Tag: Entertainment »
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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EMI is doing some interesting things with app developers via their openEMI project. While the project is by no means limited to iOS, EMI proper, pairing with Groovebug and Blue Note Records - which was founded in 1939 and acquired by EMI in 1971 - chose the iPad to make it’s commercial debut. Blue Note by Groovebug offers a great free tour of the jazz label’s catalog with 30-second low-bitrate samples along with access to iconic album cover designs and even detailed liner notes, giving the package a vintage vibe with legit LP perks.
While the app functions as a free stand-alone product, in order to enjoy full tracks users must subscribe for $1.99/month. While the catalog is finite, it’s not all there yet and EMI promises new featured albums and artists along with new playlists from experts in various related fields each month to keep thing from getting stale. The upgrade also gets users higher-quality audio and access to extended photo galleries.
The app pays homage to one of the most venerable historic jazz labels and has sounds from the likes of Thelonious Monk and Jazz Messenger drummer Art Blakely in signature Hard Bop style, Modal Jazz with Andrew Hill and Sonny Clark along with other sub-genres like trios, tenors and post-Bop and recordings by giants including Baby Face Willette, Miles Davis and John Coltrane - all musical pioneers in their time.
The feature set is cool whether you love jazz or don’t know much about it. Along with the album art and music, there are well-written featured articles on topics like Blue Note’s history and Blue Note in NYC Jazz Clubs. Users can add curated playlists to their favorites and make new playlists of their own. Also included is basic social sharing to Tumblr and Twitter and extra Facebook integration allowing users to dedicate songs to friends and participate in conversations.
There is even artist backstory and discovery - those who want to learn more about the early avante-garde jazz scene can tap on a familiar name and get all their recordings, a fairly extensive bio, YouTube videos, news, photos, even original newspaper clippings. The last tab – Similar – toggles a neat turntable-like control, which users spin to see related artists.
Blue Note by Groovebug is a sweet package, worth the subscription if one loves jazz or wants to learn more. It’s not a comprehensive history of this uniquely American art form, but it digs into one label that helped shape the genre with enough depth and breadth to give it replay value. I’m eager to see what EMI and third parties do next with commercial OpenEMI apps on iOS, Spotify, and beyond.
Python fans are certain to welcome the best bits from the penultimate season of the BBC sketch comedy in a new iPhone app: Python Bytes 3 - Monty Python Series 3. If you have a flair for the obvious, you'll correctly assume this is third in a series of apps that feature the best skits from the cult-classic, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The 20 most popular skits from series three are presented in a style that looks like Terry Gilliam had a hand in the design. The app launches right into a random sketch, and a shake of the iPhone launches another arbitrary dose of funny.
Tapping on a video toggles a menu where users can select specific sketches, create playlists and even delete scenes – a nice touch for space-freeing purposes. The app, like the rest of the series, sells for $2.99 - a fair bit less than buying the complete season and a fair bit less tiresome than a YouTube search. The app even comes with some cast audio commentary.
Let’s be honest, while vintage Canucks (like this humble Python head) were weaned on British sketch comedy, for an American audience it’s a decidedly acquired taste, particularly in its retro-absurdist Python perfection. There were always laugh-beer-out-yer-nose moments, but for each one, if we’re being candid, there was also an unmitigated dud. That makes this final greatest-hits package a perfect lightweight introduction for those who haven’t yet reached the point where even bad python is good python.
Check out the trailer from the first app to see the UI:
For the movie industry the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most important events in which to preview films and watch the stars. The 65th annual festival is happening in France right now, but if you weren't able to secure an invite or make the journey, hope is not lost. Film buffs and star gazers can keep tabs on the festival with The Hoolywood Reporter's new iPad app, Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Film Festival. And, if you did get there and find the opulence a little overwhelming, this app serves as an on-site guide as well.
Calling itself the ultimate companion, the app provides almost-live news, film reviews, and of course, lots of video for those of us watching from afar. Look for lots of Red Carpet moments, gossip from exclusive parties, extensive photo galleries and oh and did I say videos? Ardent fans can even download The Hollywood Reporter festival dailies to see what’s happened so far and not miss any of the remaining action.
And for those on scene there are interactive maps, extensive screening listings, and a mini Cannes travellers’ guide. We envy those enjoying the movie nights on The Riviera, but for the rest of us, this app brings home almost everything except the sun, sand, and surf .
Photo manipulation apps, especially the apps that mess with peoples faces, can be particularly fun. Role Play, by Dim Dim Sum App, is an entertainment app that allows users to take pictures of themselves and friends, apply “digital make-up,” and put them into different roles.
Users can take photos from their existing library or taking a picture within the app. Then users place position markers on various parts of the face in the picture like the eyes and mouth. After that, the user can apply a “role” from the app to the photo and the person instantly becomes something like a pirate or a clown. This can be a fun way for users to give themselves digital make-overs or screw with their friends by putting their faces into roles that would be humorous.
The app comes with two free “make-over” roles: Princess and Pirate. Other roles can be purchased with in-app coins that can either be purchased or earned by sharing Role Play pictures via Twitter or Facebook. Some other roles that can be purchased include Cat, Cleopatra, and Geisha.
Role Play is free to download.
57 years after Walt Disney first opened the gates to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, would-be visitors to Sleeping Beauty’s castle no longer have to travel to see the magic. Now there’s an app for that. OK, not really, very little beats the look in a child’s eyes when they first meet Mickey or a favorite princess on Main Street. But for those planning a trip, or those for whom one is still in the amorphous future, the folks at Disney have "Imagineered" an app: Disneyland Explorer for iPad. It takes virtual visitors on a pretty extensive tour of the entire California Disney experience.
Families can use a standard navigation menu, or simply swipe through the two parks – Disneyland and it’s younger sibling Disney California Adventure - to discover not just the rides, but also the restaurants, nightlife, shopping and hotels. There are 100 “touch points” in the app - that is 100 things to find and tap. Many just describe the associated attraction, but others offer photographs, short videos, and a few toggle some interactive treats kids will enjoy including a chance to choreograph a fireworks show or ride up - and then plummeting down - the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
This “happiest app on earth” is free to download and while its primary purpose is to get us calling our travel agents and packing our bags, as souvenir, wish, or a peek at what’s changed in oh, say, 35 years, it’s admirable as a stand-alone product. As always when Imagineers get behind a project, the presentation is slick, seamless, and will leave tourists past and future wanting more.
Fanhatten already offered TV and Movie fans tons of entertainment by providing ratings, general information and then linking users to popular streaming services from iTunes, Hulu Plus and Netflix to Crackle and PBS.
Now they have updated to incorporate the hottest trend in in online news – discovery. The app is now a one-stop shop for celeb 411, reviews and streaming, but also personalized news feeds and recommendations based on social networks and predictive algorithms.
Fanhatten now boasts over 60 major entertainment publication sources including Billboard, E!, Entertainment Weekly, TMZ, Rolling Stone, and People.
But the new Fan Feed is where to find the action. The app allows users to select favorite shows, actors, even directors and brings up content that is tailored to individual taste. As users spend time with Fanhatten and add more likes, the feed gets progressively “smarter”. If friends use Fanhatten too, the app offers a social component and shared recommendations as well.
Now that the already rich content comes with discovery and social components it should not only please its own existing fans, but create a new market for people who aren’t looking to stream necessarily, but who are looking for what - and whom - to watch no matter how they access the video.