I was born in New York and moved to Connecticut when I was 5, but I visited the city often over the next 20 years. The visits have slowed since I've lived far from the northeast US, so every time I come back, the milling throng of multicultural humanity crowding the sidewalks continues to surprise and amaze me. And on April 28, they all decided to crowd into the Hilton Hotel.
The doors to the Home Entertainment 2005 show officially opened to the public in Manhattan Friday, and five floors of the New York Hilton were jammed with attendees. It's truly an international, multicultural event. I personally heard at least five languages being spoken - English, French, Spanish, Audiophilish, and Wowish (none of which am I fluent in). Here are some highlights of what could be found the first hectic day of HE2005 (and the press day that preceded it).
My first surprise on arrival at the Hilton Hotel on 6th Avenue in New York City for this year's Home Entertainment show (running through Sunday, May 1) was the widescreen Philips LCD flat panel television in my room. Many of the rooms at the Hilton have apparently been equipped with these sets. It was no surprise that the set was adjusted for a "full" widescreen display, thus rendering all images in "fat" mode, but the set did allow me to adjust the aspect ratio. Still, the picture was in need of further adjustment, which the display, typical of hotel sets, did not provide. Not that it mattered much; the source was standard definition. Oh well, one step at a time. Equipping a major New York hotel with flat panels is still a coup for Philips, who wasn't at the show, but in one real—and important—sense, they were.
Halle Berry revived the comics' most seductive villain in 2004. Aside from a new midriff-revealing leather catsuit (meow!), there's little to recommend this movie, which produced a hairball at the box office.
A twisting, turning, supernatural story, The Forgotten stars Julianne Moore as Telly, a woman grieving the loss of her 8-year-old son. The only problem is, everyone around her insists that the boy she misses so desperately never actually existed. As she continues to cling to her memories, she finds herself sinking further into a nightmare. Although the heart of the film is about the unbreakable bond between parent and child, the story offers enough government conspiracy and X-Files-type intrigue to give it wider appeal.
What's funny about a group of staid suburban Texans who take life much too seriously? Pretty much everything, as their Emmy Award–winning third season proves, from the all-time-great "And They Call It Bobby Love," with guest voice Sarah Michelle Gellar (the episode culminates in a cheer-out-loud eating contest), to the darkly comic skydiving mishap in the season finale.
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.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>One of the hot, media-centric topics these days is Digital Rights Management, or DRM. I touched on this topic in a <A href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/news/041405DRM/">report</A> on the recent Digital Hollywood conference. Put simply but politely, it involves managing how and what an individual may do with program material to which others own the copyright. Put more bluntly, it involves how to keep the public from making copies that Hollywood considers illegitimate and thus deny Hollywood the income it feels would otherwise come from the sale of that material.