Parents, and baby, remake 'Star Wars,' 'Alien' with cardboard

When your home is overrun with cardboard boxes thanks to a move, you can store them in the basement, recycle them, or better yet, transform them into your own magical world full of dinosaurs, aliens, sharks, and Jedi.

That's exactly what Lilly and Leon Mackie did to entertain themselves and their newborn son, Orson. Rather than get rid of all their boxes, they built movie sets and props out of them, and other household items, to re-create scenes from their favorite films -- with themselves as the stars. … Read more

Top 40 must-have Blu-ray discs

As 2013 winds to a close -- and as many of you will soon be looking to spend gift cards -- we thought this was a good time to update our list of must-have Blu-ray discs. We've added three new 2013 films, each of which will max out your home theater system, both visually and aurally.

Though my face is at the top of the column, the list was compiled with input from editors John Falcone, Matthew Moskovciak, and David Katzmaier, who look at a lot of video content in their day-to-day testing of products. We also keep an eye on AVS Forum's Blu-ray picture quality and audio quality threads, and have always appreciated the site's tiered rating system.

This list is not set in stone, and we'll be adding and removing discs as new ones come out. As always, feel free to make comments and suggest your own personal favorites. They may get added to the list in the future. … Read more

'The Hobbit' stars read 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins'

First released as a single, "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" by Charles Randolph Grean pays homage to Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and was sung by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. It became a folk hit in the late '60s, and was rediscovered decades later by fans on YouTube.

In this IGN video, the stars of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" perform a dramatic reading of Nimoy's famous song. The video proves once again that actor Benedict Cumberbatch can make even a campy song sound like a Shakespearean sonnet.

And here's the original … Read more

iPad app makes kids the stars of interactive 'movie'

Speech recognition is a tough computing problem, but Toy Talk thinks it has cracked the code -- at least for kids.

Today, the San Francisco startup launched the latest version of its iPad app, known as The Winston Show. The app is built around the idea of kids having a spoken conversation with a cartoon character known as Winston and immediately incorporating the discussion into various animated skits. It's as if Apple's Siri was the front end for a variety show.

The Winston Show launched in Apple's App Store in September, and it already featured a variety … Read more

Darth Vader took an iPhone selfie?

Does evil love itself?

Does it crave to stare at its own image and perhaps even one day sext?

This might seem possible after witnessing a selfie posted to the new "Star Wars" Instagram account.

For here is Darthness itself, in the person of the Lord Vader, behaving like a 13-year-old high school student.

He chooses his best side and he shoots.

Of course, this is all publicity for "Star Wars: Episode VII," whose premiere is a full two years away.

Will Disney be able to maintain Instagram interest for those two years? And look at … Read more

Buy Chromecast and get $6 Google Play credit

In the spirit of Black Friday, Google is offering shoppers credit if they buy the Chromecast video dongle within the next week.

Between Friday and December 7, a Chromecast purchase will get users a $6 credit on Google Play that can be used for an HD movie rental or anything else in the online store. The credit cannot be used toward a discount on devices or subscriptions -- it's only for items $6 or less.

To get the deal, shoppers can buy Chromecast at several retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and on Google Play.

Google's Chromecast is like … Read more

Xbox brings video and TV show streaming to the Web

Xbox has made another move in its attempt to be all about home entertainment. Microsoft announced Wednesday that it has brought the Xbox Video store to the Web.

What this means is users can now watch movies and TV shows from the Xbox Video store in Web browsers using Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in, in addition to on their Xbox or Windows 8.1 device. Movies and television series are available for rental at and users can also watch whatever they've already purchased -- since all content is stored in the cloud.

This new feature works similarly to … Read more

Review: Naturpic Video Converter wows with tons of format support, speed, & options

Naturpic Video Converter gives all of the format support and speed you'd want from a video converter. It's loaded with features and doesn't even bog your video down with a nasty watermark. It's tough to imagine a situation where someone would need more than all of the power this awesome converter offers.

Though this program is labeled as a video converter, it also works with audio files. It has a very basic, clean interface, but it's not unattractive by any means. It actually makes the program much easier to use compared to its competition. Naturpic … Read more

Review: Action Movie FX helps you create customized action style movie clips

Action Movie FX is a big budget app with big budget effects that you can add to a video clip captured on your phone or tablet. The resulting videos often look fantastic, and while the app limits what you can do with the included free effects, most videos turn out looking pretty amazing, even when they don't quite match up to the instructions.

When you open up Action Movie FX for the first time, you can tell immediately that it's a solidly crafted app. The music, the visual effects when you move your phone, and the video between … Read more

George Clooney: Famous people shouldn't be on Twitter

We so often read about the excessive impulses of the famous.

Their drugs, their affairs, their tantrums, and their hastily conceived children.

So it's a rarity to hear a famous actor championing restraint.

In an interview with Esquire, George Clooney, the thinking man's Adonis, expressed how PO'd he is with the recently IPO'd Twitter. Or, rather, with the people who lurk there.

Twitter, believes Clooney, is not for the famous.

He began: "If you're famous, I don't -- for the life of me -- I don't understand why any famous person would … Read more