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Showing posts from March, 2010

Jarhead - movie review

JARHEAD:The Gulf War seems to be a constant hunting ground for material to make movies. This was a movie done in between the older ones like Courage Under Fire, Black Hawk Down and more recent ones like Hurt Locker, and it was meant to shift the focus away from the bravado, to the people in the war, focussing more on the psyche, the angst and the personal mental trauma.It comes with a stellar cast and director, so you would probably bank on it to succeed and win a few Oscars with the emotion driven, close-up look at a bunch of young men thrown into boot camp, then thrust into battle only to emerge empty handed, in mind, body and without a kill to their sorry names. Yet the show rings as empty as the war itself, the actors almost sleepwalking through their roles, seemingly just turning up to take their paychecks and enjoy a break from their other movie making commitments. Perhaps they were trying too hard to empty themselves and in the process, took all their emotions and also left it …

Buying that Home Theatre - how to demo and some suggestions

Buying your first Home Theatre – how to demo and some suggestions



I compiled my thoughts on helping new members get the best out of their new systems into this post.







This thread aims to give new members a simple way of setting into a shop and finding that system you are looking for.



First things:



1 – things you do at home:



Settle the BUDGET!



Now this is a sensitive issue and often we want start out wanting to get a cost effective “simple” system and allocate a budget which is small not because we wish to save or cannot afford it, but when we haul that system home, it can be quite a let down. So put aside the maximum amount you feel comfortable with. Then spend it!



Allocation of funds:



There many formulae, but most agree the cornerstone of a Home Theatre system is the subwoofer and centre speaker. And speakers are where you want to put more of the money.

AV amps are now like computers, with processing to make that home theatre experience so real you feel right in the middle of the ac…

Bottom of the barrel for High Definition

But there is still a bare minimum you need to pay to enjoy a decent Home Theatre experience.NOTE: This post is a suggestion for HT, for good music, it will cost you more. Also if you are willing to go 2nd hand prices are better and help to stretch out the budget.SOURCE:A decent Blu Ray player is now within reach, and if you don’t mind a slow loading time, or half decent video scaling, then Philips, LG, Sony etc all offer players under 300 and in some cases <200.AMP:There are amps with internal decoding, HDMI switching etc which cost <$500. What you need:- lossless decoding of TruHD and DTS-MA- I suggest paying for an auto-setup and Audyssey is the current leader in technology, and paying for Multi EQ XT is worth it IMO- at least 3 HDMI inputs- 5 channels is ok, but 7 is nice but not needed- pre-outs are niceBudget 5-800Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz etc all have offerings in this range.SPEAKERS:This is where you should spend the most you can, especially on the subwoofer …

Satellite Speakers

Sats (as they will be shortened to)



- are not value for money (VFM)

- they usually have lousy mids especially the cheaper examples

- will need a subwoofer to fill in, some crossover at 100 Hz but if they can reach 80Hz, thats more ideal as the bass unit will be less localisable

- they can be mounted on walls or stands - I suggest hanging them first before permanently fixing them, so you can figure out the ideal spot

- they can suck up quite a bit of power, many of them being inefficicent so a good amp with at least 70-100 real watts per channel is useful

- not all of them are light so make sure your mounts can take them

- they are better for HT than music



So with so many issues, why buy them??



I ask that of our bros often when they want the cutesy thing. Simple reason - WAF -- wife acceptance factor ---- "I need to blend in with my decor" / "my wife / partner doesn't want the speakers to dominate the room" / "my kids might destroy the speakers"



Well t…

Review of the Monitor Audio RS 6 with the Marantz SR 12

I like these brands and make no attempts to hide this fact. I had been searching for a new HT based setup, trying to keep an open mind, yet remembering my Bronze and Marantz system that gave a wonderful account of itself.




An ensuing saga comes to a temporary halt. My search for a HT based system came to a fortuitous point thanks to a incidental purchase from a brother in the forum. We had been communicating about his system and he came to point where he felt he wanted a musical system and was willing to flog off his MA RS system.



This aided my decision process about choosing my speakers and solved my own dilemma about selecting either the GS or RS series from Monitor Audio. I had been considering that for HT, plus the fact that I may not be able to discern the extra expense of paying for the GS setup and I actually believe the main components which underpin the HT experience are the subwoofer and the centre speaker. If these are competent, the left and rights plus the rears will fall …

A Review of the Monitor Audio GS 10 (plus comparisons to the RS 6)

This is a long journey of sorts, it began with my new HT room, and the journey came to a temporary halt with the setup I had been using for the past few months. However after understanding my room dynamics more, and knowing I had a near field monitor situation, I wanted something else if possible. I knew my amp was capable of more, so it intrigued me to see if partnering it with a better speaker might be better, and when someone offered to buy my tube amp and some other bros got my RS series, I was in the game again.



The search was biased towards MA, since I already had two of their series, so the natural progression was to the Gold series, and it was quite value for money too, as Edward’s prices are possibly the cheapest for it in the world. (don’t ask me how much I paid)



As for Edward, it is impossible to continue this tale without mentioning a few words about him…. He has a winner of a product range on him with the Monitor Audio series, but he isn’t the most perky and sunny chap th…

Universal Soldier - Regeneration

Universal Soldier was a minor hit for JVCD back when the muscles from Brussels was the hottest action hero around, with his kicks and ballet like movements. He  has dwindled in popularity whilst Arnie has gone onto bigger things, but after the recent JCVD movie, Jean Claude shows he has serious acting chops and has kept in shape. This is the 5th iteration of the UniSol series, and despite the age of the main protagonists, the show is a real serious slugfest (literally) and proves JVCD can still throw a few punches and draw in the crowds.Dolph Lungren is also in good shape and mixes it up with the younger crowd just as well, whilst Andrei Arlovski is a UFC fight champion and Mike Pyle is another pugilist, so there is plenty of action but what impresses is the solid bass, which rivals the best from Die Hard 4, and other recent productions.  The surround matches the scenes, and the lack of dialogues suits the tension of the movie, and reminds me of the first Terminator movie, where the a…

Hurt Locker - movie review

I raved about the movie Gamer just yesterday, praising its solid sound effects, and awesome surround, but hold the presses! We have a new winner in the critically acclaims “Hurt Locker”, which is now the reference for me, rivalling some of the best bass from the Die Hard 4, and the kind of surround from Star Trek and Up.



Ok, everyone knows the tight editing and realistic portrayal of the Gulf War and the tension in the Iraq insurgency, and the wonderful job that Kathryn Bigelow has done and I agree with all the positive comments. Take the best of Generation Kill, add more tension, the better parts of Courage Under Fire, plus the kind of careless abandonment that we saw in Captain Spears from Band of Brothers and mix in the kind of fearlessness we witness in “Fearless” the old show with Jeff Bridges, and you get this. 4/5 for the plot.



A special mention about the main man in the show, Jeremy Renner, who has been a journeyman, who has been in TV, and movies over the past decade or two, …

Gamer – movie review

First, I will get the good stuff out of the way. For action, surround effects, it is almost a perfect 10. Maybe a few micro-points off the best just because of all the noise, but if you want a bass worked And surrounds enveloping you, you have to try this movie. It comes in glorious DTS-MA 7.1, and it lets you know that all your speakers are working fine. Someone hired a sound engineer to rival the best. You have to give this movie a spin.







If only the did the same for the plot…



On the surface, the screen writer seems to have taken snippets from Ghost in a Shell, Matrix, Rollerball, Running Man, Gladiator, Death Race, Condemned, and even borrowed the same actor to do similar lines from Assault on Precinct 13 (John Leguizamo) to re-enact his role, and borrowed bits from Surrogates to put together a plot that is so kaleidoscopic, and fast moving, those who are pre-disposed to epileptic fits should be warned. Heck Gerad Butler even looks like Russel Crowe in Gladiator right down to his ha…

Law Abiding Citizen – movie review

Gerard Butler is a versatile man, capable of playing the lead in romantic comedies, action movies and also shows a darker more broody side to him in this thriller based on the vengeance a father wishes to seek on the perpetrators and also the law system which fails in his eyes to seek true justice.



Jamie Foxx comes along for the ride, as a up and coming DA and the 2 make this movie a little special with the chemistry of hatred and baiting helping to move the plot along, despite some rather obvious loopholes. There are enough action scenes and explosions to keep the action fan happy, yet some clever aspects of the plot to keep the intellectual yearning for a little more from the average thriller to string him along too.



3.5/5 for the plot and 3.5/5 for action.



There is no real chick factor at all in this show and this actually helps avoid deviating the story from the tight editing and the suspense we get. I reckon this movie is worth a rental least, and may deserve more than 1 viewing…