Evil Genius (2018)

Ok to start this one off I have to tell you this. This is true. This whole thing is based a couple hours from where I grew up. It is near where I went to college. I worked in this city for years while living there. It is absolutely insane that this occurred here. That being said they made a very good Netflix series out of it.

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Title: Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Director: Trey Borzillieri & Barbara Schroeder

Genre: Documentary, Crime

Rating: TV-MA

OK Lets jump in to this Netflix Special! This is a bit different for a few reasons. One of which was mentioned before. Another in that I’m going to rate the series as a whole, not the individual episodes. Lastly this is a TV Mini-Series, comprised of four episodes. Each episode is right around 48 minutes, making this whole series about 192 mins (3hr 20min) Trust me is isn’t boring. It has a TV-MA rating for good reason. The things discused and shown are, at times horrific. This is, as the title notes, the most diabolical bank heist that we have seen in America.

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The story line is interesting. In 2003, in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania a man was seen robbing a bank with a bomb collar around his neck. He was following directions written on sheets of paper, like a scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt would lead him to rob the bank, as well as find the keys to unlock the collar before it detonated. People in Hollywood can’t write this stuff! It is a truly interesting and disturbing series. Brian Wells, was the man with the collar bomb/hostage. He was a pizza delivery man, who delivered pizzas to a bizarre location, which set off the series of events that lead to his ultimate death.

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The series covers all of the angles of the case from the perspective and mouths of the supects involved. You will see the perspective of the FBI agents, State Police, ATF, and local police and coroners. You will even see statements from the families. There is live video interviews with the people involved in the crime itself, all the way down to testimony from people in prison, and hookers that may play a bigger role than you think. The questions raised throughout are mind boggling. Who was involved, who wasn’t, who knew what? This series does have a very unexpected couple of twists towards the end.

I was very invested, because of how close it was to home. But don’t think I’m just hyping this up. At the time and through out the trials, this was national news. Nothing like this has ever happened before in this country. You may even remember this being on the news yourself.

The main narrator, Trey Borzillieri is also the main person contacting people, and conducting some interviews throughout the series. You won’t believe how deep he goes to uncover things that were never known before. He and his entire crew, did an outstanding job with this series. As much as I wished this never happened, you are left wanting more. You want more information, you want more answers, but the catch is that some of the details are, and will forever be, unknown…

In summary, this is the story of the Pizza Bomber Bank Heist. Anything that is known to this case in it’s entirety is brought up at some point in this documentary. I highly recommend watching this amazing series, as following the twists and turns of an Evil Genius!

That all being said I would personally give this series a 9.5/10

 

 

 

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Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)

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Director: Dennis Gansel

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime

Rating: R

Leads: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones

First off let me tell you this as a disclaimer. I have a bit of an obsession with Jason Statham. It must be said before I continue, and yes it is hard to be objective about a movie that he stars in.

Ok on to the specifics! the movie itself is 98 minutes long (1 hour & 38 minutes). Sometimes I want these movies to last longer, but they also have to have the content to extend them. So I believe, even though I want more, that this length is perfect for this type of movie. It is set in the genres above and that is spot on. It has an R rating, due to the nature of the violence and the language used throughout the movie. The language is generally sporadic and not the main reason for this rating. This is indeed the sequel to the 2012 movie “The Mechanic” (which I also loved). Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop who is an assassin that specialized in accidental deaths.  Jessica Alba plays his love interest Gina, and the curve ball of the group is Tommy Lee Jones who plays Max Adams one of Bishop’s targets.

So the story line is simply this: Bishop left his old life and assumed a new name. He is found by his old frienemy Crain (Sam Hazeldine). Crain wants Bishop to come out of his hiding/retirement and assassinate three high profile targets to keep his secret identity safe. Clearly like any movie he doesn’t respond well, but is later put into a situation where Gina, is captured and held hostage until he eliminates the targets. Of course like always he has to keep each kill looking like an accident, in order to ensure the safety of Gina. You will have to watch and see about Tommy Lee Jones, I don’t want to ruin it. That is about all I can say about it without giving anything away.

I for one don’t know if Jessica Alba was the right choice for this role. Yes she is/was a high profile star for some time. Yes she is attractive, but I feel like they shot too high for the roll in a way. I feel like it would be a better movie if there wasn’t such a household name, so to speak, in that role. So in a way that is a compliment to Alba haha.

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Jason Statham has been my favorite actor for years now. I like, in a way, that he has stayed a ‘B’ list actor all while continuing to be the star in movies. His fight scenes in any movie are amazing. They are well thought out, well written, and very different than most. He opts to fight by hand to hand combat and use his soundings to his advantage. His slight accent makes him perfect for a ton of roles, as well as his physique, and demeanor.

This movie, does have plenty of action, unlike “Atomic Blonde” which I reviewed previously. Yes is had fight scenes, but it also has helicopters, explosions, dangerous people, risky stunts, and more. This movie was never received well, partly because it isn’t as main stream, and partly because it is a sequel to another movie that wasn’t received all too well. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good movie.

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There are a couple negatives about this movie as well. This is the hard part for me to admit haha. Some of the explosions and fire graphics are far too fake. They really seem like they took no time at all to make them seem any bit real. Again being a bit picky, movies like this tend to allow pistols to hold 50 round magazines without having to re-load. This movie is guilty of that, unfortunately. The sound track is just blah, as it is your typical action suspense sounds. It was never there to be a hit sound track, and it won’t be. I like to have a well rounded movie and that does in cooperate things like music and CGI. I want the whole package and this movie, like mannny others falls flat at times.

In summary I love Jason Statham. I love his movies. I think his love interest was casted wrong, but it is only a minor thing. It is a typical action movie if that is what you are looking for. It has every piece you want to see, and you should watch it at least once. that way you can judge for yourself! 😀

That all being said I would recommend watching this movie in any capacity! I personally give this movie a  6.5/10

 

 

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Title: Atomic Blonde Atomic-Blonde-2017-movie-poster

Director: David Leitch

Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: R

Leads: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman

I know it has been a while since I did a review, so bare with me!

I can’t believe this movie slipped under my radar. I really hadn’t even heard of it until a co-worker of mine brought it up. Maybe I was just missing it, or maybe it wasn’t as hyped up as some others.

Lets start off with some specifics. This movie is 115 minutes in duration, which I think is a nice length for movies of this nature, coming in at just under two hours. It is rated R for I can only assume, vulgar language, violence, and nudity. (All the things I love in a movie) This movie has a few more ‘big’ stars than you would initially think. You clearly see the leads, but if you look a bit closer you see names like Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, and Bill Skarsgard. This movie is listed in the genres above in that order, but I would re-arrange them. I think I would put action last. If you are looking for your typical action movie this isn’t it.

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Lets dive in, shall we? I felt pretty good about this movie going into it. Badass women in movies have burst onto the scene and I for one love it! Seeing that Charlize Theron was playing a double agent by the name of Lorraine got me hooked.  The main story line is set in 1989, a year after I was born, Berlin Germany. This would put us in the Cold War era. Lorraine (Theron) is working as an agent with MI6 and tasked with figuring out who murdered another agent and recover a list containing all the known double agents. Without spoiling anything I really can’t go into much more plot detail.

Like I stated earlier I was really looking forward to this movie, but in some spots, for me, it fell flat. In a movie like this, that has  multiple lines going on at the same time, you have to somewhat clearly have something defined to let people know. In this movie in particular they were constantly going from East to West Germany, due to the Berlin Wall. Most of the movie, except for a literal couple times, did they let you know what side they were on. I spent far too much time trying to figure that out while also trying to enjoy the movie. To me that is a bit of a negative. I get that the movie is in a mystery genre, but the East/West current location doesn’t play much of a part in the story line.

In the same regard, if you are someone like me, you may be confused in general, if you aren’t familiar with the Cold War, and the split German country. That can be kind of hard to follow. You are constantly seeing agents from USA, UK, Russia, and France throughout the movie and it can be hard to follow it. I know this does play into some of the mystery of the story, so this isn’t the worst thing going on, but it is worth mentioning.

One thing I loved about the movie is its sound track. This movie did a great job following the 80’s stereotypes, when it comes to the music, cars, and fashion. I applaud them on that. You can hear artists like, Queen, Depeche Mode, George Michael, David Bowie, The Clash, and more. Some cars that make appearances are an 89 Audi V8, 91 BMW 5 Touring, and a very sleek 89 Porsche 911 Carrera.

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The other thing that I found pretty great about this movie were the fight scenes. There are about 5 pretty great fight scenes throughout the whole movie. This is also why I don’t think the action genre fits too well. There are no explosions and super fast car chases and other things you would find in a true action movie. There are only a few great fight scenes that really give this movie any real action. But let me tell you! They are some damn good fight scenes. Lorraine is a true badass.

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This movie has plenty of curve balls and will keep you thinking long after it is over.

In summary this was a lot of fun to watch. It was casted well in most cases. There is a very real mystery about this movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the very end. Like most movies it had it’s short comings, but kind of , for me, made up for them in other aspects.

This all being said I would recommend giving this movie a watch! I would personally give this movie a 7.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

Pixel Art App Review!

Hey Everyone!

Today I want to do a quick review of  a phone app that is keeping me sane lately haha. It is called “Pixel Art” created by Easybrain. It has a 4.8 out of 5 rating and has over 10 million downloads. If you like the review and wat to try it you can get it on the google Play Store: Here! and the Apple Store: Here!

Lets begin! This is a literal paint by number app. For someone like me it is nice to have a ‘game’ to play that isn’t competitive. When I get stressed or need something to do I can open this app and get lost in the process. They upload new art everyday.

The app is free with paid features. You can get it for free and unlock other pieces to paint, if you want to. I haven’t done that because there are soo many other options that you really don’t need to if you don’t want to. With this app being mostly free there are a couple ads that run, but nothing overbearing. I have been using this app for a while now and it hasn’t ever gotten to the point where they have bothered me.

Lets get into the app itself. When you load it up you see this simple start page.

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From there are are greeted with a lonnnng list of pictures that you can paint. You will notice some have locks in the top right corner. This means that you have to pay to get access to that picture. You will also notice some of the pictures have a 3-D icon at the top left. That is an image that you will rotate and paint all sides. They are a bit tougher to manage, but still fun.

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Again you can scroll through a ton of images. On the bottom you will see that you were in the library. Once you tap the ‘My Works you can see your partial and completed images. You can see some of mine below.

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Some are crazy detailed and others are simple. They really have something for everyone. When you tap an image and start you will see it like this. 4

You tap the number you want to use and tap the small square that also has that number. Real simple. You will need to use two fingers to zoom in and out to see better and keep it manageable. 5

When you complete an image you can apply a filter. I don’t think any of them look great, but you might. 6

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Another thing I haven’t worried about much are the ‘Create’ option. you can create an image with a video or a picture. It is really neat I just haven’t done it. The ‘More’ tab just has some basic settings an a quick walk through of how to use the app.

I think the rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars is very appropriate. For anyone looking for some quick, and easy fun this might be the app for you!

I hope you enjoyed the review, and I’ll be back tomorrow for “Coffee Talk” 😀 😀

PDF To Word (Cometdocs App Review)

Hey Everyone!

I was contacted by the Community Manager of Cometdocs, to do a review of their ‘PDF to Word’ app. I gladly accepted the opportunity to do another review. I have since downloaded the app and a a few competitors and will jump right in on what I found. *Reminder: This is by no way a biased review, and I have not partnered with anyone*

Here is a link to the app in the Google Play Store.

I first asked myself, as an IT professional, who would use such an app? I found that my honest answer was really only a select few people. It could be useful for a businessman or salesman on the go, or possibly a family or college student that doesn’t have a full desktop to go about it another way. Even that one seems to be a stretch, but we will leave it there.

I next asked myself, does this really need to be an app? Could you not just go to a website converter and do the same thing? The answer is yes, buuut you really can’t beat the readiness of an app, with one tap launching. I would, at the end of the day much rather use an app.

This lead me to wonder, would you really be doing any type of converting, or real work for that matter on your phone or tablet? To answer simply yes, you could. If you fall in the category of an on the go businessman or salesman you could very well be doing some of this. Again I have to stress this is a really small percentage of people in most work forces. This is very much a niche app.

On paper the ‘PDF to Word’ app lists:

  • No limit on file size or number of converted files –Great!
  • Scanned and complex PDFs can also be converted –Great!
  • You can also convert Gmail attachments, Dropbox files, Google Drive files, OneDrive files, and iCloud docs –Great!

All of these features are great, except you would expect this from all converters wouldn’t you?

Review:

I started out just using the app I was to be reviewing. Then tested a couple other ways to convert for a proper test. I used a total of three different converters, one of which being the app under review. I downloaded two test PDF documents of average size, and one at a time I converted each one. I was looking for a good clean conversion, a reliable speed (if you are on the go you want fast), usability, and affordability.

So, the ‘PDF to Word’ app was simple to find and download. It pops right up and installs, simple. When you open it you are greeted with a nice clean Office-esk looking interface.

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You clearly can see that it is easy, you tap the ‘+’ sign to search for your file.You are then given an option to grab a file locally or from some other source. I used my OneDrive, since that is where I downloaded the sample PDFs.

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After the proper selection I was able to easily able to find my PDF files.

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Up until this point everything was great. Everything you expect to find from this app you were getting. Once I tapped on the file I wanted to convert I was honestly shocked at first.

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They seemingly went ad-free, which is cool, but at a staggering price. On top of that they went out of their way to create a wait time if you didn’t pay for the upgrade. Honestly that is a little dirty. I would rather see ads on the free version with less wait time. This is done though for a reason. They aren’t interested in free users, this app is geared for a company to pay for the whole package. This app has that.

I continued with the free version, and started my conversion. I knew there would be a wait, but at this point I already knew it wasn’t set up for a free user to use once or twice.

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I started my conversion at 9:14, it didn’t finish until 10:30. Again they were up front about the wait time. Lets be entirely honest, if this is what the free version holds it wouldn’t make sense to use it, ever. No one in their right mind would wait over an hour for one document to be converted.

I have no question that the upgrade works like it says. If you pay the $7 I guarantee you that it would take a matter of seconds. You would be very happy with the end result. It really boils down to would you spend the money for this service?

The next service I tried was web based, because I figured to avoid the cost of an app without ads you could just browse for a random converter. From my mobile device I went to google, searched for a PDF to Word converter, tapped the link to get there and was greeted with this:

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Again a fairly simple layout that is there to do a simple service. Now keep in mind that there will always be a few steps involved to get here. This isn’t an app, and you won’t have one touch access if you need this again. But it is always available and won’t take anywhere near an hour even after having to search for it. I digress, next you tap to add a file and browse to it.

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Once selected, it starts the conversion process. To my delight it was done in a matter of seconds. The whole process from google search to open Word doc took about 30 seconds.

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So the down side to this method is that you lose out on the once touch capability. It is however free and still took less time than the free version of the ‘PDF to Word’ app. (as to be expected) Browsing to a converter like this makes sense for a conversion here and there, not necessarily all the time.

Next I wondered, what would other free downloaded apps look like. I again searched the store to find a free converter and found this app ‘PDF Converter’ made by Tick talk Soft.

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Once installed they show you right away that there will be ads and that you can pay to remove them.

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I continued with the ad version, and much like the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs, was greeted with a simple clean layout.

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You can see a small banner ad at the bottom. Nothing to be bothered by. I next tapped to add a file. Once I found it I was offered a choice of conversion. This being a PDF to Word review I chose a word doc.

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I was also asked something I never thought about. It asked which version of a Word document I wanted.

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I was then prompted to name my new word file, which was also a nice feature.

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Once I named my file and hit the Ok button I encountered my first ad.

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This was followed by one more. They weren’t videos or anything they were just simple screens to ‘X’ out of. So with the double tap of a finger they were gone, and in seconds I had my file, renamed and converted, for free.

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Again with a couple of banner ads , but done in a timely manner. Tapping the file then the preview option I could open and see my file.

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So yes this service had a couple of ads, but again the total amount of time spent, from opening the app to opening Word at the end, took 15 seconds. This app offers no ads as a subscription fee which is silly to me. This app works great for one touch conversions every once and a while.

Conclusion:

I have reviewed the three apps for conversion, in their free mode, and have to say that for me the wait time on the “PDF to Word” app from Cometdocs just doesn’t make sense in any application. Either of the two other options would work much better. Again in the free mode.

If you are the kind of person that may be doing this all the time and don’t want to search the web each time to find a converter, and ads popping up each time you name a file bothers you. It may be worth it for you to spend the one time fee of $7 and have the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs. If you are a company looking to add something like this to all ‘Outside Sales’ cell phones, it would absolutely be worth it.

While the other two options are great for one time conversions, the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs is really in a league of its own. It isn’t for one time use, or free use. It is there as a tease in free mode. You really wouldn’t choose it for a one time conversion. It is meant for large scale conversions. It is meant for a company to standardize their working habits, without ads. For that there is clearly a need for a fee, and $7 at that point isn’t bad at all!

Rating:

I have to rate this for both versions, as it is only fair.

For the free version with over an hour wait time it would have to be a 1/5 stars. (I think they understand why and are ok with that) An ad riddled service with fast speeds wins everyday over that wait.

For the paid upgrade version, that would be perfect for companies with a need, it would be a knockout with 5/5 stars.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this review I hope it helps! 😀 😀

 

 

 

 

 

The Story of 90 Coins (2015)

Title: The Story of 90 Coins MV5BZTNhNTlmMGMtZWU5Yy00ZTkzLWIxZjktNTcyYmRjNjM2NGE1L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODE0NTE2OA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,706,1000_AL_.jpg

Director: Michael Wong

Genre: Short, Drama, Romance

Rating: Not Rated

Leads: Jose Acosta, Dongjun Han, Zhuang Zhiqi

Ok, this will be my first time doing something of this nature. I was contacted by the director of this short film, Michael Wong, to watch and review his film. I graciously have accepted.

On to the specifics! The short film is 10 minutes in duration. It is a Chinese film directed by Michael Wong. This is seemingly his first film, made for entertainment. This film in particular has picked up over 30 different recognition’s, at film festivals world wide. I will have them listed at the end if you care to browse through them. 😀

Short films are created differently than full length films for many reasons. They have to be able to grab the audience quickly all while presenting as much information as they can to build up the story. I personally feel like short films never can do any justice, because you can clearly tell there is a full story inside waiting to come alive. That being said, for many reasons, most short films never get made in to feature films, and you are left wondering what if.

In this short film Wan Yuyang (Han Dongjun) is in love with Chen Wen (Zhuang Zhiqi). Her feelings aren’t mutual, but he wants her to give him a chance. He proposes a 90 day period for him to change her mind. He will give her a coin each day for 90 days, totaling $9.00. If at the end of the 90 days she does not feel the same way about him they will buy drinks where they first met and say goodbye. They see each other everyday except one, and each day she receives a coin in a folded paper container. Along the way Chen Wen is advancing in her career as a fashion designer, and seemingly has to choose her career or possible love. The whole film is based on the motto “Don’t let a promise become just a beautiful memory.” What will she decide? Go see for yourself in the link below!

In the short 10 minutes of this film you are presented with a ton on information. You don’t have enough time to really build any relationship with the characters but you do have time to engulf yourself in the beautiful story. At times it seems a bit scattered and confusing, but I’ll chalk that up to a complex story being compressed. The story is mostly narrated by what seems to be both characters own conscience’s so you don’t see the actors speaking through out. There are English subtitles, and that is what I had to go off of. I watched this film three times over to make sure I captured the story, the lines, and the video.

The cinematography and photo editing in this film is stunning. I mean wonderful! The shots are tasteful, and classy. The cuts and transitions are as smooth as can be. Everything in that regard is top notch.

Since this was a requested review I want to give you, my readers the option to watch this film yourself to see what I mean. You can watch the film on Vimeo here!

Does this short film have what it takes to be a full length movie? I would say yes. Will it ever become one? Probably not, based on many factors. Who should watch this short? Everyone! If it were a full length movie who would want to see it? Adult couples on date night. What would you rate this short film? I would rate this short film a 7/10. 

As promised here is a list of accolades for this short. I hope you have enjoyed my review.

  • ACCOLADES
    Official Selection – Nassau Film Festival 2017
    Silver Remi: Shorts Dramatic Original – WorldFest Houston Int’l Film & Video Festival 2017
    Nominee: Best Director of a Short Foreign Language Film – Nice Int’l Filmmaker Festival 2017
    Nominee: Best Lead Actor in a Foreign Language Film – Nice Int’l Filmmaker Festival 2017
    Nominee: Best Original Score – Nice Int’l Filmmaker Festival 2017
    Winner: Best Editing – SHORT to the Point (Feb) 2017
    Official Selection – UK Screen One International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Sacramento International Film Festival 2016
    Winner: Best Cinematography – Top Indie Film Awards 2016
    Nominee: Best Romantic Comedy – Top Indie Film Awards 2016
    Awards of Excellence – Accolade global Film Competition 2016
    Best Drama – Los Angeles Film Awards 2016
    Best Cinematography – Los Angeles Film Awards 2016
    Best Foreign Short – Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2016
    Best Actress – Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2016
    Audience Choice Award: Drama – Festigious International Film Festival 2016
    Best Couple – Festigious International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Singapore World International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – New York Film Week 2016
    Official Selection – Vasteras Film Festival 2016
    1st prize: Best Cinematography – Open Art Short Film Festival 2016
    2nd prize: Best Director – Open Art Short Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection: Narrative Short Film – Open Art Short Film Festival 2016
    Winner: Best Short Film – Universal Film Festival 2016
    Nominee: Best Foreign Film – Universal Film Festival 2016
    Nominee: Best Actor – Universal Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Shnit International Short Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Bridge Film Fest 2016
    Official Selection – Ipsos Short Film Breaks 2016
    Winner: Best Narrative Short – The World’s Independent Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Swedish International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Vienna Independent Film Festival 2016
    Best Film: Hope – Top Shorts Online Film Festival 2016
    Best Cinematography – Top Shorts Online Film Festival 2016
    Honorable Mention: Original Score – Top Shorts Online Film Festival 2016
    Official Cinebalu Screening Selection – Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival 2016
    Merit Award – International New York Film Festival 2016
    Best Foreign Short Film – Ukrainian International Short Film Festival 2016
    Winner: Best Director – Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection: Best Film – Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection: Best Cinematography – Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection: Best Actor – Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection: Best Story – Whatashort India International Film Festival 2016
    Official Selection – Toronto Film Week 2016
    Official Selection – DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival 2016
    Rising Star Awards (Foreign Film) – Canada International Film Festival 2016
    Special Jury Mention – Promofest Short of the Year 2016
    Official Selection – Venice Film Week 2016
    Official Selection – Sydney World Film Festival 2015
    Finalist – Canada Shorts Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection – Kiwi International Film Festival 2015
    Official Finalist – London Film Awards 2015
    Official Selection – #TOFF The Online Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection – SPFW Indie Film Festival 2015
    Official Selection – Los Angeles CineFest 2015
    Official Selection – US Hollywood International Film Festival (USHIFF) 2015
    Official Selection – The Monthly Film Festival (TMFF) 2015
    Official Selection – Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2015

SoloLearn App Review!

Hey Everyone!

Back again with another review. I’ll be mixing it up a bit with this one. It is an app review, the first one I have attempted. Bare with me and enjoy.

I was at work the other day tinkering with different parts of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) trying to help my co-worker get e-mail signatures to work correctly. When work let out I went home. My office is in the attic and my baby and wife need my help on the first floor of our home. I still had HTML on my mind and thought to myself, “I bet there is an app for this.” There was. The app is called ‘SoloLearn’ and is free to download.

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Once you download it you choose the language that interests you, you can change it anytime. I chose HTML and it brought me to my ‘Activity Feed.’ As you can see there is a leveling system based on how much you complete.

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Navigating through this interface is simple. The next screen shot I have is for the ‘Q&A’ section of the app. This allows you to ask and get your own questions answered, without having to go else where to find things out.

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Another section is the ‘Code Playground’ where you can practice coding right here in the app.

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Next they have a ‘Play’ section that allows you to start challenges.

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Lastly, you have a ‘Learn’ section, where you do just that. Since I chose HTML you can see that it is HTML based. You can clearly see that I have completed the Overview and that I am currently working on the Basics. You may also notice the ‘Take A Shortcut’ button, this allows people to skip ahead if they already know some of what they want to learn. You can take a short quiz and skip sections if you answer them correctly.

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At the end you are awarded a ‘Certificate’ of completion. I’m sure it isn’t anything super special but it will make you feel good. From above you saw I was in the Basics section. Below you can see how that is formatted. You go through mini learning sessions that teach you, make you do some code, and then they question you on what you have learned. They are quick so you can definitely learn on the go.

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Below you can see just some of the courses they offer.

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This is a great little app that has over 1 million downloads. It is rated in the Play Store 4.8/5 and so far all I can do is agree. I will be using this app for the foreseeable future, whether it is for brushing up or starting new. If this app interests you I would recommend that you give it a shot!

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. 😀 😀

The Ridiculous 6 (2015)

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Director: Frank Coraci

Genre: Comedy, Western

Rating: Tv-14

Leads: Adam Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson

Lets see, where to start with this one! Right off the bat I can tell you that it is a typical Adam Sandler movie. If you like the others, you will find this one appealing. If you don’t like his other movies you will probably hate this movie.

Lets talk specifics. The Netflix Original movie is 1 hour and 59 minutes (119 minutes) long. The time frame is decent and if you are into the movie it will fly by. This movie is one of the most well known actor, jammed packed as they come. You can sit on IMDB.com and scroll for a while and still see names you recognize. I’m not sure this movie paid well for anyone, but was more of a fun project. On top of the already mentioned leads you have names like: Will Forte, Steve Zahn, Nick Nolte, Jon Lovitz, David Spade, Danny Trejo, Nick Swardson, Blake Shelton, and Vanilla Ice. Honestly that list keeps going, its incredible how many people they got to be in this movie.

As we look to the plot, you quickly realize, like most of his movies it is loose and only there as a basic structure. To sum it up Tommy (Adam Sandler) is an orphan raised by Native Americans. His dad comes back and then gets taken. The rest of the movie is about him and his newly found five brothers trying to rescue their dad. Again, the movie is really more about the cast and how they interact with each other.

The humor in the movie is ‘stupid’ and ‘childish’, and that isn’t meant in a mean/bashing way. It, at times, is very inappropriate and brash. Other times it is just corny, and you wonder how these movie keep getting funded at all. That being said if you like that sort of humor even a little bit, you will laugh. I’ll be the first to admit that these movies are a nice getaway from everyday life. It is nice to be able to watch a movie and not have to worry about following it too closely. I do like ‘stupid’ humor and I laughed a lot. I mean check out Team Jacob:

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It is as random as they come and to see all of these people play parts you never thought they would, it’s pretty amazing.

But, when you turn to the aspect of scoring/rating a movie like this they are always low. Scoring is serious and movies that aren’t taken too seriously on purpose, know they will be ranked low before they even start. As for being a comedy, yes but not well thought out comedy. As for western…..it takes part in the West, but that’s about it. Again it’s loose, the themes of a western aren’t there but the costumes and what not are. Take it with a grain of salt.

In summary, I laughed. The plot is basic. You never know which actor you will see next, and they all work great together in weird roles. It is your typical Sandler movie and should be treated as such. If I had a choice of never seeing it in the first place or watching it twice, I would watch it again.

That being said movies like this fall flat in the ratings and I would personally give this movie a 4.5/10

 

Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)

Title: Kubo and the Two StringsKubo_and_the_Two_Strings_poster.png

Director: Travis Knight

Genre: Animation, Adventure Family

Rating: PG

Leads: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey

Here we go again! This was a random pick from last night. If you were to ask me if I would have ever chose to watch this movie over something else, I would have said no. Just based on the look and title, it isn’t something that would really draw you in. That being said I was pleasantly surprised with this movie!

The movie 1 hour and 41 minutes long (101 minutes) Which on the surface seems long for an animated movie to me. The animation style is different, going for a more Asian theme, which fits this movie well. It isn’t something I am usually a fan of in feature films but it works. This movie has some very well known voice actors that I wasn;t even aware of until I looked them up. Some have very small roles but it is cool to see big name stars voicing a movie like this. You have Charlize Theron playing the Monkey, Matthew McConaughey playing the Beetle, as the big two.  Other notable names in short roles are  George Takei as Hosato, Roony Mara voicing The Sisters, and Ralph Fiennes as the Moon King.

On to the plot! This movie is based around a small child, who is caring for his mother in a cave like structure. They were ship wrecked after fleeing her family. Her father and two sisters took her son’s (Kubo) eye, and killed his father. Her father being the Moon King, Kubo isn’t allowed outside after dark, for fear that they will find him and take his other eye. Kubo is a great  story teller in the small village close by. He uses his guitar and paper to create wonderful visuals to go along with his stories, but always has to cut his stories short due to the day ending. He never gets to finish his stories and leaves everyone hanging. One night an old women tells Kubo how he can communicate with the dead, so he tries to contact his father. In doing so he stays out after dark and that is when the movie starts getting good. Up until this point the movie is pretty slow and almost makes you not want to watch over an hour more. But I promise it gets better! The Sisters start chasing Kubo and the story takes off. With the help of his Monkey charm, the Beetle, and his mom’s left over magic he begins his quest. All of which is laid out in the movie, but I don’t want to ruin anything.

This movie has a different animation style than most other feature length animated movies. At first I wasn’t sure I would like it the whole time, but it fits well. The story goes into pretty good detail and the movie gets pretty deep. Which you may not expect from a movie like this. I think this movie really sets it self apart from other movies in similar genres. If you remember from my last review, I said that movies in these categories go up against the greats. they have to have something special to stand out and shine above the others. I think this movie does just that. You get a real sense of caring, and compassion when watching this movie. You quickly want certain things to happen, and everything to play out well for the main characters. This movie has conflict, high points, low points, and over all a great story line with great actors. his movie is a pretty complete package.

To sum it all up I would recommend this movie to everyone. It has themes that would keep children entertained and is interesting enough to keep the adults in the room satisfied! The acting is great, the story is great, and there isn’t much more to say.

I would give this movie a 7.7/10

EWR Fidget Spinner Review

Hey Everyone!

I’m back again with something different. This will be my first product review on this page. Woo Hoo! I’ll be stealing a page from Reviews By JC haha. As you can tell from the title of today’s post I will be reviewing a fidget spinner made by EWR Products. You can find their store page here. As a disclaimer this is not in any way a paid review. I did not receive this at a discounted price, my wife bought it for me from Amazon. Great, now that that is out of the way, I can continue with the unbiased, honest review.

This is the first and probably only spinner I will have. I’m not sure I need to be collecting them haha. Lets have some pictures. Here we have the decent quality box that it came in. I kept mine so that when I am done with the spinner for good I can still keep it somewhere.

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Here we have the spinner itself:

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You can see here that it is working with ABEC-9 bearings, which allow it to spin super smooth. I opted for a little bit of color with the blue bearings, but you could have gotten it all black or even white from what I can see.

Next we have a side by side comparison. This is the spinner next to my wife’s iPhone7:

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The spinner fits comfortably in your hand, and has nice rounded edges. It fits well in a normal sized men’s pant pocket. Lastly to round out the pictures, we have a table spinning action shot, next to it’s box.

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From the time I received this gift I haven’t put it down. In fact I have it sitting on my desk with me this very moment! I have been putting this thing through some thorough testing as well. Before anything I ran time trials; 10 to be exact. To set the scene I did ten table spins, with one flick of my finger. I recorded the times from the flick until the spinner was no longer in motion. With the help of my phone’s stopwatch feature I was able to get fairly accurate results, and here they are:

  • Spin 1: 4:28.54
  • Spin 2: 4:23.03
  • Spin 3: 4:48.35
  • Spin 4: 4:23.68
  • Spin 5: 4:27.52
  • Spin 6: 4:11.96
  • Spin 7: 4:43.68
  • Spin 8: 4:55.92
  • Spin 9: 4:34.40
  • Spin 10: 4:40.95

Quickly you can see that from start to absolute finish it is well over four minutes each time. They advertise that they will spin on average between 1-4 minutes. I rounded the milliseconds to the nearest full second and came up with this average for my ten spins: 4:33.90. That is more than their advertised average. Here is a quick video I made last night, showing it off a bit:

As you can hear, it has a slight whizzing sound when it is spun fast. Other than that it is very quiet.

The last little test I did was more about durability. I have heard that the caps on some spinners fall off easy, as well as the bearings. I wanted to be the judge of that. I dropped this spinner various times on hard wood floors and on carpet. Much to my surprise the concave caps on the middle bearing never budged. They are still on there solid. I did notice that when dropped a few times, that one of the outside bearings was starting to come out a bit. to remedy this all I had to do was give it some good force between my thumb and forefinger, and it popped right back into place. I suppose this is to be expected, since you are able to change out the bearings anytime you want. There is no reason for them to be in there permanently. With anything if you drop it just right it can break. the body of the spinner held up too, there isn’t a scratch on it. I’d say for a $10.99 cent purchase on Amazon it is worth the buy. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting one I feel comfortable recommending this one. Here is a link to the Amazon page where I got mine.

I hope you have enjoyed my first real product review on this page! It was fun to write, maybe I’ll do more in the future. 😀 😀