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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
Are you experienced?

At its best, home theater is all about making movies feel so real you'd swear you're there. And not just the wham-bam flicks; some of my best experiences have come from straight-ahead dramas. That was absolutely the case with Breach, a chilling portrait of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, the man who sold countless security secrets to the Soviet Union for over 20 years. Actor Chris Cooper's portrayal of the psychopathic traitor totally mesmerized me, but I also credit Paradigm's fifth revision of their Monitor Series speakers for keeping my attention glued to the screen. Every detail of the sound—from the claustrophobic acoustics of Hanssen's office and the whirring noise of his computers' cooling fans, to the dense traffic snarl of Washington, D.C. streets—were all so effortlessly presented that I never thought about the speakers. That's the Zen of it all. When everything's just right, you don't realize the speakers are there.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 11, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments
The meticulous effects auteur looks back on a career spent creating movie magic.

During a time when movies were made entirely by hand, Ray Harryhausen knew better than anyone how to make the most spectacular cinematic creatures come to life. Inspired, like so many, by the original King Kong, Harryhausen honed his filmmaking skills on a variety of short subjects before he tackled his first feature film, Mighty Joe Young, working alongside Kong's stop-motion maestro Willis O'Brien. For you kids reading at home, stop-motion animation is the painstaking process of moving one or more specially designed models a precise fraction of an inch for each frame of film. Do it perfectly 24 times in a row (which can take a full day or more), and you've created one second of a movie. Along the way, Harryhausen even invented the Dynamation technique to more realistically combine his creations with live-action backgrounds, and his work became the gold standard that continues to stoke Hollywood's collective imagination. His 1957 black-and-white, monster-attacks-Rome opus 20 Million Miles to Earth was colorized and released on Blu-ray disc, the first Harryhausen title in high def, along with a new DVD boxed set that adds colorized special editions of Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and It Came From Beneath the Sea, all from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
It's all been leading up to this.

Airport crowds, metal detectors, ticket prices, and malodorous seat neighbors notwithstanding, now is a really good time to be a commuter.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
Netflix will drop HD DVD and stock its virtual shelves exclusively with Blu-ray discs, the rental service announced today. From now on it will buy new stock only in Blu-ray and will phase out existing HD DVD stock by year-end.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 10, 2008 28 comments

This week, instead of answering a reader question, I'd like to ask you a question. You can answer in one of two ways&mdash;either post a comment after this blog or send me an e-mail at <A HREF=""></A>.

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David Birch-Jones Posted: Feb 10, 2008 0 comments
Editor's Note: this review was originally written and prepared for the March issue of Home Theater. However, just as we were going to press, Fujitsu announced it would be exiting the plasma display market as of, you guessed it, March. We pulled the review from that print issue, but have decided to publish it here since Fujitsu's remaining plasma inventory will be available while supplies last. According to statements by Fujitsu it will offer service and support for its plasma products for several years.

A solid performer, solidly in the high end.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 10, 2008 0 comments

LCD flat panels may be the hot ticket in the TV market these days, but plasmas shouldn't be counted out by any means. For example, they offer superior off-axis viewing and generally better black levels. Not only that, large plasmas are often less expensive than LCDs of similar size.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Feb 10, 2008 0 comments

In <I>Donny Darko</I>, Drew Barrymore's character, Ms. Pomery, says that a famous linguist once proclaimed "cellar door" to be the most beautiful phrase in the English language. I'm here to recommend we consider "Marantz" for that title, because it reproduces the most beautiful sounds in <I>any</I> language. Be it Zoot Sims on JVC XRCD, Claudio Arrau playing Beethoven sonatas from a Philips CD, or that gawd-awful good <I>Transformers</I> movie on HD DVD, the Marantz is beauty personified!

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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 09, 2008 0 comments

Three years ago, Sound & Vision staged the first of its HDTV technology face-offs when we put a 37-inch Samsung plasma alongside a like-sized Sharp LCD, tuned them to the hilt, then fed them the same programs to see which was king of the HDTV hill ("Plasma vs. LCD," February/March 2005).

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Rob Medich Posted: Feb 09, 2008 0 comments

Got a really big living room? Got a really big entrance to that really big living room? And is your electric bill no issue? Then somewhere at CES, there was an über-jumbo-sized TV for you.


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