which is something that not every DJ is able to do. Transitions can really make or break a compilation and DJ Storm & Jeff Phantom straight up nailed it. Perhaps one of my favorite qualities of this song is that I want to listen to it at all hours of the day or night. Whether I am heading out to the club with my friends or just starting my work day at 8am, I cannot stop listening to this track. The music of it has become infectious in all the best ways possible. With dope beats and lyrics that partner it perfectly; Neon Dreams has easily become one of my favorite EDM compilations that I have ever heard. If it is any hint of how much I enjoy it; in the past week I have listened to the song in its entirety probably close to 6 or 7 times. That is not including the times that I started the song but was not able to finish it because I had to do other things (like work-LAME).

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DJ Storm & Jeff Phantom have made a pretty dope premiere of their musical abilities meeting. Neon Dreams is universally musically intriguing. As I write this at 9am I am definitely listening to it, beats bumping and fist pumping. Give the track a listen and be sure to let us know what you think!

 

DigitalRev Reviews the Innovative Sony QX100 Lens Camera


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Examining the ins and outs of Sony’s QX100, the camera experts at DigitalRev bring us their latest review. The hybrid camera-lens is intended for use with a mobile phone, and does represent a new niche in the market, however may not be specialized enough for photography purists. Connecting wirelessly via a Sony app seems to contribute inherent lag issues to the newfangled device, while the review also touches on shortcomings with the app interface. To it’s credit, the device does boast a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens, 3.6x optical zoom resulting in crisp photos and videos.

The Tirol Austria Thermal Bath.


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Aqua Dome is a luxurious 4-star superior hotel offers stunning views of the Ötztal Alps, spacious and elegant rooms, and the only thermal spring in Western Austria. The spectacular architecture of the Aqua Dome Hotel blends in harmoniously with its natural surroundings. The hotel’s large wellness area, which guests can access free of charge, offers spa pleasures on 2,000 m². An outdoor spa area, large lawn for sunbathing, saunas, beauty treatments, fitness centre, and the Alpen Arche Noah children’s and family area provide ample opportunities for bathing and leisure activities.

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The restaurants serve regional and international cuisine, as well as healthy dishes, in a stylish setting. Drinks are served in the lounge, at the bar, and at the cosy wine bar, which has an open fireplace and leather sofas. Aqua Dome Hotel & Tirol Therme Längenfeld offers a separate water world for children and families, including 2 large pools and a giant water slide. In addition, families can have fun in the play rooms.

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