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GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 24, 2014 3 comments
Life is good. Having just moved into a house with a room for a dedicated home theater, it was time to get set up. More to the point, time for shopping. Usually, the last thing I want to do is to buy furniture, but the search for the perfect chairs for my home theater became my quest. Seeking perfection, I pored over furniture catalogs, websites and scoured any furniture in my path. A woman’s home theater is her castle, right? I already had furnished my girl-cave, I mean home office, and the A/V room, although last on the decorating list, was in my mind, the most crucial.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 31, 2013 0 comments

Last week, Google released Chromecast, an HDMI dongle that promises to turn your “dumb” TV into a slightly smarter one. With a price tag of just $35, the device is sold out everywhere, and its bundled 3-month Netflix subscription has been halted, due to overwhelming demand. So what’s this little device causing all this ruckus?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 20, 2012 0 comments

The Google Play Music Manager has been around for quite a while. Upload and store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud, so you can play them from any connected  Android device or computer, anywhere. The problem was that you had to go through and upload each and every file. However, Google has just launched a new scan and match feature in the U.S.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 11, 2013 0 comments
IK Multimedia has just released its latest product, aimed at musicians and music lovers alike: the iLoud portable speaker. The company claims it is “studio quality” and equips it with a guitar/microphone input. Hmm, “studio quality”—I’ve heard that one before, but I decided to check it out. Is it actually something I would have used in my own recording studio?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 10, 2014 0 comments
I’ll admit it. I’m over it. Or at least I’m just a little tired of the endless parade of portable Bluetooth speakers that claim to be “stereo.” Sure, if you hold your breath and keep your head positioned precisely in front of the 3-inch wide box, you can almost convince yourself there’s a slight impression of stereo imaging. Worse are systems that claim you can easily pair two devices for true stereo but it turns out that pairing is funky and frustrating and never seems to work. When did stereo become so disposable? The iLuv SyrenPro claimed to be different. Let’s just see about that.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 31, 2012 0 comments

The much-anticipated film adaptation of London and Broadway's smash hit, "Les Misérables" debuted last week with a fresh new approach to film-making. Unlike typical musicals, "Les Mis" didn't use a pre-recorded vocal score, but instead, the actors sang live on the set.

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 12, 2012 0 comments

A Princess of Mars was the first serial novel published by adventure writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Tarzan guy) almost exactly 100 years ago. It’s a classic tale: Civil War veteran is mysteriously transported into the midst of two warring cultures, of course, with a beautiful woman to be saved. Hmm, countless sci-fi films and more than a few Western flicks have borrowed that theme. Most recently and notably, James Cameron has said that A Princess of Mars (which he read as a child) was his inspiration for Avatar. Here’s the problem: Once so many others have copied it, the original feels — oddly enough — derivative. Despite all that, Disney gambled that Princess had enough life left to kickstart a new franchise.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 27, 2012 0 comments

While most folks were talking about either Angelina Jolie's leg, or J-Lo's alleged wardrobe malfunction, many people noticed a more glaring problem during the broadcast of the 2012 Academy Awards. While the show is generally a model of excellence in production, almost immediately viewers noticed a problem with the audio feed.

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 13, 2012 0 comments

The 2012 Grammy Awards — "music’s biggest night" — was certainly a unique evening of entertainment. As Reba (when did she lose her last name?) pointed out, it brought together so many different aspects of the music industry. Where else would you find hip-hop newbies rubbing elbows with old-school crooners?

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 12, 2011 0 comments

One of the most anticipated of this summer's releases, Rise of the Planet of the Apes certainly rises to the hype, thanks to the help of some newfangled technical expertise and a lot of good old-fashioned attention to detail.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 28, 2013 2 comments
Iconic indie-rocker Lou Reed passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday, October 27th from complications after a recent liver transplant. Reed was married to experimental performance artist Laurie Anderson. Although Reed had only a single top-ten hit, he will be remembered for so much more.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 13, 2011 0 comments

Consider this fact. Over 80% of people watching TV or movies at home do so while also surfing the Internet or using their smartphones. No one just sits and watches movies anymore. If I was a film-maker, I would be pissed.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 09, 2013 0 comments

As with most futuristic films, the earth portrayed in Elysium is overpopulated, crime-ridden, diseased, and has all the bucolic charm of a garbage dump. Awfully bleak. Unless you are a member of the elite, in which case you live in an orbiting, utopian, titular space station. You have access to miraculous health care and views to die for. When an oppressed Matt Damon is poisoned by radiation, he decides to crash the upper-crust party.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 24, 2013 0 comments

 

The Fast and Furious filmography began in 2001 as a low-budget film based on a magazine article. It now incompasses six feature films and two short films, video games, and it even has its own Guess clothing line. Never aspiring to the same league as franchises such as 007 or Star Trek, FFs are scrappy, popcorn-munching, tremendously profitable testosterone trips. Does the latest installment fire on all cylinders, or run out of gas?

 

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 12, 2013 0 comments

Entire cities have been obliterated by giant, rampaging monsters. Despite heroic efforts, the human race is losing the struggle. The situation is grim. In a last ditch effort to save civilization, the Pan Pacific Defense Corps sends forth the last of its skyscraper-sized robots to battle the monsters. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

 

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