Now this is what we call a deal. With JBL's new Cinema Vision system, you get a 7.1-channel loudspeaker package, a 50-inch plasma HD monitor, and an A/V system controller that includes a five-disc DVD-Audio/-Video changer, a surround receiver, and a digital amplifier. The 16:9 monitor works with the A/V controller to automatically display any video source in widescreen mode. The A/V controller has a rated power output of 100 watts times seven, and the JBL Digital Link maintains all-digital audio and video signal paths. Each speaker uses multiple 5.5-inch woofers, along with a 0.75-inch titanium-laminate dome tweeter. The Cinema Vision is available as a system only, for $15,000.
(516) 496-3400 www.jbl.com
DVD: That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection—MGM/UA
A fully remastered picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio make this compilation leap off the screen. A tribute to the golden-era of movie musicals and the studio that essentially made the medium, these four discs are full of wholesome entertainment. There is something sweeping and epic about these clips and performances, the grand scale on which these were mounted interspersed with classic solo dances from Fred Astaire and many others. Seeing the full body in motion, fluid and in long takes without cuts is really the only way photographed dance should be seen. The beauty of the art form in all its striking color and sound is simply a joy. Plus, some non-dance sequences are here from the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, and the like, highlighting the intricate choreography of physical comedy as well as classic verbal timing.
Panasonic has recognized their customers' desire for high-quality performance with easy setup, and the result is their new home theater receiver, the SA-XR70 ($400). This fully digital receiver features HDMI connectivity, which simplifies the connection to other sources and allows for high-quality playback. It supports high-definition images up to 1080p and the DVD-Audio multichannel audio format. The SA-XR70 has built-in decoders for DTS, DTS ES, Dolby EX, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx. Connections include optical inputs and outputs, component video, and S-video.
Panasonic (800) 211-7262 www.panasonic.com
DVD: Raising Helen—Buena Vista
In the breezy comedy Raising Helen, Kate Hudson's fast track to agenting in the modeling business gets sidetracked when her sister's three kids move in with her after a fatal accident kills their mom. With the exception of a couple of surprisingly touching moments and the mega-talents of Joan Cusack, no feathers are ruffled too much, leading to the predictable conclusion with lots of smiles and hugs.
Imagine finally being able to have a high-end product in your home for a non-high-end price tag. AudioControl is set to make that happen with their new Architect Model 735 multiroom amp. The Model 735 delivers a rated 35 watts into all 12 channels simultaneously and allows for channel bridging. The amp can play into low impedances and runs very cool, the company reports. With AudioControl's room-correction equalization controls for each channel, you or your installer can maximize your in-wall or in-ceiling speakers' performance. Available in the company's Cool Blue style, the Model 735 is available now for $1,699.
(425) 775-8461 www.audiocontrol.com
Extras: 3 Saved! is the heartwarming story of love, redemption, religion, high school, hypocrisy, and teenage pregnancy. Movies have gone after far less heady subjects and done far worse. Remarkably, this film doesn't make fun of religion per se, but the hypocrisy found in far too many people who claim to be religious. It's a funny movie, but its need to tiptoe around heavy religion waters it down to some extent. Jena Malone plays Mary, one of the cool kids in her Christian high school. She sleeps with her boyfriend because Jesus told her that would "cure" him of being gay. She, of course, gets pregnant and disillusioned. I swear, it's a comedy.
Keeping track of all your DVDs is a tough feat. Kaleidescape makes the task much easier with their new K2500 Digital Movie Player. To make things even better, the K2500 can deliver DVD and HD movies in digital form from source to display without analog conversion. The unit connects via a switched Ethernet network to a Kaleidescape server ($27,000) and provides an HDMI output to connect A/V processors and displays. It can output HD video in 720p or 1080i, as well as the 480i and 480p NTSC formats. With its onscreen user interface, you can browse your entire DVD collection, create collections, and mark or play your favorite scenes with Kaleidescape's bookmark technology. The K2500 is $4,000.
(650) 625-6101 www.kaleidescape.com
DVD: Walking Tall—MGM/UA
It's hard to fathom why a DVD for a movie that runs a scant 73 minutes, not counting credits, would even have deleted scenes. After all, it's not like there wasn't room in the film. Still, we find three of them on the disc for Walking Tall, a silly but rather guilty pleasure for anyone wanting to see a good (fact-based) revenge story or the Rock whup some ass with a four-by-four cedar stick. You don't get to know any of the characters, and others are forgotten about altogether, but the fight scenes are well executed, and there are a few explosive moments.
DVD: Soul Plane Mile-High Edition—MGM/UA
If the Zucker brothers had made Airplane with bling, this comedy about the maiden voyage of a black-owned airline might have been the result. But don't confuse Soul Plane with that 1980 classic. While some of the visual jokes score, most of the humor is of the raunchy, make-you-wince variety. Nonetheless, the cast members, including Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Kevin Hart, and Tom Arnold as the token white guy, all got game; as a result, the film reaches a steady cruising altitude, even if it doesn't quite earn its wings.