Category: Movies and TV

My Five Favourite James Bond Movies

Skyfall

Skyfall has been out on video for a few weeks now, and with Adele having recently won the Academy Award for the theme song, I’ve been thinking about my favourite James Bond movies.

To me there were three great Bonds.  Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and now Daniel Craig.

I think Daniel Craig is the best James Bond, and that’s hard for me to say, because Sean Connery is the man who will always be Bond…but Craig just kicks so much ass (and looks amazing in tailored suits).

Continue Reading

Sound City and the Awesomeness of Digital Distribution

Sound CityThis weekend Char and I rented Sound City, the documentary about the legendary recording studio that gave rise to some of the best music of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and early 00’s.  It’s an incredible directorial debut for Dave Grohl, who has already had one of the most amazing second acts in musical history.  As drummer for Nirvana, and mastermind behind the Foo Fighters, the man has built an incredible catalogue of music so far.

It’s pretty awesome that at 44 years old he adds “Director” to his list of accomplishments.

The movie is awesome, the first half of it is a chronological telling of the history of Sound City, as told by the people who were there.  You not only learn about the early years of the studio, but the creation of bands like Fleetwood Mac (which literally would not exist were it not for Sound City), and the rise of Rick Springfield.  It charts the studio’s improbable rise, inevitable fall, and rebirth after Nirvana’s Nevermind is recorded there. Continue Reading

How to Create an Online PVR

Amahi

Amahi Media Server

About six months ago my MediaSmart Home Server started acting strangely.  I did quite a bit of research and my conclusion was that the new software I installed about a year ago (which gave it a ton more functionality) was kind of bloated for the underpowered hardware.

What to do?  I love my home server, I love the fact that it did backups and all kinds of nice little things, but honestly in the 4 years I’ve had it, I’ve only used the backup features twice (once to save a corrupt hard drive, once to save Char’s computer from a virus).  Other than that it worked as a NAS and a media collector.

As a NAS it was wonderful, until a hard drive failure made me lose a few files.  That was irritating.  As a media collector it was horrible, duplicating files and creating a labyrinthian file structure that hurt my face.

Plus my needs have changed.  I don’t like having a separate PVR in my house sucking up power, I have a Boxee and an Apple TV in my house now, and I’m sure there are wonderful things they can do as well.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could have a cheap secondary NAS to do all of my backups to (maybe 2TB of RAID1 duplication), and on top of that have a second NAS that could do media collection and PVR everything?  What would be extra cool is if it could do it with my extremely power conscious hardware and maybe take 2-3 computers out of our equation here in the homestead.  As an added benefit, if I can figure out how to do all of this via the internet, I can probably cut the cord.

The first part was to buy a DLink DNS-323, it’s a little NAS box that has 2 drive bays, is incredibly hackable, and has a bunch of different little features in it.  It’s Linux based, so in order to do cool things, I’d need to break out my long dormant bash skills, but I love a challenge.

I mounted the box, got a hard drive in there, and went out to find some of the features I’d need to make the box better.  I added the FireFly media server, a dynamic DNS server, and an update to create better SMB (regular networking) shares.  It was dead simple, and probably the best $100.00 I could have spent.  I moved my files over without much effort and then looked at my Home Server.

So now I have this beautiful piece of hardware that is essentially a brick.  What to do with it?  Enter Amahi.  I’ve been reading about it for a while, it’s a lightweight server based on Fedora Linux with a slick web interface.  It does regular NAS stuff, allows for automated scheduled backups of computers, and has some extra things like SickBeard (automated download of TV shows) integration.

I downloaded and installed it according to the instructions on How To Geek: Upgrade Your MediaSmart Home Server, and everything worked pretty much as advertised.  I then put the drive in my Home Server, and had it configured to do some cool things.

SickBeard

SickBeard

Up first, SickBeard, which schedules downloads of TV shows.

SABnzbd

SABnzbd

Up next, SABnzbd, which goes out to (***some place special on the internet***) downloads the files, unpacks them, and stores them in a file.  The average TV show takes about 3 minutes to download.

So how does it work?  After the first week it’s recorded all of our TV shows, saved them to the network share, and we can watch them in the basement on the Boxee Box.

Where do we go from here?  Well first up, I’m getting a new internet connection.  While I have no problems with Rogers, from a technical point of view, I HATE doing the constant mental calculations about how close to my limit I am and whether I can download that ISO from Technet, or if I can download that game on the PSN.  I’m going with TechSavvy, and I’ll probably cut the cord once we get our HD Antennas working properly.

So long Edge

Adam Copeland a.k.a. Edge

Adam Copeland a.k.a. Edge

This week one of the guys that I’ve followed since the very beginning of his career retired from professional wrestling, and in a lot of ways it kind of closed the chapter on a period of my life. WWE’s Edge has retired from active duty as a WWE wrestler after an amazing 14 year career.

There was a time where I was TSN.ca’s defacto wrestling guy, and my columns “Tales from the Darkside” regularly brought in a couple hundred thousand page views. Continue Reading

The Lost Finale

The Lost cast

Lost Season 6

Lost was a phenomenon, it was one of the rare shows which refused to dumb itself down for the audience. It built a deep mythology, and had an incredible back, front, and side story. While the show faltered a little bit in the second and third seasons, it rebounded quite amazingly in the fourth season, and was riveting until its final episode on March 23rd.

This was a show that we looked forward to every week, and with six years of questions remaining, there was no way that every question could be answered in any meaningful way. The sixth season had a lot of answers, and while there are still plenty of things which are left to our imaginations, I think overall the finale was quite satisfying, and something that the more I think on it, the more I enjoyed it.

Here there be spoilers, so if you haven’t watched it yet…well that’s your own darned fault.

Continue Reading

Book Review: Horns

Joe Hill Horns

Joe Hill Horns

Joe Hill has given me hope. It’s been years since I’ve actually finished a fiction book.  I read quite a bit, but most of it is non-fiction, gripping things like Re-Work, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, Web Analytics; An Hour A Day, and the absolutely spellbinding Sharepoint Server 2007 Best Practices!

Horns is the best book I’ve read in a long time. I honestly can’t remember the last book I enjoyed as much as this one. Continue Reading

Most Anticipated Movies of 2010

I’ve been very lax in my blog this year.  I’ve got a half dozen “year end” and “preview” type posts from January that I never scheduled to be published, so the next couple of weeks will be a bit of a clearing house of stuff that I’m moving from Draft to Published.

2009 turned out to be a fantastic year for movies. Not only were box office records broken, but at least ten amazing flicks were released in 2009, with about 10 more top notch movies also coming out.

One of the crappy things about living in London is that we don’t get the smaller films, and even middle of the road openings will only be here for a couple of weeks (see “Moon” and “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnasiss” as examples). The good thing is that of the 41 screens in London, the same half dozen movies are playing in all six theatres.

Sooooo, there’s a good chance I’ll never get to see most of these movies in theatres.  However it’s a great list, and it’s chock full of trailers!

Continue Reading

The Best Movies of 2009

Star Trek the Movie

Star Trek the Movie

I have loved movies since I was a kid, and in the summer of 1989 my buddy Ryan and I saw every flim that opened except Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Return of the Swamp Thing. That summer I decided I wanted to make films for a living. I went to school for TV production and did a brief stint in TV land, as a production assistant, editor, and graphic designer before discovering my true calling – the internet.

Since the arrival of Kaylin and Maks it’s been harder to get out and see movies, but since moving to London we have a combination of built-in babysitting (thanks Grandma), and Char and I go out some nights on our own to catch movies individually.

It turns out I saw a lot of movies in 2009! Good for me. We had a new theatre open up near us this year, the Westmount VIP is about a 5 minute drive from our house, and it’s a spectacular facility. I’d say I saw about 80% of my movies there. The VIP part is that you can pay about $5.00 more for a ticket with reserved seating in a theatre where they have plush leather seats, concession people come to your seat, and because it’s licensed it’s 19+ (which means no annoying kids!).

Here were my favourite movies of 2009 in alphabetical order (because ranking them 1-10 is kind of pointless). Continue Reading

70 Minute Review of The Phantom Menace

Ooooo, Foreshadowing!

Ooooo, Foreshadowing!

Okay, we all know that The Phantom Menace was a bad movie. But WHY was it a bad movie? This dude explores the minute details of what sucked over the course of seven 10 minute clips…and they’re fascinating, while still being funny (inappropriate, curse filled in some points, but freaking hilarious).

Continue Reading