A glimpse of England

We spent a week traveling in England between London and Bristol. Both cities were exciting thank to their people and way of living yet very close to our french hometown but still very different.

We enjoyed roaming around London and its very unique architecture as well as sharing pinte and icecream in Bristol. Simple maybe, but these tiny things made our british experience very pleasant.

Shot entirely with Oneplus 3T

Music : ODESZA – Echoes (instrumental)

JetSuiteX Offers Special Service to CES and Sundance Film Festival – Robb Report

It’s likely that quite a few folks in the San Jose area are interested in attending the Consumer Electronics Show—better known as CES—in January in Las Vegas. Likewise, many people in and around Hollywood probably want to go to the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in January, in Park City, Utah. JetSuiteX thinks so. That’s why it has scheduled so-called “pop-up flights” to and from each event.

The CES flight will depart from San Jose International Airport on January 8 and return from Las Vegas on January 12. The Sundance flight leaves Hollywood Burbank (Bob Hope) Airport on January 19 and flies to Salt Lake City. The return flight is January 22. The cost of a ticket for either destination starts at $399 each way. The price includes complimentary cocktails and snacks onboard and in the lounge prior to takeoff.

JetSuiteX, a brand of the charter provider JetSuite, uses a fleet of Embraer ERJ135 regional airliners that have been reconfigured so that the cabins seat only 30 people in an all-business-class layout. All flights depart from private terminals or private hangars, so passengers avoid the lines and other delays associated with the public terminals.

CES consumer electronics show jetsuiteX

CES, Las Vegas. 
Photo: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

JetSuiteX introduced the idea of offering special service for certain events last April, when it scheduled a pair of round-trip flights from Hollywood/Burbank to Indio, Calif., for the Coachella Festival. In October, it flew a plane full of Fighting Irish fans from Santa Ana, California, to South Bend, Indiana, for the USC–Notre Dame football game.

“The way we choose events for pop-up flights is not so different from how we select city pairs,” says Rachel Porges, the vice president of sales and marketing for JetSuiteX, which offers regularly scheduled weekday flights between Hollywood/Burbank, three airports in the Bay Area, and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. “We choose routes where the travel experience is less than optimal when you fly with an airline,” she says, noting how challenging it can be, for example, to get in and out of McCarran when a big convention such as CES is in town—unless you arrive and depart from a private terminal, as JetSuiteX passengers do.

JetSuiteX Embraer jet USC UCLA college football

JetSuiteX uses a fleet of Embraer ERJ135 regional airliners that have been reconfigured so that the cabins seat only 30 people in an all-business-class layout. 
Photo: Cean One Studios

Porges explained that the Sundance flight is using Salt Lake City International Airport instead of Heber City airport, which is closer to Park City, because of concerns with snow-related delays or cancellations. “We want to be as reliable as possible,” she says.

Skiers—people who have found a use for snow—will be happy to know that on December 15, JetSuiteX will resume its seasonal winter service between Hollywood/Burbank and Mammoth Lakes. The company will provide a round-trip flight to Mammoth Yosemite Airport every Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. It’s a one-hour flight—versus a six-hour drive—and the price starts at $129 each way.

‘Breaking Bad 101,’ Madden on the PlayStation 4, and Getting Into the Halloween Spirit – /Film

breaking bad 101

Welcome to The Water Cooler, a weekly feature where the /Film staff is free to go off-topic and talk about everything except the movies and TV shows they normally write about. In this edition: Jacob Hall reads a new book about Breaking Bad, Ben Pearson dives into next-generation sports games, Peter Sciretta plays an incredible board game, Hoai-Tran Bui checks out the His Dark Materials prequel, and Chris Evangelista gets into the melancholy Halloween spirit.

Jacob Hall Has Been Reading Alan Sepinwall’s Breaking Bad 101

It has been four years since Breaking Bad ended with one of the greatest final seasons in the history of American television. That also means it has been four years since I’ve read a Breaking Bad episode review written by Alan Sepinwall. When it comes to writing about TV, no one does it better than Sepinwall (who now calls Uproxx home) and his new book, Breaking Bad 101, is a reminder that no one writes about Breaking Bad as well as him.

This new book is a bound version of Sepinwall’s original reviews, updated and revised to reflect his changing opinions, new revelations, and even details from the prequel series, Better Call Saul. If you read his original reviews online, you know what to expect – brisk and insightful examinations of the series, episode-by-episode, with the occasional break for a behind-the-scenes story or an interview excerpt that explains something pressing about the show.

Some of you may be wondering why you should pay for a book that collects articles that are available for free online. Well, in addition to being updated and revised (Sepinwall even completely rewrote his mixed reviews of the first season to reflect how his opinion on the show evolved), the book itself is a beautiful object: hardcover, with great cover art and charming interior art. I especially like how drawings of key objects from certain episodes nail home ideas and concepts in the text. It’s a thoughtfully created book, the kind of thing I can see myself pulling off the shelf again and again as I re-watch the series.

I’d also recommend Sepinwall’s incredible The Revolution Was Televised and TV: The Book (co-written with Matt Zoller Seitz) if you want more. It’s easy to say that television is good right now, but these books go a step further. They are tour guides that explain why it’s good.

Madden 2018

Ben Pearson Has Been Playing Madden on the PlayStation 4

For my birthday last month, my wife surprised me with a PlayStation 4 Pro, an awesome gift I didn’t anticipate in the slightest. By and large, I’m lucky enough to say that I don’t have a super stressful job (or life, for that matter), but I still find that it’s nice to decompress by playing video games. I’ve been out of the gaming side of things for so long – my last system was a PS3 that I got sometime around 2009 – that I still thought they were making NCAA football games, but apparently they stopped doing that years ago due to rights issues with the players’ likenesses. So moving from NCAA 2011 to Madden ’18, the game I’ve been playing for the past month, has been quite the jump.

I won’t get into the mechanics of the gameplay itself, but the graphics of the stadiums and the physicality of the players looks incredible and is a major step up from what I was used to with my old system. One thing they haven’t quite perfected yet is the eyes: even though they’re using motion capture technology for some aspects of the game (Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali appears in a sub-game called “Longshot,” for example, and you can see him in a performance capture suit during some outtakes), the faces look great but the eyes are still stuck in the uncanny valley. I’m convinced they’ll get there eventually, but there’s still a lot of work to do before this video game and a real TV broadcast are genuinely indistinguishable.

7th Continent

Peter Sciretta Played 7th Continent

Over the last handful of years, I have gotten sucked up in the world of tabletop board games. As we’ve detailed on the site, board games have evolved far from the simplicity of Monopoly and Life and are currently in a renaissance.  There are a lot of innovations being introduced, making the tabletop space very exciting. A few years back, a game called Risk Legacy launched a whole new genre of board games called Legacy games. These are board games that permanently change over a series of games, providing a story or experience that can only be experienced once.

For years, board games were all about replayability, becoming an heirloom on your families shelf for decades to come. But now board games are following other popular entertainment (movies, tv, video games) in becoming narrative one-time journeys. I don’t think Legacy games will ever take over the medium, but they are certainly an exciting way to spend days around the table with your close friends.

The latest board game I’ve played is called 7th Continent, and while it’s technically not a Legacy game as the game itself isn’t permanently changed by our actions, the experience is a narrative experience that can only be played once successfully per level. Think of it much like the current trend of escape room in a box games, but in the form of a more in-depth strategic board game experience.

The setting is the early 20th century and you play as famous explorers from history and fiction who have decided to sail back to the newly discovered seventh continent to lift the terrible curse that has struck you since your return from the previous expedition. It’s a cooperative “choose-your-own-adventure” exploration board game, that’s basically the board game equivalent of an open world video game. You explore parts of this huge continent in each stage, using “every ounce of wit and cunning to survive, crafting tools, weapons, and shelter to ensure your survival.”

We spent a whole 8-hour day trying to complete the first curse, which might sound like a long time to be playing one board game, but it was maybe one of the best tabletop experiences of my life. The game captures a lot of things I love about legacy games – you’re always opening up new surprises in the form of new cards to form the map of the continent. You never know what you might encounter or find, and trying to piece together the mystery of the curse is also a lot of fun. Sometimes, you will discover hidden surprises on the map that you wouldn’t notice unless you looked at the map card really very closely. Other times, you might find yourself walking into a trap or presented with a puzzle to solve. And like some of the best escape rooms, these puzzles can be the most fun part of this game.

But at the core of the game is a really fun mechanism which requires you to get successes for certain challenges. You do this not with a dice roll like you might other games, but with a push your luck pile of cards. You can choose to draw more cards and statistically have a better chance of succeeding, but the pile of cards also acts as your health, and if it’s diminished, your life in this game will be short-lived. So the heart of this game is always negotiating how many cards you need to pull, and trying to find ways to refill the deck before it’s depleted.

We’ve only played this first scenario, but I’ve been told the other curses will send you to other parts of the island, or possibly adventuring in and through territories you’ve already explored (much like an open world video game). Story events happened in our game that were very specific to the set of explorers we chose to go on this adventure with, and I could see this being a different experience with a whole other set of crew. I’m excited to play more, but I’m finding less and less time to get together with friends to dive into a really time intensive game like this.

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Grand Theft Auto V’s Ned Luke Stars In Home Invasion Film American Gothic

The film American Gothic, which was filmed entirely in director Stuart Connelly’s house, will arrive on VOD services on October 24. It stars Ned Luke, who played Michael De Santa in Grand Theft Auto V, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Slate Holmgren.

From the Press Release:
Author Stuart Connelly had an idea: what if he shot a home invasion feature film entirely in his house? The scenes would be absolutely unique because as the homeowner, he knows every inch of the house and how he could use its eccentricities to get an advantage during a break-in.

“Instead of just imagining a generic house and thinking ‘This happens, then this happens,’ I walked through a story room by room,” Connelly says. “My house helped write the picture.”

The resulting film, American Gothic – exclusively presented by ITN Distribution and directed by Connelly – will become available on all major American cable systems’ video-on-demand platforms starting on October 24… just in time for Halloween scares.

“Hair & Makeup, Wardrobe, and Special Effects were all in the guest cottage,“ says Rochelle Boström, a New York-based actress who plays one of the farm’s owners. “The horse paddock was crew parking! No part of the property was left unused.”

Connelly calls it a “narrative experiment, a dare,” but the final product is a straight-up classic thrill ride.

Down for the experiment were Ned Luke, best known as the voice of Michael in the mega-selling video game Grand Theft Auto and Slate Holmgren, just coming off a role on Broadway starring alongside Daniel Craig. “Usually on set there’s so much waiting, driving from one location to the other,” Luke says. “On American Gothic it was one scene to the next, no downtime.”

“I wanted to write a story that used every aspect of our house, which sits on twelve acres of farmland,” adds Connelly. “But that didn’t mean it just takes place on a farm. In my mind, Hollywood films are all about magic, and the magic here was to create a highway, a forest, a house, a dungeon… all aspects of the script.” In fact, Connelly reports the film’s plot was planned out based on the layout of the 300-year-old home.

“Their powder room was built over an old basement stairwell,” Holmgren says, “and that blocked off door behind the toilet became a plot point. When I read the script I thought it was clever, but I had no idea it was a real part of Stuart’s house.”

The attention to unique detail turned into efficiency, according to producer Mary Jo Barthmaier. “If Stuart had to write that scene and find a location or build it, that would kill the budget,” she says. “Instead, it was right there, and the scene becomes something we’ve never seen in another home invasion film.”

Shooting in the indie “guerrilla style” but having access and a plan meant that American Gothic, which was made very efficiently, could seem like a much more expensive film, Barthmaier says.

According to MovieMaker Magazine, American Gothic can “hold its own against indie horror films costing 10, 20 times the money.”

And the additional time freed up by this homespun strategy allowed the production to really focus on character, a rarity with lower-budget genre fare. “It has some of the best, most complicated characters I’ve seen in movies for a long time,” says Mark Barthmaier, who heads up the cast as an escaped convict desperately looking for a hideout. “Horror or otherwise.”

The film, which won the Best Horror Feature award at the 2016 Atlantic City Film Festival, has enough twists and turns to satisfy fans of thrillers and enough scares to give the most die-hard horror freaks something to sink their teeth into.

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Disney Tries Outdoing “Pokemon Go” for New “Star Wars” Film — The Motley Fool

Is General Leia Organa this year’s Pikachu? In the lead-up to the December release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) plans to unleash a torrent of marketing and sales on a galactic scale by deploying an augmented reality (AR) event so massive it could rival the Pokemon Go craze of last summer.

Feel the Force

Disney will be reprising its “Force Friday” event from two years ago when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, but this time it will borrow a bit of magic from Pokemon Go. Like the treasure hunt for those animated characters, Disney has developed a special Star Wars app that contains a “Find the Force” feature. Users can then visit any of the 20,000 participating stores, and using the app can scan special Find the Force graphics that will reveal the AR character in the room with you.

A hand holding a smartphone displaying Disney's Star Wars augmented reality app

Image source: Disney.

You can then take photos, record videos, and otherwise share the experience on social media. There are a total of 15 characters that can be revealed across the three-day event from Sept. 1-3, and digital rewards will be unlocked as you collect more characters. But instead of Charizard, Gyarados, or a Snorlax, you’ll likely collect Rey, Poe Dameron, Finn, and Kylo Ren. Anyone who posts their character interactions on Twitter or Instagram by Sept. 3 is entered in a sweepstakes with the grand prize being a trip to the Last Jedi world premiere and a tour of Lucasfilm.

Ahead of the official launch, Disney is also using certain iconic landmarks — Central Park in New York, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge — to reveal special AR scenes. Pointing the app at the sky near these landmarks will reportedly reveal Tie fighters and star destroyers.

Jumping on the bandwagon

The effort by Disney is truly massive in its global scale. Hundreds of retailers in more than 30 countries are participating in the promotion and will have the Find the Force logo. While the game is free of charge for players, retailers are obviously hoping there will be a huge influx of customers in their stores who will end up purchasing gear. Retailers including Wal-Mart, LEGO, Toys R Us, J.C. Penney, and Kohl’s are all participating and hoping some of that Disney magic rubs off on them.

With good reason: Retail is suffering from a slowdown in customer traffic and this Star Wars promotion has the potential to drum up foot traffic. Stores such as Target, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart will be opening their doors at midnight ahead of the event just like they do for Black Friday sales, and will have on hand exclusive and limited-edition toys.

A person using the Disney Find the Force app on their smartphone in front of a laptop

Image source: Disney.

Earlier this year, my Foolish colleague Danny Vena noted that it’s been estimated that the first Force Friday event saw consumers spend $760 million on Star Wars toys in 2016, and that $1 out of every $11 spent over the three-day event was on Star Wars gear. For the month of September alone, Force Friday reportedly sparked a sevenfold increase in online sales of Star Wars toys.

The force of toy sales

There were an estimated $26 billion in U.S. toy sales in 2016 and the market researchers at NPD Group say toy sales were up another 3% over the first six months of the current year. While that’s slower than the previous two years, NPD Group expects the September movie kickoff to catapult toy sales forward, and says, “2017 may go down in history as the year of movie licensed toys.”

Depending upon how successful this Disney promotion is (no one seems to think it won’t succeed), we may very well see other franchises use similar AR technology to help drive sales. Certainly the retail industry will readily hop aboard, but there are only so many Star Wars or Pokemon Go sensations to capture the public’s imagination — and only Rey or Leia have the qualities to topple a Pikachu.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.