It might surprise you to know I read the Best buy pullout in every weekend's Sunday paper (which now arrives on Saturday for reasons I can't discern). I'm primarily interested in seeing what's being pushed on the mass market and how.
It's unfortunate but sometimes review products arrive DOA, or don't work properly right from the get go. And when this happens, it puts everyone in a bad spot. Our policy here at <I>UAV</I>, which is a good one, is that any product sent for review gets one, even if the product malfunctions. No one gets a break on a defective product. However, when a component is dead or defective from the get-go we can't even spend enough time with it to write a meaningful paragraph. And if four or five interesting and functional products are lined up behind it, it's easy to just move on to the other products and wait for a replacement.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Disney) is rapidly proving itself as one of the companies that get it when it comes to releasing top quality Blu-ray Discs. The company is releasing consistently high quality BDs by employing both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4/AVC compression for its 1080p video transfers and using uncompressed PCM soundtracks. The extras are relatively thin, but that's easy enough to forgive when the principal mission of providing high quality picture and sound is met.
It's a big credit to this film that its subject matter is something that has not only been done, but been done very well many, many times. In fact, the film it reminded me the most of, in many ways, is the excellent if not great <I>Truman Show</I>. Yes, like that movie this one highlights the dramatic skills of a genius-level sketch comedy actor, only this time around it's Ricky Bubb-eee himself Will Ferrell. Instead of the being the unwitting subject of a reality TV show, Ferrell's Harold Crick finds that he's the subject of a novel being written by a self-and death-obsessed writer played wonderfully and obsessively by Emmma Thompson.
If you claim your disc format the winner of the format war, does it become true? High-Def Digest <A HREF="http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Industry_Trends/Disc_Sales/Sonys_... </A>that Sony is seizing the marketing initiative with respect to the Neilsen Videoscan ratings and other indicators that showed Blu-ray as releasing and selling twice as many titles in January as HD DVD and will now market Blu-ray as the clear winner of the format war.
In one sense this film is an unexpected gift. I would never have imagined such intense, mesmerizing human drama could be culled from the story of two rival magicians trying to destroy each other personally and professionally around the turn of the century. Of course, in another sense the success of a film made from such a talented pool of people on both sides of the camera shouldn't seem surprising at all.
OK, I know the Blu(e) jokes are stale. Still, I had to call this Blog something to enter it into the system, so why not? Unless you've been under a rock you know that Warner and Paramount support both Blu-ray and HD DVD. Warner is unique in that it now encodes the video for its movies using Microsoft's VC-1 compression on both formats, encodes that are said to be virtually identical. But on the soundtrack front, the Blu-ray customer doesn't always get the advanced, next-gen sound that the HD DVD customer gets.
It would take a much better film writer than I to do justice to this film, so I'll limit the damage by being brief. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's <I>Babel</I> brilliantly intertleaves the lives of four families across three continents, and links them in way that are mostly believeable and emotionally captivating and compelling from beginning to end. Almost like Jim Jarmusch meeting Robert Altman in the Int'l terminal.
OK, <I>AVP's</I> concept, such as it is, of pitting two of cinema's most known monsters against each other in mortal combat (not <I>Mortal Kombat</I>) began back in the day as a graphic novel. A graphic novel is a comic book of allegedly higher aesthetic and narrative value not necessarily aimed at little kids. However, even a comic book would be embarrassed at the setup here in which these two cinematic make-up and effects legends duke it out. Any teenager who reads Fangoria magazine could have dreamed this one up. And hell, who cares what he excuses are, we just want to see the Aliens and Predators run amok, which they do.