The Superman reboot Man of Steel broke the record for the biggest June opening weekend ever with a whopping $125.1 million. Reviews have been mixed so far, ranging from: "DC and Warner Brothers have opted to produce a movie that foregoes a character-driven story. Instead, we're left with a trite blockbuster that holds beautiful special effects, an inspiring music score, a story that panders to the movie-goer who refrains from looking deep into the story, and neglects to define Superman as character, leaving him only as a hollow symbol and stock character, which ultimately leaves the movie about the events that transpire rather than the characters involved in them," to " What this version of the iconic DC Comics superhero does is emote convincingly. Thanks to director Zack Snyder and a serious-minded script by David S. Goyer (who shares story credit with his The Dark Knight collaborator, Christopher Nolan), Man of Steel gives the last son of Krypton an action-packed origin story with a minimum of camp and an intense emotional authenticity. Not bad for somebody who spends half the movie wearing blue tights." Personally, I found it to be the best 2-hour action sequence with 30 minutes of stock romance involving Superman that I am likely to see this summer. What did you think?
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sfcrazy writes "Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to movies after his role as Governator of California and the legendary actor is all set to play the role of The Terminator once again — the character which turned him into an icon. Schwarzenegger told the fan site TheArnoldFans.com, 'I'm very happy that the studios want me to be in Terminator 5 and to star as the Terminator.'"
Lasrick writes "Kennette Benedict of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reviews Pandora's Promise, a new documentary that focuses on environmental activists like Stewart Brand who have gone from vehemently anti-nuclear to vehemently pro-nuclear views. Good points brought up by Benedict that weren't really addressed in the film." From the article: "The flaw in the film's approach is its zealous advocacy of one solution — one silver bullet — to meet the tremendous challenges of providing for some nine billion people by 2050, while also protecting societies from the ravages of climate disruption. The kind of thinking that led some of these environmentalists to single-mindedly protest nuclear power plants during the 1970s and 1980s leads them to just-as-single-mindedly advocate a push toward nuclear power 40 years later."
An anonymous reader writes "Several UK Internet providers have quietly added a list of new sites to their secretive anti-piracy blocklists. Following in the footsteps of Sky, the first ISP to initiate a proxy blockade, Virgin, BT and several other providers now restrict access to several torrent site proxies. The surprise isn't really that proxies have been added to the blocklist, but that the music industry and ISPs are failing to disclose which sites are being banned."
theodp writes "It was the best of movies; it was the worst of movies. GeekWire reports that The Internship — the new comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two 40-something guys who get internships at Google — is getting high praise from Googlers but low marks from movie critics. Google CEO Larry Page called the movie 'a lot of fun' in his Google+ post, while fellow Google exec Vic Gundotra gushed, 'I laughed a lot while watching this movie!' After screening a sneak preview with Google companions, Wired's Steven Levy wrote, 'From Google's point of view, the movie could not possibly be better.' USA Today's take, on the other hand, is that 'Google has never looked lamer thanks to The Internship.' And the NY Daily News calls the movie 'an unfunny valentine to Google.' But perhaps the unkindest cut of all comes from the NY Post, who suggests that 'maybe The Internship was secretly funded by Bing.' Ouch." Update: 06/07 20:02 GMT by T : Peter Wayner saw the movie (a "harmless bit of summer fluff"), and his full-length take below takes on some of the tech-company misconceptions that the film-makers gleefully adopted as script material.
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) was announced as Director of the long-awaited movie based on World of Warcraft. Legendary Pictures finally appears to be ready to move forward with production. Producer Charles Roven confirmed to SlashFilm that World of Warcraft: The Movie 3D IMAX Experience (suggested title) begins shooting in early 2014."
First time accepted submitter MovieEnthusiast writes "Alcon Entertainment, the production company that own the rights to Blade Runner, have announced that the Blade Runner sequel will be re-written by Michael Green (The Green Lantern) and hinted at other possible Blade Runner spin-offs. From the press release: 'Writer Michael Green is in negotiations to do a rewrite of Alcon Entertainment's "Blade Runner" sequel penned by Hampton Fancher ("Blade Runner," "The Minus Man," "The Mighty Quinn") and to be directed by Ridley Scott. Fancher's original story/screenplay is set some years after the first film concluded. Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove will produce with Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, along with Ridley Scott. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO's of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. Green recently completed rewrites on "Robopocalypse" and Warners Bros "Gods and Kings."'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Back in the ancient days of 2009, Motorola Mobility earned considerable buzz with its Droid smartphone. Marketed as an iPhone alternative, the device featured a sliding QWERTY keyboard and a chunky black body that seemed positively Schwarzenegger-esque in comparison to its svelte Apple rival. But Motorola failed to translate that buzz into sustained momentum in the smartphone space. Instead, Samsung became the dominant Android smartphone manufacturer, battling toe-to-toe with Apple for market-share and profits. Even Google acquiring Motorola for the princely sum of $12.1 billion didn't really seem to alter the equation very much. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside wants to change all that. In a May 29 talk at AllThingsD's D11 conference, he told the audience that Motorola has a 'hero phone' in the works, dubbed the Moto X—and that it's self-aware. 'It anticipates my needs,' he said, according to AllThingD's live blog of the event. But what does that actually mean? Thanks to embedded sensors, the phone knows when the user removes it from his or her pocket; in theory, that capability could serve broader applications, such as the phone recognizing where the user is located within a city and serving up content and applications accordingly. In fact, it sounds a bit like Google Now on steroids—or like the smartphone precursor to SkyNet, the supercomputer from the Terminator movies that's so intelligent, it decides that the world would be better off if it ruled over humanity."
Last week you had the chance to ask Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the crew of Blood Kiss about the upcoming Kickstarter movie, vampires, and their past projects. The film has reached the initial funding goal with the new target being $200K, making it an entirely fan funded film. Below you'll find their answers to your questions.
This video is WeVideo CEO Jostein Svendsen talking about his company's service, not a demo of it, although we surely should do a demo/review of WeVideo before long. If you are involved in casual video production, this is something you need to check out. And if you want to try editing a video or two but have no idea if you're going to be good enough that it will be worth spending money on video editing software, plus the time to learn how to use it, WeVideo's free version (which puts a watermark on your finished video) might be a good way to try your hand at this necessary but unheralded part of the videomaking process.
New submitter Unixnoteunuchs writes "Coming to a theater in Window Rock in the Navajo Nation on July 4, 2013, Star Wars Episode 4 dubbed in the Navajo language. This is the first time a major motion picture has ever been dubbed in a native American language. This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language, a complex and beautiful Athabaskan tongue heavily reliant on adjectives and compound words. Listen to this article and how 'computer' and 'droid' would translate."
phrackthat writes "A UC Berkeley group, in a bid to drive down the costs of 3-D printing, has been focusing on more natural materials such as salt, wood, ceramics and concrete (the last two, while not naturally occurring, are made of naturally occurring components). The use of these materials create new avenues for architecture, such as printing buildings. Professor Ronald Rael, the head of the project, stated that these materials and the designs they enable will require new IP protections — 'This is going to require some IP protection for designs, so if you design architecture in the computer, you're protected, just as music and movies are.' I wonder if he's ever heard of design patents?"
Lucas123 writes "U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass) is pushing a bill that would require all U.S. handgun manufacturers to include 'personalization technology' in their weapons. Tierney said he got the idea for The Personalized Handgun Safety Act of 2013 from the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. In it Bond escapes death when his handgun, which is equipped with technology that recognizes his fingerprints, becomes inoperable when a bad guy picks it up. 'This technology, however, isn't just for the movies — it's a reality,' Tierney said. Tierney pointed to a myriad of cases where the smart gun tech could prevent children from being harmed or killed in firearms accidents. Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, the official state association of the NRA, said he knows of no gun owners who would want smart gun technology on their weapons. Wallace said any technology that may impede the proper function of a weapon is a problem. He pointed to the fact that any integrated processor technology would also require a battery of some kind, which could pose a system failure if it lost power."
Today at a press conference leading up to E3, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen games/entertainment console, the Xbox One. Their stated goal for the Xbox One is to have a single device provide "all of your entertainment." One of the big changes is increased support for voice and and gesture input. You can turn the console on by voice, and it will recognize you and automatically login. Swiping to the side with your hand will browse through menu pages, and saying "Watch TV" will bring up the TV app very quickly. The same with music, internet, and movies. The new console also supports multitasking — for example, while watching a movie, you can bring up your web browser in a side panel and surf the web at the same time. There is also a built-in TV listings app that responds to channel names — saying "Watch CBS" will switch to CBS without giving it an actual channel number. By this point, you're probably asking: does it play games? Yes. Hardware specs: 8-core CPU/GPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, and Wi-fi Direct. (They didn't provide the CPU frequency, instead saying it had 5 billion transistors.) The Kinect sensor got an upgrade: 2Gbps of data capture has finer skeletal visibility, can detect minor orientation changes in hands and fingers, and can even calculate your balance and weight distribution. The new controller looks slightly bigger, and is designed to play well with Kinect. They've also updated Smartglass, the remote control software that runs on mobile devices, but they didn't explain much about it. The new Xbox Live will have 300,000 servers powering it, up from 15,000 this year — though, of course, no details were provided about server specs. The console will have native game capture and editing tools — essentially, a game DVR. Saved games will be stored in the cloud, and they have new matchmaking capabilities that operate in the background. Update: 05/21 17:50 GMT by S : Halo is getting its own live-action TV show, for some reason. They'll be collaborating with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft is also partnering with the NFL for live broadcasts and interactive experiences, such as split-screen Skype chats and fantasy league updates. Xbox One will be out "later this year." No price information. it will not be backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.
Writer and novelist Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame have teamed up to star in a new vampire movie called, Blood Kiss. Kickstarted by ST:TNG and Emmy-winning writer Michael Reaves, Blood Kiss is a film noir vampire movie set in Golden Age Hollywood. Of his acting debut Gaiman says, "I'm willing to pretend that the prospect of acting doesn't terrify me in order to help Michael Reaves make his film." The trio have agreed to take a break from the blood and answer any questions you have about the new project or their past work. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
First time accepted submitter Aaron B Lingwood writes "As reported by TorrentFreak, Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate have all asked Google to take down links pointing to the Pirate Bay documentary 'TPB-AFK.' The film, created by Simon Klose, is available for no cost and has already been watched by millions of people. The public response to this free release model has been overwhelmingly positive, but it's now meeting resistance from Hollywood, TPB's arch rival. Pirate Party Australia opines 'Hollywood is using takedown notices to censor Pirate Bay doco, is it incompetence or malice? Always hard to tell.' Whichever the answer, the system is definitely broken."
mask.of.sanity writes "Lights, sounds and magnetic fields can be used to activate malware on phones, new research has found. The lab-style attacks defined in a paper (PDF) used pre-defined signals hidden in songs and TV programmes as a trigger to activate embedded malware. Malware once activated would carry out programmed attacks either by itself or as part of a wider botnet of mobile devices."
Blug_fred writes "For the second edition, today is the time to celebrate Culture Freedom Day. While not as popular as HFD or SFD, celebrating Free Culture involves finding Free Culture artists, inviting them to your place and having them perform, display or talk about what their creation(s). Of course you can always simply project a couple of Free Culture movies and launch a discussion about their business models. Either way you can find all the happening for today here on the map and we sincerely hope there will be something of interest near you."
J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of Star Trek was wildly successful. It raked in hundreds of millions at the box office, and revitalized the Star Trek franchise, which had languished for 7 years without a new film and 4 years without a TV presence (after 18 consecutive years of new shows). It also did something no Trek movie had done before; it made Star Trek ‘cool’ in the public consciousness. Combined, those factors ensured Abrams would get another turn at the helm of a Trek movie, and sooner rather than later. With today's release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, that trend is very likely to continue. It's a movie with all the same strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor, and if it worked before, it'll work again. Read on for our review.
Google's I/O annual conference is ramping up at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Last year, in the conference keynote, the company took its biggest-yet dive into hardware when it introduced the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Glass, and the ill-fated Nexus Q. The secret is out on Glass, of course: this year, there's a pavilion inside the conference center where I'm sure they'll be showing off applications for it. (Quite a few of the people in the endless lines here are wearing their own, too.) Anticipating the announcements at I/O is practically its own industry, but it's easy to guess that there will be announcements from all the major pots in which Google has its many thousands of (tapping) fingers. Android, search, Chrome, mapping, and all the other ways in which the behemoth of Mountain View is watching what you do. You can watch the keynote talk (talks, really) streamed online from the main conference link above, but this story will be updated with highlights of the announcements, as well with stories that readers contribute. Update: 05/15 16:22 GMT by T : Updates below. Update: 05/15 19:02 GMT by T :Update details: Notes (ongoing) added below on maps, gaming, the Play store, Google+, and more. And, notable, Larry Page is (at this writing) on stage, with an unannounced Q & A session.