As a musician, I've played for a number of modern-dance performances and classes, including classes taught by members of the renowned Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. So when I learned that Wim Wenders, director of Buena Vista Social Club, made a 3D movie about the late modern-dance choreographer Pina Bausch and her Tanztheater Wuppertal troupe, I had to check it outespecially since Pina has been nominated for an Academy Award as the best documentary feature of 2011.
Last night, I saw Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3DRealD, not Imax, which was showing Journey 2: The Mysterious Island instead. That Dwayne Johnson vehicle looks pretty bad from the trailers I've seen, but I bet the 3D is better than it is in the new Star Wars release.
Last weekend, I had the honor and privilegenot to mention the great pleasureof guest hosting Leo Laporte's nationally syndicated radio show, The Tech Guy, while Leo was attending a conference called Le Web in Paris, France, and hobnobbing with the likes of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. I answered call-in questions about home theater for three hours on Saturday and again on Sunday for a listening audience of around a million! I also had a couple of very interesting guests on the show, including Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer Michael Giacchino, whose credits include Lost, Alias, Up, Star Trek, and Super 8 among many others, and film-restoration expert Grover Crisp, who's currently working on Lawrence of Arabia for theatrical and Blu-ray release.
Not only that, I answered more questions from the chat room during the commercial and news breaks, and it was all captured on high-quality video by the incredibly talented crew of TWiT, Leo's podcast network. The video of both days is available right here, so please enjoy this double dose of home theater geeky goodness!
With so many products among our reviews that merit Top Picks status, I'd like to share with you my personal favorites from 2011. Of course, all of our Top Picks are worthy of your serious consideration, but these are the ones I'd buy if I was shopping for home-theater products in the entry-level, midrange, and high-end price ranges.
The daily deluge of news into my inbox included a very sad item yesterday. Insight Media, a display-industry analysis firm, reported that Samsung will not be making so-called "active retarder" 3D LCD TVs in collaboration with RealD. This approach places an active polarization-switching layer over the LCD layer, much like the polarization switcher placed in front of a projector lens in a commercial RealD theater. The viewer wears standard passive glasses, and the TV quickly alternates the polarization in sync with the alternating left and right images on the screen.
When you go to your local cineplex to catch a 3D movie, you are provided with glasses that isolate the left and right images for the corresponding eyes. I always assumed that the theater bought these glasses, resulting in higher ticket prices and an admonition to toss them into a bin on the way out so they can be reused. But Sony Pictures' announcement two weeks ago that, in May 2012, it will stop providing theaters with RealD glasseswhich are used in the majority of commercial 3D presentationsbelied that assumption.
A mere six weeks after stepping down as CEO of Apple and one day after the introduction of the latest iPhone, Steve Jobs passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His incredible, indelible legacy will be discussed endlessly on TV, on radio, and online in the coming days, and I won't try to summarize it here. Instead, I'd like to share the impact his work has had on my life, both personally and professionally.
A few months ago, Netflix separated the subscription plansand feesfor its disc-by-mail and streaming services, essentially doubling the cost for those who want both. This caused the company to lose as many as a million customers, and its stock price plummeted. So how did Netflix try to salvage the situation? It renamed the disc-rental business, which is now called Qwikster. If you subscribe to both streaming and disc-by-mail, you'll have to go to two different websites, and you'll pay two different bills.
This move has most folks scratching their head, and it further fuels the anger of those who objected to the original rate hike, which could certainly lead to more customer defections. What was Netflix thinking?
It's been almost 30 years since Steven Spielberg brought tears to the eyes of moviegoers with E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. Now, J.J. Abrams tells a very similar story for a new generation in Super 8, which opens today. This movie is being shown in 2D only, and like X-Men: First Class, I didn't miss 3D at all.
On Sunday, my wife and I saw X-Men: First Class at the Pacific Theaters Glendale 18 in Glendale, CA. It was the first film presentation I've seen in a while, and I was a bit surprised that this movie is not being offered in 3D at all. And you know what? I didn't miss it at all.
At SID 2011, LG Display had an interesting demo in its bootha series of flat panels of different sizes and resolutions to show how these two parameters are related. To maintain a given amount of detail as the screen size increases, so must the resolution, even as the number of pixels per inch decreases. The two largest screens have 4K resolution, while the two smallest are 720p (roughly 1K). I was unable to find out why they had such different color profiles.
I know I'm a bit late to this particular party, but I had to share some of my observations about Thor, the latest movie adaptation of a Marvel comic-book hero. I actually saw it twice in 3Donce at an ArcLight theater with Xpand active-shutter glasses and again at an Imax theater with passive-polarized glasses.
After the Samsung reviewers' workshop at DreamWorks Animation last week (see my report here), we were treated to a preview screening of Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D. However, we were instructed not to publish anything about the movie until it opened on May 26that is, today.
During our visit to DreamWorks Animation for the Samsung reviewers' workshop, we weren't allowed to take photos inside any of the buildings (except the motion-capture stage where the event was held), but we were free to take pictures of the grounds. Here are a few of my shots to give you an idea of just how idyllic the place is.