GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 22, 2014 0 comments
It’s getting down to the wire—stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and Santa’s helpers are desperate for an idea for that last-minute gift. The Nyrius Songo is just what Rudolph ordered for that grumpy Scrooge who hasn’t bought all the latest and greatest electronics. The Songo ($25) and Songo HiFi ($50) turn any receiver or dock into a wireless Bluetooth system. Scrooge can even use an iOS dock with an Android phone via Bluetooth, as long as the dock has an AUX input.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

 

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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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SV Staff Posted: Sep 06, 2013 0 comments
Riddick is an intergalactic murderous badass. When things start to go south, he’s your best and only hope.
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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
The year is 1976, when sex was safe and racing was dangerous. The Formula One World Championship is up for grabs, and it’s a grudge match. British race driver James Hunt goes mano a mano with Austrian race driver Niki Lauda, both driving pedal to the metal, with absolutely no margin for error and loving every minute of it. As Hunt explains, “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel.” Director Ron Howard accelerates out of his comfort zone, and you’re sitting beside him, on the ride of your life.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 03, 2013 0 comments

The story is familiar to everyone: A Texas Ranger is left for dead. He dons a mask and with his sidekick Tonto, they fight against injustice in the wild west. In the pantheon of heroes, perhaps none is as iconically American as this one. Yes, we have Superman and all the other super heroes, but the Lone Ranger lives and breathes the authentic American West.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 21, 2013 0 comments

Suddenly, just when you thought the world was safe, it's full of zombies. They are everywhere – on your game console, your phone, cable TV, and now even on the big screen. Metaphor for the fragility of modern civilization, and just plain fun to shoot at, zombies are cool. So it takes someone even cooler than zombies, namely Brad Pitt, to kick some zombie butt.

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