Nikhil Burman  |  Jan 30, 2006  |  0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 3
Extras: 4
Watching March of the Penguins, it's hard not to feel as though the cast, fleets of emperor penguins, is imbued with human nature. I kept catching myself thinking of the penguins as people—I kept searching for humanlike motivations to understand their behavior. But perhaps this is unfair of me to say, if not a little arrogant. After all, we humans are all animals (some of us more untamed than others), and this documentary essentially focuses on the central function of all mammals—procreation and the successful nurturing of offspring into self-sufficient beings. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this movie beautifully demonstrates that even something as complex as love is not reserved for humans.
Adrienne Maxwell  |  Jan 30, 2006  |  0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 2
When writers Mitchell Hurwitz and Jim Vallely accepted the 2005 Emmy for Arrested Development's season-two finale, "The Righteous Brothers," they kindly reminded everyone that they were receiving an award for a show that no one watches. In fact, three of the five nominees in the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category were from Arrested Development. Does that give you an idea just how good this show is?
Ryan Vincent  |  Jan 30, 2006  |  0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
What Harold and Maude was to funerals, Wedding Crashers is to nuptials. A rollicking buddy comedy that spearheaded the great "Return of the R-Rated Comedies" campaign of 2005, this Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn team-up proved to be a true word-of-mouth box-office success. Besides wonderful comedic chemistry between Wilson and Vaughn and the writing's total immersion in sexual frankness (e.g., "Why don't you go enjoy yourself while I go ice my balls and spit up blood?"), David Dobkin's assured pacing and direction won over audiences with both the film's infectious energy and the sincerity of the romantic subplot.
Aimee Giron  |  Jan 30, 2006  |  0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 5
Extras: 5
The search for salvation, fortune, and a new world are all familiar things that many continue to fight for today; during the Crusades, it was no different. Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven is yet another masterpiece created by the father of the director's cut, who is best known for his unique vision. Orlando Bloom is Balian, a Frenchman who becomes a knight and travels to the Holy City to find redemption. As the words "I am Jerusalem" are uttered from both sides, Balian must defend his people in this historical clash between Europe and the Middle East.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 30, 2006  |  2 comments
The Federal Communications Commission has a new member. Deborah Tate was quietly sworn in by chairperson Kevin Martin on January 3. A native of Tennessee, Tate is a lawyer with Republican credentials, but not necessarily a cookie-cutter political operative. Her varied public service background includes telecommunications, public utilities, senior mental health, and juvenile justice. That breadth of experience may prove valuable over the next few years as the FCC grapples with controversial issues involving obscenity, censorship, media concentration, digital rights management, and its traditional mission of regulating the broadcast spectrum.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 29, 2006  |  0 comments

We're living through interesting yet complicated times in the video display business. The much-revered CRT is an endangered species, being replaced by a supermarket of different new technologies.

 |  Jan 29, 2006  |  0 comments

The digital sky has been falling for the last several days with reports that the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) copy protection scheme that will be used by both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD will allow content providers the option of down-converting HD signals from the analog outputs of the players.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 28, 2006  |  0 comments
After simmering on the back burner for lack of compelling performance and ease-of-use, "convergence" was once again a hot topic at the 2006 CES. Sure, it wasn't as ubiquitous as things designed to work with Apple's iPod (including a toilet paper dispenser/iPod dock combo - hey, I'm not making that up), but convergence wasn't far behind. Some items were just plain bizarre (like that iPod toilet paper thingee). Others made you think, "Hey, that's cool!" And then there were the ones that made you say, "Man, I think I'd actually use that."
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 27, 2006  |  3 comments
"Image Constraint Token." A piquant phrase, yes? Roll it around on your tongue a few times before I tell you what it is. OK, ready? It's the name of the flag that will down-res HDTV in the soon-to-debut Blu-ray and HD DVD formats under the rights management scheme known as AACS (Advanced Access Content System). The restriction will apply only to the player's component video outputs, because they're analog, and therefore give the studios security nightmares. If your HDTV has HDMI, you needn't worry. HDMI is digital, easier to protect, and will work at full resolution. But if you're an early HDTV adopter and component is the only HD input on your set—ouch. The Image Constraint Token will halve resolution from 1920 by 1080 pixels to 960 by 540. It is an option, not a requirement. Studios likely to use it reportedly include Disney, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Warner. Fox has argued against it and Sony hasn't taken a position. The logic behind the ICT is staggeringly faulty: Does anyone really believe that cutting resolution in half will stop pirates in their tracks?