GRACE NOTES

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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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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 30, 2013 0 comments

The first Iron Man was an unqualified hit, featuring a terrifically witty and sly Robert Downey, Jr. The second Iron Man was merely tolerated because the first was so good. Good or not, the movies banked an impressive $1.2 billion in box office receipts. With that much money in play, a lot is riding on this latest release. Is the suit still strong, or has it become a rusty relic?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 21, 2013 0 comments

Right off the bat, let’s get something out of the way. Oblivion isn’t a particularly original film. WALL•E, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,  Planet of the Apes, 2001, Blade Runner, the overlooked Moon, and most blatantly, Total Recall - you’ll see, ah - homages - to all of them as the 2-hour Oblivion, co-written, produced and directed by Joseph Kosinski, unfolds. 

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 16, 2013 0 comments

 

In addition to innumerable television episodes, Paramount has produced no fewer than 12 Star Trek feature films. The canon is vast, and the core characters and their relationships are familiar to many moviegoers. The dilemma is this: How to make a film that satisfies both hardcore Trekkies as well as more casually invested international movie audiences. Does this latest installment boldly reinvigorate the franchise, or merely recycle it?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 16, 2011 0 comments

It's become ubiquitous. Anytime you see a person jogging, there's always a cord flapping in the breeze and on closer look, you'll see their earphones. They're having an endorphin rush, zoning out to their favorite tunes. But - you have to wonder - can earphones designed for the rigors of exercise really sound okay? And more important, how safe are they to wear?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 14, 2014 2 comments
If you love something, set it free. It’s time to love T-Mobile for setting music free. T-Mobile users can stream all the music they want, free from the fear of hitting their data limits. While the Music Freedom news was announced a few weeks ago, the airwaves have just lit up with new ads touting T-Mobile’s new music streaming plan. Sound too good to be true?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 04, 2012 0 comments

Six months ago, we reported that Neil Young was going around talking about a crazy idea he had for a new music business model.   He had some high-res, music-in-the-cloud idea that he thought would revolutionize the way people listen to music. Would it be the Segway of the music biz?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 23, 2011 0 comments

Netflix customers are hopping mad, and the company predicts it will lose a million customers. Its stock price has tanked. Has its CEO, Reed Hastings, lost his mind, or is this merely a speed bump along the path of a much grander strategy?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 03, 2012 0 comments

By any measure, Disney’s enjoyable Mars epic John Carter was a fiscal fiasco, netting only $72 million in the US and $282.4 million total worldwide, barely clearing its $250 million price tag. Ouch.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 10, 2011 0 comments

A few weeks ago, the blogosphere was abuzz with commentary on Netflix's impetuous decision to split into two companies: Netflix for streaming TV shows and movies, and Qwikster for home delivery of DVD and Blu-ray movies. Seems that Netflix thought better of it too.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 15, 2013 0 comments

Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording is a series of videos available on DVD, online streaming, or download that offer a fascinating look into the recording industry, hosted by legendary producer, engineer and performer Alan Parsons. With years of experience at Abbey Road Studios and credits including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Parsons is an eminently qualified host.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 28, 2014 0 comments
It’s possible that you’ve never heard of Bayan Audio. The company is better known in the UK, where it has built a solid reputation. Now, Bayan is bringing two new products to North America. The Soundbook and Soundbook X3 are portable Bluetooth speakers packed with some very cool features in very impressive packages. Can they make the jump over the pond and land with a big enough splash in an already crowded speaker market?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 14, 2014 0 comments
As someone whose life seems to revolve around the outdoors, I’m all ears whenever I hear about a new “active” piece of electronics gear. The new BlueAnt PUMP HD wireless waterproof sportbud promised to deliver audiophile-grade performance in a rugged, IP67-waterproof rated Bluetooth-compatible package.As soon as it arrived, I charged it up and hit my favorite bike trail.

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