Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2013 8 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,150 At A Glance: Crisp, detailed picture • Superb color performance • Near reference-quality blacks and shadow detail

When Samsung launched its new line of plasma HDTVs at last January’s CES, we were impressed. Those early demos indicated improved black levels and overall good performance. We were surprised to find later that the prices, though not exactly “Attention, K-Mart shoppers!” specials, aren’t Beverly Hills exclusives, either. From what we see here, these new Samsung plasmas, while unlikely to alter the market dominance of LCD, are welcome additions to the battle.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 07, 2013 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,300 At A Glance: Rich black level and good shadow detail • New color technology • Bright, punchy 3D

The new KDL-55W900A is Sony’s newest, top-of-the-line, non-XBR set. All of the XBRs, going forward, will be Ultra HD (4K) sets, but the KDL-55W900A, as all of the KDL designs, is firmly in the standard HD, 1920 x 1080 camp. It’s an edge-lit design with local dimming, but its marquee feature has nothing to do with contrast and black levels. Color is the plot here, and Triluminos, a term Sony has used in the past (see sidebar), promises a wider color gamut.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 29, 2013 0 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
Threatened with eviction from his lifelong home, Carl Fredrickson cuts loose in an unexpected way and sets off on a journey to the South American wilderness he and his late wife had long yearned to visit. Along the way, he picks up a few unwelcome (at first) fellow travelers: Russell, an 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer; Kevin, a rare bird and a key plot McGuffin; and Dug, a talking dog. Carl also runs into his boyhood idol, explorer Charles Muntz, who turns out to be less of a hero than he had long imagined.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 22, 2013 0 comments
Picture
3D-Ness
Sound
Extras
Little Nemo and his dad, Marlin, are the only survivors of a barracuda attack that took his mom and not-yet-hatched siblings. On Nemo’s first day of school (fish in a school—who knew?), he swims out beyond safety and is scooped up by a scuba diver. The distraught Marlin sets out on a journey to find him. In his quest, he meets up with a memory-challenged fish, Dory; a trio of sharks in a fish-anonymous rehab group; a convoy of surfer-dude turtles; a great blue whale; and more.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 08, 2013 6 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Superior 2D color and adjustability • Crisp resolution • Outstanding value

Epson is one of the world’s most prolific projector manufacturers, serving both the business and home markets. The company’s current flagship home theater model, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB, sells for $4,000. But for $2,700, you can buy the PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB. The latter omits the spare lamp, ceiling mount, additional warranty year, and all-black case that come standard with the 6020UB.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 25, 2013 0 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
Young Merida may be a princess in the misty highlands of Scotland, but she isn’t happy with her lot. She wants only to practice her horsemanship, archery, and all other manner of un-princess-like behavior. Her father is delighted, but her mother is beside herself and arranges for the neighboring clans to vie for Merida’s hand in marriage. Our heroine, however, isn’t all that thrilled by the idea—and even less by the suitors. Fleeing into the woods, Merida stumbles upon a witch and has her cast a spell to make her mother change. Her mother does change, but unfortunately not exactly as Merida intended.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
It’s not exactly a secret that Sony Pictures produced a fabulously successful trilogy of Spider-man films from 2002 to 2007. All three were directed by Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire as the resident arachnid. Though the last of the three laid something of a critical egg, it was nevertheless a golden one at the box office. The Amazing Spider-Man is not a sequel but instead a complete reboot, origin story and all. Clearly, Sony was hoping to re-invigorate the franchise. Judging from its commercial success, I’d say it succeeded.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It’s 1941. Eleven-year-old Jamie Graham is living a privileged life in Shanghai’s International Settlement with his English parents. Japanese troops have occupied much of mainland China over the previous four years but remain outside of some of the country’s major population centers, including Shanghai. Following Pearl Harbor, however, the Japanese move into the city. Panic erupts and Jamie becomes separated from his parents and ends up in a Japanese prison camp for Allied civilians.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 26, 2013 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
When Seymour Krelborn, a schlub working at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists, finds a strange and exotic plant, his life suddenly takes a turn for the better. But when the plant begins to speak, it offers him a Faustian bargain, promising Seymour fame, fortune, and Audrey, Mushnik’s flower arranger and Seymour’s secret love. In exchange, Seymour must provide the plant, which he has named Audrey II, with the food it needs to grow—human blood.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 13, 2013 3 comments

Performance
Setup
Value
Price: $1,600 At A Glance: Outstanding picture at any viewing angle • Cinematic curvature • Excellent value

At one time, two of my favorite Los Angeles–area theaters were in Westwood: the Village and the National. The Village had, and still has, a huge, flat screen. The National (tragically closed and torn down in 2008) had a gently curved one of about the same size. While the Village had the more awesome audio, I always preferred the subtly more immersive visual presentation at the National.

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