Gorilla Tripod for Phone – Product Review

I recently purchased a Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand, one that I could use with my iPhone to shoot some sick vids. 

I’ve had it for about a week now, and it’s definitely living up to its expectations. It’s super easy to set up; super sturdy; and super compact. For less than £20, it’s great value too. 

I feel this product is a definite must for anyone trying to shoot video on their smartphone, especially longer still shot videos.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Lightweight 
  • Sturdy af 
  • Easy to use
  • Relatively cheap

Cons:

  • Legs are not overly huge, so you may have difficulty using this for some tasks. 

All in all, this product is something that I’m sure will become even more essential for me as I try to grow my blog. 

Rating: 8/10

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Rogue One : Empire Nil

This week saw the release of one of my most anticipated movies of 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 

Set between Episodes 3 and 4, the film tells the tale of how the Rebel Alliance managed to steal the plans for the Death Star, as well as the growth of the rebellion against the Empire. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla; Monsters) and starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk and Donnie Yen; this film is up there with the Star Wars greats. 

The casting is amazing. Each character plays their role very well, with Yen and Tudyk being very memorable characters. Chirrut Imwe (Yen) played a warrior monk style character, who seemed to have some sort of connection to the Force. This character was very well written, as was Tudyk’s K2SO, providing much of the comic relief for the movie. This droid was a drastic change from C3PO, being a much more practical member of the team. Darth Vader’s cameo was epic, really showing off the strength and power of the character in a way that we haven’t seen before. 

Rogue One contains many memorable scenes; scenes that will remain up there with classic Star Wars scenes. This space battles are well shot, as are the ground battles; and CGI and practical effects blend effortlessly. 

This movie was engaging the whole way though, although at two hours and fifteen minutes, it was quite long.

Rogue One was another step in the right direction for Star Wars films. Bring on Episode VIII. 

Sunday Funday 

So this week started stressfully and then ended very chill-ly. 

Three pieces of coursework to be finished by Wednesday was an arduous task to say the least. It meant late nights in uni for Monday and Tuesday. Slither.io and Pottermore (of all things) proved to be distractions that only lengthen the process. At least I was sorted into Ravenclaw, so it wasn’t all bad. 

Wednesday evening saw me rushing from Portstewart to Banbridge. All too stressful a journey for the distance travelled. 

Thursday and Friday were home days, finally getting to see my dog, Molly again. She’s still a bitch but she’s the best dog. 

Saturday began my travels again, heading from Northern Ireland across half the world to Virginia, USA. I enjoy travelling a lot, so this was a pretty enjoyable experience. Upon finally arriving in Washington D.C., Abbey and I hit up McDonald’s, being asked for change with a variety of reasons by the herds of homeless that surround the station. I think I come across as an easy target. 

Sunday was again a good day, with lunch at Nando’s being a highlight. We strolled around the city, taking our time between sights as we really were in no rush to get anywhere. Ending the day with a train journey from D.C. to Petersburg, before a short car journey to South Hill, VA, and Abbey’s house; my home for the next three weeks. 

This next week should be great, with the lead-up to Christmas always proving to be an eventful time. 

Thanks for catching up with me this Sunday evening. Stay classy, San Diego. 

Flight so far…

So my movies of choice were:

  • Ghostbusters (2016) – this is a movie I had yet to see, and felt I had to watch. It was alright. Don’t get me wrong, it held nothing against the original; but there were moments that were funny and moments that were actually good. Kate McKinnon stood out from the cast, as did Chris Hemsworth; however Leslie Mann and Melissa McCarthy seemed exaggerated and a lot of their humour seemed forced. I’d say this is worth a watch if it’s on and you have nothing to do, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy it or go out of my way to watch it. Don’t expect anything incredible either. Rating: 5/10
  • Lethal Weapon ( ) – this movie is great. The acting is great, the action is great. Everything. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are both really impressive as Riggs and Murtagh. This film is almost as good as the It’s Always Sunny version. Rating: 8/10
  • Morgan (2016) – This movie was also good, I knew next to nothing about it so everything was a surprise. I liked the storyline, and the acting was pretty good. Toby Jones and Paul Giamatti are two of my favourite actors, and both of them perform in this film. The ending is interesting, but also seems rushed, with the build up being my favourite part of the film. Rating: 6/10

Furthermore, I managed to cram in possible the very best Game of Thrones episode to date: Battle of the Bastards. From start to finish, this episode just blows me away no matter how many times I watch it. The initial Battle for Mereen is a CGI masterpiece, with the dragons and Danaerys finally showing how much they kick ass. Then we get to the main event. The showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. This is one of the best battle sequences I’ve seen, definitely the best on TV. The manic nature of battle as well as the claustrophobia of close quarters combat is conveyed in such a great way. This episode cements Game of Thrones status as one of the greatest television shows of all time. 

Lunch was surprisingly good. The options were pasta bolognese or turkey, I went for the former. It tasted good; not amazing, but very good for airplane food. 

One small point. Nut allergies. Before take off, we received an announcement that a lady had asked that all passengers not eat any nuts during the flight, as there was a passenger with a serious nut allergy. I don’t know how I feel about this? I understand the concern, and I understand the reason; but banning nuts on an entire flight for one person? It takes me back to secondary school where similar circumstances occurred. Snickers were outlawed. Kinder Buenos were contraband. Carrying a bag of KP nuts risked the removal of a hand for disobedience. 

But alas, my M&Ms were just chocolate this time, so I didn’t care too much. 

4 hours until my flight from Boston to DC… Let’s find some food. 

New snapchat and travel plans – 

So I made a new snapchat; I was bored of people seeing it who I haven’t known for ages, or have never known. It’s dtrplays. 
I’m heading to America today, to see Abbey, for three weeks. I haven’t been there in ages so it’s definitely exciting. I’m writing this while standing waiting for my gate to open. Standing with 18 other gates worth of people, that is. For some reason, the airport decided to call us through, then keep the automated doors locked. Fun times. 

Anyways, 7 hours and 20 minutes flight to Boston first then onto DC. So that’s enough time for about three movies. Expect comprehensive reviews of each of these. 

David 

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Movie Review

With the trailer for the upcoming film, Transformers: The Last Knight dropping this week, I felt it was time to revisit this movie as I didn’t get a chance to go and see any new films this week due to uni commitments.

Age of Extinction is a 2014 film directing by Mr. Explosion himself, Michael Bay. Starring Mark Wahlberg, with Peter Cullen returning as the voice of Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots; the film follows on from the previous three, while starting fresh with a new set of human characters. In case you need a recap, the last film saw Megatron and his Decepticons attempt to take over Earth while Optimus and his Autobots move to stop them and protect the human population.Humans and Autobots teamed up to stop Megatron’s nefarious plot, saving the world, as expected.

However, even though this is a sequal, none of this matters. Humans are hunting down Autobots and Decepticons alike, led by Kelsey Grammer’s Harold Attinger and helped by Lockdown, a rogue Transformer. Didn’t we already to get rid of the Autobots in Dark of the Moon, before needing them to save the day in the end?

The latest jaunt into the Transformers universe is a drag. Coming in at around 160 minutes, with a trailing plot and scenes that we could really do without, this movie is a tough watch, even for someone who has enjoyed all previous Transformer films. I mean, from the outset we’re treated to a scene that’s no different to a “Previously on Transformers” scene. There’s a scene where Wahlberg punches the ground in slow-motion. Not only that, we get this scene twice. Why? Why, why, why, why? The more I remember about this movie, the more worked up I get. Someone needs to tell Michael Bay to chill out.

This movie is exactly what you expect. Explosions within explosions within explosions, and you know what? They look great. The Transformers, they look great. Everything in this movie looks crisp. You don’t go to a Transformers movie in the search of masterful storytelling, but everything about this seems forced. The acting is shallow, if you could even call it acting. We’re supposed to care about the human characters, these movies focus on that; but even after spending the guts of three hours with Wahlberg and his buddies, I can’t even remember most of their names. The main star himself isn’t terrible, I feel as though he does what he can with a lacking script. The same can be said for Stanley Tucci. These two are saving graces in a film filled with incredibly dismal dialogue.

Transformers Age of Extinction is a difficult movie. Sure, there are good scenes. There are scenes that are exciting, funny and actually make you pay attention; but there is so much drivel in between. This movie was edited by three people. THREE PEOPLE and it’s still a mess. Age of Extinction tries, but the franchise needs some big changes before TF5 comes our way.

 

Dota – Flame Flame Flame

Dota used toxic…. It’s Super Effective!!

For most people, Dota is a game. For a small percentage of players, that game is a job. However, Dota 2 has undoubtedly one of the most toxic communities of any video game. The big question remains: why? Other similar games such as League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm don’t seem to be nearly as bad. Yes, there is still flaming, but Dota seems to be taking things to a whole new level.

Why does this happen? You could argue that sticking five random people in a team for the guts of an hour and expecting them to work together as a team is bound to cause problems. However, LoL games aren’t that much shorter than Dota games on average (around 30-40 minutes compared to Dota’s 40-50 minutes). League of Legends does have the concede option, so maybe that helps in some way.

The thing is, in games that I’ve played, players who flame tend to be the ones who make the most mistakes, which seemingly causes them to get more riled and make even more mistakes. It’s a cycle that is difficult to break. Teammates turn on each other over the slightest thing; I’ve had players abandon because their support is taking last hits while they’re running back to base. It can really be anything.

Is there a solution? Short answer: no. Long answer: I don’t know, maybe. In my opinion, the report system is in massive need of an overhaul. Reporting players doesn’t seem to have much of an effect, at least not a noticeable one, while you can garner reports from someone simply not liking an item you bought and deciding that you should be punished for it. Also, the MMR system, while decent enough, can end up matching you way off your level. I was recently playing a match where I was the highest member of my team (1.8k mmr (don’t judge)) and the highest in their team was 2.4k. This isn’t a huge gap but there was definitely a skill gap between their player and myself and the rest of my team. I don’t know how this can be fixed however, not without massively increasing wait times for games.

Despite all this, Dota is still a game that I play pretty much every day, and keep coming back to no matter what. I have countless games in my Steam library but nothing seems to hold my attention like it.

Maybe I just like all the anger.

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this!

David