On Saturday UAV Editor Tom Norton and I crossed the street from the Convention Center, braving vicious, howling winds to get to HD DVD’s version of the Madden cruiser to get some of that old time religion with the HD DVD camp and video industry icon and iconoclast Joe Kane.
Getting back from CEDIA after being out of the office for a week is like traveling to a hurricane and finding out an earthquake happened while you were away. After two weeks back, I can actually see the top of my desk in spots, under all the receipts, press releases, mail from last week, bills and everything else that piled up on me over here.
The Matador is an off kilter comedy that works by expertly playing on the audience's expectations without being overly manipulative. Erstwhile 007 Pierce Brosnan plays the the low down and dirty version of JB, a hit man for hire with very bad people skills. He's coming to the end of his run at the top, and has enough money to retire, but nothing or no one to retire to, not a single friend or any other human connection. While on a job in Mexico he runs into Danny, played by Greg Kinnear, who's also in town on a business trip, albeit ina different line of work! The two strike up as mcuh of a friendship as Brosnan's Julian allows, and inevitably when Julian's bosses decide he's more of a lliability than an asset Kinnear's Danny is the only friend he can turn to for help.
Admittedly, this show is still very much Stereophile oriented, meaning more two-channel and less TVs and surround sound. So, what does a UAV reporter do? He walks around and listens to stereos like this one, loaded with ultra expensive and strangely pretty MBL gear. And yes, this gear has a sound that's as unique as its looks, with massive scale and dynamic swing.
Pioneer Elite has an AVR coming that aims to wipe clean all that came before it. Don't believe me? I'm going to need to post two pictures to even try to do this thing justice. This is an all-out assault on the state-of-the-art, and in reality is more like conjoined separates than an AVR. Lemme 'splain.
1971’s Harold and Maude, a cult classic before there was such a thing, undoubtedly remains the weirdest rom-com of all times (classifying this movie as such has me laughing out loud as I type!). Harold (Bud Cort) is an odd young man who lives with his wealthy, high-society widow of a mother and gets his kicks (and much-needed attention) from elaborately acting out his own death. Over and over. While Harold’s mom’s ideas for straightening him out are to put him in the military or marry him off, another of Harold’s hobbies, attending strangers’ funerals, leads him to Maude (Ruth Gordon), a daring older woman and the freest spirit you’ve ever seen. She lives in a renovated boxcar, fights the system in her own inimitable ways, ruffles a lot of feathers, and steals a hell of a lot of cars. She’s a gas and is absolutely as obsessed with life as weird Harold is with death. They fall in love.
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.
REL subs have produced some of the best bass performance I’ve ever heard for music and cinema. Thudpuckers that can crank out LFE are a dime a dozen. Subs like REL’s that can rattle the roof, but also keep up with the rhythm and pace of music are rarer by far. The Gibraltar is a concept piece with a gorgeous finish. Final specs and release date aren’t known, but a woofer that looks like this and sounds like a REL will be welcome. There’s a reason that most black box subs are often hidden from sight. A hot looking box like the Gibraltar might occupy a more prominent spot in people’s rooms!