So you've saved up your pennies and are ready to buy a swanky new 32-inch LCD HDTV. You've picked out the perfect place on the wall to mount the TV; its streamlined aesthetic complements your room's clean lines and minimalist approach. Before you head to the local retailer, ask yourself one important question: Have you also picked out the perfect place to put all of those clunky boxes that feed signals to your flat-panel beauty?
Behind the scenes at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
Organized chaos. That's what I witness as I walk backstage and move through the adjoining corridors of the Staples Center. It's the day before the Grammy telecast, the final of three rehearsal days leading up to the big event. U2 has just finished their hour-and-a-half rehearsal, and breaking down their set has taken longer than planned. While one team maneuvers U2's massive equipment through the ramps backstage, another works feverishly to ready the stage for the next act. Still other crew members hurry to and fro with no apparent destination.
You might be a little surprised to learn that this Maxent monitor has a 26-inch screen. Why would Home Theater devote precious space to a display with such a small screen size? Sure, there's the fact that it's an LCD, and flat panels are the thing consumers care about right now. But, hey, if that's all there is to it, why not start reviewing 20-inch computer monitors, too?
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?
Media servers are a hot commodity right now. Almost every major manufacturer believes they've developed the easiest, best way to stream the music and photos from your computer via a network to your home entertainment system. While this is definitely a cool product category for the network inclined, there are those people who don't have a home network and, more importantly, don't want one. (Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's true.) Should we deny them easy access to vacation photos or their favorite party playlist on their TV?
This may very well be one of the easiest reviews I've ever done. Within five minutes of watching HDTV through Panasonic's new PT-AE900U LCD projector, I was hooked. I fully expected, as the review process progressed, to have to play the standard "on the one hand; on the other" game we play with most mid- or entry-level projectors: On the one hand, this projector has nice detail; on the other, its color points aren't very accurate. On the one hand, this projector has a surprisingly good black level; on the other, it's so dim, even the LEDs on your A/V gear will wash out the picture. Happily, the other hand never presented itself here.
I don't know how many banjo players you can name, but I can come up with two: Bela Fleck and Roy Clark (and I had to cheat to get Roy Clark-before a trip to IMDB.com, it was "that guy from Hee-Haw"). Even if you've never heard of Bela Fleck, you've probably heard his music, as he's appeared on a ton of pop and jazz albums. He's won Grammys in the country, jazz, classical, and pop categories, but his roots are pure bluegrass.
Extras: 2 Swimming Upstream tells the true story of Australian swimmer Tony Fingleton, who must overcome poverty and a cruel, alcoholic father in his quest to become the best swimmer in Australia. The story is one we've seen many times in different incarnations. The difference here is that, because Fingleton penned the screenplay and the book on which it's based, events aren't always as tidy and pat as Hollywood would like them to be. We don't get the big ending we're expecting, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If nothing else, Kinsey shows us just how far we haven't come since Alfred Kinsey first published his books on human sexual behavior in the 1940s and '50s. When we see the sex photos that Professor Kinsey shows his students during his first college course about sex, we're just as shocked as they are that we're actually being allowed to see them-and that the MPAA didn't slap an NC-17 rating on the film as a result. In a manner befitting the subject, writer/director Bill Condon provides a straightforward, almost clinical examination of Kinsey's life, which succeeds primarily because of the wonderful performances by Liam Neeson as Kinsey and Laura Linney as his wife Clara.