AUDIO VIDEO NEWS

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HT Staff Posted: Aug 30, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons—Warner Brothers
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 2
Dallas' premiere in 1978 helped to usher in a new television genre: the prime-time soap opera. It had been tried before, but the amazing success of Dallas spawned an instant wave of imitators. Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest, and Dynasty all soon hit the airwaves in an attempt to cash in on the craze. The attentive viewer will notice something similar about these shows: All of the characters are filthy rich. Yes, it seems that America loves to watch shows about miserable wealthy people. They say that money can't buy happiness, but I bet you'll have some trouble convincing Aaron Spelling of that fact.
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HT Staff Posted: Oct 04, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Saved!—MGM/UA
Video: 3
Audio: 2
Extras: 3
Saved! is the heartwarming story of love, redemption, religion, high school, hypocrisy, and teenage pregnancy. Movies have gone after far less heady subjects and done far worse. Remarkably, this film doesn't make fun of religion per se, but the hypocrisy found in far too many people who claim to be religious. It's a funny movie, but its need to tiptoe around heavy religion waters it down to some extent. Jena Malone plays Mary, one of the cool kids in her Christian high school. She sleeps with her boyfriend because Jesus told her that would "cure" him of being gay. She, of course, gets pregnant and disillusioned. I swear, it's a comedy.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 29, 2004 0 comments
DVD: The Final Countdown—Blue Underground
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
This B-grade time-travel yarn about a modern aircraft carrier thrust back in time to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor has earned a devoted following. However, aside from a rush job on DVD last year from Pacific Family Entertainment, it has never seen a disc worthy of fans' attention. Blue Underground has rectified this, affectionately producing a limited edition (100,000 copies), two-disc set after picking up the floundering rights.
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HT Staff Posted: Jul 20, 2005 0 comments
DVD: 12 Monkeys Special Edition—Universal
Based on the short French film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys follows poor, hapless convict and time traveler Cole. He is tasked with preventing a plague that wiped out most of humanity. Time travel not being an exact sport, he is tossed around a bit, and everybody thinks he's insane. Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam directs one of the best science fiction movies of the 1990s. Bruce Willis plays poor Cole, while Brad Pitt is truly incredible as nutcase Jeffrey Goines.
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HT Staff Posted: Feb 21, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—Warner Brothers
Audio: 5
Video: 3
Extras: 4
Directing this movie had to be tough. On the one hand, legions of Potter fans don't want a filmmaker to swing too wide of J.K. Rowling's beloved source material. Yet critics and audiences were becoming restless with Chris Columbus' literal interpretations of the first two books. It turns out that director Alfonso Cuaron was an excellent choice to take over the reins. His visual flair gave Hogwarts a much-needed fleshing out; he kept much of the original story intact while stepping up its pacing; and he got some of the best performances yet from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Harry and Hermione. Younger viewers may find this film scarier than the first two, but it's all in keeping with Rowling's move toward darker themes.
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HT Staff Posted: Nov 23, 2004 0 comments
Camille Saint-Sans—Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78 Organ (BMG)
[SACD]
Audiophiles the world over cherish RCA's Living Stereo classical recordings that were originally released on LP in the 1950s and remastered to CD in the mid '80s, and they have eagerly anticipated the transfer to SACD. The wait was worth it—pop on one of these Living Stereo discs, and you'll be listening through the mists of time back to the virtual dawn of the stereo era, and yet the realism of the soundstage trounces many more recent recordings. It's also worth noting that, since the original Saint-Sans Organ Symphony master tapes were lost for many years, this SACD is the first reissue sourced from the first-generation masters since it was released on LP.
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HT Staff Posted: Nov 18, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Elf—New Line
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 5
Elf is 10 feet tall. Thoroughly entertaining, Will Ferrell's breakout film is now available on two DVDs that are fun, pure and simple. Ferrell plays Buddy, who accidentally ends up in Santa's North Pole Workshop and is raised by the elves, never being told he's really human. . .even though he's 3 feet taller than everyone else. Yearning to find his real father, Buddy heads to New York to do so.
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HT Staff Posted: Mar 19, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Dirty Pretty Things—Buena Vista
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 2
A London hotel houses the dirty secrets of a black-market, organ-trading operation in Dirty Pretty Things, starring Audrey Tautou and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Academy Award–nominated screenplay follows an immigrant hotel worker who stumbles upon a human heart clogging the toilet of a recently occupied room, thus beginning a fast-paced thriller that is completely satisfying in its surprising resolution.
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HT Staff Posted: Aug 23, 2004 0 comments
DVD: The Girl Next Door—20th Century Fox
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
OK, I'll admit up front I'd give this movie a good review if Elisha Cuthbert sat for two hours reading the 9/ 11 Commission Report. But here we get to see Cuthbert—best known as Jack Bauer's daughter on 24—in the role she was born to play: a porn actress who's house-sitting next door to a sexually frustrated high school senior (Emile Hirsch). As such, she swims, teases, drips and, yes, strips, more than once. Ah, the joys of DVD, and the A-B repeat function.
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HT Staff Posted: Apr 05, 2004 0 comments
DVD: Good Boy!—MGM/UA
Video: 2
Audio: 3
Extras: 3
What if dogs really came from another world and were sent on a mission to Earth to domesticate humans and assert their superiority? That's the premise of this fetching family film, whose writers never met a canine joke they didn't like. The gimmick of talking dogs—especially when the voice talent includes Carl Reiner and Cheech Marin—carries the movie up to a point, but it runs out of steam about the time the Greater Dane arrives from the planet Sirius to inspect her minions. Still, the visual jokes and awwww-inspiring moments will engage most young viewers and their parents.
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HT Staff Posted: Jun 20, 2005 0 comments
DVD: Elektra—20th Century Fox
While some fans lament the seemingly imploding film career of the latest prettier half of "Bennifer," what's really sad is that Hollywood has managed to take Elektra, the dark, driven creation of the great Frank Miller, and reinvent her as just another melodramatic heroine. As portrayed by the lithe, earnest Jennifer Garner, "E" is a conflicted killer with quirky habits (obsessive-compulsive disorder for a few quick laughs!), who squares off against a slew of overdone computer-generated special effects. Oh, and did I mention the precocious young sidekick and the hunky single dad next door? Had the filmmakers gone for gritty action and an R rating instead of the flashy fantasy nonsense, this movie could have been great instead of just OK. Even at a mere 96 minutes, it's a tad sluggish.
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HT Staff Posted: Jun 06, 2005 0 comments
Carlos Franzetti—The Jazz Kamerata (Chesky) [SACD]
By mere coincidence (or perhaps not), I sat down to review this new hybrid SACD on the rare rainy day in Los Angeles (although not quite as rare this winter). The two were a perfect fit. The Jazz Kamerata has a comfortable warmth about it, inviting you to wrap yourself in it and settle in for a lazy afternoon.
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SV Staff Posted: Dec 08, 2008 0 comments
Have you noticed a distinct push lately towards Blu-ray this holiday season? The latest Disney release (Horton Hears a Who) had a commercial solely for the Blu-ray release. No mention of the DVD until the tag. Disney has a whole Blu-ray...
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SV Staff Posted: Jul 09, 2007 0 comments
Kudos to our own Brett Milano for predicting the current legal skirmish between Avril Lavigne and the Rubinoos. S&V online readers will recall that, in his review of Lavigne's The Best Damn Thing, Brett was among the first (and possibly the...
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 26, 2005 Published: May 27, 2005 0 comments

At the Society for Information Display (SID) 2005 International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition this week in Boston, MA, Samsung is highlighting a number of important developments. Their 82-inch LCD panel, the largest in the world, is being exhibited for the first time in the Americas. The prototype is said to have a horizontal and vertical viewing angle of 180º, reproduce 92% of the NTSC color gamut, and exhibit a response time of 8ms or less.

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