Logitech Harmony Review

Logitech Harmony remoteIf you have a slew of remote controls littering your coffee table, you’ve probably often thought of consolidating them with a universal remote such as one from Logitech’s extensive line of Harmony remotes.

The company’s $100 Harmony Link gives you another option — to control all your A/V components via your iOS or Android-based tablet or smartphone, courtesy of your Wi-Fi network.

Setting up the Harmony Link

To program the Harmony Link, which looks like a glossy black smooth-edged hockey puck,  you plug the unit into power, point your browser to Myharmony.com, create an account, and click a button to start the configuration process (which kicks off a Sliverlight app that runs within the browser).

The app soon prompts you to connect the Harmony Link to your PC via the included USB cable, and then scans for available Wi-Fi networks to connect to (only 2.4 GHz 802.11g/b networks are supported).

Once the Harmony Link’s been, well, linked, it’s time to tell it the about the various A/V devices you want the unit to control.

The Link supports a maximum of eight devices, which should be more than enough for all but extreme scenarios.

We set ours up with a Samsung DLP HDTV, TiVo Premiere DVR, and Xbox 360 game console.

Although we also had a Sony PS3 on hand, that particular device uses Bluetooth rather than IR for remote control, so the Harmony Link won’t work with it.

Adding your devices to the Harmony Link is generally pretty simple.

As you enter the manufacturer name and model number for each device, the software looks up the necessary command information from Logitech’s extensive device database.

In cases where more information is needed about a device, the software will prompt you to fetch the remote, point it at the Harmony Link, and press one or more buttons on the remote to “train” the latter.

We encountered this when we added the TiVo Premiere, and though our first few training attempts resulted in “unable to recognize command” errors, on the fourth try the Harmony Link correctly recognized the button presses and successfully registered the device.

(During training, the Harmony Link seems especially particular about the angle and distance of a remote and how long its buttons are pressed.)

harmony size

After all the devices have been added, the next step is to set up your activities — groups of commands executed in sequence to power on the necessary devices and switch to the appropriate inputs based on whether you want to watch TV, watch a DVD, play a game, etc.

The software automatically creates one or more default activities based on the devices you’ve registered, and when you configure an activity you’re asked to specify how the relevant devices will be used (e.g. When watching TV, do you change channels on the TV or on a cable/satellite smart TV box?).

Gathering this information can take some legwork, but the software provides animations that can help you dig up the info if you’re not familiar with how all your gear is connected.

The software also makes default choices for you, which are easy to override if needed.

With device and activity configuration complete, you can disconnect the Link from your computer and place it somewhere that’s both near your A/V gear as well as within solid earshot of your Wi-Fi signal or TV box.

If some of your devices live behind closed cabinets, you can use Link’s included IR Blaster to reach them.

The Link has a connector for a second IR blaster if needed, but you have to buy it separately.

The final step to setting up the Harmony Link is to download and install the app from either the Apple or Android online stores. We tested the Harmony Link app on an iPad.

Using the Harmony Link

When you fire up the Harmony Link app on the iPad, you’re greeted by an electronic program guide (EPG) that’s attractive as well as easy to browse and search. At the upper right corner of the EPG, there’s a button to launch and switch between your activities.

Basic controls — volume, channel, play and pause — are available along the right edge of the screen, while swiping to the left exposes two more levels of buttons for less frequently-used functions.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to customize the generic layout of the on-screen remote to reflect your own preferences.

On the plus side, although we thought there might be some delay in executing commands since they had to travel across both Wi-Fi and IR en-route to devices, the response was instantaneous.

In addition, since you’re issuing commands via Wi-Fi, you don’t have to point your tablet/smartphone at your gear — or even be in the same room — to control it.

The Harmony Link’s EPG is much more user-friendly than the one you get with many cable and satellite boxes.

Unfortunately, its practical use is limited because it only lets you tune to shows that are currently on.

If you find an upcoming show in the guide and want to record it, you have to do it manually through the DVR remote buttons. (It’s also worth noting that only the iPad app provides the EPG feature.)

Some other shortcomings of the Harmony Link stem from the inherent weaknesses of using a touch screen remote.

For example, you can’t use the Harmony Link’s remote by feel the way you can with physical buttons on an actual remote control.

Moreover, if you frequently use your tablet/smartphone for other purposes while watching TV, you have to consider the inconvenience of repeatedly switching back and forth between the Harmony Link app and whatever else you’re doing.

Price: $99

Pros: Straightforward set up process, and easy to use; switches between up to eight devices for activity-based (e.g. watch TV, watch movie) control.

Cons: Program guide can’t automatically record future programs; on-screen remote layout isn’t customizable.


The bottom line

The Harmony Link handles basic device switching just as well as its purpose-built remote control brethren.

But significant limitations ensure that controlling A/V equipment from a tablet or smartphone can sound better in principle than it works in practice.

Logitech’s regular Harmony remotes offer better control and flexibility, and some models cost less as well.

Best Home Theater Speakers

Lookin’ For Best Home Theater Speakers?

When you’ve got a kick ass home theater, you’re also going to require a set of awesome speakers to go with it.

How else are you going to maximize your theater’s potential?

Good audio is absolutely essential. But it’s nice if it comes at a good price.

And I am talking REAL audio here, not some simple TV soundbar. These are full on systems.

So without further ado…here’s the top 10 list of best discount home theater speakers!

1. Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System

Yamaha NS-SP1800BLYamaha never lets you down. This particular speaker set comes with 2 way satellite speakers, 2 way center speakers, all of which have woofer support.

All speakers are magnetically shielded as well in order to keep outside noise interference down to a minimum.

They are also wall mountable and make a great ceiling speaker. And if you grab these through Amazon at the moment, Amazon is actually giving away a 100 feet or speaker wire with your purchase.

2. Onkyo SKS-HT870 Home Theater Speaker System

Onkyo Home Theater SpeakersOnkyo is one of the best home theater producers in the world.

They are well known for delivering high quality equipment with every new release.

This 7.1 home theater speaker set is going to blow you away.

These floor standing speakers are bound to look good in just about every interior.

The 130 watt power output will guarantee you, as well as your neighbors, are going to enjoy the audio from these speakers for a long time to come.

3. Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black)

polk audioThis is a complete 5.1 channel surround sound speaker set.

It’ll give you one woofer, one center channel and four satellite speakers.

These magnetically shielded speakers can be put next to the television and they’re guaranteed not to suffer from the television’s signal interference.

You can place them wherever you want, or mount them on the wall.

Whichever option you pick, these speakers are guaranteed to look good in your home.

4. Sony SS-B1000 5-1/4-Inch Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)

Sony Bookshelf SpeakersSony never lets you down. When you’re not ready to shell out big time on speakers, these two bookshelf speakers would be a good option.

You can hook’em up to any device you like, including your home theater system.

Don’t expect the best of sound from these. But at this price, you really can’t complain. Good value for money.

5. Logitech Surround Sound Speakers Z506

Logitech is a well known player on the hardware market. These guys produce a wide variety of affordable, high quality hardware.

This 5.1 speaker set is going to blow you away with its 3D sound.

And look at the price. At less than $100, there is simply no way of going wrong with Logitech!

6. Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker/Receiver Package

Onkyo HT-S3900This home theater speaker/receiver package from Onkyo won’t let you down.

If 5.1 sound is good enough for you, then this Onkyo package might be a good option for you.

You get 2 years of warranty on this Dolby TrueHD system, which you can also hook up to your iPod, iPhone, or any other mobile device that supports a USB connection.

7. Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black)

Energy 5.1This complete Energy 5.1 Take home theater system complete with speakers is good bang for your buck.

Not only do you get mind blowing 200 watt power from these speakers, but they also look totally rad in any interior.

Whether you’ve got lots of space or not that much… you’ll be able to stuff this baby into your room. The speakers are also wall and ceiling mountable.

8. Klipsch HD Theater 1000 5.1-channel Home Theater Speaker System

Klipsch HD Theater 1000This speaker system from Klipsch really takes the cake. I admit, it’s got quite the price tag. But you really do get what you pay for.

The 10″ subwoofer is powered at 200 watt and are able to produce sounds from low to high without any problems.

As far as quality goes, this is about as good as it’s ever gonna get.

9. Leviton AEH50-WH Architectural Edition Speaker System

If you’re not sure whether your’d like a 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 setup… this is the speaker set for you because it is expandable.

It starts at 5.1 and can be expanded to 6.1 or 7.1 at a later time.

It’s white design is as stylish as it’s ever going to get.

The 100 watt subwoofer will be powerful enough to satisfy the average person’s audio needs, just add a great TV and you’re ready to go.

10. Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System

Onkyo strikes again with this totally rad 7.1 channel home theater speaker system.

Just looking at it makes me foam at the mouth.

Onkyo SKS-HT540

Not only does Onkyo guarantee both quality as well as stylish hardware… they also deliver 230 watt subwoofers.

And you’re getting one with this speaker system!

If you don’t just want to listen to audio, but also feel it… then you can’t find a better deal than this 7.1 Onkyo speaker system!

And there you have it, our list of the best home theater speaker systems that are affordable and not going to cost you a small fortune.

Which speaker system are you using? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Sonos Playbar Review – Is it the best for TV?

SONOS PLAYBAR for TV – It was Love at First Sound

It was a rainy day in February. We had just brought home our very first large flat screen TV.

Excitedly, we ripped open the box, got it all set up, turned it on and selected a movie. WOW – what a picture – huge screen – almost like being at the movies except…except…for one crucial thing – THE SOUND.

It was awful, I mean, really bad. Not that this came as such a surprise, but still it was just about intolerable. We already had a tangled mess of wires from all our components and didn’t want to add to the mess with the typical receiver and speaker system.

We’d heard about TV soundbars and wondered if that might be the solution.

We stumbled upon a company called Sonos that was about to release it’s own version.

There was a lot of excitement on the web about this product release and we wanted to know: what’s all the buzz about?

We soon found out when we purchased the Sonos Playbar shortly after its release in March. It was literally love at first sound.

I have created this article so you, too, can fall in love – not with some product –
but with the sounds of the universe: not just in movies, not just your personal music collection, but all the music happening NOW – across this planet.

Music from across the planet?

Sonos PLAYBAR for TVHow does it do that? The Sonos Playbar has allowed us to stream into our home any music available through the internet.

In addition to our iTunes library, we can now listen to hundreds of thousands of Internet radio stations, plus free and paid subscription music services.

That’s a LOT of music!

We don’t even have to turn on our computer.

We are able to control the volume with our TV remote and simply use our iPad* to access our iTunes or Pandora, our favorite portal to free internet radio.

This TV sound bar also provides us with great sound for any of our devices we have attached to our TV, like Directv and our Nintendo Wii.

And of course you can use any MP3 you can download. We download all of ours from zippyaudio and then just let it play for hours and hours. Great for doing housework or other mindless tasks!

* Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android device

Where is the Best Place to Get the Sonos Playbar?

We bought ours from Sonos. Here’s why:

Sonos offers a 45 day no questions asked return policy on all their products.
This gave us plenty of time to really check this soundbar out.

We knew that if we didn’t like it, we could just pay the return shipping a get a full refund. In comparison, Amazon offers a 30 day return policy, and Best Buy gives you 15 days.

I searched and finally found one savings deal.

You can get Free 2 Day Shipping on all Sonos Products. At checkout, first select Fedex 2Day and then enter code FREESHIPG.

5 Reasons We Chose This TV Soundbar

Photo Courtesy of SONOS1. One of the things we love most about using our soundbar is that FINALLY we can always make out the dialogue no matter how intense the action is, plus once we adjust the volume at the beginning of watching a movie or TV, we never have to adjust it again.

The Sonos Playbar has technology that allows it to automatically adjust instantaneously to the various sounds happening on our TV.

2. I often have insomnia and there’s a special feature called Night Mode that compresses the volume so I can hear all the details without having to wear earphones and without waking the family (or the neighbor’s dog).

This has been a real blessing.

3. Another reason we chose this sound bar over competitors is that we knew over time we could expand it into a whole house music system using the wireless speakers from Sonos.

We’d once wired a whole house for music using “miles of speaker wire”. We knew we never wanted to have to do that again and this system could make that possible.

4. It’s super easy to set up. We connected the Sonos Bridge to our Internet router, pressed a couple buttons on the equipment plus our iPad and we were good to go. Took about 15 minutes.

If we ever wanted to add a subwoofer or additional speakers, it would be that simple, too.

5. The Sonos Playbar is different from other soundbars in that all products from Sonos are Smart Technology.

This means that as the technology improves over time, you don’t need to buy a new playbar or speaker.

You can simply upgrade the software for free. This can mean a big savings over time.

We were on the fence because of the price, but this last point cinched it for us.

Expanding our Home Audio System

When we ordered the playbar, we wondered if we would be satisfied with just a TV soundbar, versus having a full 5.1 surround sound system.

We were delightfully surprised just how well the Sonos sound bar could simulate an experience of surround sound, especially if we sat between 2 and 12 feet from the TV.

After about a month, curiosity got the better of us and we wondered what it would be like to also have the Sonos subwoofer and two Play 3 wireless speakers to create a true 5.1 home theater.

Having the two wireless speakers also meant we could move them any time we wanted to into another room in the house. Since we could return it all within 45 days we decided to take the risk.

Wow! We were (almost literally) blown away by the sound.

To inaugurate our new system, we invited our friends over to watch the entire Matrix Trilogy.

It was amusing to see how many times we all ducked for cover – the sound was so alive – it was hard to tell certain scenes weren’t really happening in our living room.

As time passed, we had to admit – we had become hooked on Sonos.

We ended up getting a Sonos Play 5 speaker for the kitchen and two more Play 3’s to move around, including on our back porch. (While the speakers don’t require speaker wire, they do have to be plugged into a wall outlet for power – so they can go anywhere there’s access to electricity.)

4 Fun Things To Do With This System

  1. Have a world music theme party. Pick a country and serve food from that country too.
  2. Expand on idea number 1 by playing music from different countries in different rooms. And don’t forget to match up the food with each country you’ve picked. To end the evening, choose the same song to play in-sync (ie. BLAST) in every room –
    like We Are The World, or whatever is your favorite.
  3. Create your own movie marathon weekends and invite your friends.
    Some good picks are The Matrix Trilogy, Lord of The Rings, Die Hard or Star Trek series.
  4. If you are fortunate to have a back yard pool or even a backyard,
    you can listen to your favorite playlist out there.

Commonly Asked Questions about the Sonos Playbar:

Question: Will I need the Sonos Bridge?

Answer: That depends on where you plan to put the playbar. If the playbar is in a room not far from your internet router, then you can run an ethernet cable between the playbar and your router. However – for most people, their internet router will be in another room.

In this case – get the Bridge and connect that to your router. The Bridge will then be able to “talk” to the playbar and any Sonos speakers you have, wherever they are located.

In other words – all speakers will then have access to the Internet without any wires.

Question: My television does not have a digital optical port. Will the playbar work with my TV?

Answer: Unfortunately, no it won’t. The playbar has to be connected to your TV via a digital optical cable.

Some people have claimed you can use a toslink converter to convert coax to digital optical but Sonos says this will not work.

Question: What’s this I hear about the playbar not being able to do the DTS format of certain Blu-Ray movies?

Answer: The Playbar lacks support for DTS, a type of surround sound format, which means there will be some blu-ray movies that won’t play audio in a 5.1 surround sound format even with an optical (S/PDIF) switch. However, assuming your Blu-Ray player is connected to your TV and your TV is connected to your Sonos Playbar, the TV will convert the sound into PCM format when it goes through the digital optical cable to the Playbar.

It will play fine and you’ll still get the virtual surround sound effect – it just won’t be the true 5.1 surround sound.The Playbar does support 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Question: I already own two Sonos Play:5 speakers. Can I use them with my playbar to create a full surround sound system?

Answer: You can only pair the Play:3 speakers with the Sonos Playbar and not the Play:5 speakers.

Sonos explains:

“PLAY:5 wireless hardware does not support surround sound functionality and firmware cannot be updated to support it. PLAY:5 was designed to be our best all-in-one music player and is perfect for use as a standalone unit or combined in stereo pair mode.

PLAY:3 was designed to deliver great sound as a stand-alone music player – it also has electronics that are optimized for surround sound, which, coupled with a smaller form factor and mounting hardware makes it/them convenient to use as surround speakers.”

The Best smart TV Box for 2019 (Top 3 Reviewed)

What are the best smart TV boxes?

Smart TV Box Introduction

We all began from somewhere in the TV generation. Back in the days when are when we used the black and white televisions in our homes. They were one of the best and if you never had one then you would get beat up by your parents for going to your neighbors to watch.

Those were the old days. We then moved on to colored television sets that had a video quality of 720p. These were among the bright days that one had to adjust from the black and white for the colored television set.

Now technology has come up with the digital set boxes and there is now a smart TV box.

These boxes have come with a bigger and better resolution compared to that of the colored TV and the Black and white TV. They use digital frequency signals to communicate. Their resolution is that of 1080p and even bigger to some.

This has revolutionized the television technology to a whole other level.

Smart TV boxes are one of a kind as their manufacturers are dedicated to making the world of entertainment bigger and more involving.

Some have come up with even better smart TV boxes that have access to the internet and also have different operating systems that are more involving.



This is one of the key factors that one should look at before settling on the smart TV box to buy. This is because the price ranges depending on the services and channels available. The features of the devices are also determining factors on the cost.


This is where a new technology hits the market and shapes up the whole industry. Do you trust the company that came up with that technology? Is it as effective as the one you wish for?


Different smart TV boxes have different ways of installation. First, you need to know what is required for the installation.

Some will need external antennas in order for them to perform with at most satisfaction while others depending on your location will have some issues.


Some boxes are complex in their use and many distinctive features. These boxes are at times very complex and hence one should choose from the easy to use depending on their abilities.


Does the smart TV box have all things you need for your home? Every box has different features from the other.

Technology is the main media that is running today’s world. People are coming up with bigger and better innovations and inventions on a daily basis. The smart TV boxes are a great invention and are one of a kind.

Picking from the available smart TV box might be tricky. Knowledge on what you are really looking for is important and advisable.



Roku UltraThis has been one of the leading smart TV boxes for over two years now. This has been one of the smart TV boxes that have made a lot of impact in technology as it has an app that can be used to operate it. It also has a fast wired and wireless connection as compared to others and also has a fast dual core broadcast chipset.

It also has the latest Roku player as well as a remote control, mic and a built-in search button to search for channels and also the internet. It is much loved by people because of the earphone plug on the remote control for private listening.

It has a dual band WI-FI access point, a wired Ethernet plug option, a micro SD expansion slot, HDMI and USB for local media playback.

It does not have a power off option as it remains online and has a very low power consumption of 3.5 watts. It stays online all time and also updates itself when necessary as the updates are automatic.

The Roku smart TV box is one of a kind and it is really loved by the user. For the first time users, there might be some issues as the Roku Ultra smart TV box will need you to create an account in order to go on with its functions.

Another alarming feature in this smart TV box is that when you buy it, you cannot use if even for offline purposes leave alone the fact that you cannot even access the main menu before updating its firmware.

Its price is reasonable and worth it and many people like it as their choice in smart TV box.


Google Chromecast UltraTheir creator is the Google organization just as the name suggests. It is a small device but yet very powerful. It is liked by many due to its size and it has very many features that are appealing to anyone who likes home entertainment.

It is plugged in the HDMI slot of the TV and integrates with all the apps and services as well as paid services offered under their rainbow.

It has a wireless access point that one can connect to using the tablet or phone for internet purposes. It also comes with the 4K streaming capabilities and using its app, you can stream videos from your phone or tablet at a click of a button.

It is easy to use, fast and also has the remote control. It has a screen resolution of up to 1080p which is much clear than the set-top boxes.

The Google chrome cast smart tv box is a good choice in smart TV selection. It is very cheap and easy to use at it integrates with your phone using an application.

The device gives the user the ability to stream video from the phone or tablet direct to the big TV screen using the cast command on the app.


This is a portable device with the shape like that of a USB stick and has great capabilities. It can broadcast up to 1800 channels in order to watch your favorite movies with a screen resolution of 1080p.

roku streaming stick

It is also connected through the HDMI slot at the back of the television set and can be carried anywhere. It has a wireless access point for internet use as well as a remote control.

It has a quad core processor that is eight times faster than the original Roku streaming stick. It is the smallest yet very powerful device in the world of technology.


The device has the mirroring services similar to that of the Google chrome cast smart TV box and can connect to many devices and even satellite cable from companies like Dish Networks. It has the lowest price even than the Google chrome cast and much more.

Before you can get to use this device, you will need to first open a Roku account.

The difference is that this will not need any credit card details.

Set up Smart TV Box

A smart TV box is a multimedia device that has the power to convert any TV into a smart TV. It gives the users the permission to access TV shows, Live music, Sports, games and any other form of entertainment with just one click.

The beauty of TV boxes is that you can add almost any media you want to them. You can browse the internet, watch YouTube videos, Netflix, you name it.

You’re also able to add services like Sling, Satalite TV from different cable companies (see some Dish Network Reviews here) and even stream media from your phone!

It is very important to understand how this device works before purchasing it.

Most manufacturers give a warranty of at least a year in case there is something wrong with the unit you purchase. If the user is not able to get the full information on how the box works, they can contract the manufacturers.

The user needs to know all about the smart tv box it is different from other TVs.

With a smart TV box, you need to browse from one channel to the other to get the content you need. The user also needs to know all about the precautions and how to handle the device.

All the user’s manual should be followed to later. Misuse or misinformation on how to use these devices may lead to the device not working in a proper way. It also gives the user a complete know how on how to handle the device.

Users Guide:

How to connect the Hardware.

Connect the device to a power supply. Attach the smart tv Box to your TV using the HDMI cable. Switch on the Box and go to the settings. Connect to the internet. If your TV and router are close to each other, you can connect using your broadband router using the ethernet cable.

How to connect to Wi-FI.

  1. To set up wi-fi to your smart box, you need to have an open internet connection.
  2. To connect the wi-fi to the smart box, look for ethernet port that is found at the back of the TV.
  3. Connect the ethernet cable from the router to the port on the TV.
  4. Choose the menu on the TVs remote and choose network settings.
  5. Then select the option to enable wired Network.
  6. Key in your wi-fi password using your remote control.

How to install Software

  1. Go to Program add-ons.
  2. Select program installer.
  3. Select install.
  4. The software is now installed. You are now able to browse easily.

How to use the keyboard.

The wireless keyboard which also has a touch mouse is used instead of a normal remote control. It is more when efficient when browsing and easier when entering media data on the tv box. They have rechargeable batteries inserted.

Turn on the keyboard and a light will then show. The keyboard is now ready to use.

How to access Google Play Store

Smart tv models with HDMI receivers and TV tuners have access to google play store where the users can be able to gain access to games, play stations, and other streaming services.

Reviews about Entertainment.

With the smart tv connected to an open internet, the users have unlimited access to all the tv shows, movies, games, live music, sports world, tv series and much more. this is all we need in this era where technology is on the rise.

Kymera Magic Wand IR remote

Kymera Magic Wand IR Remote – Our Review

Provides: Universal remote control capabilities
Developer: The Wand Company
Minimum Requirements: IR gear (TV, Mac, DVD player etc)
Price: Under $80
Availability: Now

The idea behind the Kymera Magic Wand is really quite novel; the ability to control your TV with just the flick of a wand. Wands are synonymous with control, making them perfect for working a TV or other IR device.

It doesn’t hurt that most of us have been entranced with them since childhood with entertainment from Disney all the way to Harry Potter.

And in practice, it’s truly magic, or at least the kind of magic that your standard magician would perform, making it perfect for kids and the young at heart.

Kymera Wand

All you have to do to realize this wand is cool is open the box. It comes packaged inside of a wand case, which probably could be nicer, but still makes you feel like you aren’t playing with a child’s toy (though it really is).

Magic Wand Remote

Inside the box is the wand and a thick and colorful map-like instruction manual. The manual details all of the steps necessary to get you from muggle to magician in no time.

You can really get a sense of how much attention to detail is put into this product just by visiting The Wand Company’s web page (link above). I love how their website is different from most, because their product is, too.

Kymera Wand instructions

Using the wand is as simple as performing one of the predefined gestures. These including things like: flicking up/down/left/right, rolling, tapping a finger on the top or side, pushing forward/backward etc.

Obviously, there aren’t enough gestures here to encompass everything that you could do with a normal remote control. But then again, your remote doesn’t seem very magical does it?

I would have liked to see a “change remote” gesture to increase the number of IR codes you could have stored, but perhaps I’m wanting too much from this thing.

Programming this remote is fairly simple, but will require that you can actually perform the gestures you’d like to use, which will take some practice.

Basically, you put it into programming mode by pointing the wand up and tapping. Now, perform the gesture you want to program and press the button on the remote while pointing it at the tip of the wand.

Great, that’s it.

Now do that again, like 15 times. And don’t be tempted to leave any of the gestures unassigned. If you do and then accidentally make that gesture, it will vibrate numerous times to tap out the number of the gesture performed.


This gets annoying if you accidentally do one of the higher numbered gestures often, which I did.

After that’s all done, using the wand is a breeze. The most satisfying thing you can do is shout a “magical phrase” while using a long swipe to turn your TV on or off.

And while most of the people to whom I showed this wand initially thought it was lame or extremely nerdy, all found it necessary to do exactly what I just detailed.

We all know it’s just a remote shooting out IR codes after a gesture has been performed, but it still somehow feels magical. It’s worth noting that navigating Front Row with this device would work perfectly since you can assign the right IR codes to the same left/right/up/down gestures in the wand. You could use the same gestures to change songs on your Mac from across the room.

And honestly, if you’re going to say that a certain computer works with a little bit of magic, it really should be a Mac.

You can even find apps that will extend the usability of the Apple remote, and thus the Kymera Magic Wand to other apps on your Mac. Still, replacing an Apple Remote with this wand could be pretty fun.

Now that I think about it, this would make for a really fun and entertaining way to run through a PowerPoint or iPhoto slideshow. Just hook your MacBook up to a TV and then “flick” through the slides with your wand.

There are a ton of fun ideas for this wand. Yes, nearly all of them are fun just for novelty’s sake, but hey, sometimes you have to stop and just have fun.

You can’t always do things just because they are the fastest or most efficient. If you’re interested in just how much you can get an Apple remote or Kymera want to do on your Mac, check out Sofa Control. It’s an app like what I mentioned above that expands the usability of a remote on your Mac. It’s $15.


But ultimately, the novelty of this product will wear off unless you’re really into magical stuff. That’s kind of to be expected though. I’m doubting anyone is thinking that this device is superior in functionality to a regular remote (unless maybe it’s an Apple remote with only 6 buttons).

Yes, it’s a universal remote, and you could use it to control all of your gear, provided that 16 or so gestures/IR codes could encompass everything that you do.

But the wand a little clumsy, and it doesn’t always do what you intend for it to do. So. you might find yourself reaching for the original remotes when you can’t get this wand to recognize your flailing arms.

But you have to remember that this is a novelty product, not a replace-all univeral remote. This is for hardcore Harry Potter fans and kids. The kind of people who want to add a little more magic to their lives and don’t mind spending some money in the process (especially if it’s their parents’ money).

I wish it was more affordable, but it is pretty fancy and that’s not cheap. And I guarantee you’ll have the coolest universal remote in town if you buy one of these, though you will be accused of being a nerd.

You should only buy one of these to have fun, not to replace remotes, because you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting to do the latter.

I think this product would make a great gift for any kid who’s a Harry Potter fan or just has a general wonder towards magic.

And honestly, what kid doesn’t? Could you imagine getting one of these things when you were ten? That would have been awesome.

Samsung UN75JU7100 vs UN75JU6500 : What You Should Know?

If you are looking for larger screen Smart 4K UHD TV, then Samsung UN75JU7100 and Samsung UN75JU6500 are two options from Samsung  that must be considered.

They are both introduced as 75-Inch flat Smart 4K UHD TV from Samsung’s 2015 TV lineup. Samsung UN75JU7100 is the top model for 75-Inch flat smart 4K UHD TV while Samsung UN75JU6500 is positioned below it.

Why are they both choices that you should consider? The reason is for sure their ability to bring excellent 4K UHD picture quality as well as bring smart entertainment to your home.

As the top and second choice from Samsung, they must have some differences. What you should know about those two TVs and what are their differences? We will talk about that in this review.

Samsung UN75JU7100 (UN75JU7100FXZA)

When you have searched for 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV from a few years ago  (2014) continues to be popular, then I’m quite sure that you have taken a look at Samsung UN75HU8550 from 2014’s HU8550 model.

Samsung UN75JU7100 is replacement model of Samsung UN75HU8550 that bring most of the technology from it. It’s coming with UHD Dimming technology as well as completed with UHD Upscaling technology to bring near 4K picture quality from your HD contents.

But in Samsung UN65JU7100 you can experience the PurColor technology to deliver more accurate color details as replacement of the older Wide Color Enhancer technology.

PurColor technology itself is the old technology that was installed on the top model of 2014 Samsung Smart TV, Samsung HU9000 model. Samsung UN75JU7100 is also using the new Smart TV platform that powered by Tizen OS that usually called as 2015 Samsung Smart TV. With 2015 Samsung Smart TV, you can get more smart functions as more Apps are able to run on Tizen platform.

Samsung UN75JU6500 is a new variance for 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV. It doesn’t have any older model. Typically Samsung JU6500 is replacement model form HU6950 or HU6840 from Samsung’s 2014 TV lineup. But They don’t have any 75-Inch screen size from their model.

Samsung UN75JU6500 is positioned as the more affordable 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV as there’re a growing demand for larger screen 4K UHD TV. Unlike Samsung UN75JU7100 that comes with the new peak illuminator technology, Samsung UN75JU6500 is not coming with any peak illuminator as well no precision black as well. But you can still find PurColor technology on it.

In the features aspect, Samsung UN75JU6500 is the same as Samsung UN75JU7100 that use the new Tizen based OS as its Smart TV platform. The difference is that Samsung UN75JU6500 is not completed with any 3D features and Smart remote to keep its price down.

But on the picture quality and entertainment choices, you can still count on Samsung UN75JU6500 as It’s able to bring brilliant 4K UHD picture quality as well as bring HD contents into near 4K picture quality as well as running Smart Entertainment with 2015 Samsung Smart TV although you can’t enjoy 3D entertainment with it.

Read More Samsung UN75JU6500 Customers’ Reviews…

Samsung UN75JU7100 vs UN75JU6500 : Comparison Table

Samsung UN75JU7100 Samsung UN75JU6500
Other Name UN75JU7100FXZA UN75JU6500FXZA
Introduced February 2015 March 2015
Size of Screen 75-inch 75-inch
Backlight LED LED
Resolution 4K UHD 4K UHD
Refresh Rate Motion Rate 240 Motion Rate 120
Smart TV Platform 2015 Samsung Smart TV 2015 Samsung Smart TV
Remote Control Smart Remote Standard Remote
3D Feature Active 3D NO
Built-In Wi-Fi YES YES
USB/HDMI 4/3 4/3
Price Check Best Price Check Best Price

Samsung UN75JU7100 vs UN75JU6500 : Differences that You Should Know

1. Peak Illuminator/Precision Black

There’s a new technology called peak illuminator that introduced by Samsung on its 2015 TV lineup. Peak illuminator is basically a technology that bring LED illumination on the bright part the screen.

There are currently 3 kinds of peak illuminator: ultimate, pro and standard. The peak illuminator standard as the lowest peak illuminator is the one installed on Samsung UN75JU7100.

Besides Peak illuminator, Samsung UN75JU7100 is also completed with peak illuminator that was already on the older Samsung UN75HU8550. Precision black deliver deeper black levels on your screen.

When combined with peak illuminator, precision black-peak illuminator technology deliver more vibrant contrast on the Samsung UN75JU7100 screen.

Samsung UN75JU6500 is not completed with the peak-illuminator-precision black technology so you can notice that It deliver less vibrancy on its screen.

2. Motion Rate

Motion Rate is replaced the older Clear Motion Rate as the new standard of refresh rate technology of Samsung TV. The higher Motion Rate the TV gets then the smoother It’s able to deliver fast action images smoothly. Samsung UN75JU7100 is installed with Motion Rate 240, while Samsung UN75JU6500 use Motion Rate 120.

So We can frankly say that We can get two times smoother fast action images on Samsung UN75JU7100 than what We can get when We watch it using Samsung UN75JU6500.

Although It’s not always the case since our eyes can’t measure how smooth fast action screen on the TV, but in most fast action images you can say yes that Samsung UN75JU7100 is able to deliver smoother fast actions images of your favorite movies and sports.

3. 3D Feature

Is 3D feature is still important for you? That’s a question that can be answered differently by everyone. Samsung UN75JU7100 is completed with Active 3D feature, but It’s not completed with any 3D glasses on its set. While Samsung UN65JU6500 is not installed with any 3D feature at all.

So when you think that 3D is not important for you but you still want the better picture quality technology of Samsung UN75JU7100 then you can simply don’t have to buy additional 3D glasses when you purchase Samsung UN75JU7100.

4. Smart Remote

Is Smart Remote important? Some people say that It’s not that important but for most people It’s important as it makes controlling TV works easier. With Samsung smart remote, you can control your TV using your voice as It’s completed with Voice Interaction technology.

This Smart Remote available on Samsung UN75JU7100, while you only can find standard remote with Samsung UN75JU6500. Although standard remote is fine on controlling your TV and your Smart TV platform, but you can simply do more things easier using smart remote control.

For your note, the remote control used by Samsung UN75JU7100 is TM1560A model and standard remote of Samsung UN75JU6500 is TM1260C.

Which One to Choose?

The first thing to consider when you make a choice is you budget. If you don’t mind spend around $1500 more for your 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV then you have to consider Samsung UN75JU7100 as you can find better picture quality with the new combination of Peak Illuminator – Precision black technology as well as smoother fast action images with Motion Rate 240 as the current highest standard of Motion Rate. In the feature aspect, you can also enjoy 3D entertainment on Samsung UN75JU7100 although you have to purchase separate 3D glasses, as well as easier way to control your TV and its Smart TV platform with Smart Remote Control.

Samsung UN75JU7100 is also getting excellent customers feedback so that you don’t need to hesitate to order one. Order Samsung UN75JU7100 Here

Do you have limited budget for your 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV? You can still get a good 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV by choosing Samsung UN75JU6500. It’s indeed missing peak illuminator-precision black technology and use lower Motion Rate 120 as well as no 3D feature and no Smart Remote but basically what you need is excellent 4K UHD picture quality and powerful Smart TV platform right?

That’s what you can get on Samsung UN75JU6500. So if you can’t afford $1500 more your 75-Inch Smart 4K UHD TV then you should go with Samsung UN75JU6500.

Gridiron Gang

Crime, Punishment and Second Chances: Gritty Gridiron Gang Star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on Personal Responsibility, Making a Difference and Acting as a Work in Progress

An interview with Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonGridiron Gang


“The Rock” stars in Columbia Pictures’ real-life drama “Gridiron Gang”

By Lee Shoquist

The moment Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson enters the room for our sit-down to discuss his inspiring new real-life drama Gridiron Gang, it is immediately clear to me why the former WWE wrestling champion turned megawatt Hollywood star was the spot-on choice to play Sean Porter, a counselor and unlikely football coach to a motley band of juvenile delinquents.

In a story about discovering self-confidence and redemption through second chances in the grim world of teenaged incarceration, Dwayne Johnson—with his stacked, 6’4”, 225 lb. frame, confidently approaching gait and accessibly warm, pearly smile is nothing if not presence. Onscreen he’s magnetic all right. In person, the guy inspires awe.

The Oscar Igloo: One of the most important concepts in Gridiron Gang in this film is that a single person can make a difference in the life of another if he shows up at just the right time.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Sure. I know firsthand what that’s like. I was arrested multiple times by the time I was seventeen. When I was fourteen, I had been arrested five or six times. I had that one guy in my life who cared enough to invest time in me who said, ‘Listen, you’re going to stop screwing up. I want you to go play football for the high school freshman football team.’

One of his officers was going to be an assistant coach at the time. I played for them and did not learn my lesson. It was a work in progress. I continued to get in trouble and arrested. It wasn’t until I was seventeen, through my high school football coach and my mom and my dad as well… That gives you a prime example of (what can happen) when you invest a little bit of time in a kid. I was running the streets and making all of the wrong decisions, getting involved with people who were not good people. I was fortunate. I got a second shot. If it weren’t for those people in my life who cared, who knows what I would have done? I’m fortunate.

LS: In that sense, Gridiron Gang seems like a film written for you.

DJ: I’ve got to say that when I start to think about the fact that it has been around for fifteen years and Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone all wanted to be Sean Porter at some point, I’m lucky. There’s a bigger reason I believe it fell into my lap. I was one of these kids. I understand that. Now being a daddy to a little five-year-old girl, I understand the power of being a parent and a mentor and the value of what sports can teach our kids.

LS: What did you learn about these kids in your time shooting at the real-life Camp Kilpatrick?

DJ: That was eye opening for us. It was motivating for us as well. We’re invading their turf but respect their turf and respect what the probation officers are doing there. You realize that even though they are bad a** kids who committed some heinous crimes, and they should be punished and they are; they realize that. But at the end of the day they realize that. They are just kids. They deserve a second chance; a second shot. We’re filming every day. These kids are watching from behind their bars, solitary confinement, and to tell them, ‘This is a movie we’re making about you guys that ends on a positive note. The kids before you got out. A couple got shot dead. A couple are serving life terms in other prisons. But you can change.’

LS: Why do you think it’s an important movie for young people today versus most of the nonsense that comes out of Hollywood aimed at their demographic?

DJ: (laughs) I’ve made some of that too! It’s important for a lot of reasons. The kids who are locked up, and I’ve spent a lot of time with them, don’t see tomorrow. They come from a world of neglect; a world of failure. But white, black, Latin, Asian, rich or poor, there is still a value to be learned as a kid; a value structure—the value of competition in sports; the value of sacrificing your own personal goals and needs for the better part of the team. Whether it’s in a business setting or a team like this, college, high school or whatever level it is, just being part of that team, setting a goal, failing at that goal, learning how to deal with that failure, being gracious with your successes—all those things you take with you. Talking to the men and women on probation, there’s a power of expectation. We can’t forget when we tell our kids, ‘I expect you to do better. I expect you to challenge yourself. I expect you to make the right decision. You’re going to do great and I expect you to recognize that.’ If you tell a kid that, nine times out of ten they are going to respond in a positive way. With me, exact same thing. Mind you, it took me a lot of times of hearing that from people. But there is that power of expectation.

LS: Let’s talk about your approach to constructing Sean Porter, who must be a fascinating person to portray.

DJ: I reflected very much on my own experiences. I watched a documentary and I was moved by it. You laugh, you cry—all of the things that you do when you watch the movie. As far as acting, now what I can tell you from experience is there is this awesome responsibility you have as an actor when you are portraying someone who is alive, watching you intensely, making sure you get it right. Sean Porter was reluctant about the movie at first. I’ll tell you why and it will give you an idea what kind of man he is. He said, ‘Listen, there are kids portrayed here who are still alive and responsible citizens in the community; good men with families. What happens if their employers don’t know the bad crimes that the committed? What happens if Junior Palaita’s employer doesn’t know that he beat and killed people with a baseball bat? How is this going to affect his life?’ He was adamantly against the movie at first. He came around and said, ‘If you’re going to tell this story, tell it like it is. The world these kids come from is real. It’s gritty. It’s not nice. But it is positive. It’s something that we preach to these kids every day.’ He said, ‘If you don’t do that, you have failed me and you have failed these kids. I’m telling you man to man, if it doesn’t happen, you have failed me.’ That’s powerful to me, for another guy to sit across from me and tell me that. I appreciate that. I was really grateful for that.

LS: Talk about what Sean gets back from this experience. It’s clear what the kids are getting from him, but what does he learn?

DJ: Sure. I think what Sean gets back, and Sean is one of those guys it’s like pulling teeth to get information out of. It had to be earned. For example, the mom stuff he never told me. What Sean got out of that- I asked him, ‘Did you ever think you were doing incredible things? Did you ever think you were going to save lives?’ He said, ‘I never thought I was going to save lives, but I honestly just cared about these kids. No one else cares about these kids. I care about these kids.’ I think through that whole season that was a defining time for Sean.

LS: Do you feel like a role model as Sean is in Gridiron Gang? Do you feel that responsibility?

DJ: A hundred percent. We all have responsibility. I have responsibility not only as a celebrity but also as an adult. We all have that responsibility to kids and to take care of our kids. As a celebrity that is non-negotiable. It annoys me when some say, ‘I’m not a role model.’ You are. It’s non-negotiable. Kids look up to you. That’s important.

LS: What’s your take on your acting career today? How has your transition into movies been? Your roles now seem to be broadening a bit.

DJ: I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had a wide array of movies offered to me from comedy to action. But with a movie like this, not only is it an incredible story, but then for me as an actor to be challenged and then to grow. As you can imagine, when I first started five or six years ago, I knew I wanted to become a versatile actor, I just wasn’t getting the material that was going to allow me to do that. It just wasn’t coming my way. I understand that. But I’m fortunate to get this, especially with a story like this that resonates on a lot of levels.

LS: How do you balance that? Obviously being The Rock was your entry point into acting. So is there going to be a point where you have gone from The Rock to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to just Dwayne Johnson? Is there a point you will want to shed The Rock from the credits? Will it become more of a curse for you as a serious actor?

DJ: That’s a good question. I don’t think it’s going to be curse. I think it’s on this trajectory now where it is naturally happening, which is nice. For example, with The Scorpion King, I didn’t want to sit down five years ago and say, ‘Please refer to me only as Dwayne Johnson, the Actor, and don’t refer to me as The Rock!’ The Rock was my nickname and it stuck, and over the course of time, through performances- for example, in Be Cool, which became a defining performance, people said, ‘Wow, we understand.’ It happened more naturally. I was just getting referred to as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. In Southland Tales it is just Dwayne Johnson. I’m sure for now it’s going to remain Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson until it naturally takes another turn. (Wrestling) was a great launching point for me; a great opportunity for me. I don’t regret any of that nor do I try and hide that past. Interestingly enough there are so many people I run into who have no idea I had that past. They had no idea that I wrestled!

LS: When did you realize you had a future as an actor? At the beginning it must have just been a side hobby or fun pursuit.

DJ: It was after The Scorpion King happened and into The Rundown. But at that time it was defining for me. It wasn’t like I nailed a scene and now I’ve got a future. What was defining was realizing that in order to do this and be good at what you’re doing, you have got to apply yourself and you have got to be 100% committed. It had to be one or the other, because there is too much involved in both—the studio, millions of dollars, the other actors who have given their lives to the craft. You have to be committed! Then I saw what it takes to make it. Now, I may not. I may strike out.

LS: Which discipline is a greater challenge for you—the physical reality of wrestling or the emotional reality of acting?

DJ: The emotional reality of heavy scenes. Place yourself in that position and you’re trying to get the essence of Sean Porter. He lost his mom and had a great relationship with her. Me too, and my mom is still around, thank God for that. Things like that. I have a strained relationship with my dad, and that scene in the box where he asks me about forgiving—things like that which you have to bring back up and think about—it’s not easy. That’s when you realize acting is tough and I have a lot of respect for it. It gets me excited and motivated. I continue to be even more motivated now and inspired because I understand the process. You learn a lot in five years. You can learn as much as you want to learn. Christopher Walken said, ‘There’s always something to learn.’ That’s coming from him, and I appreciate that! I understand the process much more. It’s hard to make good movies.

LS: What might be a real stretch for you as an actor or something you might be afraid to do?

DJ: I’m not too sure I can pull off the homicidal hermaphrodite attorney! I don’t know. I’ll give it a shot! I’m 6’4”, 225 lbs. It is what it is.

Most Promising Films 2007

An early look at next year’s possible Oscar contenders

Sister, sister… Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson star as rival siblings in “The Other Boleyn Girl”

Exactly one year ago, we were not even done with the 2005 – 2006 Oscar race and we were already discussing the top contenders for this year’s race. We are Oscar buzzers, prognosticators and above all, fans and we can’t help to constantly look forward to the most important awards of world cinema in advance.

Last year, I had Dreamgirls and The Departed in our Early Predicted Five (read our last year’s article here) and yes; I also had Marie-Antoinette, All the King’s Men and Guerilla in our Top 5 (you can stop laughing out loud now). The point of predicting the Oscars, from where I see it, is more about having fun and sharing our passion than getting the most right answers.

Just like I pointed out at the end of last year’s article: most films to be listed below will either: be good but not “Oscar”-good, pushed to 2008 or simply, flop.

Having that said, we hope you enjoy our very early look at the 2007 – 2008 Oscar race and we thank you for making us a part of your Academy Awards experience through the whole year. Here we go…


1. AMERICAN GANGSTER (Universal Pictures)

Frank “Superfly” Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, was the biggest Heroin dealer on Harlem through the 70’s and narcotics detective Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe, was the man who ultimately brought Lucas down. This film, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian, tells the story of how this happened.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: While Ridley Scott, Steven Zaillian, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe haven’t had much luck on their particular recent projects, American Gangster could represent a return to shape for all the talent involved. A November release date shows the studio is confident to a point on the film’s awards prospects.

2. CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (Universal Pictures)

Based on the 2003’s best selling novel by George Crile, Mike Nichols directs this drama centered on Charlie Wilson, the Texas congressman who conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch an operation to help the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the eighties. Tom Hanks takes double duties as the film’s title character and producer. Recent Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, along with the recently nominated Amy Adams co-star.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Set to be released on Christmas Day by Universal Pictures, Charlie Wilson’s War has all the elements, talent and marketing wise, to be one of 2007’s stronger contenders including a prestigious director, a proven cast, an award-winning crew and a baity subject. TV guru Aaron Sorkin might be perceived as the film’s weakest link but while the Emmy Award winner has never scored an Oscar nomination for his screenwriting efforts, he has scored Golden Globe nominations for his writing works on A Few Good Men and The American President.


The compelling story of two Afghan men: the wealthy and California-raised Amir and his childhood friend and servant Hassan during the times of the Taliban regime in the country. Screenwriter David Benioff adapts the best selling book by Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini for acclaimed director Marc Forster.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Despite being the creator of Academy Award winning films like Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland, young director Marc Forster has yet to receive his first Oscar nomination and perhaps, his work on this relevant and politically charged drama will earn it to him.

Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly have to deal with their son’s sudden death in “Reservation Road”

4. RESERVATION ROAD (Focus Features)

An intense drama about the outcomes of a hit and run car accident and how it affects the lives of the families of the fugitive driver and his victim. Oscar nominated writer Terry George directs and adapts the famed novel by John Burnham Schwartz. Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino and Mark Ruffalo star.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Oscar friendly by excellence, the adaptation of the best selling novel is poised to become a prominent contender in the acting categories. Characters full with flaws, fears and regret collide after an unfortunate car accident. Joaquin Phoenix plays the leading role as the father dealing with his son’s sudden death and Mark Ruffalo plays the baity role of the remorseful killer.

5. THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paramount Pictures)

The famous 1927’s novel Oil! gets its first big screen treatment on the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation There Will Be Blood. The story revolves around a Texas oil developer (Daniel Day Lewis) and his thorny relationships with the town locals and his family.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Gifted director Paul Thomas Anderson directs Daniel Day Lewis, among others, in his own adaptation of the iconic novel by Upton Sinclair where baity topics like greed, religion and business power merge.

(In order of likelihood)

6. LIONS FOR LAMBS (MGM / United Artists)

Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep star in the Robert Redford war drama focused on the lives of a group of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. This film marks the first production by Tom Cruise for MGM’s United Artists since he was named chief of the division.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Tom Cruise doesn’t rule the world yet but he, at least, rules Hollywood and his clout should be enough to give this upcoming drama a high profile release date and a lot of buzz. Having Meryl Streep and Robert Redford attached to your project can’t hurt either.

7. 3:10 TO YUMA (Lions Gate Films)

A remake of the 1957’s western classic by Walk the Line’s director James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Peter Fonda.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: It’s been a while since a western has caused any impact on the Awards Season and things are not likely to change anytime soon. Nevertheless, this adaptation could break out of the mold and earn some attention thanks to its pedigree cast and crew.

8. EASTERN PROMISES (Focus Features)

Oscar nominated screenwriter Steven Knight is behind David Cronenberg’s latest project about crime and prostitution in London. Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel star.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Crime, sex and violence have been successfully explored by acclaimed director David Cronenberg on his past projects and after the favourable reception of last year’s A History of Violence, this project could go even further with the right push from Focus Features.

9. THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (Columbia Pictures)

The divisive but best selling historical novel about the rivalry between the aristocrat sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn gets its first film treatment by screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) and director Justin Chadwick. The film is told through the eyes of Mary, played by Scarlett Johansson, who always lived overshadowed by her famous sister Anne, played by Oscar nominee Natalie Portman.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Recent female-centric period pieces dealing with topics such as rivalry, high-class life style and jealously like Memoirs of a Geisha and Marie Antoinette have proven there’s a small gap between making a good, accurate film or a catty and superficial one. Screenwriter Peter Morgan is poised to receive an Oscar nod this year for his acclaimed work on The Queen and maybe, his upcoming look at the 16th century aristocracy will be closer to that project than to the Sofia Coppola’s one. Fans will go crazy but with the novel itself being harshly criticized, there’s a lot to prove for this project (which is better than starting with unreachable expectations).

Cate Blanchett reprises her star-making role as Queen Elizabeth I in “The Golden Age”

10. THE GOLDEN AGE (Universal Pictures)

A sequel to the critically acclaimed Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth I and the film focuses on her relationship with another noble Sir. Walter Raleigh, played by Clive Owen; during the Golden Years of her reign. Geoffrey Rush also reprises his role as Walsingham. Director Shekhar Kapur and writer Michael Hirsch return for the sequel too.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: With most of the key talent involved on Elizabeth back for the sequel, most of the film’s success will rely on Hirsch’s screenplay and Blanchett’s performance as The Virgin Queen.


11. MICHAEL CLAYTON (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The worst four days in the career of NY top attorney Michael Clayton are told in this story written and directed by Tony Gilroy and starring George Clooney as the lead character along with Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack.

Oscar Potential: Acting Categories

We think: More likely to gain acclaim for its performances than for itself, the film could mark the return of former nominees (and winners) to the Oscar race.

12. SILK (New Line Cinema / Picturehouse)

A passionate love story about a French silkworm smuggler, played by Michael Pitt, who falls in love for a Japanese concubine during a trade trip and begins to have an affair with her, leaving his wife; Keira Knightley, alone. Canadian director Francois Girard adapts and directs, Alfred Molina co-stars.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Having New Line Cinema as distributor is never a good sign for a project with Oscar hopes but the acclaimed source material, the confident fall release date and the solid cast will definitely place the film in the spotlight.

13. SWEENEY TODD (DreamWorks SKG)

Tim Burton directs the long awaited Broadway adaptation with Johnny Depp playing the infamous title character. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen co-star.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: The key to a good Broadway adaptation is a good screenwriter adapting it for the big screen. Concerning the upcoming Tim Burton project, everything seems to be in good hands with Oscar nominated writer John Logan in charge. From that point, the overall success of these genre films depends on the their tone.


An unconventional biopic of legendary musician Bob Dylan by Oscar nominee Todd Haynes and starring, among others: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Julianne Moore as Dylan, through different stages of his life and career.

Oscar Potential: Acting & Writing

We think: Atypical AMPAS to the least, the film is poised to debut at Cannes next May and it will probably attract lots of attention given its strong cast and unusual concept.

15. RENDITION (New Line Cinema)

A CIA analyst in Cairo witnesses an unorthodox interrogation of a foreigner by the Egyptian secret police in director Gavin Hood’s first Hollywood project. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin.

Oscar Potential: Acting & Writing

We think: After winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last March for Tsotsi, Gavin Hood’s first directorial effort in Hollywood has been blessed with a suggestive release date and a cast of Oscar winners and nominees. It’s hard to tell if the film will be Oscar friendly material though.


16. MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS (The Weinstein Company)

World renowned filmmaker Wong Kar Wai directs his first English language project about a young woman’s road trip across the country to resolve her questions about love and the meaning of life. Singer Norah Jones, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, David Strathairn and Natalie Portman star.

Oscar Potential: Acting & Directing

We think: Wong Kar Wai has earned acclaim for his work on the Hong Kong film industry and this could be the director’s chance to introduce his work to a wider audience with this Hollywood project.

Oscar nominee Javier Bardem stars in “Love in the Time of Cholera”


Oscar winner Ronald Harwood adapts the world famous novel by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez about a lifelong love triangle in the late 19th century’s South America. The TV film stars Javier Bardem, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benjamin Bratt and John Leguizamo.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Films based on award-winning print sources can only go wrong if they are ruined during the adaptation process. Screenwriter Ronald Harwood won the Oscar for his work on The Pianist and he is now in charge of Mike Newell’s ambitious film so it seems the project is in good hands.

Controversy Ahead: Lindsay Lohan and Jared Leto on the set of “Chapter 27”

18. CHAPTER 27 (N/A)

Jared Leto plays Mark David Chapman, the much despised man who is responsible for John Lennon’s assassination on the debut of writer and director Jarrett Schaeffer. Lindsay Lohan co-stars.

Oscar Potential: Acting Categories

We think: The very controversial Chapter 27 is about to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and will probably acquire distribution soon after. Expect Jared Leto to become an early contender if his performance is well received at the festival (and also expect a lot of loathe to the film and its depiction of Chapman’s motivations).

19. AN AMERICAN CRIME (First Look Studios)

The kidnap, torture and murder of Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) in the 60’s through the eyes of her murderess Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener).

Oscar Potential: Acting Categories

We think: What’s more Oscar friendly than a female killer? A female serial killer… But in this case, a solid performance by the well respected Kenner as the housewife turned murderess Baniszewski could earn the actress her third Oscar nomination.

20. EVENING (Focus Features)

Vanessa Redgrave is Ann Grant, a 65-year old woman about to die of cancer who remembers her life through hallucinations induced by morphine. Awake, she has to deal with her grown-up children and asleep, she remembers the best and worst moments of her life. Patrick Wilson, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep co-star.

Oscar Potential: Acting Categories

We think: Superb is the best way to describe Evening’s cast but its summer release date is dooming its Oscar hopes way in advance.


21. IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (Warner Bros. Pictures)

A career office played by Tommy Lee Jones investigates the disappearance of his son, an exemplary soldier who mysteriously disserted the forces after his return from Iraq. Paul Haggis writes and directs the war drama also starring Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon and James Franco.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: Paul Haggis is one of the most popular names within the Academy these days thanks to his work on the Oscar winning films Million Dollar Baby and Crash. Will he repeat his success with this upcoming project or will Elah go the same route as his most recent project, the loudly buzzed but poorly received Flags of our Fathers?

22. THE BUCKET LIST (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Two terminally ill men played by Oscar winners Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they die in the latest film by director Rob Reiner.

Oscar Potential: Acting Categories

We think: Arguably the best pairing of actors for any 2007 release, Nicholson and Freeman seem likely to gain buzz if the film gets a decent release date… and positive reviews.

Risky Business? Nicole Kidman stars in the big budget epic “The Golden Compass”


The first part of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed trilogy His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass is directed by Chris Weitz and stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Eva Green. It will be New Line Cinema’s biggest budget project since The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Oscar Potential: All Categories

We think: After The Lord of the Rings films, the bar for fantasy epics has been set way too high and while this adaptation is set to be another feast for the eyes, it’s uncertain if it can reach the same level of its predecessor films.

24. MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (Paramount Classics)

Oscar nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach directs Nicole Kidman on this dramedy about a mother who takes her son out to visit family for a weekend and ends up discovering more about her and her life choices. Jack Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Turturro co-star.

Oscar Potential: Acting & Writing

We think: Baumbach got acclaim and multiple awards for his treatment of complex family relations in the successful The Squid and the Whale so there’s no surprise that his follow-up project is packed with very strong buzz. When more details about the project are revealed, we’ll know what this film’s main goals are.

“Becoming Jane” stars Anne Hathaway as the famous novelist Jane Austen

25. BECOMING JANE (Columbia Pictures)

The stormy biopic of English novelist Jane Austen, played by Anne Hathaway, author of classic books as Pride & Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Maggie Smith and Julie Walters costar.

Oscar Potential: Acting, Artistic & Technical Categories

We think: Fresh from her commercial success with The Devil Wears Prada and her introduction to more mature films with Brokeback Mountain, Anne Hathaway is already collecting buzz for her portrayal of the iconic Austen but she’ll have to face the big challenge to convince critics she can pull a British accent.


26. Youth Without Youth
27. Atonement
28. Georgia Rule
29. Savage Grace
30. The Ice At The Bottom Of The World
31. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
32. The Brave One
33. The Bourne Ultimatum
34. Keep Coming Back
35. Marriage
36. Spider-Man 3
37. Shrek The Third
38. Ratatouille
39. Awake
40. Bronte
41. Logan’s Run
42. Emma’s War
43. The Crusaders
44. Vantage Point
45. Manolete
46. A Mighty Heart
47. Catch & Release
48. Hairspray
49. Spinning Into Butter
50. Untitled Alan Ball Project (Based on the novel Towelhead)

Despite good buzz, “Zodiac” has been pushed back to March


The following films could be good or not, but the studios have decided to release them on dumpy months or they remain canned:

51. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
52. Zodiac
53. Goya’s Ghosts
54. Next
55. Across the Universe
56. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
57. Lonely Hearts
58. Reign Over Me
59. Premonition
60. Quiet Type


Are we missing anything? Let us know what and why and we’ll add it! Email Us!

61. Cassandra’s Dream
62. Beowulf
62. In Bloom
63. The TV Set
64. Dark Matter
65. Rescue Dawn
66. Bug


From serial killers to historical figures, there are some roles that seem made directly to please the Academy. Here are some of the most Oscar friendly characters to be featured on 2007’s cinema:

The Ladies (In no particular order)

1. Natalie Portman in The Other Boleyn Girl
2. Cate Blanchett in The Golden Age
3. Sarah Jessica Parker in Spinning Into Butter
4. Reese Witherspoon in Rendition
5. Catherine Keener in An American Crime
6. Naomi Watts in Eastern Promises
7. Anne Hathaway in Becoming Jane
8. Salma Hayek in Lonely Hearts
9. Norah Jones in My Blueberry Nights
10. Vanessa Redgrave in Evening

The Gentlemen (in no particular order)

1. Denzel Washington in American Gangster
2. Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War
3. Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
4. George Clooney in Michael Clayton
5. Jake Gyllenhaal in Rendition (And Zodiac)
6. Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd
7. Joaquin Phoenix in Reservation Road
8. Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises
9. Mark Ruffalo in Reservation Road
10. Jared Leto in Chapter 27


While we can predict what films will be good judging them by the talent attached to them, we can’t really predict what will be of the Academy’s taste. Most of the films we have featured on this special are likely to disappoint or disappear from the release schedule but there’s probably at least one here that will eventually win an Oscar.

Thank you for sharing Awards Season 2006 with us, the best is yet to come…