Meridian, noon, the sun's highest point in the day, a reference for mariners, the pinnacle of light. I almost hated putting the gorgeous Meridian G68ADV surround processor and G98DH DVD player to work in my Salamander Synergy cabinet. For a week, before Ken Forsythe of Meridian America arrived to help me set them up, the two units sat atop my bar in a position of prominence. With fine, architecturally interesting lines and finished on all sides (only the rear panel speaks strictly to function), these star Meridian designs were far more handsome in person than in print. Still, this $8999 processor and $5999 DVD player were here to perform. And what a virtuoso performance.
A sweet, charming story of enduring first love, The Notebook follows Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams), two teenagers who indulge in a heated summer romance that Allie's mother frowns upon. However, despite efforts to keep the couple apart, a chance meeting seven years later brings the twosome back together again.
Fresh off his success in Pulp Fiction, John Travolta cemented his mid-'90s comeback with Get Shorty, a fun, clever adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel about a loan shark who decides to get out of the business and into The Business, aka movie-making. Travolta so thoroughly inhabits the character of Chili Palmer that it's hard to believe he initially turned down the role. It was Quentin Tarantino who ultimately convinced Travolta to take the part. (Where was he when Travolta decided to take Battlefield Earth?)
Films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused come along about once every 10 years. Both manage to cut through the sexual hijinks and drug jokes inherent in all so-called "teen flicks" to really capture what it was like to grow up in a particular time and place. I can watch both of these movies over and over, and that's why I love them: I get older, and they stay the same age.
Abducted Jessica Martin's frantic wire-connecting on a smashed-up landline phone finally connects her with cell-phoned surfer-dude Ryan (Chris Evans) in Cellular, an action thriller that has just enough cool touches to make it effective. After Jessica (Kim Basinger) is threatened by three men looking for her husband, she is forced to protect her child, give up his locale, and beg this skeptical stranger to believe her and help her. Ryan eventually does and is determined to aid and not lose their tenuous phone link. Part Speed, part Phone Booth, this ride is filled with crashes and chases and is a high-octane trip that's a taut 95 minutes.
Although more and more high-definition displays now come with integrated over-the-air terrestrial Digital TV tuners (and some with Digital Cable Card slots), there are still plenty of HDTV Monitors with no Digital TV tuning capabilities whatsoever sitting in people's living rooms. At some point, be it 2006 or 2106 depending on when the FCC and Congress have the gumption to mandate that all analog TV broadcasting must cease and desist, owners of tuner-less HDTV Monitors will need to add some sort of DTV tuner if they want to enjoy all the glorious entertainment that local network television affiliates so graciously provide to a thankful and devoted public (in return for sitting through endless and insufferable advertisements).
I was wrong. (It's not the first time, but it is the first time I've publicly admitted it.) Before satellite radio (first XM and then SIRIUS) blasted off and began broadcasting, I thought it had about as much chance of succeeding as the Red Sox had of winning the World Series. (Oops...) After all, other than truckers and traveling sales reps with lots of ground to cover, who would want to pay for the privelege of listening to the radio? I even gave (what turned out to be) bad financial advice concerning the prospects of satellite radio to a drummer in a Texas rock band who told me he'd included XM Radio in his stock portfolio. (A drummer with a stock portfolio? I should have known right then that I'd totally lost touch with reality.)
While Ireland is gearing up for a nationwide digital-cinema network (see <A href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/news/032405Ireland/">news story</A>), the best the US can do is a network for digitally distributing <I>advertising</I> to commercial movie theaters. The project was recently announced by Thomson and Screenvision, a joint venture of Thomson and ITV. Technicolor Digital Cinema, part of Thomson's Services division, will provide technology, network operations, and digital-content management systems on an exclusive basis to Screenvision and its theater-advertising customers. Screenvision provides advertisement services to nearly 15,000 screens in the US, of which approximately 5,000 will be included in the initial rollout.
While religious and political animosity continues to brew between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, there is one thing they can agree on: digital cinema. A subsidiary of technology and services provider <A href="http://www.avicatech.com">Avica</A>, Digital Cinema Limited (DCL), has announced that they are starting to implement a nationwide digital-cinema network that will ultimately lead to a conversion of all 515 screens in both regions of the Emerald Isle to the digital format. After two years of planning, DCL began installing the first 25 projectors earlier this month and hopes to have all Irish screens operational within a year at a cost of over $53 million.