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Archive for the ‘Cool’ Category

Did the Sci-Fi Network mini-series get lost in – The Triangle?

Posted by topofmind on September 21, 2006

b000e5n6b601_ss500_sclzzzzzzz_v1138082546_.jpg More than a few movies both on and off the big screen have tried to tackle the Bermuda Triangle. The results so far have been predictably bad, until Bryan Singer of the X-Men fame and Dean Devlin of the Star Gate and Independence fame decided to do their version of it.

Last night I watched The Triangle marathon on cable. Originally produced for the Sci-Fi Network, it lasts over 225 minutes and was shown in 3 parts. It features several well known faces from TV and some from the Movies.

The premise of the series is that a eccentric billionaire (we were told he was eccentric OK?), played by Sam Neil, who has lost several ships in the Triangle puts together a team of misfits OK, not so misfits to investigate why and how his ships were lost. The incentive was an-offer-you-cant-refuse five million dollars each.

We are thus introduced to the Eric Stolz character, formerly of New York Times, but now is writing for The Observer (kinda like the Enquiere) to feed his family. Then we are introduced to Catherine Bell of JAG fame, yummm, who got fired from her job, don’t ask. Her specialty; deep seas something or the other. After, we are introduced to the Bruce Davidson character who played Senator Kelly from the X-Men movies, who plays a Psychic of dubious background and lastly to Michael Rodgers of, I dont know where this guy comes from, he speaks in an Australian accent and plays a adventurous weather scientist.

And not to forget the Lou Diamond Phillips character, who plays a Greenpeace activitist who survives the Triangle and now begins to have strange episodes.

The mini series is well researched and tries to touch all the lore surrounding it from Christopher Columbus reports to the missing flight of Avengers to the USS Cyclops.

It starts off promisingly with a series of mysteries, obligatory introduction to the five characters, their background, their issues etc.. While not the greatest of introductions it gets the job done, makes the characters more multi dimensional. But that is where they pretty much stayed until the end.

Personally I don’t think there is enough material in it to be a 225 minute presentation, it could have easily been done in 90 to 120 minutes, and it would have been a tighter and more entertaining experience. Sadly as genre fare goes, this is not a bad mini-series, in fact it is quite good – kinda like the Hallmark mini-series; but the problem I have is why do genre fans have to put up with such half-hearted attempts at mini-series. Compare this to – Battlestar Galactica from the same network and you see a big difference.

It tries to wrap up the whole Bermuda Triangle Mystery of the how and the why; while it manages to do that – quite neatly I might add, it leaves one wondering what it was all about at the end of 225 minutes with the strangely anti-climatic ending. Maybe that is one of the mysteries of The Triangle. I am fan of most of the people who are involved here – from the writers to the actors, but better to have re-watched the Battlestar Galactica or gone to see Snakes On A Plane.

Verdict : If you are a fan of genre sci-fi and have a few odd hours, do see it. But whatever you do, don’t buy the DVD.

Posted in Cool, Misc, News, TV | 2 Comments »

Zune and Wii Launch Warning!! Exciting times ahead for Consumer Tech.

Posted by topofmind on September 15, 2006

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In the last couple of months, the upcoming launch of Wii and Zune have received a lot of attention from tech fans like me. I neither have a PS2 or an iPOD but as a matter of interest am keen to see what happens to these two new consumer electronic brands. I am also interested to see how each will turn out – considering the fact that both are from well known companies in their own field. I have written about the Wii and Zune previously, separately, but now is a good time to review it together.

ZUNE

Microsoft recently released news on the detailed specs of the Zune and the consumer offering. Despite the rumors that it will retail around 250 US$ (most likely less), Microsoft hasn’t confirmed or denied it. Additionally it will most likely be released for the upcoming holiday season. Whether it is in 06 or07 remains to be seen.

So the big question on every ones mind is that, will Zune be the iPod killer?

I for one think that the term – iPOD killer is overused and almost a cliché. No one can be the iPOD killer, but based on what Microsoft did with XBOX, we can be sure that it will literally dump a lot of R&D and A&P (advertising and promotion) budget behind it.

But can advertising hype alone sustain the Zune? I doubt it. The feature sets included in the release version of the Zune needs to appeal to a certain amount of consumers. This will buy Microsoft the necessary market share into the Media Player category. In the long run Microsoft stands to profit from this investment.

How long is long enough? That remains to be seen, but it would be foolish of Microsoft to ignore the fast growing consumer segment – especially in the Media Player segment. Invest well Microsoft and try not to piss off the relatively minor but highly vocal tech fans – especially the ones with Blogs, and you will have a XBOX in your hand sin a couple of years.

Nintendo Wii

Despite the relatively low tech specifications of the Nintendo Wii, the fan-boys are excited about this. In any other circumstance, launching a less technically spec’ed product would be suicide. In the case of Nintendo Wii, it is an asset… well almost.

The price is almost about 250 US$ and it will launch two days after PS3. Is that a good thing or not. I don’t know. But one thing I am sure about is that it’s underdog status is what will sell the product to the fan-boys who felt betrayed by PS3. That and the innovative Wiimote and the games that it is expected to release. Note my emphasis on the word expected.

It is clear that Nintendo Wii is trying to appeal to a bigger audience of non-hardcore gamers – which is most likely a wise strategy, considering the fact that XBOX 360 and PS3 are more or less fighting for the same, but limited audience.

Ultimately the hardcore fan-boys could be disappointed by the Wii – as their expectations are probably too high, and they will probably go back to their default gaming console. But either way Wii will carve out a more than decent market share from the non-hardcore, causal gaming audience. If I was Microsoft or Sony, Wii can pose a big threat and I would watch it – closely.

So what does this all mean to the average pro-sumer out there? Well, exciting things are afoot and I for one am excited to see how this will all turn out. Heck, maybe I will even buy myself one of them things.

Posted in Cool, Games, Tech | Leave a Comment »

Coke sues Coke Zero : The Viral

Posted by topofmind on September 6, 2006

Coke sues Coke ZeroAt a time when building web-creds is getting more and more important in connecting with their target audience, Coke Zero launches this website that they hope will go viral, and hope bloggers like me write about it and give free exposure and buzz.

The website has videos where they bring in several lawyers and ask for their opinion if Coke can sue Coke Zero for “taste infringement.” Apparently some are real lawyers and others are actors, playing a lawyer. The reaction on some of them are priceless.

And some of them corporate lawers are plain scary, except for the bewildered immigration lawyer who got lost and ended up in a viral…

While many will undoubtedly dismiss this as a lame attempt, Coke Zero will get the coverage, they will get the buzz and they will get a free link here because this is indeed the type of thing that a web-surfing, short attention spanned, instant gratification, cool hunting pro-sumers are looking for. On top of that, they get the message out in a clear and convincing way – that Coke Zero, unlike Diet Coke, doesn’t suck. That is of course, if you are a Coke regular.

While the website has some issues – the color (yeah, I know it is based on the Coke Zero colors) and the flash heavy interface (sigh), it is worth congratulation the team who came up with the idea, and the clients who had the guts to approve such an execution. Tip; get a new web-designer for the next project.

Oh, and the TV ads they have on the site? Not half bad, but the fake calls to the supposedly “real” Coke customer service line are hilarious.

Posted in Advertising, Cool | Leave a Comment »

How Coke got it’s Mojo back.

Posted by topofmind on August 18, 2006

lg_new_coke_logo.jpgPerhaps a bit of an “over claim,” but is Coke finally back? Is Coke finally connecting with the younger crowd that is has been trying desperately to reach since mid 80s?

Well after “I want to buy the world a coke TVC,” things kinda went downhill as far as it’s brand image goes. Of course being born in the late 60s, I never really appreciated the ad, but in the advertising circles, execs talk about this ad in hushed tones and reverence. Sticking a bunch of people who could be part of the 60s version of the United Colors of Benetton on a hill, while singing a sentimental song was not my idea of a great ad. In comparison, the “Where is the beef?” grandma was great!!

After many years of struggling around with Polar Bears and Max Headroom, Coke seems to have gotten it’s Mojo back.

How?

Three letters : G.T.A.

If you went huh??? then you are not the target audience and shouldn’t bother checking out the commercial here.

But for those you know GTA : Grand Theft Auto and have actually experienced it, you would probably go – cool. Starting off like a typical game of GTA, accompanied by a somewhat corny song and sappy ending with the the most recent tagline of “The Coke Side Of Life,” this ad manages to do what Coke ads haven’t done in a long time. It has managed, once again connect with it’s youth target audience.

Using games as an advertising has been done to death before, but GTA as a game is not only cool, but has a bit of anti-establishment attitude (and content). If it was Zelda, it would have been cool, if it was Lara Croft, it would have been hot – but only GTA can bring an attitude. While I personally never finished the game, I spent long hours exploring the various virtual cities, jacking cars, going on rampages and making insane jumps. I am too old for this, but somehow the ad appealed to me, just because of that.

Whatever insane amount was spent on sponsoring the recent World Cup, this ad is worth many times more in connecting with it’s target audiance. Now, I only hope they have enough budget to support the media side of the campaign. Admittedly I have not had the chance to see all the Coke ads in the last couple of years, but if any ad can re-connect Coke with it’s target audience, then what better ad than this one.

Posted in Advertising, Cool | Leave a Comment »

Movie Review : Miami Vice

Posted by topofmind on July 28, 2006

miamiviceposter.jpg I never really watched Miami Vice on TV, heard a lot about it, but was busy watching other shows, so this is where my review is coming from.

Why they wanted to call this movie Miami Vice is beyond me, it could have easily been called Another Kick Ass Movie From Michael Man and I would have been perfectly happy with it. Make no mistake, this is Michael Man through and through, and it is all good.

If Collateral appealed to you in any shape or form, then you will like this. It has shades of Collateral throughout the movie, especially with it’s grainy, monocromatic look and feel. Unfortunately it is missing Collateral’s dramatic tension – where you are really rooting for the Tom Cruise character, but feel that you shouldn’t. That kept that movie going.

Miami Vice on the other hand almost plays out like a TV show where the cop goes undercover, falls for the wrong women and at the end .. I will not spoil it, but if you are familiar with the undercover cop formula, then you can guess how it ended.

But then that is not why we go and see Michael Man’s movies, is it? We go there for the cool action scenes, the shoot-outs look realistically nasty and noisy, we go there for the perfectly framed shots – Sonny in the background, on a speedboat, hair streaming, Rico, in the foreground looking worried, another scene – close up of Jamie Foxx’s face as he is caught in a standoff where his girlfriend is being held, a panoramic shot of the Miami skyline at dusk. Visually it is as distinctive as Collateral was, although the tone and manner is not as consistent.

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx do their thing and they do it well. They are believable as Crockett and Tubbs, but the only problem I had was how their characters were too similar. Both can be bad asses when they want to be, and be Mr. Sensitive the next, but there was noting that really differentiated the Crokett and Tubbs characters..not in a tangible way that is.

Gong Li, despite her previous work was spectacularly, unspectacular. Perhaps because she was playing against Farrell, or perhaps the way her character was written. She does add some color, so to speak, but that was all she did. And somehow the chemistry was missing between the her character and Crockett despite the screen time.

Another quibble; somehow the bad guys don’t seem that bad, perhaps they were a bit too understated!! SO yes, there are things that bother me, but overall I enjoyed it.

Ultimately is it worth seeing? Fans of Collateral should not miss it, fans of good action movies should not miss it either. Let me put it this way, of all the summer’s movies, this is the one with the attitude, and for that it is worth seeing.

Posted in Cool, Movies | 1 Comment »