Since back in 1989, when the first Alien Vs. Predator comic was released, sci-fi and horror fans have been asking the same question. Who would win between the Alien and the Predator? The question was addressed for the following 15 years in comics and video games. Finally, in 2004, the movie AVP: Alien Vs. Predator promised to give us all the answers we were craving. The two species fight it out in an ancient pyramid in Antarctica, and any of us foolish humans that get in the way may never make it back to a temperate climate.
When the ad campaign for the theatrical release of Happy Feet started, I was amazed and perplexed. The animation looked fantastic, but, for the life of me, I had no idea what the movie was about. The most amazing part was that not a single person I knew had any idea what the movie was about, but it had dancing penguins and an all-star cast, leaving us all mesmerized. Not only was everyone mesmerized, they all planned on seeing it without any clue what it was about.
Do you ever think about how implausible the plots of mystery books and movies are? So does Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) adapts, in part, Brett Halliday’s mystery novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them. Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.) finds himself in the middle of a seemingly simple murder mystery within his first day out in Los Angeles. But Harry knows mysteries are never simple. He soon gets sucked in, along with Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) and Harmony (Michelle Monaghan), trying to find how multiple murders are linked before his is next. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a highly enjoyable dark comedy that turns murder mysteries on their head. The performances are engaging, especially Robert Downey, Jr.’s narration, and all the actors handle the quick banter superbly.
Extras: 2 Lethal Weapon has been the paradigm of cop movies ever since its release in 1987. This is mainly because the film is more about the relationship between Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) than the plot. That’s not to say that the plot doesn’t hold up. Far from it. Lethal Weapon grabs you from the beginning and never lets go. With a supporting criminal cast of Gary Busey and character actor Mitchell Ryan, the performances all around are incredible.
Okay, I admit it. I like Will Ferrell. His movies are almost always funny and entertaining, from the recent Blades of Glory, to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and back to his evil turn as Mugatu in Zoolander. Some are also surprisingly sweet and touching. (If you haven’t seen Elf, go rent it.) Ferrell’s honest and genuine acting allows him to connect to characters and audiences with ease.
Before American Beauty and X-Men, there was Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects. Easily one of the most engaging crime thrillers of modern film, The Usual Suspects brings you through a dope deal gone wrong, and what led to it, through the eyes of Roger “Verbal” Kint (Spacey). To go into further detail would be to ruin a fun ride with one of the most notorious reveals in cinema.
Ever want to show someone the barrel of the wave you just caught? GoPro’s Digital Hero 3 allows you to do just that. The 4.5 ounce, waterproof camera straps to your wrist and takes 3-megapixel photos as well as up to 54 minutes of 30 frame per second video. You just need to get used to having a camera strapped to your wrist. It’s available beginning of February for $140.
The big news in 2006 has been the emergence of two new high-def DVD formats—Blu-ray and HD DVD. With greater storage capacity than a traditional DVD, we can now get higher-quality audio and video on the small screen. Depending on the compression used, each release can contain a whole slew of extras—or you can fit entire seasons of television shows, in SD, on one disc. Now, with the introduction of some internal drives for the home computer, you can back up vast amounts of information with a single disc. My personal iTunes music library, which contains the majority of my CDs, encoded as AAC files at 192 kilobits per second (stereo), could almost all fit on one Blu-ray disc. That's three-and-a-half months of continuous music. Add the ability to play Blu-ray titles, and it's the perfect time to move that home computer into the home theater for some high-def goodness. Before you get too excited and run out to buy a new drive, there are a few things that you need to consider first.
Since 1080p became the buzzword of the year, most projectors that supposedly employ the technology have been more expensive than those that don't. The inflated price hasn't guaranteed that the projector would actually accept 1080p, just that it possibly deinterlaces a 1080i signal. This is changing; most expensive projectors now accept the signal, but only recently has the price started to drop and reach more people's spending range.
Sharp showed two new LCD sets – 32 (LC-32GP1U, $1,700) and 37-inch (LC-37GP1U, $2,000) – specifically designed towards gamers. Called the Game Players Series, they employ Sharp’s Vyper Drive that reduces visual lag time from console to screen to “imperceptible levels.” A Game Mode button enables the new expanded side terminals (including HDMI and component) for quick change between regular television duties and games. As with all the new Sharp LCD’s, these have a 120 hertz refresh that clears up a lot of the motion blur issues inherent to LCD’s. Oh yeah, it’s also 1080p.