For this week’s installation of Throwback Thursday, we’re going to journey back to the year 1987. A time when the Iran-Contra Affair was front page news, the term “Black Monday” was coined, and Double Dragon was the most popular game in your local arcade. Developed by Technos Japan, Double Dragon tells the tale of two brothers, Hammer and Spike, who are trying to navigate through gang-turf dominated by the Black Warriors (anyone else noticing some racial undertones twenty years post facto?). The brothers are skilled fighters, and determined to accomplish their goal, saving a common love interest Marian (it’s getting weirder). In the arcade version of the game, Hammer and Spike have to complete four levels — beating four different foes wielding a variety of weapons — in order to rescue their damsel in distress. If both brothers survive the trials and tribulations in multiplayer mode, they then must fight each other to determine who will be the winner of Marian’s love. The game was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System and, in 1994, made into a movie (which currently has rating of 1.5 out of 5 starts on IMDB). Was anyone a Double Dragon master? More →
Released in September of 1996, the Nokia 8110 was a unique member of the Finnish company’s high-end 8000-series line of phones. The device’s curved shape and manual-sliding keyboard cover earned the device the nickname of “banana phone.” The device operated on the 900MHz GSM frequency, had a monochromatic, dot-matrix display, and could store a whopping 125 contacts in its on-board address book. As the press release boasts:
The revolutionary curved design fits the natural shape of your face. It has unique sliding mouthpiece for maximum voice quality. The mouthpiece, which has microphone embedded within it, both protects the keypad and slides forward to fit the contour of your chin. […] The Nokia 8100 is an ideal combination of size and weight, design and ergonomics, quality and features for people looking for the best. It will set the pace for a new generation of mobile phones.
Three years after its release, the 8110 gained a cult-like following after the Wachowski brothers used a modified version of the handset in their breakthrough film, The Matrix. For the film, the handset was modified with an automatic sliding mechanism to give it an extra dash of flair. In October of 1999, Nokia released the 7110 handset, which incorporated the popular automatic-sliding key-cover.
What do you say? Did any of you trendsetters have a Nokia 8110 or 7110? More →
I attended the world premiere of The Social Network yesterday evening to kick off the New York Film Festival, and while I had reservations about the movie, I was still admittedly excited. After the movie finished, I heard one of the loudest applauses I have heard in a while. The writing was impeccably sharp, hilariously funny at times, and the movie was probably the best I have seen all year. Yes, there was a scene where Mark Zuckerberg got his business cards that said, “I’m CEO, Bitch!”, and no, Justin Timberlake didn’t suck — he gave an incredible performance. But Jesse Eisenberg. Man, that kid completely encapsulated Mark Zuckerberg’s persona and identity complete with quirks, speech patterns, and even twitches. Every character was thoroughly enjoyable and memorable; the plot, while obviously predictable, was brilliantly sliced up to run concurrently with the legal drama surrounding the Facebook CEO and his company. Every scene had a purpose, and every scene had you drawn in. For a movie we all panned from the beginning as soon as we heard about it, it turned out to be one of the best viewings that I have been to.
Redbox is reportedly exploring possibilites to expand its movie rental service beyond kiosks and onto the Internet. According to Redbox President Mitch Lowe, Redbox is considering a web service to to expand the availability of its 100,000 movie catalog and to make it easier for consumers to access its service. Initial details are not expected to be unveiled until October but the movie rental company could benefit from a strong online offering. With Blockbuster on the decline and interest in online streaming exploding, Redbox has an opportunity to grab some market share before the field gets over-crowded. More →
Blockbuster continues its downward spiral as it has been suspended from trading and forced to delist from the NYSE effective next Wednesday. Currently trading at $0.18 per share, Blockbuster failed to win majority stockholder approval last week for a reverse stock split that would have brought its stock above the $1 threshold and back in compliance with the NYSE. In a move that delays any immediate bankruptcy proceedings, Blockbuster was given a one-month reprieve on debt payments that the movie rental giant failed to pay on July 1st. The creditors, which hold nearly $440 million of Blockbuster’s whopping $920 million of debt, agreed to postpone any “remedies” until August 13th. In the upcoming weeks, Blockbuster is hoping to negotiate with partners to get a quick infusion of cash by possibly converting some bondholders to equity investors. This quick fix may be a little too little, a little too late and may only delay the inevitable bankruptcy as Blockbuster shows no signs of becoming profitable in the foreseeable future. More →
Fox Mobile announced on Thursday that it is launching a streaming video service that will rival Hulu. The service will feature full-length, on demand television programming from CBS, Fox NBC, A&E, Comedy Central, Discovery, FX, MTV, and USA. Though not available at launch, full-length movies will be added by the end of the year. Targeting the mobile phone market, the service will be compatible with BlackBerry handsets including all the variants of the BlackBerry Bold series, as well as the Curve 8900 and Tour 9630. Though the BitBop app itself is free, the streaming service requires a $9.99 monthly fee that provides unlimited streaming and limited downloads. Interested BlackBerry owners can download the BitBop application from the BlackBerry App World and get their streaming on now. If you give it a try, let us know your first impression in the comments. More →
Kmart and Sears are gearing up launch a new streaming movie service slated for launch later this year. The service will be powered by Sonic Solutions’ RoxioNow, which boasts of a 5,000 movie strong catalog and features the same streaming architecture that powers Best Buy’s and Blockbuster’s online movie services. Kmart and Sears intend to offer the service, to be known as Alphaline Entertainment, with their televisions and Blu-ray players from companies like Sharp, LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and RCA. Setup will be performed within the store during the purchase process and will allow customers to stream movies as soon as they arrive home and connect up their device. Anyone now going to add Sears and Kmart to their list of “must visit” stores for the end of the year holiday shopping season? More →
Looking to impress your girlfriend on that “oh so important” first movie date? Look no further than Fandango to help you skip the ticket line and stroll right up to seating without greasing the palm of any theater employee. Starting today, Fandango is launching a new mobile ticket service that will allow customers to purchase movie tickets online and have them delivered directly to a mobile handset. The ticket will arrive as a QR code that can be displayed on a phone and scanned by movie theater employees in lieu of a paper ticket. The program will require special handheld scanners that are currently installed in a handful of theaters across the country. Hit the jump to see if your local movieplex is on this coveted list. More →
After a disappointing Q4 2009 performance, Blockbuster’s woes continue with the US video giant looking to pawn off its European operations as a means of generating some much needed cash. According to a report from the Sunday Times, Blockbuster has hired Winchester Capital to sell off its European division which includes 650 stores in the UK and an unknown number of stores in Denmark, Italy, and Ireland. Combined, these assets could net Blockbuster a respectable £50m ($76M USD) at a time when the movie rental king is hemorrhaging cash and straining under the weight of increasing debt which now totals $964 million. This shot in the arm may not be the Hail Mary that saves Blockbuster from its downward spiral, but it is at least a step in the right direction for the ailing company. More →
Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailer of DVDs, may be moving beyond physical media sales and jumping feet first into the online streaming business. According to the New York Times, Walmart is reportedly in the process of purchasing VUDU, an online movie streaming service that recently inked some sweet deals with big name TV and Blu-Ray drive manufacturers. Some of them include LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. Walmart could possibly use its retail presence to sell the VUDU box and offer up VUDU’s 3,000 strong HD movie catalog at its famous discounted prices. With its name, its retail presence, and its influence on the DVD distribution channel, does Walmart wield enough power to be the game changer that forces the movie industry to let go of its precious DVD and embrace the online streaming model of distribution? We can’t say for sure but one thing is certain, Hollywood will be watching this deal and the resulting service very closely. More →
iPhone, WebOS or Android owners have yet another alternative to find the hottest movies at local theaters while out and about. Point your web browser to the new mobile version of Google search for movies where you can search for movies, browse movies by categories, retrieve ratings and watch streaming trailers of the best that Hollywood has to offer. Do you have built-in GPS, too? Then you can use location based services to find local theaters, complete with movie times, and even retrieve driving directions using Google Maps. Pretty cool. More →
How low can you go is the question on the minds of potential VUDU owners as the company today announced a new price point for its set top box offering. Regularly $299, VUDU had announced a special deal earlier this year that threw in $200 of free movie credits with a purchase. It is now halving the cost of admission however, as the new price on VUDU’s site was lowered today to $150 including $50 worth of movie credits. VUDU is calling it a Christmas special but we wouldn’t be surprised if we see $99 become a regular occurrence in the near future as the struggling start up continues its attempts to boost sales. The shame of it is that VUDU has an awesome product, as just about any user will tell you, but the competition with cable provider services and other set top box solutions may prove to be too much for the company to handle. Stay strong, VUDU!
VUDU swings for the fences and connects! Big news from California-based set top box provider VUDU this morning, as the company announces a huge new addition to its arsenal — the VUDU RIA (Rich Internet Application) platform. Last time we covered VUDU, it was beefing up its 1080p offering and doling out generous $200 download credits for new customers (which is still available until the end of the year, by the way). This time around however, VUDU has something entirely new and different up its sleeve. Its freshly announced RIA platform is a tremendous step for set top boxes and a sharp deviation from the norm. In a nutshell, it is an open platform that paves a direct path to your television for an endless amount of internet-based content. To start things off, VUDU has a few new services that showcase the potential of its RIA platform: over 120 completely free on-demand TV channels with standard and high definition content, access to the entire YouTube video library, a handful of casual games and a portal into picture services such as Flickr and Picasa. Yeah, big time. VUDU will continue to add new content throughout 2009 and will open its platform to third party developers sometime in the first half of 2008. From the looks of things, 2009 is the year of VUDU. Hit the jump for two more screen shots.