Apple’s New MacBook Pro 2016

Apple announced few weeks ago that they would be holding yet another press conference on the 27th of October to announce some new and improved tech. During this conference Apple showed off their new Macbook Pro range along with a few other upcoming products, but with no updates to other mac models the event felt a little underwhelming.

Sure the Macbook Pro needed an update, but it seems that Apples desktop range is starting to feel a little rejected. Apple’s Mac Pro, or the trash can as it’s lovably nicknamed by many of it’s users, hasn’t had an update for quite some time now. For Mac users who are in the buisness of film, design etc. there isn’t much to hang around for of late. However in saying this, the new MacBook Pro is now a good portable option for inderviduals seeking a to edit on the fly.

So what’s new on the MacBook Pro? Well lets start with what’s been left out from the previous model. There are no more USB ports on the Macbook Pro, in their place are four Thunderbolt 3 ports which also now serve as charging ports since the magsafe port no longer exists. This isn’t neccicarily a bad thing as it allows for a sleeker looking overall design, although you will be needing a lot of adaptors if a lot of your devices use USB 3 or older.

Thunderbolt 3 allows for up to 40-GBPS for data transfer meaning importing large files won’t take too much time out of your day. The four Thunderbolt 3 ports also allow this new MacBook Pro to connect to two 5k external monitors along with support for two RAID storage systems.

A big downside to this new model is the loss of the built in SD card reader slot. It’s always been really handy to quickly pop an SD card out of a DSLR and plug it right into the side of my Mac without having to carry around a seperate card reader. Although this is dissapointing I can understand Apples thought behind it’s removal. SD cards are still used in the majority of lower end cameras however the future of flash storage is in compact flash and C-fast cards. With resolutions of 4k plus on the horizon, SD cards are no doubt going to become a thing of the past. Sure SD cards can be used for 4k in some instances, but C-fast cards do a much better job. We can only hope that the the future Mac Pro and iMac’s will have some built in slots for C-fast cards.

In terms of what’s new, we have a touch bar with touch ID replacing the function keys on top of the keyboard. The touch bar will change depending on the application allowing users quicker access to certain features. Apple showed the ability to scroll through timelines in applications such as Final Cut X and Logic Pro X in some of their videos. Users can also log in and use Apple Pay with their fingerprint ID. Just how practical this new touch bar will be is yet to be seen.

The display has been updated to allow a wider P3 colour range which is handy when ending  photo’s and video. The display is also brighter and boasts a higher contrast ratio that the previous model. Other nice additions include a larger track pad and the new Space Grey colour option.

There are still the two size options of 13 inches and 15 inches, and variety of different customisation options available for custom orders.

Films That Are Worth Your While: Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special follows the story of Roy as he attempts transport his son with special abilites across the country with the help of his old friend Lucus. Dodging law enforcement and a Waco like cult along the way, Roy’s path is filled with risk, tention and many unanswered questions. Midnight Special is one of the better sci fi films to come out of late, keeping viewers engauged with its intreging characters and it’s engrosing plot. Check it out!

Films That Are Worth Your While: Hungry Hearts (2014)

Italian director Saverio Costanzo’s Hungry Hearts follows the story of Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) as they fall in love and raise their newborn son. The small family is strained after differences of opinion in raising their son split the the couple in two. Filled with trention and drama, Hungry Hearts is a must watch for Adam Driver fans.

Films That Are Worth Your While: Green Room (2015)

Director Jeremy Saulnier’s third full-length feature, Green Room (2015), pits a group of punk rockers against a group of murderous Neo-Nazis in a game of cat and mouse. Set in the isolated forests of the pacific northwest and featuring an outstanding cast, which includes Anton Yelchin and Sir Patrick Stewart, Green Room is a dark and brutal film which isn’t for the faint of heart.

A Couple Of Words On The Conjuring Series

I saw the first Conjuring movie in a cinema at the Grove in LA back in 2013 and actually quite enjoyed the 2 hours of creepiness and jump scares. I don’t usually tend to go and see horror films in the cinema, not because I’m afraid or anything, but because, in my opinion, most horror movies I see tend to feel like a letdown. These films usually start off eerie and interesting but quickly start to fall into that familiar horror movie territory. You know what I’m talking about. The killer is one of them, the killer is actually part of an urban legend in that area, or it was all a figment of someone’s imagination…or was it?

I feel as thought I’d be better off spending that $13 for admission on some sort of baked goods or some other tasty treat and wait until the film is on TV or Netflix. But let’s get something clear here, seeing a good horror film in a dark cinema adds a lot to the viewing experience.

The reason The Conjuring grabbed a hold of my attention was seeing those creepy trailers during the 2013 Stanly Cup series between the Blackhawks and the Bruins. You might remember them, they used a cut down version of the scene where the mother gets lured down the basement by the ghost’s clapping. I was staying at an old hostel in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia at the time, which had creaky floorboards and a real feeling of isolation during the night. These trailers would play during most of the ad breaks and the house in the trailer looked eerily similar to the room I was sitting in.

About 3 weeks later I was in LA and saw the film was showing, I convinced a friend to come along and we strolled in not quite knowing what to expect. The movie was everything it needed to be, it had jump scares, an interesting plot and one hell of a creepy old woman ghost thing. Sure it did have some stereotypical horror movie moments, such as an exorcism scene, but on the whole, I quite enjoyed it.  Then a few years later, trailers for the Conjuring 2 started popping up around the interwebs. That creepy nun monster devil thing looked creepy as hell. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to see The Conjuring 2 in cinemas due to a ton of university work colliding with its release date.

Yesterday I was perusing through the iTunes new release rental section and discovered  The Conjuring 2 was now available for rent. I waited until about 11pm, turned off all the lights and began watching. The film picks up in 1977 and again follows the protagonists Ed and Lorraine Warren on their paranormal hunting adventures. This film focuses on the Enfield hauntings in London and ties them into a deeper darker plot that really carries the movie nicely in the right direction. I obviously don’t want to give anything away as it’s always best to go into these sorts of films not really knowing anything.

I will say though that director James Wan really is one of, if not the best, directors of horror films going around these days. He not only directed the first movie in this franchise but has also directed the creepy Insidious series and this year’s horror Lights Out.

I really enjoyed The Conjuring 2, even more than the first one, and would recommend it to just about anyone who enjoys this genre of film. Sure it’s creepy, but it’s also very entertaining and once you’re invested in the plot you won’t want it to end. So turn out the lights and get watching.

Films That Are Worth Your While: Stalker (1979)

Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece of cinema Stalker has recently been reissued on blu-ray and I thought I should feature this post around the 1979 classic. If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching any of Tarkovsky’s work this is a good starting point.

Stalker sees three very different men entering “The Zone”, a place where an unnamed incident has previously occurred, in search of a room that grants individuals wishes.  The Zone is a dangerous place in which things are said to be out of place and death comes to those who enter without obeying and respecting the rules.

Tarkovsky’s creation of emotion through visuals, more so than dialogue, can leave viewers with their own understanding about what they have just witnessed. Long takes and visual representations of elements such as fire or water are common in his films. I have always understood these scenes with elements as meaning something personal to the characters and something that isn’t always revealed to the audience. That was part of the genius of Tarkovsky, we witness characters interacting with their environment and have no idea what these interactions mean to them personally.

Stalker really is a must watch movie.