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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 29, 1998 0 comments

It's extremely rare for low-budget foreign films to catch on with American audiences. Most that are lucky enough to get distribution in the States spend a few poorly attended weeks in the art houses, then quietly disappear. <I>The Full Monty</I>, a British film about a group of unemployed Sheffield steel workers putting together a "Chippendales"-type revue, has done just the opposite.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

The Associated Press reported Dec. 22 that Japanese film director Juzo Itami died after jumping from the top of an eight-storey building that housed his office. Itami was director of the international hit film <I>Tampopo</I>.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

Movie fans the world over are mourning the passing of Toshiro Mifune, Japan's greatest film actor. Mifune died December 24 at a hospital in Mitaka, Japan, not far from his home in Tokyo. The cause of death was an unspecified "organ failure." Mifune was 77.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

Director James Cameron's <I>Titanic</I> is not only afloat but appears to be eminently seaworthy. The epic disaster drama's three-hour-and15-minute length is apparently no drawback for film fans, who packed theaters to the tune of a $51.9 million gross in the first week following the film's release, according to Exhibitor Relations Company, which tracks box-office results.

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

Dawn Steel, widely regarded as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, succumbing to brain cancer at the age of 51.

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Posted: Dec 28, 1998 0 comments

In installment <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?42">one</A> and <A HREF="http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?48">two</A> of this series, we presaged the crawl of HDTV, the rise of the flat-panel TV, and the demise of Divx. For our final set of guesses---er, prescient opinions, we tackle four more topics.

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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

E<I>veryone with a TV has seen the traditional winter holiday fare: </I>Miracle on 34th Street<I>, </I>It's a Wonderful Life<I>, and any one of a dozen versions of Charles Dickens' </I>A Christmas Carol<I>. If you're not totally burned out on the subject, there are less-well-known films with Christmas (and other) themes that are worth seeking out. Here's a short list of recommendations from the staff that might round out your holiday viewing:</I>

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Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

Recent studies by the <A HREF="http://www.recordingmedia.org/">International Recording Media Association</A> and <A HREF="http://www.cemacity.org">Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association</A> have revealed strong sales for home-theater products. DVD-player sales are up 179% over 1997, with over 1 million players sold this year vs. 400,000 last year, while sales of DVD discs jumped 22%. VCR sales are up 7.5% in 1998, with sales in the first 11 months of the year totaling 16.5 million units. Forty four television stations have already begun broadcasting digital TV, indicating a good start for the new format. Within five years, all 1600 stations in the US are required to be broadcasting in digital.

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Dave Thompson Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

O<I>skar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Anton Diffring, Jeremy Spenser, Alex Scott. Directed by Fran&#231;ois Truffaut. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital (mono). 112 minutes. 1966. Universal ID4231. Not rated. $24.99.</I>

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Jon Iverson Posted: Dec 27, 1998 0 comments

The inherent portability and relatively simple setup and calibration of LCD projectors have allowed them to carve out a place in the home-theater market in the last several years. But state-of-the-art picture quality has never been an LCD strong suit, with critics citing lack of contrast and noticeable pixelization as the primary weaknesses.

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