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Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 16, 2013 0 comments
An Italian language Cannes winner, another terrific Justice League adventure and a long-lost Rock Hudson gem make their Blu-ray debuts.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 17, 2012 10 comments
Going back a few years, the arrival of high definition in general and Blu-ray specifically signaled a new era of entertainment. While home theater has long promised a movie-watching experience that we could enjoy in our pajamas—without getting arrested—the reign of the 1080p optical disc promised us DVD convenience combined with superior cinematic quality. Delivering on that promise wasn’t always so easy, however. Owing to a variety of variables, such as poor film storage, tight budgets, and the simple fact that some studios are more dedicated to the preservation of their libraries than others, many of the most anticipated Blu-ray debuts have been lackluster, frequently mere ports of existing standard-def masters.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 07, 2014 0 comments
There are many reasons to enjoy RoboCop, still beloved (and now remade) after 27 years. If you don’t like the brilliantly executed action, there’s the biting statement about ’80s greed in America. If you don’t appreciate the scathing satire, there’s the poignant struggle of a good man trying to regain his identity.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 21, 2014 0 comments
Fasten your seat belts for the fastest thrill ride of 2013! Ron Howard’s best film since A Beautiful Mind chronicles Formula One during the mid-’70s—the deadliest era for one of the world’s deadliest sports—and dramatizes the true story of champions James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), whose rivalry mirrored Frazier/Ali and Borg/McEnroe. Peter Morgan’s screenplay evenhandedly illuminates the destructive and empowering aspects of their competition. Hemsworth and Brühl channel two genius drivers with divergent personalities: Hunt, the cavalier, reckless playboy versus serious, disciplined Lauda, whose obsession with besting Hunt culminates in a crescendo of flames that nearly kills him.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 29, 2012 0 comments
A 65mm/8K marvel dazzles the senses, then we check out a new take on the well-worn romantic comedy genre, and an enduring faux rockumentary. (No, not Spinal Tap.)
Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 28, 2006 0 comments
Spent almost everything on your HDTV? You can still afford a friend for it.

The war between competing next-generation, high-definition-quality DVD formats is still unfolding, a saga with more twists than an entire season of Lost. As I write this, manufacturers are still not offering specific product announcements or firm release dates. The problem is, HDTV is a reality right now. While the current over-the-air, cable, and satellite content is compelling and continuing to grow, I for one put the enjoyment of packaged media above all others, and I hate the thought that my HDTV's capabilities are often going to waste. What then to feed it?

Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 01, 2004 0 comments
The DVD-V3800 combines popular technologies from yesterday and today.

Samsung was the first to market with a backwards-compatible, single-box DVD/VHS combi player a few years ago. It's still a hot product as consumers continue to wrestle with the whole VHS-versus-DVD quandary. Most manufacturers keep upping the ante in small ways, adding this output or that performance enhancement on the digital half—there's only so much room for improvement on a standard VHS recorder, after all—without really rocking the multimedia boat. Finally going a step further, Samsung has incorporated a multi-format flash-memory card reader into the top-of-the-line model in their recent wave of value decks.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 07, 2008 2 comments
By a bizarre coincidence, three attractive women each holding a Samsung portable device (an MP3 player, a PMP, and an an ultra-mobile PC) wandered into The Venetian Hotel, so the Korean manufacturer roped them into the demo of their new live-TV-anywhere-on-just-about-any-gizmo technology, which will launch here in the U.S. in 2008.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
A portable media player on steroids, and its secret relationship with an HTIB.

I'll admit it. I'm a fan of satellite radio. The sound quality, the variety of programming, the lack of commercials, and even the bonuses like artist and song-title info on display are all enticing to me. And yet, a compelling satellite radio product hasn't landed on my desk in some time—or perhaps one did but was lost among all the press releases, UPS receipts, and slightly used napkins. As if to make up for the lull, Samsung hooked me up with two disparate new products that work great together, converging the freedom of a portable digital audio player with the convenience and versatility of a complete home theater in a box.


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