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Chris Chiarella

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 15, 2012 0 comments
After we've fed our intellectual side with a profound music documentary and a first-class dramatization of the 2008 financial crisis, we can kick back with the R-rated exploits of a gun-toting hooker on the run.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 01, 2012 0 comments
Comedy, romance and horror are on the menu for this edition, with a kinda-true sports opus, a very different sort of love story and one of the most underrated creature features you've never seen.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 18, 2012 0 comments
Spaghetti Westerns don't come more delicious than this edition's lead title, while audiences partial to contemporary domestic thrillers won't be disappointed with the little-seen Aggression Scale, either. But seriously: No Oscar love for Kevin?
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 04, 2012 0 comments
Check out Rebecca De Mornay in a guilty-pleasure remake of an off-the-wall classic, or saddle up for the entire first year of AMC's hot (and sweaty) new Western hit, or pop in all three movies in the beloved series about a lone sheriff facing impossible odds.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 20, 2012 0 comments
This year's Oscars no doubt hastened the Blu-ray release of the exceptional original Tinker, while ABC's centennial-timed Titanic approaches the familiar tale from a fresh perspective. And who doesn't love an inspired horror movie?
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 06, 2012 0 comments
Hello, and welcome to my first Blu-ray blog for HomeTheater.com wherein we take a look at a few interesting discs that you might have missed among the weekly cascade of blockbusters and otherwise more heavily advertised releases. In this installment, we check out HBO's Cinema Verite, Anchor Bay's Corman's World, and BBC's Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 02, 2008 0 comments
Fill it up with movies, not pins.

Regular readers of Home Theater might know that I also write the “Top 100 DVDs of All Time” article each year, which means that I have at least 8.3-dozen discs at home. And those discs tend to pile up. But how else is a cinephile supposed to build an impressive video library? Kaleidescape is too rich for my blood, DVD jukeboxes are too difficult to manage, and downloading movies to my computer isn’t really a living-room experience. So there’s the Apple TV, which recently began high-def movie rentals, not purchases, from major studios directly to the box. The Xbox 360 also allows paid download-to-own TV shows, some in high def, although all movies are rental only. And then there’s VUDU. The VUDU box is essentially a movie machine, a library on a hard disk drive inside a box. It’s an entertainment portal that sits quietly next to the TV until called into action.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 04, 2008 0 comments
Move your TV programs from computer to home theater at the speed of walking.

One of my favorite (to make fun of) bits of business-speak is the phrase “leveraging our core competency.” Not content to say, “We’re doing what we do best,” guys in suits spout this lofty verbiage to inspire confidence as they draw upon their unique strength and experience. As the creators of flash memory cards, SanDisk’s core competency has long been those tiny, solid-state wafers in ever-expanding capacities, manufactured in form factors to fit just about every digital device imaginable. They pushed their products in interesting new directions, with dedicated living-room devices that read from and even record to various cards (the SanDisk V-Mate, May 2007 HT). That’s in addition to their broad and popular line of portable MP3 players, with and without video. But with Apple ruling the roost in video-software downloads, and consumers clamoring to watch their digital videos in the comfort of the home theater, what’s next?

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 24, 2008 0 comments
It’s like a UFO landed between your sofa and TV.

You’ve seen me write in these pages about the allure of the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system for PC, with its integrated Media Center application for serious next-generation living rooms. And you probably have one or more techy friends who extol the virtues of their multimedia PC, with its countless hours of stored music and video, TV recording, and the benefits of Internet access. But beyond custom-building your own rig or buying a traditional tower to stand next to your stylish A/V rack, how can you introduce a home-theater-friendly computer to your HDTV? Several manufacturers offer PCs with a form factor in the realm of traditional consumer electronics, namely a horizontal box with a remote control and a front-panel readout. The release of Alienware’s first such machine, the DHS-321, kicked off an evolution from that “digital home system” to their new high-definition entertainment center, code-named Hangar18.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 24, 2008 0 comments
Miles away from the disquieting cyber-terrorism themes and violent action of director Len Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard (now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Unrated DVD from Fox) are its real-life co-stars. The baby-faced Justin Long finds the humor in just about everything, while the hypnotically beautiful Maggie Q is as charming as her onscreen henchwoman is deadly. Veterans of both Hollywood blockbusters and more obscure indies, together they offer a unique exposé of an actor’s life.

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