Monday, July 18, 2011

REVIEW: Google+

Just in case you've been living under a rock, Google+ is a new social network outlet. Its in its beta phase and the only way to join as of now is to get an invite from someone who is already on it.

I have to admit, when I first joined I wasn't very impressed. To me, it seemed as if it was a dumb downed version of Facebook. After playing with it for a while, I have come to really enjoy it. This is what it would look like if Facebook and Twitter had a baby.

Right now the only features Google+ offers are:

  • Status updates-share whats on your mind with your friends, they have the option to comment on it, share it or +1 it (+1 is like "liking" someone's status on Facebook)
  • Photo/Video sharing-(you can also upload pics/videos to Cloud without public publishing)
  • Grouping your friends in "Circles". Don't want Aunt Millie seeing you say "It's 4:20! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!" You can use the option of sharing it with a certain circle. No one else except those people in that circle is able to see that status.
  • Some sites have added a +1 button, that when you click on it, it shows up on your Google+ wall, sharing it with friends as well as listed as a site you +1'd under your +1 tab.
  • Hangout: A multi-user video chat. This feature seems pretty cool. You can have up to 10 people in a huddle at one time. It shows whoever the person that is talking at the time's on cam.
  • Huddle: A multi-user chat room. This is similar to PingChat. What's better about this is the fact that, unlike Pingchat, who allows only up to 14 people per thread, Huddle's is unlimited. 
  • Tune into a YouTube video in real time with friends (within Hangouts) Anyone in the hangout has access to the controls (play, pause, etc) When the video starts, the group chat mutes by default but there is a button labeled "push to talk" that overrides it.
  • Sparks: View curated content based on interests. It points you toward content that you want to find and explore.
  • Make a typo in your status? You can edit posts after you published them.
Coming soon to Google+:
  • Free SMS service
  • Private Messaging System
  • Hangout feature on Google+ Android application (No Hangout on iOS devices) 

I'm sure I missed some of the features but hopefully you'll get the picture. If you have an Android device, there's a Google+ app in the marketplace waiting for you to download. You can also take advantage of Huddle in the Google+ app. All in all I think Google+ definitely has some potential to be the future Facebook. Only time and added features will tell.

If you're interested in checking it out, send me a tweet and I'll hook you up!

Written By: Maryanne
Twitter: @BostonBombshell

I Should Be Doing Laundry: My Mind Tells Me One Thing, My Heart, Another

My Mind Tells Me One Thing, My Heart, Another...

I have trust issues...there, I said it. I've been burned too many times to trust easily so when I open up and trust someone, it's a big deal. I'm not saying I'm this "holier than thou" or "consider yourself lucky if I trust you" kind of person, I'm just saying when I trust you, it's a big deal to ME.

Recently, a friend with whom I've trusted with all my heart hurt me pretty badly emotionally. I had considered this person near and dear to my heart, someone who I could feel comfortable enough to tell them anything and everything that was on my mind and they would be non judgmental towards me. Without getting into details, this person pretty much broke not only my trust, but my heart as well. Do I still love and care about this person? Of course. We all make mistakes. BUT, we must also recognize and admit those mistakes in order to move forward in our relationships/friendships. Apologize for what you did, not for the hurt that was brought upon from your actions.

This friend has done just that. Apologized that I was hurt by their actions, not for doing something to me that was wrong. Refuses to accept the fact that they were wrong and out of line with what they did. I know it shouldn't let it bother me, but it does. I've been made a fool of in front of others unjustly. Would a true friend do this to someone? Friendship to me is about trust, love, respect, honesty and loyalty among many other attributes. This friend has pretty much broken all of them.

My mind tells me to distance myself and let the wounds heal, my heart tells me to forgive and move forward. Given the small amount of details above, what would you do? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to post them below.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Be sure and tune in for for Lust N Love Radio on 92X - Everything that rocks! this Saturday night at 10pm EST and as always, Monday nights at 9pm EST on EdgeFM.net - The place where talk lives!

Friday, July 15, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter
Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley
Emma Watson - Hermione Granger
Ralph Fiennes - Lord Voldemort
Michael Gambon - Professor Albus Dumbledore
Alan Rickman - Professor Severus Snape
Evanna Lynch - Luna Lovegood
Helena Bonham Carter - Bellatrix Lestrange
Bonnie Wright - Ginny Weasley
Maggie Smith - Professor Minerva McGonagall

This is a film I personally have been waiting to see for 4 years. I have been reading the Potter books since the first one was released in the late 90's. After I read the first book, I wondered just how the story would all end. You can perhaps say I've been waiting to see this film for almost 10 years then. After I read the "Deathly Hallows" book, I knew the final film would be HUGE. Not just in the size of the battles, but the size of the movie. The US version of the book has over 700 pages! It was necessary to split the final book into two films. While the first film I thought was a giant tease building up to this film, it set the course of what will be the final confrontation. Like most fans, I was annoyed that we had to wait this long for part 2, simply because I wanted to see "Part 2" immediately! With that, let's take a quick look back at all of the Potter films.

Most of you reading this already know the story and what is going on and what happens. Some of you only have watched the movies and don't know what will happen, so I will try not to reveal anything. From the trailers and the fact there are no more books, you know this is it. This is the final battle between Harry, Ron, Hermione and the students of Hogwarts taking on Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Many characters die in an epic final battle on the Hogwarts grounds and friendships will be put to the test.

Think of "Part 2" as a 2 hour long final confrontation, while "Part 1" was the build up. Continuing the story from "Part 1", Harry, Ron and Hermione are searching for the last remaining horcruxes so they can finally kill Voldemort. In case you don't know by now, after destroying the horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemorts soul, Voldemort becomes mortal once all pieces are destroyed. While they are searching for the horcruxes, Voldemort and his army are planning an assault on Hogwarts. Voldemorts goal is simple, conquer the wizard world and the Muggle world. Only Harry can stop him.

Here is honestly the best way to go into this film. Think of the third Matrix movie. The plot was already there. You know the characters, the story, the mission of both sides and what needs to happen. "The Matrix" introduced us to all of the characters and an innovative and amazing plot. "Reloaded" was building up to the final confrontation and in "Revolutions", You just sat back and watched everything come together. "Deathly Hallows Part 2" was not the best plot driven Potter film. However, it is certainly the most exciting and heart racing of all of the films and it leads to what we all wanted to see for 8 films: Harry Vs. Voldemort.

The film is a marvelous visual effort. The special effects are spot on and the acting performances from all of the cast was excellent as well. The way Daniel Radcliffe acted as Harry was more special than the others. Even though he knows he is the only one that can stop Voldemort, he is still terrified of death and what he must do in order to finally defeat Voldemort. The way Daniel Radcliffe portrayed this confident, yet scared hero was amazing. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione respectively were both excellent. I say Emma is excellent, but she could just stare at a camera for 2 hours and I would love it.

The person that I felt for the most, just like in the book, was Snape. If you read the book, you know what I'm talking about. The way his story unfolds in front of Harry's eyes was portrayed brilliantly. It even got a few of the people in the theater choked up.

Neville Longbottom was probably my favorite character as far as how his role was in the film. When he comes from nowhere and helps Ron and Hermione when they need it most, the guy sitting next to me starting chanting "MVP! MVP!". Neville kicked ass.

The Good

- YOU WILL NOT BE BORED WITH THIS FILM. Like I said before, all of "Part 1" was a build up to this and you have been waiting for years to see the final confrontation. No, the entire film is not one giant battle. You actually see plot lines unfold. You will walk away very satisfied.

- The visual effects are spectacular. They are worth at least a consideration from The Academy to nominate this film for visual effects.

- The acting was spot on and what these actors did is make you feel like their life's are in danger and bring you into their world.

- The end of this film is a very satisfying conclusion to the franchise and does the book justice.

- Bellatrix Lestrange's death. That got a HUGE applause from the audience.

- The score and background music gives you a rush. That is just me being a fan of movie scores though.

The Bad (AKA "Nitpicks")

Let me reassure you one thing: The following are really nitpicks. I loved this film. However, as a writer for this site it is my responsibility to let you guys know what flaws are in the film also.

- Like all films adapted from books and in previous Potter films, there are some minor plot changes in the movie that are different from the book.

- Voldemort, while evil as hell, has some stereotypical "movie bad guy" quotes. Like his "Only I can live forever!" line in the trailers. He also seemed a bit more... human. In the previous films he appeared in, he was this insane, psychopathic madman. In this final film, he seemed vulnerable. Although he is nervous because his horcruxes are being destroyed, he shows it just a little too much sometimes.

- I had no problem with it, but I heard people commenting on the appearance of aged Harry, Ron and Hermione at the very end at the train station. While the scene was almost identical to the book and I personally had no problem with the make up work, some audience members commented saying it wasn't realistic enough.

- The length of the film was a little shorter than what I was expecting. Give the movie just 10 more minutes and a tad bit more fighting and it would have been better. However, for what is in these 130 minutes, it is VERY satisfying. These "complaints" are really just me nitpicking.

In closing, "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2" is the epic finale we all knew what was going to be. The film exceeds every and all expectations and concludes the Harry Potter story in a 2 hour long epic finale. Great visual effects, great acting, great film. What more can you ask for? Well worth the money. I've been a Harry Potter fan since I was 12. Now at almost 25 years old, watching this film brought me right back to my 12 year old self. A very satisfying conclusion to a part of my childhood.


Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

REVIEW: Transformers - Dark Of The Moon

Sam Witwicky: Shia LaBeouf
Carly Spencer: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Lt. Col. William Lennox: Josh Duhamel
Dylan Gould: Patrick Dempsey
Charlotte Mearing: Frances McDormand
Seymour Simmons: John Turturro
Dutch: Alan Tudyk
Bruce Brazos: John Malkovich
Robert Epps: Tyrese Gibson
Jerry Wang: Ken Jeong
Ron Witwicky: Kevin Dunn
Judy Witwicky: Julie White
Optimus Prime: Peter Cullen (voice)
Sentinel Prime: Leonard Nimoy (voice)
Megatron: Hugo Weaving (voice)

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is what a Transformers movie SHOULD be, and what the first 2 films should have been. My problem with the first film, it took half the movie for the Autobots to appear. My problem with the second film, everything. Michael Bay finally listened to the fans and gave us the movie we all wanted. Let me first start out by saying if you're looking for great acting, character development, fantastic plot, etc. then don't see this movie. However, if like me you grew up with the cartoons, toys & comics and wanted to see the true essence of these characters brought to life, then this is it.

"But Hammy, Michael Bay just uses explosions and mindless CGI effects! He sucks!". Let's check Michael Bays reputation: Big explosions, CGI, great shots of hot women all with some slight character development. The majority of the audience for this film is men in their late 20's to early 30's who grew up watching the cartoons, played with the toys, love women, love seeing things blow up and understand the characters and the plot. You don't need to introduce a new plot. It's already there! Decepticons are bad and want to take over the world. Autobots are the good guys and stand for justice. All you need to do is just replace how the Decepticons are going to take over the world and the location of the final fight. Mix in some fighting, big explosions and you got yourself a movie. It isn't that complicated and it quite frankly annoys me when critics and fans shit on the movies because they expected fantastic acting and character development. The first film was a great introduction to the characters for a new audience. The second film, if not for the constant sexual/racist jokes, Sam's annoying parents and the humiliation of watching Devastator be turned into a mindless Godzilla villain with those awful wrecking balls as a scrotum, should have been a good movie. This third film took every single bad thing about the first two films (not enough robot fighting, too much sexual jokes, too much human fighting, Sam's annoying parents, those stupid racist twin bots, slowed down shots of Megan Fox running just to have shots of her running in slow motion, etc.) and corrected them.

Now, the film itself. The Ark, an Autobot ship escaped Cybertron during one of the final battles that ultimately destroyed the planet. It crash landed on our Moon in 1961, therefor fueling the space race between the USA and Russia. The Apollo 11 mission was to check out the wreck, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin discovered the remains of Sentinel Prime and his crew. Fast forward years later, Optimus Prime and the Autobots are now helping nations from destroying themselves and starting wars. They later encounter Shockwave on one of their missions and discover the humans haven't been fully honest with them and realize that the wrecked ship on the Moon has the power to help rebuild Cyberton. That is all I'm going to say about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything for you guys.

Let's start with the bad news about this film. First, there is not enough Shockwave and Megatron action.

The trailers have you believe that Shockwave is a big villain and he's there to lead the Decepticons. Nope. The movie doesn't even explain where Shockwave came from. He's just... there. Megatron, still damaged from the previous film, is now a huge truck.

Megatron is supposed to be fearful and the leader of the Decepticons. He just isn't in this film. It almost all of the time focuses on Sentinel Prime. While that's ok and all, I just would have liked some more action from Megatron and Shockwave. You see Shockwave in maybe 3-4 scenes tops and Megatron doesn't fight at all until the very end. Shockwave also doesn't speak that much. He say's 2-3 lines, fires his gun and growls a lot. *SPOILER ALERT!* You know that large worm looking thing that eats through the building in the trailer? That's a monster controlled by Shockwave. Only spoiler I'm giving.

Second, why does Rosie Huntington Whiteley have such a major role in this film? She shouldn't have had as much screen time as she did. Also, what is the deal with her running around in heels during the final confrontation?

She does look good though...

Now let's get to the good news. First, Sam's annoying parents have hardly any screen time! I don't know about you, but I couldn't stand those characters.

Second, TONS of robot fighting and the humans assist the robots. Unlike in the previous films where it seemed like the robots assisted the humans. All of you who complained "Not enough robot fighting! FAIL!!!" will be happy. While I'm on the subject of robot fighting, I was in awe of just how much ass Optimus Prime kicks in this movie. Oh, Optimus FINALLY has his trailer that is filled with weapons, which is awesome.

Third, Sam isn't that much of a pussy as he was in the previous films. He actually grew a pair and takes charge during his confrontations with Dylan Gould, Carly's douche of a boss.

Fourth, the space bridge. Yes, they actually call it the space bridge just like in the cartoons. What the plan is for this device I won't reveal, but it is a key point in the movie.

Finally, the movie isn't filled with hot women running in slow motion just to have hot women running in slow motion. While hot women running in slow motion Baywatch style isn't bad, for a movie about fighting robots, it's not necessary. There is one blatant shot of Rosie Huntington Whiteley in nothing but her underwear in the beginning of the film. She is a Victoria's Secret model, so really, you can't complain about that.

This film is everything you can ask for in a Transformers film. I strongly suggest you check this out. As long as you go into this film expecting a movie about fighting robots and explosions and not about deep plots and deep character development, you will be fine.

SUMMARY: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is the Transformers movie we have wanted and have been waiting for. It took the essence of the characters and eliminated all of the flaws from the previous two films. Yes, there are lots of explosions. Yes, if you're new to the Transformers story, you probably won't understand what's going on. Yes, Michael Bay is the same old Michael Bay as far as he directs the film. However, this time, it actually works. If you go into this movie expecting brilliant acting and deep character development and plot, you will be disappointed. However, if like me you grew up watching the Transformers cartoons, played with the toys and read the comics, you will absolutely love this film. If you expect to see the Transformers cartoons brought to life the way they should have been, this is the film for you. Ignore the bad things you read about this movie. This movie kicks ass. Thank you Michael Bay for finally giving me the Transformers film I've wanted for years.

RATING: 8/10

Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

REVIEW: Windows Phone - Samsung Focus

I always want to be the first to have the newest toy (cell phone) when it comes out, so it's no surprise I picked up the Samsung Focus for AT&T the first day it was released. I'm known as the guy that has a new phone every other week, but this one has impressed me, and I've been holding onto it a lot longer since I picked it up.

I've owned Palms, Androids, Apples, and Blackberries all within the past 2 years. I read up on, and know a lot about the ins and outs of all the major operating systems, upgrades, software, and hardware. Though, it's still in its infancy, the new Windows Phone OS is pretty chock full of plenty of goodies.

For one, it's definitely the smoothest and fastest phone I have ever owned. Not a new concept, but the way Windows integrated social networking into their phones, and along with the regularly updated live tiles, it makes using the phone to connect to the social world more enjoyable.

Back to the "smoothness." Scrolling through this phone, and selecting applications has been nearly flawless, and very fast. Animations, are not buggy whatsoever, when in to comparison to Androids and Blackberries I have used. I have not had a single freeze, or crash on this phone since I've been using the device for months.

Even though it's still young, the Marketplace has already surpassed 25,000 apps, which include all the major names you come to expect like every major social network app, tons of news and RSS readers, sports apps, weather apps, navigation apps, and popular games, such as Angry Birds and Need For Speed. The games are a plus, due to its integration with the XBOX Live Network.

For business owners, Microsoft has implemented its Microsoft Office business suite to the device. It comes equipped with One Note which I use daily for note taking, and writing short documents, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel...all which allow editing and starting new documents.

We cannot forget the built in Zune HD, and Zune Marketplace. Sync your phone with Zune to watch movies and music videos, or listen to your favorite music and subscribed podcasts.

Oh yeah! It's a phone too! Believe me, the phone works great, and the radio signal is nothing to complain about. The keyboard is the best I've ever used. You can sync your phone book contacts with your Google, Hotmail, Live, Yahoo, other email accounts, or Microsoft Exchange for quick and easy access to your friends, family, and business partners. The display is beautiful, and sound quality is above par.

Like all phones I've owned, none are perfect. I do have my gripes with certain areas. For one, copy and past just recently arrived to the device after a nearly half-year wait. The phone does not have true "multitasking" functionality. It's not the worst thing, but sometimes when you want to switch back and forth between applications, it could get frustrating. Also, I'd like to be able top listen to online streaming of my favorite live radio shows in the background. That is not possible. There's no custom ring tones, and colors available to change the themes are limited to a few. With that said, there is a major OS update set to be released this Fall. That's around the same time Apple's IOS5 update is being released, and I have to admit, that's a pretty impressive one as well. Check the video below for just a small sampling of what to expect from the new Windows Phone 7 update, titled "Mango."

Written By: Sal Traina
Twitter: @EdgeFMSal

REVIEW: Doctor Who - Good Man Goes to War

Note possible spoilers…

I’m pretty sure this episode of Doctor Who will go down as one of the best. There were so many amazing things rolled into this one hour that there is nothing to say about the episode other than epic!

We learned who River Song is…but before we get to that big moment, lets start with The Doctor and his army. We met some old enemies that became new friends and were reminded how awesome and dangerous The Doctor can be. Amy, locked away in a place called Demon’s Run with the creepy eye patch woman, about to give birth, has now had the baby.

The opening speech is both heartbreaking and uplifting as well as perfectly narrated over Rory being badass. Yes, Rory is a badass in this episode and The Last Centurion makes his greatest of appearances.

The fight wasn’t that long but there were some great twists during it. However, once again the show proves it can lull you in with a false sense of security. Narration can sometimes take away from a show but the narration in this episode proved essential and became a character of the episode itself. The poem spoken by River Song is both haunting and perfect over the actions of the characters in their scenes.

Even if there were some throwaway characters, they were used for the right reasons, and they were necessary for the moments that made the episode. I give this episode a solid 10, because I saw no flaws, nothing that took away from the episode and nothing that didn’t make this episode perfect.

I’ve known for a while now that Doctor Who hires the right people and the acting in this episode is top notch. If you don’t feel awful for Amy by the end of it, you are officially dead inside. Matt Smith has grown into his role as The Doctor and this is the episode that proves it. I know Tennant is the favorite and I loved him but Smith is my doctor and this is the episode that sealed the deal.

Moffat proves that he knows what he wants to do with the characters and shows us all that he’s had a plan all along ever since he introduced us to River Song in season 4. Because yes, this is when we learned her identity and while some may have guessed it early on it doesn’t matter, the build up and ultimate pay off of the reveal is in the acting and the moments between the characters, not the truth of who she is.

The scene is memorable because of The Doctor’s anger and his sudden and hilarious reaction when she shows him the truth. This is a mid-season finale, and it cleared up the previous cliffhanger and resolved the current predicament while still giving everyone more to chew on until the show returns.

What should also be noted is the hilarious title of the return episode and it’s perfect placement after the reveal.

Let’s Kill Hitler…I can’t stop laughing, the fall can’t come soon enough.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48

REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People

Note possible spoilers…

As you’ve probably noticed I’m reviewing certain episodes of season 6 and when the second half of the season premieres I’ll review every episode. Now lets get to the review shall we?

The Rebel Flesh began as a typical monster-ish episode where we were taught that everyone deserves to live, and it picked up with a war going to ensue between doppelgangers and their human counterparts. Now while I enjoyed the Rebel Flesh for what it was, it’s the Almost People, the second part of this two parter, that will go down in history, mostly for that ending.

The Rebel Flesh begins with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, going to an island inhabited by workers who use living flesh to create ‘gangers’ of themselves to work with the dangerous equipment. If one dies, they just create a new one. But a solar storm causes everything to go awry, as per usual on Doctor Who.

The gangers just want to live and so on and so forth, and while the episode is certainly enjoyable, I always favor the second parts of the two parters for the payoff and boy was there a payoff in The Almost People.

With the Doctor encountering his own ‘ganger,’ at the end of The Rebel Flesh, it was time for some antics with the two Doctors and to teach Amy a lesson about how the flesh is still human. With some characters deaths, and the problem solved by the end of The Almost People it was time to go back to the TARDIS. However, there was one last twist that no one saw coming.

Throughout the season Amy has been seeing a woman with an eye patch pop up every so often and no one else can see her. The Doctor reveals the shocking truth, the reason they had to come to the island, and why Amy was suddenly in labor when she didn’t look pregnant. Its this ending, an ending that would make the Lost writers cry because they couldn’t write something this awesome, that makes The Almost People a historical episode.

You react physically when you see the truth, when you watch the scene unfold and you realize all along that you’ve been fooled. Your jaw drops and you utter one gasp as The Doctor explains it. The acting on the show has always been top notch and you feel every word and its that ending that makes the wait for the next episode unbearable.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48

REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon - Series 6 Premiere

Note possible spoilers…

After leaving off last season, or series if you live in the U.K., The Doctor is back and better than ever. The opening is funny and a bit cute which should be a warning because what comes next is anything but cute.

The real story begins with Amy, Rory, and River Song reuniting with The Doctor in Utah. With the ominous words that he’s been running way too long, the tone shifts and there is an immediate sense of dread. That sense however disappears rather quickly, luring you back in, something the show uses masterfully, before the shock comes.

Within the first ten minutes, your jaw will drop, I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s good. There is drama that unfolds afterwards before it all disappears in one hilarious moment. Again this is something the show does very well and uses it to its advantage.

Now its time to get to the real story, 1969 America, where our trio, and River Song, will have to solve a mystery. There’s a mysterious child stuck in a space suit and something called the silence, a continuation from series 5.

Part one, The Impossible Astronaut, begins with the shocking opener and concludes in much the same way. We also learn there is a dark day approaching, one that involves River Song and The Doctor. The Impossible Astronaut is the tip of the iceberg and the conclusion in Day of the Moon is as rewarding as it should be.

Day of the Moon begins strongly and doesn’t let up throughout the entire episode. We learn Amy didn’t kill the child in the space suit, thankfully, and that they know the silence exists. The silence, by the way, is forgotten once it is no longer visible.

The conclusion on how to fight the silence is clever and traditionally Who, because the episode isn’t really about the silence, it’s about the child. Because as much as the silence will be the antagonist this season, and I’m sure they will be back, seeing the ending of Day of the Moon creates more questions and more agonizing theories.

I rate the two parter as one episode, because neither can be watched without the over and it is a solid 9. The episode is dramatic, funny, scary, and loaded with the charm that all the fans of Doctor Who have come to love, myself included.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48