41: ‘Transcendence’ Starring Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall
Apr 2014 29

This week on the show we back up (and run over) Transcendence. We took a week off for Easter (some of us love Jesus, some of us love candy, some of us love plastic grass). We also touch briefly on The Other Woman and Brick Mansions.

Dan is out this week. He failed our weekly drug test due to his love of plastic grass. But Kevin still has a box office report.

So listen to us shake the rust off for Reel Spoilers #41: Transcendence*.

You’ve been warned.

*Now with 100% more Vitamin C!

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AT&T Wants You to Have Ridiculously Fast Internet in St. Louis! Is Fiber Coming Soon?
Apr 2014 24

ATT Uverse Logo TransparentIf Google won’t bring gigabit internet to St. Louis, then AT&T will. At least, that’s the plan.

AT&T announced today that St. Louis would be one of 21 new candidate metropolitan areas to see 1,000 Mbps (“1,000 megabit” or 1 Gbps, “1 gigabit”) broadband internet speeds. Of the new municipalities mentioned that could be receiving the new GigaPower services, there were five listed in our area: Chesterfield, Edwardsville, Florissant, Granite City, and St. Louis.

Move over Google Fiber! There might be a new challenger coming to town!

Move over Google Fiber! There might be a new challenger coming to town!

Google made waves back in 2011 when it announced its Google Fiber initiative to bring gigabit internet speeds to the masses. They chose Kansas City as their first Fiber community, and have since then announced plans for 9 more cities across the country.

St. Louis isn’t one of them.

AT&T first made their gigabit internet offering available last December for U-verse customers in Austin, Texas. The city also happens to be the second city to get the go-ahead for Google Fiber. AT&T is currently testing a “GigaPower 300” tier with speeds of 300 Mbps each direction, downloads and uploads. They plan to upgrade these customers to the ultra-fast 1 Gbps speeds sometime in 2014. For an idea of just how fast 1,000 Mbps can be, check out the following chart:

Speed Rates Comparison

As you can see, we’ve come a long way since 56k modems. These days, the home internet connection gets a pretty good workout. Streaming Netflix, watching YouTube, uploading to YouTube, uploading photos to social networks, online gaming on your console, Twitch video game streaming, Spotify and other streaming music services in the cloud, video calling over Skype/Facetime/Hangouts… if you have a slow connection, there’s not a whole lot of bandwidth to go around. No one likes to watch some icon spin while your media is buffering or your video call looks more like a Realplayer clip than an HD feed.

The fastest download speed currently offered from U-Verse depends on location. Some markets have the option of 45 Mbps downloads via two lines being combined into a single connection. Most homes in the area top out at either 24 Mbps or 18 Mbps download speeds. And that’s just downloading. Most connections are asymmmetrical, in that they give you more room for downloading (most of your internet browsing) and less room for uploading (sharing content with the world, online gaming). I’d bet that most people don’t even see over a 3 Mbps upload rate… yes, THREE megabit… and some of you are probably capped at 1.5 Mbps. But gigabit fiber will give you 1,000 Mbps in either direction, downloading or uploading.

But this goes beyond your home, and into your workplace. Businesses can also join in the fun! If you’ve ever had a video conference call, had to download e-mail attachments, or even moved your entire business to the cloud, then gigabit internet will change how business gets done. If you backup files to the cloud, gigabit fiber couldn’t arrive any sooner.

As far as pricing, AT&T is not making any statements regarding what to expect in any future rollouts. I will point out that Austin’s GigaPower 300 service is $70/month for just the 300 Mbps internet, with the “Double Play” package at $120/month for 300 Mbps internet with their U200 channel lineup. $150/month gets you the Triple Play bundle which adds voice/telephone service. One bonus to ordering the Double or Triple Play packages: they throw in a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Android tablet with your order.

Pricing is comparable to Google Fiber, but instead they hand out Nexus 7 Android tablets. One thing that distances Google from AT&T: you can get internet for “free” (capped to 5 Mbps downloads and 1 Mbps uploads), but you have to pay a one time $300 construction fee. Although, they do offer a $25/month payment plan to spread out the $300 payment across 12 months. After those 12 months have passed, you no longer have an internet bill, but you’ll have a modest connection for the rest of your life. Google does not currently offer any phone service with their Google Fiber plans.

If you’re not a current U-verse customer, you’ve likely seen wifi SSID;s with the prefix “2WIRE###” in your neighborhood. Those are the default names for AT&T’s U-verse gateways. While this doesn’t predict that your neighborhood will see gigabit internet service, it’s a good indication of where AT&T has staked a claim towards getting your patronage.

At this point, however, it’s all up to AT&T’s discussions with local leaders.

Similar to previously announced metro area selections… communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment cases based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies will influence these future selections and coverage maps within selected areas.

These network upgrades typically involve a lot of new wiring and upgrading made to existing infrastructure throughout our neighborhoods. It’s not simply flipping a switch, but making sure every wire leading up to that switch can handle the load. AT&T is offering to keep you informed of any GigaPower updates at the following URL: http://www.att.com/shop/u-verse/gigapowerupdates.html

Source: AT&T Press Release

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 opens May 2! Enter to Win Passes to the St. Louis Advance Screening!
Apr 2014 21

Enter for your chance to receive a pair of passes to a special advance screening!

Amazing Spider-Man 2 PosterWe’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead. It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field
Director: Marc Webb

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BRICK MANSIONS opens April 25! Enter to Win Passes to the St. Louis Advance Screening!
Apr 2014 21

Enter for your chance to receive a pair of passes to a special advance screening!

Brick MansionsIn a dystopian Detroit, abandoned brick mansions left from better times now house only the most dangerous criminals. Unable to control the crime, the police constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city. For undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) every day is a battle against corruption. For Lino (David Belle), every day is a fight to live an honest life. Their paths never should have crossed, but when drug kingpin, Tremaine (RZA) kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend, Damien reluctantly accepts the help of the fearless ex-convict, and together they must stop a sinister plot to devastate the entire city. With stylized action featuring thrilling Parkour stunts (David Belle is the co-founder of this physical training discipline), Brick Mansions puts an entertaining twist on the action genre.

Cast: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA
Director: Camille Delamarre

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Movie Review: ‘Transcendence’ Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany
Apr 2014 18

“Yesterday Dr. Will Caster Was Only Human.”

gofobo flyerChronologically, we have The Dark Knight Rises, Moneyball, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Italian Job, Insomnia, Memento. Those are some very impressive credits. Although Transcendence director wasn’t at the helm for the aforementioned films, he was the cinematographer – and very influential on how they turned out looking. Needless to say, the directorial debut of a D.P. with that kind of resume is sure to get some attention. Unfortunately looks aren’t all that matter when it comes to making a film, and without a cohesive story and well-written script, things tend to fall apart. At least Transcendence looked good, right? I wish I could say it did. With a background like Pfister’s, the movie should have been visually better than simply complacent.

Dr. Will Caster (Depp) is a world-renowned scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. His life’s work has lead to his most important project, a sentient computer code-named PIMM. While there are those who strongly support the work Dr. Caster is doing, there are many who fear this type of computer intelligence – mainly a group of extremists called RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology). What they are afraid of is “Transcendence,” defined as an existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. During simultaneous attacks on AI labs across the country (don’t other countries have AI research too?), Will is shot with a radiation-laced bullet and given only weeks to live. His wife and fellow researcher Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) decides to apply the research of uploading the consciousness of rhesus monkeys and apply it to her dying husband. With the help of Max (Paul Bettany), Will’s mind lives on… or is it really Will?

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