Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A New Generation at Microsoft: Xbox One in Brief

Microsoft revealed today their newest "all in one system" that will be released later this year.

At this pre-E3 event, the Xbox One was demoed, showing off its new features, such as multitasking, Skype, and live television integration.

The Xbox One, which will include the all new Kinect, is faster than ever. The most recognizable advancement is the quickness of the system, able to switch from game, to movie, to live tv, with the speed of a channel flip by simple speaking to the system in a more personal manner.

This new xbox will have the ability to know you, recognize you and your voice, know what you like, and interact with you like never before possible. And the new Kinect capabilities seem flawless and instant.

One new mode, called Snap mode, will allow you to multitask between different areas of the console. This will even allow you to view two things at once on the screen.

Finally, your games, movies, music, web, and now, Skype and live TV, are all in one place with a simple, instant, and complete interface.

The box itself is sleek and sexy while at the same time being rough and intimidating. The black box's hardware is also impressive:

  • 8 Core CPU
  • 8 GB System Memory
  • 500 GB HDD
  • Blu-ray Drive
  • 802.11n Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct
  • HDMI In/Out
  • USB 3.0
The Kinect Specs:

  • 1080p HD RGB Camera
  • 30 FPS color
  • Time of Flight (TOF) Technology
  • Microphone Arrays
Controller Specs:

  • Integrated Battery Compartment
  • Impulse Triggers
  • Wi-Fi Direct Radio Stack
  • Precision Directional Pad
Other big reveals at the event were some new partnerships, including one with the NFL and a Halo television series from the help of Steven Spielberg.

The event concluded with the world premiere of the new Call of Duty: Ghosts trailer. With a new story, a new world, and new characters, the narrative of Ghosts will evoke a more personal and emotional experience. Also, a new next gen engine helps too.

No release date or pricing was given. Click here for more details and a look at the future of gaming. Xbox One is almost here!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The End of an Era: The Office Closes Its Doors

Kyle's Take:

The dysfunctional workplace comedy, The Office, has reached a poetic and emotional end after nine dramedy filled seasons with a cast of unordinary people working in the most ordinary of settings, a paper company.

The mockumentary style camera work, that the show is known for, only adds to the realism that these actors have portrayed over the last decade. This style of filmmaking adds more to the show than viewers realize, by making these characters seem like actual people that you know, love, and root for, and want to see grow, as well as act silly. Also, the character of Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, is this boss that is so stupid at times, yet also such a loving and genuine person that you can't help but fall in love with him.

Before the airing of the finale, NBC played an hour long remembrance episode which basically crammed all of the series' best moments into 60 minutes. It was a nice touch of nostalgia. Most of the cast did interviews, along with a lot of behind the scenes information and audition tapes.

Did you know that the gas station that Jim (John Krasinski) proposed to Pam (Jenna Fischer) at wasn't actually a real gas station. They just built it for the scene and had cars drive around it. A little movie magic. Go figure (insert Jim look here).

The remembrance episode was very special and it is sad to see the show end. Lets just hope there is a massive box set that comes from all this.


The show begins a year after the documentary has aired. After the last episode, the series came full circle and dimensions were sort of broken, as the cast has finally seen what we the audience have been watching for years.

We get all the expected closures, the big one being Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) getting married, as well as Michael Scott making a return. Carell didn't say much, but he didn't have to. Only saying a few lines, including debatably the best "that's what she said"joke on record, they will be ranked toward the top as some of the funniest sayings by Michael Scott.
  • Dwight: "I can't believe you came." Michael: "That's what she said."
  • Michael: "I fell like all my kids grew up and then married each other. Every parent's dream."
The film crew is back filming everyone again because they are getting bonus footage for the DVD release of the PBS documentary, and the cast assembles for a Q & A.

The funniest moments in the episode are during the bachelor and bachelorette parties for Dwight and Angela. Dwight doesn't seem to understand that the woman stripping for him isn't the waitress, and after Meredith's (Kate Flannery) son strips for Angela, she is kidnapped by Mose (Michael Schur).

Pam decides to sell the house without telling Jim because she is finally ready to follow Jim with AthLeap (changed from AthLead), and her painting seems to be at the point of a possible career. 

Also, Creed Bratton is finally caught for all the illegal things her alluded to over the years. 

I couldn't have asked for a better close to the series, as sad as it may be to see it finally come to an end. There will always be a special place in my heart for this show and I will always be sentimental toward it. The Office will be apart of my good old days, as far as TV shows are concerned. As any put it, "I wish you could know you were in the good old days before you left them."

Kyle's Concise Critique: Final Episode Score: 8.5/10    Series Score: 9.5/10
The series finale impresses, and it is a perfect conclusion for the amazing series but falls flat with some of the parts around the beginning. All in all this is one of the greatest television shows of all time, and it will be missed greatly. Michael Scott will go down as the greatest boss in workplace TV history. Great finale and fantastic series.

For a more in depth look at The Office, check back for a video review, along with a discussion and look-back at the entire series of The Office. Leave comments below with questions or ideas for topics you want discussed on the video analysis of the series. Also follow us on twitter.

Byron's Take:

Nooooooooooooooo! The Office is over!!! Its conclusion was necessary but nevertheless it's always tough to say goodbye to an old friend. Though the Office would have been better off ending two seasons ago with Michael's departure, it still had its moments and the last three episodes of Season 9 were without a doubt some of the best episodes of the Office in its entirety. They weren't perfect but they delivered great emotional impact. I don't know about you, but I found the special NBC ran before the Office finale more moving than the actual episode itself, but that's likely because the actor's feelings toward the show were so palpable in their interviews.

It was a great final episode. While it was a tad cliche to end the episode with a wedding (how many comedies end with weddings now? Is there some sort of universal law that I am unaware of?), I loved that everyone got a happy ending: Dwight and Angela were finally back together, Ryan and Kelly ran off with one another, Nelly has her own child, Stanley is happily retired, Erin was able to find her biological parents, Michael achieved his dream of a family, and Jim and Pam will live happily ever after. It was great to see Michael again, who delivered perhaps the greatest "that's what she said" joke off all time while acting as an accomplice in Jim's greatest prank (I was still hoping Jim would place Dwight's stapler in Jello one last time! Darn! Oh well). The last minutes of the show were poignant. I loved Daryl's comment "Everyday I couldn't wait to leave work. Why's it so hard to leave now?" I think Andy's comment of the "golden age" will elicit two responses: you'll either think to yourself "Am I living in the golden age right now? Or is the best yet to come?" or "Yes, he's right. I wish I had known." I think Jenna Fischer needn't worry about how the Office will hold up in the future; it is without a doubt one of the most re-watchable shows of all time. The last word of the series was perfect:"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Byron's Concise Critique: Final Episode Score: 8/10    Series Score: 9/10
The humor with Andy felt flat and the episode's unfunny opening prevented the episode from reaching a higher rating. Nevertheless, the episode was funny, moving, and bittersweet. Overall, a great conclusion to a great show. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gravity Will Pull You In

Been waiting for this trailer for years now! Finally, genius filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) returns with hopefully another epic movie for his filmography.

If you are familiar with Cuarón's work in Children of Men, he plays around with longer than average shot lengths, including a climactic battle scene toward the end lasting around 8 minutes. Some of these long takes in Children of Men were actually editing together to create the illusion of seamless tracking shots, but in Gravity, word on the street is the opening scene will be a unbroken 17 minute long take. Check out the trailer!

Arrested Development Season 4 Trailer - Netflix - [HD]

Never been more excited for anything in the history of everything!

Can't wait till May 26th. The biggest little mistake is finally being fixed. Enjoy the season 4 trailer.