GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 03, 2013 0 comments

The story is familiar to everyone: A Texas Ranger is left for dead. He dons a mask and with his sidekick Tonto, they fight against injustice in the wild west. In the pantheon of heroes, perhaps none is as iconically American as this one. Yes, we have Superman and all the other super heroes, but the Lone Ranger lives and breathes the authentic American West.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 21, 2013 0 comments

Suddenly, just when you thought the world was safe, it's full of zombies. They are everywhere – on your game console, your phone, cable TV, and now even on the big screen. Metaphor for the fragility of modern civilization, and just plain fun to shoot at, zombies are cool. So it takes someone even cooler than zombies, namely Brad Pitt, to kick some zombie butt.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 24, 2013 0 comments

 

The Fast and Furious filmography began in 2001 as a low-budget film based on a magazine article. It now incompasses six feature films and two short films, video games, and it even has its own Guess clothing line. Never aspiring to the same league as franchises such as 007 or Star Trek, FFs are scrappy, popcorn-munching, tremendously profitable testosterone trips. Does the latest installment fire on all cylinders, or run out of gas?

 

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 16, 2013 0 comments

 

In addition to innumerable television episodes, Paramount has produced no fewer than 12 Star Trek feature films. The canon is vast, and the core characters and their relationships are familiar to many moviegoers. The dilemma is this: How to make a film that satisfies both hardcore Trekkies as well as more casually invested international movie audiences. Does this latest installment boldly reinvigorate the franchise, or merely recycle it?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 09, 2013 0 comments

Dust off your recently-obsoleted 30-pin Apple docks – Pyle Audio has come to the rescue. Just when you thought you were reduced to connecting to your collection of Apple-ready speaker docks by a lowly audio cable, Pyle has released the BlueReach PBTR70, an adapter plugs into any 30-pin speaker dock to receive Bluetooth from any Bluetooth-enabled audio device.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 07, 2013 0 comments

To cut through the clutter of Bluetooth-enabled wireless speakers on the market these days, one would need a stiletto. Or at least a pair of stiletto heels.  The Stellé Audio Couture Pillar is making its way through the crowd with a difference. The Pillar (in fact, the entire Stellé Audio Couture product line) is being targeted and marketed to women, with a sense of style and fashion blended with good quality products.  

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 30, 2013 0 comments

The first Iron Man was an unqualified hit, featuring a terrifically witty and sly Robert Downey, Jr. The second Iron Man was merely tolerated because the first was so good. Good or not, the movies banked an impressive $1.2 billion in box office receipts. With that much money in play, a lot is riding on this latest release. Is the suit still strong, or has it become a rusty relic?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 21, 2013 0 comments

Right off the bat, let’s get something out of the way. Oblivion isn’t a particularly original film. WALL•E, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,  Planet of the Apes, 2001, Blade Runner, the overlooked Moon, and most blatantly, Total Recall - you’ll see, ah - homages - to all of them as the 2-hour Oblivion, co-written, produced and directed by Joseph Kosinski, unfolds. 

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 15, 2013 0 comments

Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording is a series of videos available on DVD, online streaming, or download that offer a fascinating look into the recording industry, hosted by legendary producer, engineer and performer Alan Parsons. With years of experience at Abbey Road Studios and credits including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Parsons is an eminently qualified host.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 11, 2013 0 comments

The 2013 Grammy Awards have safely come and gone (is anyone else amazed that no one was electrocuted during the onstage rain shower?) and all anyone is talking about after the show is how Auto-Tune is destroying the music biz.  Put performers on a live stage without technologic backup, and many of them will fall apart, in ear-shattering glory. Fun. had some issues with pitch that were hard to ignore, and Frank Ocean’s performance was a little shaky without the benefit of pitch-correcting software. People are up in arms that without Auto-Tune, many current artists would be crooning on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea. But have things really changed?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 31, 2012 0 comments

The much-anticipated film adaptation of London and Broadway's smash hit, "Les Misérables" debuted last week with a fresh new approach to film-making. Unlike typical musicals, "Les Mis" didn't use a pre-recorded vocal score, but instead, the actors sang live on the set.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 20, 2012 0 comments

The Google Play Music Manager has been around for quite a while. Upload and store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud, so you can play them from any connected  Android device or computer, anywhere. The problem was that you had to go through and upload each and every file. However, Google has just launched a new scan and match feature in the U.S.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 03, 2012 0 comments

Audiences around the world are already purchasing tickets for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s vision of the predecessor to J.R.R. Tolkien’ the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In a departure from the single-volume original, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will also be a trilogy, but perhaps more noteworthy is Jackson’s decision to shoot these films in 48 fps HFR (High Frame Rate) 3D. Specifically, Jackson is using high-resolution RED Epic cameras running at 48 frames per second with 5120-by-2700-pixel resolution. While Peter Jackson defends the format, critics worry that that instead of being a cinematic visual treat, the films will have the familiar look of a TV soap opera.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 15, 2012 0 comments

We all know the story. Underdog David takes down the giant Goliath with his tiny slingshot, giving little guys throughout the centuries a glimmer of hope.  This time, it’s Internet radio providers versus the three major record labels, but in an interesting twist, it could be time for Goliath to take a stand.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 13, 2012 0 comments

Bond is back, and better than ever, in Skyfall (MGM/Eon Productions). The film marks the 50th anniversary of the series that's seen us through the Cold War, with a variety of actors capturing the iconic 007 through 23 films. As with every good anniversary celebration, this one reflects on a glorious past - and imagines an equally glorious future.

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