Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
Ready-made living-room multimedia.

We're down with entertainment PCs here at Home Theater. For those of you who are ready to share the joy, there are basically two ways to join the party. For the hands-on approach, we've written about specific best-of-the-best audio and video cards and other devices that you can plug into your own custom-built box. But, for some readers, personal success has brought with it the notion of luxury. Companies like HP are only too happy to remove the guesswork from the equation and pre-assemble a bundle for you, which you can purchase with one phone call or just a few clicks online. Their Pavilion Media Center TV m7580n HTPC is just such a system.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments
Producer/Engineer Elliot Scheiner is a driving force for 5.1-channel music.

After working with some of the biggest names in music, producer/engineer Elliot Scheiner—also a pioneer in and champion for multichannel music—wanted to take us for a ride. Working closely with Acura and Panasonic, Scheiner developed his namesake ELS 5.1 sound system, first for the Acura TL and now for Acura's new luxury SUV, the RDX.One of Panasonic's finest recently chaufferred me in a DVD-Audio-blasting Acura TL to Scheiner's secluded home studio to discuss the artistry, technology, and business of music.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 10, 2007 Published: Aug 10, 2007 0 comments
At a time when the quality of feature animation was rapidly diminishing in Hollywood, Don Bluth did more than any filmmaker to keep the art form not just alive but healthy. In 1982, he directed his first full-length movie, The Secret of NIMH (now in a new Family Fun Edition DVD from MGM). That same year, Rick Dyer developed a revolutionary idea for an interactive laserdisc arcade game, which he pitched to Bluth and partner Gary Goldman. They would eventually cocreate the animation for what would become a video-game landmark, Dragon's Lair, the sumptuously realized quest of a hapless knight who—if we're quick with the stick—survives all manner of adversity to rescue a comely maiden from the clutches of a fire-breathing nasty. Before he struck out on his own, Bluth was a Disney veteran with decades of experience. He has given life to everything from the brood-friendly An American Tail, to Fox's ambitious Titan A.E., to the animated sequences in the Olivia Newton-John cult hit Xanadu. Yet a ravenous fan base continues to snap up Dragon's Lair on every new format, most recently the better-than-ever special-edition Blu-ray disc from Digital Leisure. I got to speak with Don Bluth, as well as Paul Gold from Digital Leisure.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 25, 2006 0 comments
Straight Shooter Director Doug Liman hits the mark every time.

In less than a decade, Doug Liman has established himself as one of Hollywood's most versatile—and successful—directors. He has nimbly moved from comedy to thriller to a unique hybrid of the two in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, soon to be re-released in a new, unrated DVD edition from Fox Home Entertainment. Here he talks about the challenges of making quality movies in a demanding business.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 16, 2007 Published: Sep 17, 2007 0 comments
The man who made October 31st scary again continues to carve new ground.

Coming off a pair of low-budget, high-concept films (Assault on Precinct 13 and Dark Star), John Carpenter forever changed the world of horror cinema with his landmark Halloween. He's been pushing the genre envelope ever since, with fan favorites such as Escape from New York and the truly original They Live, along with unexpected turns such as Starman and TV's Elvis starring frequent go-to guy Kurt Russell. He's also given fans the occasional sequel, as well as his remakes of horror classics The Thing and Village of the Damned, even as Hollywood has begun remaking his signature works, including The Fog and Rob Zombie's upcoming Halloween. Carpenter knows monsters and how to portray a tense siege, and his experience with both benefit his second installment of Showtime's Masters of Horror anthology series, "Pro-Life." Ron Perlman stars as a gun-toting conservative dad out to retrieve his young, pregnant runaway daughter—at any cost—from the abortion clinic where she seeks refuge, even though the "baby" was conceived in the underworld and really, really needs killin'. "Pro-Life" is out on a fully loaded special-edition DVD from Anchor Bay/Starz Home Entertainment, and it boasts the only audio commentary I've ever heard where the director exits in the middle of recording to catch a quick smoke.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 16, 2006 0 comments
Multitalented, Modest, and unassuming: The Lost City's Andy Garcia.

Whether he plays the hero or the heavy, the always-intense Andy Garcia is impossible to ignore on screen. With The Lost City (on DVD August 8 from Magnolia Home Entertainment), G. Cabrera Infante's bittersweet tale of the Cuban Revolution, the Havana-born actor/director has crafted a profound cinematic work and one of his most powerful performances. Just don't call him a sex symbol.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 30, 2006 Published: Dec 03, 2006 0 comments
Special Effects Guru Dennis Muren talks to HT about computer graphics, the equinox, and owning his own tux.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 17, 2007 0 comments
The modern horror maestro loves DVD, hates "torture porn."

Spend some time with the extensive bonus materials on any Eli Roth DVD, and you get his number pretty quickly. An aspiring filmmaker since the age of eight, he's now thoroughly enjoying his professional success. Off a total investment of less than $16 million, he's produced and directed a trio of gruesome, surprisingly funny horror hits, namely Cabin Fever, Hostel, and, most recently, Hostel Part II. Perhaps more DVD-savvy than any filmmaker I've talked to, he's now going Blu-ray with a new Director's Cut of the original Hostel, plus the home video debut of his killer sequel.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 10, 2006 0 comments
Frankie Goes to Hollywood: How Frank Miller conquered Tinseltown . . . by way of Austin, Texas.

Frank Miller: Renaissance man. He's had legendary runs as writer and artist on the comic book Daredevil (including the creation of Elektra) and the historic miniseries Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (about a geriatric Caped Crusader, a pubescent female Robin, and a sexually ambiguous Joker). Miller also scripted the two RoboCop movie sequels. Around this same time, he also thought up his predominately black-and-white crime anthology, Sin City, which he would ultimately direct, with Robert Rodriguez, for the big screen. The movie is now available in a stunning special edition from Dimension Home Video. Remarkably serious yet surprisingly soft-spoken, Miller recently honored us with an invitation to his New York City studio.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 21, 2006 Published: Oct 22, 2006 0 comments
The creator of Super Size Me continues to break new ground with his TV Show 30 Days, letting viewers see what life is really like in someone else's shoes.

For Super Size Me, the Academy Award–nominated documentary with a bold premise and the director as a guinea pig, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and limited himself to the minimal exercise of the average American. He miraculously survived, with quite a story to tell. His success brought the opportunity to try a variety of even edgier eye-opening, month-long sociocultural experiments, in some cases aided by thoughtfully chosen volunteers, for his series 30 Days on the FX channel. With season one now on DVD from Fox and season two underway, Spurlock gave us 30 minutes to chew the fat.

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