Industry News & Events


It’s the biggest annual event in superhero culture and has been going on for 46 years – and it just keeps mushrooming larger and larger each year.

Of course we’re talking about San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC), the king of all Comic-Cons, and the one by which all other Comic-Cons are measured.

SDCC 2015 exhibit floor
If you’re into comic culture, this is the place to see it all. (Photo by Jody Cortes. © 2015 SDCC)

This year’s anxiously expected event is again set to take place at the San Diego Convention Center. Gates are open on Thursday, July 21st through Saturday, July 24th from 9:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Sunday’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and there is also a Preview that will be held on Wednesday, July 20th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A SUPER-SIZED EVENT

Attendance at the first Comic-Con back in 1970 was only around 145. Last year’s show – with the biggest crowds yet – drew 167,000 fans of comic book, movie and game culture.

SDCC, which began strictly as a comic book convention, has now expanded the event to include forays into film, TV shows, horror, animation, sci fi, collectibles and much more.

They Live Trump and Hillary masks
How to make the 2016 election even scarier? They Live masks of Trump and Clinton, sure to be seen among the cosplay at this year’s SDCC! (Mask designs by Trick or Treat Studios.)

THE OLYMPICS OF COSPLAY

For the outside world – keeping up with Comic-Con through web reports – the biggest attraction of the show is always the world-class cosplay that pays tribute to beloved characters from the worlds of comics and entertainment.

So what are going to be this year’s most popular cosplay characters? We have a few ideas:

Deadpool…Big year for the comic, plus a hit movie with Ryan Reynolds. Expect to see numerous fan tributes.
Ghostbusters…In keeping with the new blockbuster, it’s the ladies’ turn to show up in proton packs and jumpsuits!
Star Wars…Multiple characters from The Force Awakens, the hugely successful latest installment in the world’s most popular film series.
Trump & Clinton…Hey, it is an election year, after all.

Star Trek Beyond
Trekkers will have a special attraction at this year’s SDCC: a first look at the new Star Trek Beyond. (Image: SDCC)

SPECIAL GUESTS ON TAP

San Diego Comic-Con always pulls some big names from the worlds of comics, fantasy and science fiction – and this year’s show won’t disappoint. In addition to the usual adding of some last-minute headliners, here are just some of the many guests slated to appear:

Jason Aaron (Scalped, Marvel’s Star Wars, and currently developing a female Thor for Marvel!)
Trina Robbins (Hall of Fame cartoonist who has drawn essential comics like Wonder Woman and written successful histories of the comics art.)
Satoshi Yamamoto (Pokemon Adventures)
William Gibson (Whose sci-fi epic Neuromancer jump-started the cyberpunk movement and was the first “triple-crown winner” of sci fi’s biggest three awards.)

and last but not least…

Stan Lee (Guiding spirit of Marvel Comics and engineer of its 60s revolution in psychological realism. Creator or co-creator of too many major comics characters to count – although one estimate puts it in triple digits.)

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman has been a symbol of female empowerment for seven decades. One of her illustrators, Trina Robbins, will speak at SDCC. (Wonder Woman™ DC Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strip 1943-1944 © IDW Publishing.)

A SUPER TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL

San Diego Comic-Con has grown into more than just a nice little local convention. It’s now the city’s biggest annual draw, credited with bringing as much as $200 million of economic impact to the area.

Why does it keep growing each year? Because it’s one of the most fun experiences you can have in San Diego! More than that, it’s a chance to stand up proudly for characters too often dismissed by mainstream media and show the personal allegiance you feel with superheroes and other characters.

SDCC celebrates comic-book culture. We can’t wait to see the cool pix to come from this year’s show!

When you’re the economic engine of the world’s biggest corporation – with estimated assets of $540 billion – people take notice when you make a big announcement.

Tech giant Google (now part of Alphabet, Inc.) dominated all industry news this week at its much-anticipated Google I/O 2016 conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

google_io_16

Google has been home to a whirlwind of activity lately, in many areas. So industry observers were expecting Google to announce a full plate of new offerings, and the world’s most powerful tech company didn’t disappoint.

Here are the major Google I/O announcements that have generated the most interest in the tech world:

Daydream Believer
daydream_vr
Here’s a bold new idea: create a VR platform expressly for mobile users. Google’s Daydream builds on the existing VR experience offered by Google Cardboard.

Like Android for VR before it, Daydream supports an ecosystem of VR content through its Android N. That custom material includes special versions of Google apps such as YouTube, Google Photos, Street View, Play Movies and the Google Play Store. And major outfits (like HBO, Netflix, Electronic Arts and Netflix) are hard at work, developing VR content for use on Daydream.

New phones equipped with special sensors and screens will be required in order to get the full Daydream experience, and eager consumers will have to wait until fall, when we see the first Daydream models from Samsung, LG, HTC and other manufacturers.

Planning a New Google VR Headset
google_headset_plan
Some observers expected Google to announce its next VR headgear, a successor to its successful Google Cardboard headset.

The reference design that was displayed to the gathered faithful showed a VR headset that is smartphone-powered and slightly resembles an Oculus Rift.

Although it had no headset to display at Google I/O, company reps were quick to point out that the new headset design is being provided to various manufacturers, in hopes that they will produce such a headset.

A Next-Gen Google Assistant
google_assistant_for_2016
Voice-based assistants are like children; it’s amazing how quickly they grow up. For Google Assistant, its new version unveiled at Google I/O, the changes are striking.

Before, Google Assistant was all about typing searches. Now it’s about talking through those searches with you, and the program has become better at understanding nuance and figuring out the context of questions.

There’s even a coaching feature called “suggestion chips,” through which Google Assistant tries to look over your shoulder at your friends’ chat comments and give you ideas for cool replies you can answer. Nice!

Doubling Down on Messaging Apps
google_allo_and_duo
At Google I/O, reps presented a pair of cool new messaging apps. One of them is named Allo, a mobile-only app that you can link to your Google account. The newly revamped Google Assistant is present in Allo.

One of the prime advantages of Allo is its privacy protection. Its messages are fully encrypted. But if you’d prefer Allo’s “incognito” mode, it will encrypt messages end-to-end for you.

A second messaging app, called DUO, is all about video chatting and will try to best rival FaceTime. One of DUO’s primary features is its simplicity. Open the app and you see a selfie-cam view of yourself, which anyone you call will see before answering the call.

Speaker of the House
google_home
Tunes are essential to modern life, and so is communicating from room to room. Amazon’s Echo home assistant understood this, but Google Home may understand it even better.

Google Home is a small, two-part device that’s part speaker, part microphone, and fully integrated. It can be used with more than one device in various rooms, which can help with using it for more specific requests that are targeted to one family member’s room.

Eventually, Google Home will be able to control a home entertainment system and even make changes to room temperature or lighting.

Android? Where?!!!
android_wear
No, no…Android Wear, as in Google’s challenge to the Apple Watch. Android Wear 2.0 was shown to the Google I/O crowds this week.

Google says this version will create a more autonomous experience for the user, which means the watch can be used more independently of smartphones or other devices.

For eye candy, Google displayed an extra-small QWERTY keyboard that Android Wear users can actually wear on their wrist!

Apps That Don’t Have to Be Downloaded!
instant_app_google
Now here’s a really clever idea. Through Android Instant Apps, you’ll be able to run parts of apps that you haven’t even downloaded first.

The program only latches onto those app elements it needs and concentrates on delivering those. What a step forward in app development!

The program will make its official debut late in 2016 and Google claims that customizing the apps for this purpose won’t take long – possibly less than a single day.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE FROM GOOGLE I/O!

Google is an exciting company and Google I/O 2016 was an amazing event – and DMA was there! Stay tuned for more reports and special news in weeks to come.

And we hope to see you at next year’s conference!

A common perception is now under fire…

The idea that all Americans in the 20-to-35 age bracket (the generational group known as “Millennials”) are constantly caught up in using various forms of social media is now being called out by a new research poll conducted by Ipsos.

millennial_blockheads_social_media
The new survey findings suggest Millennials don’t use social media that much…or do they?

The findings came from social media survey data assembled by Battery Ventures, an investment firm, which took the information Ipsos gathered in August 2015 through a sampling of more than 1,200 American adults in the Millennial demographic.

The Surprising Results

Here are the main conclusions from the Ipsos poll about Millennials’ use of social media:

  • Most Have FB Account: Approximately 89 percent of those surveyed had an active Facebook account.
  • …But Do They Use It? Of those respondents who have Facebook accounts, 27 percent report that they only use FB once a week, or even less often.
  • Half Silent on Snapchat: More than half (54 percent) of respondents indicated they don’t have a Snapchat account.
  • Partial Interest for Pinterest: A full 41 percent of respondents didn’t have a Pinterest account.
  • Too Beat to Tweet: A whopping 39 percent of those surveyed are not active on either Twitter or Instagram.

The Logical Conclusions

A quick reaction to these new polling results might lead you to think that social media (and its use by Millennials) has been overblown through media hype. But, depending on how you choose to read the results, a different picture emerges.

For example, although it’s surprising that 39 percent of Millennials surveyed aren’t using Twitter or Instagram, the other way to read that data is that 61 percent of respondents are using one or both of the popular programs.

Likewise, if 27 percent of FB users only access the program once a week, that means that 73 percent – an overwhelming majority – of FB users are using Facebook more than once a week.

So, despite interesting findings, the findings still confirm that as a generational trend, social media is indeed something that Millennials have embraced wholeheartedly. The usage of some type of social media service is widespread through this group, and will continue for the foreseeable future.

social_media_graphic
Come get a closer look at what makes great social media tick…next summer at DMA.

Design the Next Great Social Media Platform!

The reason social media programs like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are so wildly successful these days is because they are each great programs, built smartly by designers who knew what they were doing.

Next summer, you could get a head start on creating the next hugely popular social media platform, by attending one of the app development tech camps held by Digital Media Academy. Maybe you’d be interested in learning about mobile web design?

Programming is easy to learn, especially with DMA’s talented teachers and today’s latest software programs. The future starts with you, next summer at one of the DMA tech camp locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Welcome to the valley – Silicon Valley. The tech capital of the world. Home to Facebook, Google, Apple, and the thinkers and creators of the technology that has forever changed our lives.

If you’re a techie visiting the valley or a family looking for some fun day trips, here are a few sights you won’t want to miss:

Steve Jobs’ Garage
Address: 2066 Crist Dr, Los Altos, CA 94024
Steve-Jobs-Garage
Steve Jobs stands in front of his boyhood home, where (with the help of his friend Steve Wozniak) he designed and built the first 50 Apple computers.

Significance: In the garage of this average-looking ranch home, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first Apple Computer. The two also brainstormed ideas about future technology in the space. The home was Jobs’ childhood home and also used as one of the sets for Steve Jobs, the Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle Steve Jobs biopic – which features several scenes in the fabled garage.

Visiting the Location: The home is a private residence in a quiet neighborhood and while residents don’t seem to mind people taking a photo, they ask that people respect their privacy and stay off private property. The street doesn’t have a sidewalk, so if you stop to see the sight and get a pic from the street, make sure to mind traffic and keep the noise down.

Nikola Tesla Statue
Address: 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Tesla-StatueThe life-size statue of Nikola Tesla emits Wi-Fi in one of Silicon Valley’s most influential cities: Palo Alto. (Image: Paul Steffan)

Significance: What began as a Kickstarter project quickly became one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative monuments. The life-size tribute to the grandfather of tech emits free public Wi-Fi and also houses a time capsule set to be opened in 2043. Located in the heart of Palo Alto, the statue symbolizes architects of the future, something Silicon Valley is famous for.

Visiting the Location: The statue is located in a large courtyard in downtown Palo Alto. Thanks to the nearby restaurants, shops and boutiques, Palo Alto is a perfect place for a family day trip.

Apple’s Campuses
Addresses: 1 Infinity Loop & the corner of Homestead & N.Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA
Apple-HQ
Apple’s new HQ features a groundbreaking circular design set to accommodate 13,000 employees across the 176 acres.

Significance: 1 Infinity Loop is the site of Apple’s original campus and where Steve Jobs worked. A second campus now being built will become Apple’s new headquarters when it opens in the second half of 2016.

The new campus is situated on 179 acres, will have 300,000 square feet of research labs, and space for 13,000 employees spread across four floors. When it opens, Apple’s new headquarters will set the standard for a modern tech workplace. It was also the last project Steve Jobs was heavily involved with at Apple.

Visiting the Location: You can visit 1 Infinity Loop and shop in the Apple store, which is open to the public. This is the same store Apple employees shop in. The store also features apparel you can only buy here. The offices are not open to the public.

Apple’s new campus is currently under construction and there is no access to the site. However, you can catch a sneak peek inside Apple’s new headquarters, thanks to daring drone operators who have flown their quadcopters over the site.

NASA AMES Research Facility & Visitor Center
Address: Naval Air Station, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA

Moffett
Now partially owned by Google, Moffett Field is home to the NASA AMES Research Facility.

Significance: After opening its doors in 1939, NASA’s AMES Research Facility quickly became a world leader in space and aeronautics research. Located in Mountain View at Moffett Field, NASA AMES Research Facility features a vast history of military and technological milestones, including its recent purchase by Google.

Visiting the Location: While the research center is only open during selected times, NASA’s AMES Visitor Center is open year round. Bring the family to the Exploration Center and discover the galaxy. Featuring an immersive theatre, space-shuttle cockpit simulators and tips on how to live and work in zero gravity, the AMES Exploration Center is sure to inspire the astronaut in your family.

Buck’s of Woodside
Address: 3062 Woodside Road, Woodside, CA 94062

Bucks-of-Woodside
Buck’s of Woodside is where Silicon Valley’s brightest minds meet to create the businesses that will change the future.

Significance: This is THE go-to meeting place for entrepreneurs and tech-driven venture capitalists. A Silicon Valley landmark, some analysts estimate that more money has been loaned from this location than anywhere else in the world. Tesla Motors, Hotmail and many, many other key Silicon Valley companies became incorporated and funded at this classic diner.

Visiting the Location: Buck’s of Woodside is the perfect place to refuel between visits to Silicon Valley landmarks. It’s open weekdays from 7:00am to 9:00pm and 10:00pm on weekends.

Silicon Valley is a great vacation destination. For more information about visiting the area, check out local Visitor Center information, which can be found online.

“Bazinga!”

The CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory has done something no television show has ever done: It will become the namesake (and prime benefactor) for The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment at UCLA.

Big-Bang-Theory-UCLA-scholarship
The UCLA scholarship was created by, and named for, a television series. A first for any TV show.

Series co-creator and exec producer Chuck Lorre announced the endowment. The fund will support students from low-income communities and help them pursue a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at UCLA.

We’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.
– Chuck Lorre, co-creator and exec producer, The Big Bang Theory

So far there has been more than $4 million collected through donations from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik (who is also a UCLA alumnus: She received a Ph.D in neuroscience there), Melissa Rauch and executive producers Bill Prady and Steven Molaro. Warner Bros. Television and CBS, which produce the Emmy award-winning show, also contributed to the endowment.

UCLA has another connection to the show as well: UCLA’s professor of physics and astronomy David Saltzberg serves as the show’s science consultant.

Big on STEM
“We have all been given a gift with The Big Bang Theory, a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community — this is our opportunity to give back,” said Lorre. “In that spirit, our ‘Big Bang’ family has made a meaningful contribution, and together we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”

Based on need, the financial aid will be awarded to low-income students who get accepted to UCLA on academic achievement but need additional support to attend the school.

Twenty scholarships will be announced on the set of The Big Bang Theory in Fall 2015. Moving forward, an additional five scholars will be added each year.

Digital Media Academy also offers financial assistance for UCLA students. DMA believes that world-class STEM education should be accessible to students from any economic background.

Want to build robots like Sheldon, or work for NASA and engineer rockets like Wolowitz? A great start is with Digital Media Academy’s STEM camps at UCLA.

Get ready for liftoff. SpaceX has invited the world to Mars with its release of retro-styled travel posters, highlighting the Red Planet’s unique landscape and most intriguing features.

Visit-Olympus-Mons
Get ready to summit the Red Planet’s highest peak and tour its massive craters when SpaceX shuttles the first humans to Mars. (Image: SpaceX)

It’s no secret that Elon Musk plans to colonize Mars in the near future. Although this concept may still seem improbable (if not completely impossible) to many observers, Musk plans to prove them wrong. If you haven’t already dreamt of one day exploring Mars, now would be a good time to start.

SpaceX’s travel posters are giving future pioneers a glimpse at what to expect someday. Mars travelers might spend the day summiting Olympus Mons, the solar system’s highest peak. If that doesn’t sound like fun, SpaceX’s artists suggest exploring Valles Marineris, a canyon that stretches over 2,500 miles at a depth of 3 miles. Looking for something more relaxing? Hop on a tranquil cruise around Phobos and Deimos, the Red Planet’s two moons.

Although the release of these retro-themed travel posters may not be as groundbreaking as Elon Musk’s recent announcement, SpaceX is providing techies, engineers and rocket scientists with inspiration to #CreateTheNext life-changing technology.

Eagerly waiting to become a member of the Mars Colonization and Tourism Association? Find more Mars travel posters and everything SpaceX over on the company’s official Flickr page.

Chances are that you make use of Universal Serial Bus cables on a daily basis. If that term doesn’t sound familiar, you probably know the technology by its initials: USB.

Macbook-USB-Type-C

Apple’s new Macbook features a single USB Type-C port, seen here next to the headphone jack.

Despite the fact that these cables power our most prized gadgets, they can also be the source of much frustration. With a different cord for your tablet, phone and laptop, it can become difficult just keeping track of them.

Apple is bringing the way that we power our devices and transfer our data together as one.

Apple’s new Macbook is pushing the industry forward by including a single USB Type-C port on its machine. By including only one port, Apple is bringing the way that we power our devices and transfer our data together as one.

USB-Type-C-and-Lightning

USB Type-C cable (left) is only slightly larger than Apple’s Lightning cable (right).

Designed by electronics engineers from Microsoft, Lenovo, Apple and more, USB Type-C is meant to do it all. With the ability to output 20 volts and transfer data at speeds up to 10Gbps, USB Type-C cables will power your new Macbook, transfer files, and even transmit HD video to another device. And at only 8.4mm by 2.6mm, USB Type-C cables are just a tad larger than Apple’s lightning cable.

USB Type-C ports are expected to begin making their way to smartphones, cameras and more laptops later this year.

When Apple introduced the Powerbook in 1991, it was the first laptop that offered users both performance and portability. As the machine evolved, it became the gold standard for mobile computing and caused other manufacturers to re-evaluate their product lines as well.

Gold-Bacbook
The new Macbook brings some of the most popular iPhone colors to your laptop.

With its iconic styling and solid specs, Apple had a genuine hit on its hands when it launched the original Macbook in 2006. Alas, in 2011, the white plastic-bodied laptop was pulled from store shelves, leaving the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro as the only alternatives for consumers.

The New Macbook: Features & Specs
With the success of the iPhone and iPad app development community, and with the popularity of netbooks, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Apple sees a bright future in the world of mobile computing.

new-macbook-features+specs
Apple’s new Macbook (available April 10) has been redesigned from the ground up to maximize portability, style and performance.

  • Price: $1,299 & up
  • Operating System: OS X
  • Display: 12″ Retina display
  • Resolution: 2,304 x 1,440
  • Pixels: Over 3 million
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Processor: Intel M processor
  • Connections: Wi-Fi- & Bluetooth-enabled
  • Size: 0.52″ thick
  • Extras: Full-size keyboard, layered battery design

Featuring a high-resolution, 12-inch Retina display and coming in at only 0.52 inches thick, the new Macbook is Apple’s thinnest laptop ever.

Powered by mobile-minded Intel M processors, the new Macbook is also fan-less. With this redesign also comes a brand new color scheme. Having evolved from the white and black polycarbonate body of the original, the new Macbook is made from aluminum and is available in silver, gold and a darker silver that’s called “space gray.”

2006-Macbook
The 2006 Macbook set the design standard for Apple’s laptops.

For Mobile Makers & Creators
Apple has reinvented the Macbook with you, the creator, in mind. Whether you are filmmaking with DSLRs or taking a DMA Online programming course, the new Macbook will help you take your projects to the next level.

 

Hold onto your mouse: Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and real-life Tony Stark, announced on Twitter that on April 30th, Tesla would announce a new product line…and it wouldn’t be a car. At least, not a car for adults.

Telsa-new-product-tweet

Being located in the heart of Silicon Valley, we get to see lots of cool stuff before the rest of the world, including Tesla testing out its new Tesla Jr. product line in advance of the April 30th announcement.

Musk, like Digital Media Academy, knows parents have the real purchasing power – and the Tesla Jr. line of toys and accessories looks to be a real winner with them.

Tesla Power Wheels
Months of development have gone into Tesla Jr. and it shows. Tesla engineers created a super plastic and remolded the body of the Model S to give the little ones easier access into the Tesla Tike. This is a true set of Tesla Power Wheels.

For the Hyperloop Play Set, engineers took a refined polycarbonate binding and coated it on an aluminum-encased slide.

Of course, we can’t wait to hear Elon Musk actually tell us about these great new toys, but until then, enjoy the leaked photos of Tesla’s new product line.

Tesla-new-product
The Tesla Tike can go from the front yard to the back yard on a single charge.

The car, which will be announced April 30th, is also expected to have a self-driving upgrade within a few months. A Tesla insider noted, “Kids probably won’t care about that option, though. Kids like to drive.”

Tesla-Hyperloop-Playset-new-product
Kids will love having a Hyperloop in their own backyard.

Tesla knows a thing or two about electrical engineering and we expect that these new products will showcase the latest Tesla technology.

Each month brings a fresh crop of new movies and TV shows to the world’s greatest streaming service. Here are the new TV shows and movies on Netflix for the month of March:

archerIs it a cartoon? A spy movie spoof? It’s the fifth season of Archer and it’s now available on Netflix.

TV Shows

Archer
Animation
Season: 5 (2014)
Why It’s Must-See: Archer’s no ordinary cartoon. More like James Bond, if he had been drawn. Master spy Sterling Archer’s adventures are sometimes bizarre, sometimes funny and it’s occasionally difficult to know what decade the show is in. But that’s part of the fun of this wild show, which is definitely “animated.”

M*A*S*H
Comedy
Seasons: 1-5 (1972-1977)
Why It’s Must-See: Long before Seinfeld came along, M*A*S*H was considered the greatest sitcom of all time. It’s still pure comedy gold, especially its hilarious first three seasons. Who knew a comedy in a wartime surgical hospital could be this funny? Its last episode remains the most-watched series finale in TV history (105 million viewers). How good was M*A*S*H? Good enough to run for 11 seasons, while the Korean War itself only lasted 3.

House of Cards
Drama
Season: 3 (2013-2014)
Why It’s Must-See: Oscar winner Kevin Spacey lives large in the third season of this tough-as-nails political drama, playing the president of the United States in this seething look behind Washington’s corridors of power. His Frank Underwood character has been sharking his way up the ladder since starting out as a mere congressman. Has getting the nation’s top job satisfied Underwood’s lust for power? Don’t bet on it.

3rd Rock from the Sun
Comedy
Seasons: Complete (1996-2001)
Why It’s Must-See: A very clever show that teamed imaginative writing with a dynamite cast that included John Lithgow, Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt back when he was still a boy. It’s a tried-and-true premise: A band of aliens come to earth and try to fit in, while observing all earthling activity. Some of the same sparkling wit as The Big Bang Theory.

Movies

RoboCop
Action
Year: 1987, 2014
Why It’s Must-See: RoboCop or RoboCopy? Thanks to Netflix, you can watch ‘em both and compare the original film directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall) and starring Peter Weller versus a new version that stars Gary Oldman. Either way, a blown-away cop gets rebuilt into a justice-dispensing cyborg. Prepare for action.

robocop-2014With both versions of the film available on Netflix, you can decide whether it’s RoboCop or RoboCopy.

Twilight
Horror/Romance
Year: 2008
Why It’s Must-See: The “Twilight” series has proven to be catnip to teen girls entranced by the notion of good-looking, romantic vampires. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are together here for the first time in the roles that made them famous. If you’re into this kind of thing, you’ve probably already seen Twilight, but with Netflix you can catch it again. If you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s your chance to find out.

Video Games: The Movie
Documentary
Year: 2014
Why It’s Must-See: Documentary filmmaking has covered just about every subject, so why not video games? See how well you know the history of video game design with this breezy doc that covers the history from Atari to Xbox, and features talks with several key figures (most notably, Atari’s Nolan Bushnell).

Groundhog Day
Comedy
Year: 1993
Why It’s Must-See: Comedy genius Harold Ramis wrote and directed some of the funniest movies of all time (see Caddyshack, Animal House, Stripes), including this very popular film that keeps popping up on all-time fan-favorite lists. Bill Murray kills as an obnoxious TV weatherman on assignment in a small town, hating every minute. Then he wakes up the next morning, to the exact same day as yesterday. What if you had endless chances to replay a certain day?

The Brothers Grimm
Fantasy/Drama
Year: 2005
Why It’s Must-See: Put Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger together as the guys who invented lasting fairy tales…or are they really just two guys on the con, working a slick hustle as medieval ghostbusters who suddenly are facing an actual curse?

Rage
Thriller
Year: 2014
Why It’s Must-See: A man’s child is abducted; he must use every violent means to get her back. That plot may sound tired, but then plug in two words: “Nicholas” and “Cage.” The manic actor is right in his element here, playing an intense guy who flips out while trying to achieve his rescue mission. (Insert your own Nicholas Cage impression here.)

K-Pax
Drama
Year: 2001
Why It’s Must-See: Starring two fantastic, Oscar-winning actors in an intriguing puzzler. Kevin (House of Cards) Spacey plays a patient in a mental hospital who says he’s from the planet K-PAX. Jeff Bridges plays the shrink who tries to sort out the man’s real identity.

Patch Adams
Drama/Comedy
Year: 1998
Why It’s Must-See: The late Robin Williams was a filmmaking dynamo: 106 acting credits in movies from 1977 to 2014. That’s approximately 2.8 films a year…every year…for 38 years. Critics may not have loved Patch Adams, but that didn’t stop it from grossing more than $202 million worldwide. Fans loved this portrait of a doctor who uses laughter as a type of therapy for his patients…but not as much as they loved Robin Williams himself.

mr-peabody-and-shermanHow would you like to work on a cool animated movie like Mr. Peabody & Sherman? Make it start happening by attending one of Digital Media Academy’s animation tech camps, like one of the animators of this film did!

Program: Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Animation
Year: 2014
Why It’s Must-See: Flying back and forth through time with the world’s smartest dog (Mr. Peabody) and his pet boy, Sherman. Lots of great voice talent from Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Allison Janney (Mom) and Stephen Colbert (soon to be replacing David Letterman). As usual, superior animation from DreamWorks (with cool visual effects by character effects animator Mariana Galindo, a DMA alumnus.)

Program: Three Days of the Condor
Thriller
Year: 1975
Why It’s Must-See: If you caught last year’s All is Lost (also on Netflix), you saw a legendary actor (Robert Redford) carrying an entire survival movie with less than a page of dialogue. Now check out this superior spy flick. Redford’s character works as a text analyst for a CIA outpost, reading spy novels. It’s fairly routine work, until he returns from lunch and finds the entire staff murdered. Why were they killed…and will he be next? Smart and tense movie, and a forerunner of many of today’s spy thrillers.

Program: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Animation
Year: 2014
Why It’s Must-See: Dreamworks again with a lovable tale of a boy with a most unconventional pet. (And another chance to admire the work of DMA alumnus and DreamWorks graphic artist Mariana Galindo.) Voice talent from Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchette, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig. (Available March 11.)

Program: Finding Neverland
Drama
Year: 2004
Why It’s Must-See: Many generations of audiences and readers have thrilled to the Peter Pan stories dreamed up by author J.M. Barrie, portrayed here by Johnny Depp. This takes you behind the world of Neverland and shows you the people who made it possible. Big cast including Kate Winslet (Titanic), Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) and Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel).

Program: Life Itself
Documentary
Year: 2014
Why It’s Must-See: Film critics don’t always get a lot of love, but there was no denying the brilliance of the late Roger Ebert, the only film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and become a TV star in his own right. This bio shows the man’s many dimensions. After cancer stole his voice, he found it again on the Internet, blogging extensively and using social media to get his opinions across to the masses. Movies were Roger Ebert’s life. And now his life’s a movie. (Available March 19th.)

brothers-grimmMatt Damon and Heath Ledger are either medieval ghostbusters or con artists in The Brothers Grimm, which has great special effects. (Would you like to learn visual effects this summer?)

Get In the Show!
The demand for entertainment products has never been greater, as Netflix proves month after month. The entertainment industry needs many creative workers who understand the latest sophisticated technologies.

For kids and teens who want to take a first step toward a cool career in show business, attending a Digital Media Academy tech camp this summer makes a lot of sense. Students learn how to use the technology to make their own films and tell their own stories.