DVD: Vanity Fair—Universal
In Mira Nair's (Monsoon Wedding) adaptation 19th-century Europe meets the cultural vibrancy of India. Reese Witherspoon stars as the ambitious heroine, Becky Sharp, one of literature's most intriguing and complex female characters. With nothing but wit, beauty, and sensuality at her disposal, Sharp travels on her scheme-filled journey to the height of society, only to find that the destination is as morally low as the gutter from which she came. Gabriel Bryne joins the cast as the devious Marquess of Steyne, along with James Purefoy as Rawdon Crawley. Witherspoon's performance is short of convincing, lacking a smooth transition from coyish girl to brazen coquette.
Those of us still mourning the imminent and unstoppable demise of VOOM, the ill-fated HD-centric satellite service, are being offered a reduced price on a second chance at HD nirvana from DIRECTV. Although it's small consolation to the thirty-some thousand VOOM devotees who are at this moment longingly stroking their VOOM remote controls and asking, "Why? Why me?", at least it's something.
If you're shopping for an HDTV, you've probably noticed that the news stories and Sunday circulars all seem to focus either on expensive flat-panel plasma and LCD sets or on more affordable LCD or DLP rear-projection TVs.
Some musicians think it's neat to hear their music remixed for surround. Others don't give a damn and let their labels do a remix so they can sell a few more albums. But for performance artists turned media stars Blue Man Group, multichannel sound is a matter of musical survival. Blue Man Group founders Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink.
I've always been impressed with Sam Runco's familial attitude toward his employees and dealers as well as the consumer-electronics press corps and even the entire industry. This attitude is especially evident during his company's annual spring retreat in Mexico, held this year at the Meliá Cabo Real resort on the Sea of Cortez, halfway between Cabo San Lucas (famous home of Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo bar and tequila business) and the lesser-known but much more quaint San Jose del Cabo. Not only does Runco invite his top 10 dealers and a few fortunate journalists, he encourages them to bring their families, stressing the importance of making and maintaining personal connections within the CE community.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.sw.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=200 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>A number of years ago, broadcasters started displaying their logo as a semi-translucent image in the bottom right corner of the screen. I find this very distracting, but I suppose it was inevitable; as the number of channels on most cable and satellite systems increases, it becomes harder and harder to remember what channel you're watching. And don't forget the anti-piracy aspect of these logos.
Sharp's XV-Z2000 front DLP projector raised more than a few eyebrows when it first appeared at CEDIA Expo 2004. Was this indeed the first 1280x720 HD2+ DLP projector for less than $5000? If so, it would represent a seismic but long overdue change in DLP projector pricing, which has typically kept the MSRPs of 720p models above $7000—and, by extension, non-competitive with 720p LCD projectors that retail for half of that price or less.
QuickMotion. SmartShutter. Dark Detailer. Plush Imaging. Plush720p. Plush1080p. DeepField Imager. SharpEdge. Buzzwords were flying faster than you could swat them at Mitsubishi's April 2005 line show in Orlando, Florida. Journalists were flown in from all over the US to view the latest Mitsubishi televisions, loaded with these exciting—or at least exciting <I>sounding</I>—features.