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Iron Man 2, Trailer 2

Guest Blogger —  March 9, 2010 — 3 Comments

So, this went up after the (mostly atrocious, technically-speaking) Oscar telecast. We thought we’d give it a watch and tell you what we thought. You should tell us what you think, too.

This is one of the few areas where not being a decades-deep Marvel nerd pays off: I have just about zero preconceptions about who any of these people are or how they’re supposed to react. I know enough about Tony Stark and Pepper Potts to know that Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow did a great job bringing those characters to life. Past that? Everyone’s more or less new to me.

I still have a minor fear of character bloat; there’s a lot going on here, and too many characters on screen has been the death kiss for more than a few franchises. Other than that, I’m having a hard time finding anything to really get upset about here. I never had that much of an issue with Don Cheadle taking over as Rhodey, and the little bit more we see of him interacting with Tony here just cements the deal for me. I think I can reasonably expect to be as entertained as I was in the first one, regardless of whether or not Favreau hits the same high mark. I certainly hope he does, though.

And, apropos of nothing, the suitcase armor is hot, not that half of Twitter hasn’t said that already.

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HBO Go finally made it out of beta this week. And like EpixHD, the online video service requires a television subscription in order to access their web-based content. And FiOS customers with HBO are up first. Both EngadgetHD and NewTeeVee have taken HBO Go for a spin and came away relatively pleased with the Flash video quality. However, the movie selection (as opposed to original television programming) appears lacking. However, I’d much rather have fewer good, current selections than tons of mediocre, older flicks. But there’s a reason why we don’t see much of that from services like Netflix instant streaming… $$$.

So while I doubt we’ll see a large library of all-you-can-eat blockbuster films anytime soon, what I’d like out of Netflix is a weekly feature. Just ONE tent pole flick a week added to their instant streaming package that we can schedule movie night around. Of course, they don’t necessarily need to stop there… and are hopefully considering several new releases as part of a premium streaming tier to take HBO (and my cable provider) out altogether. As I doubt HBO will embrace the new reality and allow purely web-based video subscriptions.

I’ve threatened to expand our coverage for some time. And content is still king. It’s why we buy the gadgets we buy. So maybe it’s a wee bit ironic that we’re diving in with a primarily print medium. But it so just happens that I know a pair of comics experts in my old high school buddy Chad and his wife Janice. So let’s get this experiment rolling! -DZ

Chapter Three: 28

By: Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
Coloring: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Sean Konot

I wanted to review Daytripper when the first issue came out, before our blog existed. We set it up and issue two came out, and I still wanted to review it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, though, and I’m glad I waited. Reviewing this series on the first issue wouldn’t have done it any justice or allowed me to really say anything; as it stands, I’m still hesitant to speak up on the third issue, because it’s going to be a work that’s judged on its whole. In a market where a great book like S.W.O.R.D. gets cancelled by the numbers on its third issue, it’s a pretty bold statement on Vertigo’s part to release something that’s not even going to really start to make sense until issue three. A lot of things started to click for me when I read “28″ last night, however, and I feel like it’s time to talk about it.

One of the best discoveries I made in film school was the work of Krzysztof Kieślowski. He had a way of taking normal, everyday moments in life and elevating them to levels of great importance and meaning. This worked to tie the everyday existence of his characters into the arching theme of the film, oftentimes resulting in the medium itself or one of its aspects taking a role as one of the characters. The camera in Red is as much an actor as Irène Jacob; the music in Blue is working as hard as Juliette Binoche. They all, in turn, work towards the common meaning, avoiding hitting the viewer over the head with it but still carrying the message. It’s done with purpose, but not didactically, and the end result is lyrical.

Bá and Moon are in the process of accomplishing the same thing with Daytripper. On the surface, each issue is a slice of Brás de Oliva Domingos’ life; not random, meaningless moments, but the normal points of focus we all encounter. The day we meet someone, the day they leave our lives. A trip somewhere you may never go again, an important milestone for someone close to you.

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The title pretty much sums it up, and this isn’t a new topic here at ZNF. The movie studios’ antiquated release window cycle doesn’t fly in the digital age. Which is costing them and their partners. Their attempts (including Netflix’s malleability) to coerce folks into purchasing content, starting with physical media, by delaying movie rentals and digital release do nothing but confuse or alienate the consumers who are paying attention. Granted, we’re probably a minority at this point. But I’d like to think I represent the leading edge. And, not only don’t I deal in physical media, I don’t purchase content. What’s gotten me agitated this time:

After coming across a decent amount of positive blogosphere and Twitterverse buzz for the SciFi flick Moon towards the end of last week, we decided to take it in Saturday evening. For spontaneous viewing, we generally look to Amazon VOD – downloaded via TiVo or streamed via Roku. Unfortunately, Moon is only available for digital purchase until next month. For reasons known only to the studios and their partners. As I rarely see a flick twice and it’s impossible to share digital purchases the way you’d share optical media, I abstain 100% of the time. And I imagine some in my situation, with my mindset might look to more illicit means of obtaining their entertainment. However, I took this as an opportunity to patronize a Redbox kiosk for the first time.

So instead of gladly paying $4-$6 for a high def digital rental (that Amazon, the studio, and perhaps TiVo/Roku would split), I made two trips to the McDonald’s for a free standard def DVD rental. Which is less than ideal. No one got paid, and I was inconvenienced for lower quality content. All it’d take is a little less greed out of the studios for happier consumers and continued revenue… Hope it’s one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Click to enlarge:

Aluratek Cinepal CES 2010 PMP

Aluratek’s got an interesting mid-tier product on its hands. When I first read the specs of the Cinepal, I was less than impressed. It’s a portable media player without the broadband connection. However, seeing it in person and talking to one of the product guys, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart. The Cinepal has a beautiful screen, and it offers a significantly better movie-watching experience than an iPod Touch or a smartphone. According to Aluratek, the reason the Cinepal doesn’t come with broadband is purely price point. At $149-$179, it doesn’t have to compete with an Archos device, it just has to compete with old-style portable DVD players.

I don’t know how many folks will purchase a Cinepal given the other options available (netbooks, high-end PMPs, etc.), but for a family with young kids that likes to travel, I can see the appeal. The Cinepal should be in stores by February.