Movie Review: Unicorn City

This review starts with a little story.

I was at my friend’s house for a movie night, and I’d brought over a huge stock of the movies I owned so that we could find something everyone wanted to watch. Now, I’m rather proud of my movie taste, and was CERTAIN my collection would have something that everyone could enjoy. Then some girl I don’t know, who didn’t even bother to introduce herself, comes in with a DVD of “Unicorn City” and just dictates that we’re just going to watch this movie. Didn’t really ask anyone if a movie about LARPing (Live Action Role Play) sounded okay. Just threw the DVD in. So, I’m irritated and slightly offended. Already not in the mindset to really give this movie a chance, but at this point my only options are to be rude, myself, and leave, or pout, or sit down and see what it’s all about. So I sat back and watched, with a skeptical eye.

The DVD menu, however, piqued the interest of my inner nerd immediately. The background was an image of the coolest make-shift centaur I’ve ever seen!

(Not gonna lie. If I were white and could grow facial hair, I’d want to be him.)

 

But, I was still irritated and skeptical for about 5 minutes. But only for about 5 minutes. I’ll get to why after the plot.

Plot: Vos is a young man trying to get his life together while everything seems to be crumbling around him. Unemployment is catching up to him, his D&D guild is in distress, and even his love life is suffering. He goes into an interview for a video game company that asks him to come back with examples of how he
can lead a team of people. He then decides to use his Dungeons & Dragons hobby to prove his creativity and leadership skills. He records and documents the creation of his LARP world, Unicorn City, brought to life by him and his D&D friends, and leads them all on missions. His very shy neighbor, Marsha, does everything she can to help him, in hopes that Vos notices her. And all the while, his former D&D Dungeon Master (and nemesis), Shadowhawk, does everything he can to sabatoge Vos’ fun, and in turn, ruin his chances at getting a job.

*Warning – The trailer has spoilers*

 

Now, I will say, the only drawback I can think of is that this movie does have a fairly obvious storyline. But Bryan and Adrian Lefler managed to make the turning points interesting and not overly cliched. However I will say that some points were delightfully cheesy.

The best part of the movie was, by far, the humor. The humor was on point! After the first few scenes, and seeing how lively the characters are, how dorky the comedy is, and how well the relationships work together, you’re drawn into the story pretty quickly. I think it helped that I’m a nerd, myself, and can
appreciate all the little dorky things they do. But regardless, the lighthearted tone of the movie is set very quickly, so you know to buckle up and get ready for a fun show. All the humor in each scene was really tastefully done. I was, honestly, really surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

This film had really stellar casting. I was initially really skeptical, since there was no one I recognized…until Kevin Weisman came on screen. For those of you who’ve seen Clerks II, Kevin was the LotR nerd who throws up after Randall tells his version of the trilogy’s ending. His character was actually really fun in this movie too. But I digress, everyone’s performance was really on it. I thought the people they picked were perfect for the roles. They really brought these fun characters to life.

I really can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed it. It’s not the best movie ever written, it’s not my favorite of all time, but it’s one of those underrated, solid, fun movies. I initially expected this to be a boring, talentless trainwreck, but was incredibly surprised at how enjoyable it was, how well cast it was, how well written it actually was, and how much life it had. Don’t let the name and topic fool you. I highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, and especially gamers or nerds who actually better understand that culture.

I give it a 4/5

This “Pirated” Looking DVD Is The Real Deal For Girl With Dragon Tattoo Movie

Normally speaking when you see a DVD like the one above you better be careful and question the guy selling you the DVD to try and figure out if you’re being set up on a sting operation by the FBI and the Movie Industry. But the DVD above is the official Sony Pictures DVD for The Girl with the Dragon Tatto.  Yes, it looks like it was burned in our home’s computer but that’s really how it’s going to look.

The DVD artistic “sharpie” pen style title us supposed to fit in with the movie’s theme, that’s what I would say too if I hired a designer who waited till the last minute to come up with the cover. [via BoingBoing]

Splitflix: Share the Cost of Hulu and Netflix Subscriptions With Other People – Screwing us Over!

Welcome to the beginning of the end, Splitflix just opened up, it gives you the ability to share your online subscriptions for TV and Movie streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix. This is something that we have been doing for a long time now and both Netflix and Hulu know about it, but now that a company is trying to send this sharing on a mass scale, you can expect that both Netflix and Hulu will be implementing services to prevent multiple streaming at the same time.

Online streaming services are extremely appealing to people that don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for their movie and TV Show subscriptions. But the streaming subscriptions can quickly add up. In our home for example, we have Netflix, Showtime, HBO, and Hulu. These services add up to a little over 60 dollars a month, not including Xbox Live and Internet connections fast enough to deliver the streaming service uninterrupted.

Yea, you’re saving money, but you still feel the pinch on your wallet. That’s why a lot of people share their passwords to online streaming services with their friends or roommates. You each pay $10 a month, and you have all of the services that you want. Splitflix is a service allows you to split the cost of your Netflix and Hulu subscriptions with other people.

You simply pay $1 a month, and Splitflix will set you up with an anonymous “buddy” to split the cost of Netflix. Once you are paired up with the other person, you negotiate what each of you are going to pay, how and when they are going to enter into the ‘arrangement’, and other conditions you may set for each other.  Once you are done, you give out your password to the other person and you’ll have access to Netflix and Hulu at half the price.  – until the other person screws you over and steals your credit card information and changes your password/e-mail to keep you out of your own service – but that’s beyond the fact.

A little digging around in the Netflix terms of service you can see that, “sharing” passwords is not completely banned:

BY SHARING THE NETFLIX SERVICE PASSWORD, THE ACCOUNT OWNER AGREES TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSURING THAT HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF USE AND SUCH ACCOUNT OWNER SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THE HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS.

This technically makes Splitflix legal right now, as in it doesn’t break the terms of service for Netflix or Hulu, but I can imagine that it’s going to be going out of business once Hulu and Netflix update their terms and conditions.

I applaud Splitflix for doing this and making quick money, but companies like Splitflix are the cause that terms and conditions are changed for the worse. Once they are blocked by these services, you can rest assure that our days of sharing services with our friends and roommates are going to be over. By installing a simple – one streaming movie at a time per device – script or code into their servers, we’ll be forced to watch our movies at predestined times. They could even add an option where you have to register one device at a time; which will make it a hassle to share the service with other people. I guess, you might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

New P2P Sharing to End TV

Bram Cohen, the author of peer to peer sharing protocol, announced his newest creation yesterday at SF Music Tech Summit.  This would be BitTorrent Live, and it lets anyone with content they would like to publish do so at very little cost and to millions of people.

This new peer sharing network is being destined to become the future of viewing video and make television the way we know it obsolete.  Users can put anything that they wish on BitTorrent Live including:  news, events, TV shows, movies, sports, and anything else that can be recorded.

Cohen told Tech Crunch at the event, “My goal is to kill off television.”  He realizes that TV the way it is, is headed for an out anyway.  People want to watch the content, but they want it available online.  Above all they want it to be affordable.

This level of P2P will allow anyone with content they want to broadcast to be able to do so and be very affordable to do so in the process.  Even those that already stream such as Netflix and Hulu will be able to reduce their prices with this type of technology.  It will start to diminish the greedy entertainment industry that has greatly been showing its colors as of late.

This idea works a lot like normal torrent downloads in that an individual is capable of finding other individuals to stream the video from and not from a central source.  Those that upload videos and do not want to profit will be able to use BitTorrent Live at no cost.  Those who do want to profit will be charged a small fee.  This is still largely different than the millions that are devoted to advertisement now.

“It fits the DNA of what BitTorrent is about because it is open and free,” said Cohen.

The main problem with this technology at the moment is cost.  To stream the way television does requires the bandwidth that cable companies have already paid to have, not to mention satellites to provide better streaming.  In the meantime the beta is available for people to try out, and the only requirement is a one time download.  It will run straight out of the user’s browser after that.

Verizon Teams Up With RedBox To Take On Netflix & Amazon

Verizon was trying to buy out Netflix a while back, at least that was the rumour, but today Verizon decided to take on Netflix by teaming up with Redbox to offer a new “compelling” service. The details are still not fully released, but the new Verizon-Redbox venture would provide Verizon customers with over 35,400 kiosks across the country. Verizon customers will be able to rent DVD’s, Blue-rays, and video games, in return, Verizon will give out streaming videos to RedBox customers.

The focus will be to deliver new movies to kiosks first and push older content to the streaming route. Let’s hope that this is a smart move because Verizon is putting in a whole bunch of money into something that may go out of fad soon.

DVD’s are slowly loosing their cool and movies are quickly moving to the streaming realm. This may be a great move for RedBox customers, but it may be a losing deal for Verizon, if it doesn’t work were going to be stuck with the bill. Via FastCompany.

What if Disney Did Jaws – Shark Song

Sharks are scary, no one want’s to be near one of them when they’re in the ocean. That’s why Jaws was such a good movie when it came out. No one really knew much about sharks, and the movie really made them look like the bad guys of the sea. Which is a good thing, because if Disney would of made it, we’d all be jumping over board to play with the fish.

The problem with Disney movies is not that they suck, or the fact that they keep on putting out the same movies over and over again with different characters, or even turning an old movie into 3d. The problem is that most of the movies are going to have one of three things: Musicals, some sort of “hope” sappy story, or a sex symbol hidden in random places.

Jaws was an awesome movie – because it wasn’t made by Disney, but have you ever wonder how the movie would have turned out if Disney made it? the video above is a parody of the film so you can see how it would of turned out. They practically turned Jaws into Nemo …

Will Ferrell Can Now Speak Spanish – Not Bad

Being from a Spanish decent, I thought “truly, Will cannot get away with making a Spanish comedy – Mexican idioms are going to be way off!” but somehow he managed to pull it off. The video above a trailer for his most recent Movie: Casa De Mi Padre

The comedy may not do to great with real 100% Hispanics, Americanized Hispanics may find this comedy pretty funny.

Ferrell says he worked with a translator for a month before filming to nail down the correct delivery of his Spanish dialogue.  Once shooting began, he would drive with the translator to the set every morning to go over that day’s work.  This meant that Ferrell, who’s well known for improvising and coming up with new lines and jokes on the spot, had to stick with what was in the script.  Director Matt Piedmont compared Ferrell acting in another language to a boxer fighting with one hand tied behind his back.  Piedmont said, “The thought of him speaking Spanish is insane but if you know Will, you know somehow it will become completely legitimate and logical and a blast.”

Ferrell joked that he’s not done expanding his cinematic world.  He said, “I have 17 projects in development, mostly in Spanish, some in Korean and one in German. It’s an exciting time.”

If he actually does pull of a Korean and a German film… well be damn that’s going to be flipping awesome! Via: Yahoo Movies

The Trailer for Lilyhammer the First Netflix Original Series Is Actually Really Good

Finally, the video posted above is the trailer for Netflix’s first original series, Lilyhammer. Netflix had a horrible year in 2011, it got his rear handed to him left and right. But I think this first series is going to bring up some of its ratings – that is unless the show fails.

From the looks of the video, this may be a good show. I can’t really know for sure until the show comes out but the trailer is pretty entertaining. The description on Netflix could not have been written any better either:

After he testifies against a Mafia boss, ex-gangster Frank Tagliano enters the witness protection program and asks to be sent to Norway. Despite the peaceful surroundings, it’s not long before Frank strays from the straight and narrow.

Lilyhammer is a gripping fish-out-of-water story set in Norway, starring “The Sopranos” mainstay and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt. This new Original Series premiers on Netflix on Feb. 6, 2012 in the USA, Canada and Latin America.