LATEST ADDITIONS

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments

Conan the Barbarian may not be particularly faithful to Robert E Howard’s original pulp writing, but this 1982 flick is a rollicking piece of fantasy filmmaking that almost single-handedly made Arnold Schwarzenegger a Hollywood superstar and heralded a renaissance in the swords n sorcery genre. Written by Oliver Stone and directed by John Milius, it’s a suitably bleak and macho piece of filmmaking where men are muscular, women are barely dressed and camels exist only to be punched in the face. In other words, it’s bloody brilliant.

Mark Craven  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments

I love my Sony PlayStation 3. So much so that a while ago, I decided that if my house was burning down, it would be the first thing I’d save (after the cat, of course). The rest of my AV gear, including flatscreen TV, receiver, speaker system, Xbox 360 and regular Blu-ray player could melt in a gloss-black pyre. As far I was concerned, my BD-deck-cum-games-console-cum-media jukebox was more precious. Yet now, with Virgin Media’s new TiVo-powered set-top box plumbed into my system, the PS3’s position as hardware numero uno is looking increasingly precarious.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments

The Adjustment Bureau is the latest in a long line of middling Hollywood films to by inspired by the writings of Philip K Dick – in this case a loose adaptation of his 1954 short story The Adjustment Team. Essentially a discussion of the play between free will and destiny masquerading as a sci-fi-infused romantic thriller, the film stars Matt Damon as a promising congressman who falls for Emily Blunt’s carefree dancer. Trouble is, destiny has other plans for the duo, and before long the mysterious agents of the Adjustment Bureau are hot on their tale and trying to keep the pair apart to ensure that everything runs like it should.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Big is always best Bigscreen addict John Archer gives over his entire office to spend quality time with Panasonic’s 85in 3D plasma

So here’s my dilemma. Do I get that brand new, fully loaded Audi Q7 I’ve had my eye on for so long, do I book the family into a luxury villa at the Maldives Hilton for, ooh, a couple of months or so, or do I buy Panasonic’s TH-85VX200 plasma screen?

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Lofty high-risers Danny Phillips has his cockles warmed by this affordable set of floorstanding speakers and unusually capable subwoofer

Compact bookshelf speakers are all well and good if you don’t have much space, but for bigger, bolder home cinema thrills you’ve no choice but to make room for a decent set of floorstanders.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
If you still aren't convinced about 3D, John Archer has no doubt at all that JVC’s latest projector will change your mind

Not everyone ‘gets’ 3D. Indeed, there are days when I’m not sure I totally need it myself. But not so today.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
What's the Stor.e? Cliff Joseph goes on a file frenzy with Toshiba’s 1TB media player

There’s no shortage of ‘multimedia hard disks’ available these days, and they’re handy for people who want to store photos, music and video files and play them on a TV or music system. However, most of these devices are produced by specialist hard disk manufacturers and they aren’t always as user-friendly as they could be – so I was curious to see what additional expertise mass market brand Toshiba would bring to its Stor.E TV+.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 11, 2011  |  0 comments

Battle: Los Angeles desperately wants to be the Hurt Locker of alien invasion movies. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t. Despite all of the attempts at cinema vérité-style naturalism on show here (shaky-cams and crash zooms abound) there’s none of the intelligence of Kathryn Bigelow’s film at work here. Instead what we have is a traditional gung-ho action flick that feels more like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - The Movie, only replacing fictional Middle Eastern-types with equally fictional extra-terrestrial invaders. That’s not to say the film isn’t fun. Behind all of the lazy characterisation and obvious plotting lies 116-minutes of enjoyable action and spectacle – just the thing then for those of you who have got bored of spinning ID4 on Blu-ray over and over again.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 11, 2011  |  0 comments

Ironclad is rather nicely summed up by its director as being ‘best described as a medieval Magnificent Seven or a medieval Seven Samurai'. A fictionalised retelling of the siege of Rochester Castle by King John’s forces in 1215, the film stars Paul Giamatti as the regal despot, with James Purefoy’s Templar knight and Baron Cox’s baron leading a rag-tag group of warriors holding the castle against him. It’s very silly stuff, but filmed with so much gusto and lashings of gore that it’s hard not to get caught up in the action.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 10, 2011  |  0 comments
Raiders of the ARC With its quirky and complex setup, the ARC-based MX-700 still manages to put Richard Stevenson into a state of audio-induced euphoria

Canada: a land of sweeping mountains, pine forests and ice hockey, where maple syrup rules and giant moose walk the streets. But what the country is becoming increasingly famous for is its rather tasty AV equipment.

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