For most people, hackers have become a
pop-culture phenomenon, thanks to movies like Hackers
(1995). And there have been many more depictions of hacking on TV
over the years. Each one was a little different, but most have one thing in
common: they’re utter nonsense.
Why is Hacking So Badly
Represented in Movies?
Most scriptwriters and producers don’t think
they can present real hacking methods in an exciting way. So they don’t even
try to make it accurate to real life. Instead, they depict people typing
furiously with long lines of code running on the screen. And let’s not forget
the intense music there to up the drama.
And while there is merit to that idea — at
least there was 25 years ago — things
are a little different now. The general moviegoer has become much more
tech-savvy. Most people know how to use computers and own smartphones or
tablets. You can’t fool someone with flashy graphics and fast tech wizard
typing anymore. These comical depictions have become even more cringe-inducing
to those with any knowledge of how hacking actually works.
Despite that, some movies and series haven’t
given up on those cheap gimmicks yet. In a relatively recent episode of Arrow, Felicity entered into a
ridiculous hacking “match” against the antagonist. In the episode,
they sent surges to each other’s computers, leading to the bad guy’s computer
blowing up. There’s nothing realistic about that.
But there are also a few shows that do get it
right. Mr. Robot is the most
noteworthy mention here. The writers did thorough research. They’ve even admitted to using consultants for the more
technical parts, which no doubt paid off. Everyone praises Mr. Robot for its
accuracy, and nothing is boring about those scenes. Laypeople still understand
the gist of point A to B, and those who do know the lingo have a deeper
appreciation for what’s happening.
The Ramifications of
Depicting Hacking Accurately
There are legitimate reasons for not showing
real-life hacking techniques in movies or TV shows. In 2003, the movie Matrix Reloaded showed the realistic
part of hacking, using the Linux program Nmap. Soon afterward, the Scotland
Yard Computer Crime Unit released a press release to warn people away from
emulating those techniques in real life. While there wasn’t a tangible increase
in hacking attempts in the UK after that, it’s still a warranted fear.
Authorities and companies don’t want people
trying out hacking techniques they saw in a movie. Though one could argue that
those who have the know-how could get that information somewhere else.
After all, anyone who can call themselves a
hacker never learned how to do what they do through a movie. The best a movie
could do is inspire wannabe-hackers to start learning.
Plus, if a method of hacking is popular enough
to make it into a movie, then cybersecurity experts would already have
preventative measures in place to protect against it.
Learning Valuable Lessons
On the other side of the argument, there are
also many valid reasons to show audiences how hacking works. One of the most
significant benefits of portraying what hacking would be like in real life is
that it arms people with knowledge on how to defend against it.
Let’s go back to Mr. Robot for a moment. The series spends a good chunk of time
showing how big a role human error plays in successful hacking attempts. And
that’s much closer to what happens in real life.
It’s easy for a hacker to get into a network
or steal data via an email phishing scam or by taking advantage of some other
social exploit. More technical efforts need more advanced skills and time.
People have caught on to some of these tricks, hence the increase in downloads
of tools like NordVPN that protects one’s connections to the
internet. But cybersecurity software isn’t always enough, especially against
social engineering attacks. This is why it’s better to let people see what
threats they face at the hands of hackers rather than a blinking computer game.
At the end of the day, all anyone can do when
faced with absurd hacking methods in movies is laugh it off. Maybe it’s a good
thing that masses don’t see anyone using real hacking methods on TV. But
everyone could do with a dose of reality every now and then. And considering
the increase in digital attacks, some cybersecurity knowledge wouldn’t hurt
Las Vegas, NV — January 3, 2017 – OjO Commuter Scooter™, the ultimate two-wheel smart scooter from OjO Electric, will debut at CES® 2017 followed by a retail launch later in the month. OjO is a bike lane-friendly, zero emissions, clean fun ride for adults. It quickly accelerates up to 20 MPH and goes the distance of 25 miles on a single charge. Whether commuting or just enjoying a leisurely ride, OjO will forever change the way people travel from place to place.
This “smart” scooter incorporates the latest in smart technology with a sleek, patented ergonomic design, HyperGear motor and gear system to power up hills. Unlike other scooters on the market, OjO supports an incredible 300+ pound weight capacity with its unique heavy gauge all-welded aluminum chassis. Combined with the other best-in-class luxuries, these traits make the OjO amazingly stable, fun, smooth and easily maneuverable. The OjO Commuter Scooter complies with the same rules and guidelines as the electric bicycle market, requiring no license. With the rapid growth of bike lane infrastructures throughout the USA and the world, OjO Commuter Scooter offers the perfect solution.
“We’ve been in research and development for almost three years to solve a dire need for a simple, stable, fun bike lane-friendly and clean commuter vehicle,” said President of OjO Electric, Dale Seiden. “Enter the world of OjO, a true advancement in personal e-transportation, unmatched in quality, agility, versatility and technology. From its many patented features to the invigorating ride itself, this ﬁrst-of-its-kind smart scooter gives a riding experience like no other. ”
OjO Electric will showcase the OjO Commuter Scooter at Pepcom and Showstoppers media previews in addition to CES (Central Plaza – 23), beginning January 4th. Watch the OjO in action HERE.
Seiden added, “In a marketplace of unstable, foldable, toy and motorcycle-like scooters that require a license for street-use only, the Tesla-inspired OjO is a ‘REAL’ true adult scooter that is economical and sustainable.”
The zero-emission scooter is equipped with state-of-the-art battery technology and features a patented on-board charger with retractable cord and plug, affording riders the ability to charge at any standard 110V wall outlet. There is no need to lug a charger or endure distance anxiety worrying about getting home to charge.
A 500-watt HyperGear motor and geared system provides more torque and increases power for climbing hills up to 15%+ grades, providing for an all-around better and more versatile riding experience. A heavy gauge all-welded aluminum under chassis provides maximum durability, maneuverability, strength and stability. Three speed modes provide comfort levels for any rider: Eco Mode for beginners, Touring Mode to maximize distance and Sport Mode for peak performance.
An interactive, non-glare touchscreen allows the rider to choose speed, review current and historical distance, control lighting and sound and more. The OjO’s extras include dual integrated waterproof bluetooth speakers, voice response system, LED front and rear lights, a USB port for charging phone, a motion activated alarm, wireless key fob and a patented removable seat system that converts the scooter into a stand up only experience. The OjO’s treaded, non-slip deck and specially designed adjustable seat provide for ease of use in any position. There is a convenient, optional sleek rear basket accessory for any items riders need to carry.
OjO is available in seven colors: bright white, matte black, skyblue, rose gold, matte graphite, vibrant orange and a street art style.
Priced at $1,999.99, OjO will be available in January on Amazon.com and later this Spring at BestBuy.
The OjO was conceived in early 2014 by a group of well-seasoned inventors and entrepreneurs in Santa Monica, California who put their energies together to create a new form of sustainable transportation for the bike lane. OjO Electric is dedicated to delivering unparalleled quality, luxury, and fun while earning the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty. The OjO revolution, “the rebirth of transportation for a better planet.” Take a look at the OjO in action HERE. For more information visit https://www.ojoscooter.com; and follow on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.
Actors: Greg Kinnear, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Randall Wallace
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Run Time: 99 minutes
Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
Normally, I am not a huge of inspiration faith based films but this one drew me in right from the trailer. I went to catholic school all my life and I was an alter boy for many years, but I still don’t know where I really stand with faith. This is based on the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. Greg Kinnear really gives a fantastic performance here, I got to give it up to him. While I was a little skeptical here, I could still recommend it to those faith crazy people for sure and those in the middle like myself as well.
Official Premise: Heaven is for Real recounts the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. Starring Academy Award® nominee Greg Kinnear (Best Supporting Actor, As Good As It Gets, 1997) as Todd Burpo, the real-life father whose son Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton shares the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth … things he couldn’t possibly know.
Sony is releasing this film as a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD and Ultraviolet digital copy. Solid 1080p transfer & DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. here are some decent special features as well continuing the inspirational journey. First we get a featurette “Colton Goes to Heaven”, which takes us behind-the-scenes into the task of bringing the book to the big screen. There are also two Blu-ray exclusive featurettes. “The Making of Heaven is For Real” look into the production itself with cast interviews. “Creating Heaven” talks about the films religious themes. Lastly there are six deleted scenes included.
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Running time: 1 hour 40 mins
Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars
“Heaven Is For Real” is a film that absolutely knows its audience. And while I am not part of that particular audience, I can acknowledge how easy it is to like this movie. Based on the novel of the same name, this film is the story of the Burpos; a middle-class family from a small town in Nebraska. Todd Burpo (Kinnear) is the patriarch of the family and the main character. He is your genuine, Midwestern, all-American father; Pastor of his church, a volunteer firefighter, he works a full-time job and plays on the softball team. Yet, despite his busy life, his family is struggling financially. Those financial troubles are made worse when Todd’s youngest son, Colton (Connor Corum) is suddenly taken to the hospital. While being operated upon he claims to have visited Heaven. As if to prove his claim, he recalls seeing his parents doing things he was not around to see and visiting relatives of his that he had never met nor heard of.
Based on a real life event, I will say that I do believe that the Burpo family believes Colton’s story. However, if I only had this film to go on I don’t think I would be as convinced. The story is told in such a ham-fisted way that, to me, the storytelling ruins the story. The first act is comprised of almost nothing but scenes that set-up the next scene, only to have the following scene mirror the previous one. All of the actors are likable enough – as are their characters – although I noticed a lack of chemistry between Kinnear and Kelly Reilly, who plays his wife, Sonja. Not only did I not find them a convincing married couple, I actually found it hard to accept Reilly as a Midwestern housewife. The cast does a credible job but I just found the story too contrived. The one performance I did enjoy was delivered by young Connor Corum. He’s cute and funny and does not come across like a typical child actor. His performance kept me watching, along with the beautiful Midwestern scenery.
The film suffers from being overly melodramatic. So much is thrown at this family in the first half that it weighs the story down. The trials that this family goes through, when added to some clichéd characters, gives the film the appearance of a fictional, scripted story, not a film dealing with real events. A main flaw is the constant highlighting of the family’s financial situation. No doubt it was part of the story, but the film never does resolve the situation. As far as the audience knows, when the film is over, the Burpos are still deep in debt with no way out.
It’s also worth noting that the film is heavily steeped with religious overtones and images; primarily those of the Christian faith. While that may be perfect for the people who purchased and enjoyed the book or for a sponsored Christian audience, it may be off-putting to those with either a different belief or none at all. On the positive side, I commend the filmmakers for not toning down the religious themes to reach a wider audience. This film will reach its intended audience and they should receive it well.
Media Mikes has teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse to give our readers a chance to win passes to themed screenings of the following films in Kansas City:
On Tuesday, September 17, join the T-Birds and Pink Ladies in a specially themed presentation of the classic 1978 musical “Grease.” This is a special sing-a-long screening, with the lyrics projected on screen during the film (like you’ll need them)
Text PINK LADIES and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the GREASE SING-ALONG. (1) winner will be drawn on Monday, September 16.
On Wednesday, September 18, it’s time to join the members of Delta Tau Chi as they throw a Toga Party to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”
Text TOGA and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the ANIMAL HOUSE TOGA PARTY. (1) winner will be drawn on Tuesday, September 17.
Finally, go back to the 80s and celebrate with Val Kilmer and the fellow braniacs of “Real Genius.”
Text IQ and your ZIP CODE to 43549 to enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see REAL GENIUS. (1) winner will be drawn on Wednesday, September 18.
Lisa Hochstein is known best for her role in Bravo’s hit reality TV series “The Real Housewives of Miami”. She joined the show in its second season and has been a fan-favorite very quickly. Lisa is currently shooting the show’s third season but took out sometime to chat with Media Mikes about being on the show and shared some tips to exercising and staying in shape.
Mike Gencarelli: You joined “The Real Housewives of Miami” during its second season. What was your highlight of being on the show? Lisa Hochstein: I would have say just having a new experience in my life. It has been a life-changer. My life is a lot different that it way the year before. It consumes you in your life being a part of this cast and the show. You are really being open and letting all of America and even the world into your life, your home, your personal struggles and your triumphs. But is also really nice to be able to relate to a lot of different people. I have been told that I have touched people in different ways. That is what life is all about giving back, helping out and making a difference is someones life.
MG: You quickly became a fan favorite on the show, can you reflect on the fan base that you have developed? LH: It is incredible. I am very flattered. I wasn’t sure how the world was going to take me. People either love you or hate you. People tend to judge me based on my appearance, how I look and the way I dress. But once they get to know me, they truly get to know who I am. I can only be who I am. I never pretend. I wear my heart on my sleeve. And people really took to that.
MG: Since it is a reality show; do you ever find it hard to deal with the drama it entails? LH: Yeah! Definitely working on a show like “The Real Housewives of Miami” there is always some kind of drama. That is a given. We aren’t always each others cup of tea and that is why we butt heads sometimes. Everyone’s personality is unique and different. When people have these strong personalities you are bound to butt heads.
MG: Were you ever a fan of any of the “The Real Housewife” show before and now after becoming one of the housewives? LH: Yeah of course. I think that it is everyone’s guilty pleasure watching “The Real Housewife” shows. My understanding was that you want to watch it because of the glits and the glam and see how everyone is living. The luxury of it all is very appealing. Now I am a part of the franchise and it is a wonderful family to be apart of.
MG: How do you feel about your husband, Dr. Leonard Hochstein, being called the “Boob God”? LH: He is the number #1 plastic surgeon in the country. No, I don’t mind. I think it is actually very accurate. He does more breast implants than any one surgeon in the entire country. He really truly is the boob god. Someone on Fox News has dubbed him that and since then everyone has followed the trend and it is who he has become. So for anyone in the country if they want to do their boobs, they immediately think “Hey I want to see the boob god”. It has been great for business and you can’t get a booking with him for a while in fact. So yes he does see many breasts but it doesn’t bother me. It is his job and it is what he does.
MG: Tell us about some the causes/charities you support? LH: We love to support The Humane Society. We also love to support The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is such a great one for children that have life threatening illness. We are able to raise money to get them the wish of their dreams. We will continue to always support these charities. The two things that I feel are the most innocent in life are animals and children, so I definitely have a soft spot for those two causes.
MG: Can you share with us your tips to exercising and staying in shape? LH: Summer is coming up. So everyone is trying to get into top shape for the summer. In Miami, we have to be in shape all year round [laughs]. One of my favorite things to do right now is juicing. Vegetable juicing with a little touches of fruit to add that sweetness. It has transformed my skin and given me such energy. I don’t even need coffee anymore. It completely turns back the clock on your body. I have only been juicing for about two months now but it has been amazing. I do it in conjunction with my regular exercise and routine. I work out four times a week with circuit training and 45 minutes of cardio a day. Now that I am juicing, I find that I don’t have to do much cardio. The juicing is sort of like spring cleaning. So that is my number health tip for right now! I recommend it for everyone!
MG: What do you enjoy most about living in Miami? LH: Oh my God! There is no question, we are in the best place to live in the world. We have the most beautiful beaches. We have some amazing nightlife. We have some of the best restaurants in the world and are only getting better. We have some of the best shopping. There is no store that you cannot find in Miami. Any major flag store that is worth going to is here. We have comedy, plays, concerts, sport games. It is one of these cities that you will always have something to do and never be bored.
Created by: Doug Wildey
Directed by: Mike Milo
Starring: J. D. Roth, Michael Benyaer, Jesse Douglas, George Segal, Robert Patrick, Frank Welker, Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jennifer Hale, John de Lancie
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Running Time: 286 minutes
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
If you are a boy and love cartoons, who doesn’t love Jonny Quest, seriously. It has adventure, action and plenty of thrill, especially for a cartoon. This series is revival of the 1960s Hanna-Barbera Jonny Quest franchise. It aired from 96-97, with only a mere 52 episodes produced. It does not pack the same thrill though that the original series had. This reinvention is more the “high-tech” upgrade of the series. Fans of the original Hanna-Barbera (like myself) might want to remember this franchise more like the original series, though this is not terrible overall.
This series still contains adventures with Jonny Quest, Hadji Singh, and Jessie Bannon as they follow Dr. Benton Quest and bodyguard Race Bannon to investigate strange phenomena, legends, and mysteries. This is where it differs a little bit, some of the action in this series takes place in the virtual realm of QuestWorld, which is 3D cyberspace land. So the series, takes a leap into CG but falls a little short. The late 90’s were a time in animation, where CGI was trying to make it’s presence known but was still a little premature.
In this volume two of episodes, it contains the next 13 episodes completing the first season…finally. Warner released the first thirteen episodes in volume 1 all the way back in February 2009. So fans had to hold their breath for a long time for this one. Luckily, Warner Archive Collection is great with releasing archive cartoon series but I am not sure how long fans are going to have to wait before the second season of 26 episodes is released.
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season 1, Volume 2 is now available from Warner Archive at http://bit.ly/GXOb0F
Synopsis: Team Quest is Back! In this pulse-pounding second volume, The Real Adventures reinvention of the classic animated adventure series Jonny Quest continues. Jonny, scientist father Benton Quest, bodyguard Race Bannon, paranormal pal Hadji and Race’s daughter Jessie, unravel mysteries and uncover strange phenomena while criss-crossing the globe. The scientific secrets of the dazzling virtual reality domain known as Questworld (rendered in CG sequences that broke ground for the era’s TV animation) receive the full Team Quest treatment as well in this 2-Disc Collection of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Season One’s second 13-Episodes. Strap in for suspense and thrills! Special Feature: “Journey into Questworld.”
John Rosengrant is co-owner of Legacy Effects (formerly known as Stan Winston Studios). He had worked with Stan Winston since 1983. He recently created the animatronics robots in the film “Real Steel”. In 2012, Legacy Effects has a bunch of major films in the works including, “The Hunger Games”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Total Recall” and “The Avengers”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask John some questions about his work on the film “Real Steel”.
Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working into the movies and in your particular field? John Rosengrant: Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to make monsters. I was an art major in college but I really wanted to do this type of special effects. I moved out to California to pursue that dream and Stan Winston hired me on the first Terminator and gave me that opportunity. I worked for Stan for 25 years until his untimely passing. With my three other partners that ran Stan’s shop, we formed Legacy Effects in his honor and to carry on his legacy.
MG: What are the challenges of mixing CGI and animatronics? JR: I think the challenges are you want to make it seamless. Shawn Levy, the Producers, and the team over at Digital Domain lead by Erik Nash, we all went into this with a team mentality that we are going to help each other and really make it believable, even in shots where it wasn’t going to be practical and was going to be CG. The practical robot gave it great lighting and size reference. In the shots that it was practical, it also helped the performance all around by giving the actors something to react to.
MG: How long does it take to make and prepare animatronics as the ones you see in this movie? JR: The process took five months. Six weeks of it was designing and sculpting the robots digitally and breaking down all the pieces to be rapid prototypes. Each hero robot consisted of about 300 parts. The remaining time was the actual building of the robots.
MG: Was there any technology you had to force into existence to make the movements work? JR: As far as new technology, we used what is called our stealth control system. We developed a special hydraulic pump that was very portable and light weight and, coupled with an intuitive control system, enabled us to set the robots up for shooting in about ten minutes.
MG: How different is to work with animatronics than to work with actors? JR: The challenge with animatronics is to get a believable performance from something that is a machine. And our background, besides being artists and engineers, is that we’re puppeteers and performers too. So we sort of channel that energy to bring the characters to life.
MG: Which was the most complex sequence you had to face while making the movie? JR: As with many special effects movies there are many. But one that jumps to mind is when they first power-up Atom when he is pulled from the junk yard. We had to cover the hero robot in mud, and make him sit up. There wasn’t as much prep time as one would like to have had but I think the scene turned out terrific. And I’m very proud of it.
MG: Can you explain your job as an Animatronic Supervisor? JR: It’s building of the animatronic robots by sculpting, molding, engineering, selecting paint finishes, developing control systems and managing the overall performance of them on set.
MG: What are the robots made of? JR: The panels and shells are made of fiberglass and custom blend of urethane. The mechanical structure inside is a combination of steel and aluminum and there are several of the robots that are machined aluminum parts. The Heroes are a combination of hydraulically powered and rod puppeted.
MG: Which robot was your favorite? JR: They are all your babies. You put just as much time and energy into all of them. But I think Atom in this case displayed a lot of heart and soul for a robot. So I guess I lean towards Atom.
MG: What was the most challenging character to make? JR: It was Atom. There are a lot more parts to him than others and more complicated scenes to do with him.
MG: How many people are involved in Atom`s creation? JR: There was a couple from my team that were really imperative to brining Atom to life. Jason Matthews was the key artist in charge of Atom. Ian Joyner was the key digital sculptor that translated Tom Meyer’s production design artwork into 3D. Of course, there was a team here at Legacy of engineers, mechanics and model makers led by Dave Merritt. Mold makers, artists and painters were also involved in the total execution of Atom.
MG: Who got to keep the robots after the movie? JR: We keep the robots at Legacy Effects.
MG: In your opinion, what did Stan Winston bring to the business and the art of cinema? What is the essence of his… legacy? JR: The essence of Stan’s legacy is that he taught me what our job is to create characters. It’s not so much special effects but more so to create a memorable character. Stan was a makeup artist and a fine artist but he originally came to Hollywood to get into acting so I think he really stressed the performance aspect. Whether it was the queen alien or the Terminator, or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, they always had an attitude and always seemed to be alive.
MG: In what way did your work change since “The Terminator”? JR: On this movie, we built real robots and on the first Terminator we were pretending to build real robots. Also, the state of the art technology that has allowed us to sculpt robots and their parts digitally and rapid prototype them into the real world has allowed us to do things that were never possible back then
MG: For a person who dreams of wanting to get into your line of work, what advice would you give them? JR: You have to be artistically rounded. Nowadays that includes knowing digital art programs as well as practical, and art techniques. If you’re coming at this more so from a mechanical side, you need machining skills, welding, and a sense of robots and computer control systems.
MG: What do you think is the future of animation and animatronics? JR: It has a place because we figured out on “Real Steel” that it provides a fantastic reference for the CG robots and gave the actors something to really play off of and react to. Good acting comes from reacting. By having something real there, the actors can connect to something.
MG: On the Blu-ray, in the feature “Building the Bots,” director Shawn Levy talks about how Steven Spielberg emphasized that the use of practical effects was important to the film’s success. Do you feel as if filmmakers with that sort of insight into practical effects are a dying breed? Also, has Legacy Effects been approached to go back to robots for Spielberg’s upcoming “Robopocalypse”? JR: Animatronic effects still have a very important place in this type of filmmaking. Some of the young filmmakers don’t have any experience with practical side of visual effects, but once they see what it can bring to their film, I think they embrace it. Spielberg’s “Roboapocalypse”, would be an amazing project to be part of.
MG: What’s a specific example of something you do that’s actually much harder than most people realize? JR: In this movie we created 27, 8 foot tall robots. Some hero, stunt and background. But there were literally thousands of parts that had to all fit together and look like real metal and had to perform like a real robot. Noisyboy for example, had nearly 2,000 LED lights alone that were programmed with random sayings in Japanese which appeared on his forearm. That’s an example of one small complicated thing that may go unnoticed when you watch the film.
MG: John, any final thoughts on “Real Steel” before we close? JR: It was a real pleasure to work on this film as it felt like a harmonious team effort from the start. Everybody understood their role, and everyone that is part of the film was treated with great importance. Shawn Levy, the Director, had a great energy that he brought to the film. The producers were very effects savvy. I’ve had a great history working with Producer Josh McLaglen who has worked on epic effects films from Titanic to Avatar and effects producer, Ron Ames was integral in bringing us together and organizing all of the visual effects on the film. My colleagues that I’ve been nominated with were outstanding in their contributions. My team here at Legacy worked tirelessly in creating the robots. I’d like to give a special nod to my right-hand man Jason Matthews who became Atom. Last but not least, thanks to my great mentor, Stan Winston, who gave me a great opportunity in this business.
THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!
Available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD,
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012.
To celebrate the Blu-Ray™ release of “Real Steel”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 10 copies of the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (Blu-ray™ + DVD). If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite boxing movie. This giveaway will be open until Monday February 6th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.
DreamWorks Studios’ REAL STEEL, starring Hugh Jackman, muscles its way into the Home Entertainment arena on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital and On-Demand on January 24, 2012. This visually stunning action-adventure filled with heart and soul is a “must-add” to every home movie collection, delivering a premium in-home experience complete with knockout bonus materials that dive deeper into the action.
The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, with its perfect picture and sound, delivers the ultimate punch, offering viewers a variety of supplemental bonus features that take them ringside with Director Shawn Levy on the making of the film. Exclusive features include a bare-knuckled exposé of the life story of Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), deleted and extended scenes that go deeper into the film and storylines, and a riveting profile with legendary boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard. Plus, the revolutionary Real Steel Second Screen app lets viewers sync their iPad™* or computer with the Blu-ray™ movie to peel back layers of effects with progression reels, check out 360-degree turnarounds of the robots, explore seamless branching pods that delve into the cutting-edge technology used to create the fights, and much more.
Balancing gritty action and emotional heart, “Real Steel” is an inspiring and visually stunning film that takes audiences on an action-packed journey. Washed-up boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) scrapes by as a small-time robot-fight promoter as he tries to make a comeback. Against all odds he eventually succeeds—at least in the eyes of his son Max (Dakota Goyo). “Real Steel” is spectacular family entertainment that will have everyone cheering again and again.
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie
Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 127 minutes
Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars
When I originally saw the trailer for this film, I couldn’t wait for it to be released…so I wouldn’t have to see the trailer anymore. After viewing it I was completely surprised at how entertaining it was after all. Hugh Jackman is definitely the action star, he knows action and he does it well. Though this film was all about the robots, they work together really well and the CGI was very impressive. The Blu-ray presentation was simply amazing. The video was super sharp and the sound boasting an amazing 7.1 surround track was unbelievable. This film definitely pushed the limits of Blu-ray’s capability and proved very impressive.
In case you don’t know the story it in short a live-action version of the board game “Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots” or at least I felt like it is. In part also it is based on the short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”) and also the 1963 episode of “The Twilight Zone” of the same name. This is something that I was unaware of until after watching it, but it made me appreciate it quite more. The story is simple but it packs some great heart and definitely leaves you cheering and rooting for the underdog. I must also note that the film has an amazing score composed by non-other than the master Danny Elfman.
The special features are very amazing and I really enjoyed them all. Some extras are exclusive to Blu-ray such as “Second Screen: Ringside with Director Shawn Levy” adds more to the film while using an iPad but of course you first need an iPad. “Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story” portrays the rise and fall of Charlie Kenton’s boxing career. Very entertaining and fun! “Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ” features Hugh Jackman talking about how he seeked out help from the legendary fighter. There are almost 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, all in HD and some with an explanation from director Shawn Levy. Some needed to be cut for timing and pacing but definitely worth a watch.
The rest of the special features are on the DVD as well as the Blu-ray disc. “Making of Metal Valley” is an informative feature on the behind-the-scenes of the film. It really shows the scale of the production. “Building the Bots” is the second featurette which focuses on the visual effects and the creating of the robots. Lastly there is a set of bloopers and delivers some good laughs and it wraps up a great disc of extras. Overall this is a must purchase on Blu-ray.
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To celebrate “Real Steel” second week at the number 1 spot at the box office, Media Mikes would like to giveaway the follow prizes packs from the film. If you would like to win one of these great prize back, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite boxing movie. This giveaway will be open until Monday October 24th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.
Five lucky winners will each win a poster, t-shirt (adult sizes of S, M, L, XL), bottle opener, stickers and temporary tattoos. Good luck and check out the pics below. If you haven’t seen “Real Steel” yet be sure to check it out in the theaters. Click here for our review for the film.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and Evangeline Lilly
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 7 mins
Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
It started back before the Super Bowl. You can’t have been in America for the past eight months and not been bombarded for commercials touting what I began to refer to as “that Rock’em – Sock’em Robot movie.” With all due apologies to the Mattel toy company, I didn’t think a movie about boxing robots would be enjoyable. Boy was I wrong.
It’s the future. Actually, the near future, which looks a lot like today. But there is one thing missing. Due to the continuing blood lust of the sports’ fans, boxing is no longer done by men. They have been replaced by giant mechanical robots, who battle non stop until one delivers the “decapa-cino) to the other one, causing the losers head to roll (or fly out into the crowd). We meet former boxer now robot wielder Charlie Kenton (Jackman) as he prepares his “fighter,” Ambush, for a match against a 2000 pound bull at the county fair. Sadly, Ambush does indeed get the horns and Charlie finds himself without a fighter and deep in debt. As if things can’t get any worse, he discovers that a long lost love of his has died and that someone needs to take care of her/their eleven year old son, Max (Goyo). Not wanting to be burdened with a son he’s never seen before, Charlie hopes to sign the boy over to the state. However, when he discovers the boys’ wealthy aunt and uncle want to adopt Max he arranges a money deal, agreeing to keep the boy for a couple of months while the new mom and dad see Italy. Smart beyond his years (seriously, this kid is like a computer and mechanical genius) and a huge fan of WRB (World Robot Boxing), Max heads off with Charlie for what he will surely remember as the summer of his life.
Featuring sharp performances from its cast (both human and metal) and some outstanding special effects, “Real Steel” is best described as “Rocky” meets “The Iron Giant.” And that is a complement. Both “Rocky” and “The Iron Giant” had plenty of heart, and “Real Steel” shares that trait with them. When a junkyard mishap allows Max to discover an old, discarded ‘bot named Atom, the movie becomes so much more than an action film. The film not only plays on the burgeoning relationship between Charlie and Max, it also focuses on the one between Max and Atom. Atom contains a program that allows him to shadow others movements, and a scene where Max dances with excitement while Atom mimics him is one of the film’s highlights. This could possibly be the first time you’ll ever see “a” robot do “the” robot. Jackman is his usual winning self, playing a man conflicted. Goyo, who was on screen earlier this year as the young Thor in “Thor,” gives a breakout performance along the lines of Rick “don’t call me Ricky” Schroder in “The Champ.” If his relationship with both Charlie and Atom aren’t believable, the film is nothing more than a loud two hour toy commercial.
The film does have a few flaws. It seems to have borrowed its last 45 minutes from “Rocky 4,” including a nearly freakish fighting machine and its Russian-accented lady mouthpiece. I was shocked to see that the actress playing the Russian (Olga Fonda – real last name Tchakova) actually WAS Russian, so poor was her accent. How bad was it? She made Bridgette Nielsen, Drago’s wife in “Rocky 4,” sound like Rasputin! Perhaps she was channeling Natasha from “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” The final WRB battle is exciting to watch and surprisingly emotional. Director Levy, who did the “Night at the Museum” films, stages the action well, managing to make the characters people to care about.
“Crafty” is a new web series created by Mark Thomas Haapla and Morgan Mead. Morgan also co-stars in the show along with Jon Donahue (“Heroes” and Disney’s “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2”) and Keith Coogan (“Adventures in Babysitting” and “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead”). In addition to his acting duties, Jon is also one of the writers, directors and producers on the show. “Crafty” is an ensemable comedy that takes place behind the scenes (at the craft service table, duh!) on the set of a hit television show called “The Telepathist”. The show is filled with kooky characters and a slew of celebrity cameos like Diane Delano (“Popular”, “The Ladykillers”), Daniel Roebuck (“The Fugitive” and “Lost”), Wyatt Knight (“Porky’s”), Ian Petrella (“A Christmas Story”), and a few of the guys from HBO’s “Entourage”. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk with Keith and Jon about how it was working on the show and what we can expect.
Mike Gencarelli: Keith, how did you come on board for the show, “Crafty”? Keith Coogan: This guy Jon Donahue, I met him at a screening for “Jaws”. He was there with some friends that made the documentary “The Shark is Still Working” which is a great behind the scenes making of “Jaws”. Great film. Not too long after, he contacted me and said they were doing this project. He had a sizzle reel and it looked great. I jumped on board!
Mike Gencarelli: Keith, tell us what we can expect from your role in “Crafty? Keith Coogan: I play Keith Coogan, who is the second actor to take on the role of “The Telepathist”, the star of a popular network television show. I immediately jumped into…the insanity that takes place. I got the tone of the show right away and everyone involved with the show was having a lot of fun. I was able to step back and make a lot of fun of myself. I got a lot of great bits with Jon, where he thinks I am an insane actor. We were doing one episode that Jon wrote and directed and he also starred in the scene with me! It was great, a lot of fun.
Mike Gencarelli: Keith, tell us what is was like working on a web series? Keith Coogan: It was pre-pro because they were renting a sound stage, they had nice cameras and equipment and had it all planned out. They even had shot lists, some storyboards and were ready to go. It didn’t defer from a regular TV or film shoot in that way at all. We were just trying to get the work done, bang out the pages and make something that we would enjoy. You realize there are no studios or producers involved, they are running the show, that is where it is new ground. You find yourself in the captain seat and it is a big responsibility. It is really easy working on a shoot with a hundred people and everyone only has a little piece of it, though in this, everyone becomes a lot more important. All of their input gets listened to and everyone gets a chance to shine on these shoots. Everyone has many roles to make it happen. It is funny but not all laughs and giggles, there can be clashes and stressful moments. This is art and these are creative people. It just shows the passions of everyone wanting it to be great.
Mike: Keith, can you tell us about some funny moments on the set? Keith: Oh gosh, we got one of the creators into a chicken outfit and that was fun. I got a text message, it was probably a rum influenced text message, saying “Mark Thomas Haapala in a chicken suit or not?”. I said “Of course!” When you are browsing the web and you see a guy in the chicken outfit, that is comedy. Jon Donahue: I gotta say I was against the chicken outfit but after we shot it I am all for it. You were absolutely right Keith. Keith: You mean the chicken outfit seemed a little crazy during the “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Baked” episode…when me and the kid are smoking weed?!. You mean THAT sounded outrageous [laughs], I understand. Jon Donahue: My favorite part of that day was when the glass coffee table you were under collapsed on top of you. Keith: That almost killed me [laughs]. Jon Donahue: The coffee table scene is in the trailer.
Mike: Jon, what was your inspiration for the show? Jon: As far as my portion of the writing, the show is created by Mark Haapala and Morgan Mead. They had these characters in mind. So we had shot three or four episodes and they were originally 10 minutes a piece, now they are around five minutes. On the first day when Mark called action, we just started acting. We didn’t know our characters or anything. When I wrote “Adventures in Telepathy”, which was Keith’s first episode, we understood who our characters were. So after that I went back and rewrote the pilot with Haapala to match what was written for Keith’s episode. By the way, Keith gave some great notes where his character should go. Remember that Keith? Keith: Yes. You totally picked those up and put in hints of it in too…it was a big leap to go there right away. Jon: I really had so much fun writing for these characters. I built on what they created and we went from there.
Mike: Jon, how did you feel shuffling between acting, writing and directing? Jon: Funny enough, I found out I love writing. I used to be a news reporter and I only wrote news stories. This was different writing comedy. It was a lot of fun being able to write a joke every few minutes. What we realized in the editing process, before I started writing, was that everything has to be faster. Our episodes are five maybe six minutes and we have to get everything in, like story lines and make sure everyone has a piece in every episode. I find writing really fun. What I also enjoy is the improv on set. I love acting also and doing comedy, experimenting and being in the moment. I love the timing in the show, everyone is wonderful and so perfect. The day I directed Keith’s episode, I hadn’t directed anything before. I was having so much fun directing, I didn’t want to jump in front of the camera, which for me is unbelievable! I just had so much fun. The whole process was very long but very rewarding. We finally have a cut of the episode I directed in the can. It is going to be great and Keith is very funny in it.
Mike: Jon, tell us about the show and your role, Larry that you play? Jon: The show basically is a craft service table on a television show, like Keith mentioned, “The Telepathist”. Obviously a take on “The Mentalist”. It is about a group of wacky people and everyone has their story. I play the first assistant director and I kind of compare my character to Jason Batemen’s on “Arrested Development”. He is the straight guy that has to deal with a bunch of imbeciles. Having worked on sets before, I have worked with a lot of assistant directors. I have been able to observe and understand where they are coming from. My character is the ring leader, since the director (Roebuck) is not even on set. He is agoraphobic, he can’t leave his house and directs from a laptop. I run the whole stage while he is in a bathrobe sitting in his house.
Mike: If you need to sum up the show in one word, what would that be? Keith: Juicy. Jon: I get it! Like a fruit! Jon: I am going to use two words, F**king funny.
Mike: Tell us why should people check out the show? Keith: It is funny. Everyone has a fascination of what is it like to be on a set. We do not pay that off with any reality. It is total divas and complete egotistical maniacs. It is funny in the way like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. These people are really crazy. You are not going to learn exactly what goes on behind the scenes but it is real stuff…wrangling different actors and working with creative types that don’t want to come out of their house. What is universal, is if you work in a office, bank or you are teacher there is always conflict, comedy and tragedy. These people would probably kill each other. Jon: [laughs] and they have. Keith: It is possible that the show “The Telepathist” takes itself a little too serious, just saying [laughs]. Jon: I just want to throw in that these characters are based on real people. We take them to the extremes but they are ultimately based on real people and will obviously remain nameless. Even though Kevin Connolly is playing himself, he is actually playing another actor in the industry. Keith: It is a very creative show and I know everyone is going to grab onto it when they see it.
Mike: Keith, aside for “Crafty”, tell us about your “Monologue a Day”? What made you start that? Keith: Sure, this past New Years I got an idea to combine the concept of “Julie & Julia” mixed with my love for acting and technology. I love putting stuff on YouTube. I wanted to keep it simple since the ambition is trying to do it and complete all of these pieces. I learn something, shoot it and put it up. It is 1 minute long, don’t want to try anyone’s patience. I alternate between comedy, tragedy, drama, Shakespeare, stuff from movies or books. I learned about the craft and it is really like a daily workshop. It has been great and has become a great casting tool for me as well. Jon: Are you ever going to do the monologue from “Glitter”, I suggested? Keith: [laughs] Yeah right!
Mike: Jon, you are also currently working with Tom Hanks on his latest film “Larry Crowne”, can you tell us about that?
Jon: I am not sure how much I can tell you. Basically he twitters everything, so I really don’t have to say much. It is about a guy who loses his job and has to start his life over. It is very funny. From script to what we are shooting now it is hilarious. The whole cast is great, Wilmer Valderrama and Nia Vardalos and everyone is so wonderful. Julia (Roberts) of course is always great. It is a blast. Tom is writing, directing, starring and producing. I am blessed to be there everyday. So I am very excited and “Larry Crowne” will be out next year.