I go to the movies when there’s a movie that I really want to see and don’t want to wait for it to come out on Blu-ray or streaming. Here in Michigan I usually go to an AMC theater. AMC has a rewards program called Stubs and of course this means carrying a Stubs Rewards Card with your barcode on it. I had already stopped carrying the card and just put the number in my Cardstar App. However, last night they released an update to their App to support Passbook. I decided to give it a shot since Passbook offers the advantage of being able to bring up your card when you’re near the business that supports it. Sure enough the AMC App let me add the card for my “favorite theater”. The App let’s you do all the things you would expect. You can find your closest theater, see show times, and buy tickets. You can also check your purchase history and Stubs balances. Lastly you can view cast info and trailers as well as share your movie choices via social media such Facebook and Twitter. This update also supports the iPhone 5 screen size.
Sounds good! What’s not to like?
This App works as advertised, but there is room for improvement. First off the text is on the small side throughout the app. It’s like they tried to cram a lot of stuff on each screen. This also means that the buttons are small and sometimes hard to tap. My next complaint actually has more to do with AMC theaters in general. The fact that I can purchase tickets online or via the App is great, but it seems kinda silly that I have to go to a kiosk and print my ticket when I arrive. Why do we need paper tickets in 2012? Next up is the electronic Stubs card now in Passbook. If I walk into my local AMC and want to buy a ticket via the kiosk, there is no way for me to manually put in my Stubs number or scan it. The kiosks only work with the physical card. In other words the kiosks need to go! I should be able to buy my tickets via the App and have those tickets show up in Passbook along with the Stubs card. When I get to the theater the guy/girl ticket taker scans my phone and away I go. The irony is that the concession stand actually gets this right. If you make a food purchase they can scan your Stubs card right off your phone.
The Bottom Line
I’m very happy to see AMC move forward with their App and support Passbook in iOS 6. However, they need to move faster towards eliminating the need for paper tickets at the actual theaters themselves. If you’re an AMC movie goer, then there is no reason not to have this App.
Let’s face it. Buying concert and event tickets can really make you feel like you’re being ripped off at times. Gone are the days where people would camp out in front of the box office window the night or days before tickets go on sale to get the 1st or best seats. Back in those days you were pretty much just making sure that you got a good seat. The price was the price. Today there are multiple online sources to get tickets and the price is not “the price.” The price is what you’re willing to pay to sit where you want to sit on the day you want to go. Yep, it’s a racket! Ticketmaster is often a go to place for event tickets and they tend to be pretty reliable in letting you buy good seats and “reasonable” prices.
The Tickemaster app has recently been updated to let you not only search for events around you, but in other areas you’re thinking about going to or will be visiting. Prior to this update the App wasn’t very useful in my opinion. Now when you find an event you can see the ticket prices and buy your tickets right in the Appl You can also get push notifications for sales and last minute ticket availability. I think that’s probably one of the best features of a “mobile app”. We’re not always in front of our computers. So when an App can alert you to something that you would otherwise have missed by the time you got back to your computer, it’s a good thing. The app also offers suggestions after a quick scan of your music library to see which artists you like.
The Bottom Line
This update is definitely an improvement, but it could still use some work. For example, it would be nice to be able to save multiple cities as “Favorites” to be alerted for events going on in those cities. When I went through the process to buy tickets it prompted me for the captcha like picture where you type the letters numbers you see in the picture. Of course this can be a pain in the but on a mobile keyboard and I have to guess that there’s an easier way to detect if you’re a human or not coming in from their own App. The Ticketmaster App is Free and if you like concerts and other events there is no reason not to have it. You can use it to check prices and buy tickets. Best of all you get alerts.
As Apple starts to break out the functionality of the “Music” App, they have provided a New Apple Podcasts App. This makes it easy to go right to the Podcasts App, search, subscribe, and play the audio and video podcasts that you want without having to find them in the Music App. I downloaded this free App and was pleasantly surprised to see that two of my downloaded podcasts were there and ready to play. Like the iBooks App the App is designed to allow you to see your existing content or flip it over to see the “Catalog” of available podcasts. You can either stream an episode right in the App, download it for later viewing or subscribe so that future episodes are automatically downloaded.
The App is pretty basic, and does exactly what it describes. It’s a Universal App that works natively on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. I’d love to see a “genius” feature that would recommend new podcasts based on the ones that I’m already subscribed to.
By now you've probably seen the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol or at least the trailer. In one of the scenes Tom Cruise seeming barely escapes death by a flying car that crashes to the ground right behind him. We all know that these effects are often done with green screen and CGI, but what if you could do these kind of effects right on your iPhone with a few taps of your finger. That's exactly what Action Movie FX allows you to do. You fire up the App, choose your effect, record your scene in the App and then choose where in your clip's timeline you want the effect to happen. Tap a button to process the video and you're done! The saved movie will be 720p resolution even on an iPhone 4s that can record in 1080p.
Here's one that I did last night while setting up for my event
I was blown away by the quality of the overlay considering that I had to do absolutely no keying on my own. What's even more amazing is that the App is FREE! Once you have your processed video you can save it to your Camera Roll, Send it via email or post it on Facebook right from the App. Of course once it's on your Camera Roll you can upload it to just about any other service or App such as YouTube. The App comes with three scenes, "Missile Attack", "Car Smash" and "Demolition Rock". There is an option to do an in-app purchase to buy more effects. However, to date I've not been able to get the store to load in the App. Once it does I'll gladly buy some more effects at $0.99 each.
UPDATE: The FX store finally loaded in the App and there are 4 more "2 Packs" of effects to choose from (8 total effects) at $0.99 per 2 pack.
You can get Action Movie FX for FREE here from the