Writer/director Wes Anderson’s artsy comedies are so distinct, you’d never mistake a single frame of his movies for anyone else’s. 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums showcases many of his hallmarks and themes: a mixed family of blood and adopted relatives separating and then banding together to overcome collective dysfunction, oddly brilliant characters whose clothes are identity uniforms, a simultaneous embracing and lampooning of academia, a labyrinthine set that functions like a cross between a playhouse and a fort, and a nice role for the great character actor Seymour Cassel. It’s Anderson’s most polarizing film in terms of accessibility, but it’s also his funniest.
OK, I added the "sinister" part. But doesn’t it still sound like a super secret weapon employed by an evil genius in a Bond flick? Sharp showed two new BD players at CES. The most compelling of the two is the BD-HP22U, which is BD-Live out of the gate, including 2GB of onboard storage and a USB port that can be used to expand storage capacity and upload new firmware. The audio decoding is murkier- Sharp’s reps and the logos on the player indicate decoding capability for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The press release is only specific on its ability to output the advanced codecs as native bitstreams. The BDP-HP22U will be available in May for $299.
Wolf Cinema has something for those who can’t quite go to the screening room screen sizes supported by its big D-Cinema based projectors. The company was holding private demos showing pre-production samples of a new LED-based projector that will be available later this year. While it’s not small, it looks kinda cute next to the company’s digital cinema based line. The image was bright and punchy, and loaded with crisp detail on a 106” wide 2.35:1 screen. It didn’t hurt that the source material was comprised of clips of serious eye candy like Baraka and the psychedelic Speed Racer. Still, the projector wasn’t missing any of it. Final pricing is not yet determined, but is expected to be around $23k. While it already has a model number, Wolf Cinema’s John-Paul Lazars mentioned calling it the Cub, and I’m running with that. Consider the start of an online campaign!
Price: $18,790 At A Glance: Unique design with proprietary components • Seamless topto-bottom coherence • Wide dynamic contrast • See-through transparency and clarity
Defining the Possibilities
Speakers sometimes remind me of cars. The marketing campaigns are built around uniqueness, but in a larger sense, most are far more similar than different. Most cars have combustion engines, four wheels that go around, and options that are more distinguished by the jargon that describes them than by their functionality. These days, many speakers are assembled from materials that are purchased from a handful of well-known source component companies. They often have much more in common with each other than people are led to believe.
I'm going to try and be kind here. But really, we need a third HD format like we need a hole in the head. Or a new car company. Nevertheless, the folks at New Medium Enterprises invited me to have a look at HD VMD, a low cost red laser high-def format being pushed to challenge Blu-ray and HD DVD.
Tell me about it. I have a Pioneer Elite BDP-94HD back at home, and a review ready for a fact-check. Hell, the virtual ink isn't even dry and I don't think a full month has passed since I got the thing, and here's its replacement, The $999 Pioneer Elite BDP-95HD.