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This Minute at Runco

Sherlock Holmes

Monday, January 04, 2010

Posted by Jennifer Blasen

My boyfriend Curtis and I used two Regal Cinema movie passes we receive from family every Christmas to view Sherlock Holmes last Saturday evening.  Holmes took us on an adventure of mystery, action, and suspense to find the truth, save the world from evil and reignite the legend of detective Holmes – the Nancy Drew of the 1800’s.

Robert Downey Jr as Dr. Sherlock Holmes is extreme, neurotic, and entertained by performing sleep-inducing experiments on his dog (the dog-lover in me was not amused). Holmes battles fiercely in the first scene and later fights in a bare-knuckle boxing match in London. Between detective work and battle scenes, the film carefully develops the ‘bromance’ between Holmes and his loyal partner Dr. Watson played by Jude Law. Holmes is afraid of losing Watson, even to a woman, and disapproves of his engagement. Their bond is obvious but not overdone or fake.

I was curious to see how Rachel McAdams would portray a woman in the 1800 Victorian era, as her recent roles have been lighter in films such as: Wedding Crashers, The Family Stone, and my favorite romantic book turned film The Notebook. In the film McAdams plays Holmes love interest, Irene Adler. Although we don’t fully understand the history between Holmes and Adler we understand the connection between them and Holmes unyielding willingness to save McAdams from the villain Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). I expected a step-up acting opportunity for McAdams, but was a disappointed by her appearances. Perhaps it wasn’t entirely her fault- there was a huge lack of lines and plot given to the Irene Adler character altogether.

I would recommend adding Sherlock Holmes to your BluRay collection for its spectacular images of developing London such as a gravel road to Big Ben and the construction of London Bridge. The Runco QuantumColor Q-750i will enhance and enrich black tones in night scenes (there are several in the film- watch the movie trailer to see a few). By the end of the film, like all good mysteries, each clue is realized and the pieces of the puzzle come together with the help of the fearless sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.

~Jennifer is a Linfield College Wildcat and has enjoyed her work with Runco for the past 3 years. In her spare time she enjoys running, golfing, working in the garden, and trying new things in the kitchen.

The Princess and the Frog

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Posted by Jennifer Davis

Disney does it again.Take a classic fairy tale, give it compelling visual appeal, put it together with a Randy Newman score and – viola! – princess is born in The Princess and the Frog.

I took the kids to see this movie today (let’s just say that with all the holiday excitement and sugar consumption, we really needed to get out of the house) and they enjoyed it.

The story gist is different than you might remember the story. In this rendition, the kiss doesn’t turn the frog back into a prince; it turns the girl (who wasn’t a “real” princess) into a frog. This sends this workaholic waitress and a selfish, penniless prince immediately off on an adventure involving voodoo, soul-searching, a delusional fire fly, a wanna-be jazz musician alligator, and more.If you have any princesses in your home, as I do, they’ll love the story.

Like all the Disney flicks before it, Princess and the Frog is a great movie to watch on a Runco flat panel at home (where you are likely to watch the Blu-Ray or DVD over-and-over-and-over again). The Runco LCD line, the Crystal Series™, featuring OPAL™ technology will allow the dark shadows of Doctor Facilier or the Bayou at night to strike the right kind of fear, while maintaining the brightness of the firefly parade and the fairly-tale mansion architecture of the Garden District of New Orleans – even in a bright family room environment in your home.

If you have a light-controlled basement theater or playroom, your family will love to watch it on a Runco plasma display, from the CinemaWall™ or PlasmaWall™ series, which has really rich blacks which will help illuminate the dark corners of Charlotte’s room or Mama Odie’s tree house boat (I know it sounds strange, but that is what it is).As an emissive display technology will make the lights of the French Quarter during the Mardi Gras parade sparkle!

Special props to Anika Noni Rose who voiced the main character, Tiana and did an awesome job.Bruno Campos, who you may recognize from bit parts on a lot of the most popular television shows, gives voice to the only Disney prince besides the Beast to ever have a story line of his own. And, who can forget Oprah Winfrey as Tiana’s mother Eudora.

A Christmas Carol Frightens and Delights

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Posted December 27, 2009 by Pippa Edelen

To jumpstart getting in the holiday spirit, my hubby and I dropped $31 at our local multiplex to check out the IMAX 3D Disney remake of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starting Jim Carrey. Having played Mrs. Cratchit in Hallinan Elementary’s riveting showcase of A Christmas Carol in 5th grade, I was familiar with the story and had both read Dickens’ original and seen a range of versions, being particularly inclined to the version featuring Scrooge McDuck. Given the various iterations I felt fairly well prepared for what to expect in terms of the undead and blatant lesson of “do unto others;” however, I substantially underestimated how frightening this tale can be. As someone who startles easily, and hates to be startled, my neighbors in the theater were tickled the first time I screamed, rather loud, when something popped out of the screen accompanied by 30,000 watts of sound. They were understandably less charmed the third time I did this. And the fourth. And the fifth. The story holds nothing back in terms of death, ghosts, the afterlife and should come with a precursor this interpretation can be flat-out freaky. I cannot tell you how many kids I saw hiding or crying as they left the theater, so take note that this is definitely a movie only appropriate for audiences with double-digit ages. For the younger Christmas movie enthusiasts, I highly recommend the aforementioned tale featuring animated relatives of Donald Duck.
My previous exposure to big-screen 3D started with Jaws 3 in the 1983 and, most recently, the hastily-added 14 minutes to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. As someone who is prone to vertigo and miserably suffered through Beowolf with only my sour Skittles as comfort, I was delighted with the realism and execution of A Christmas Carol and give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the incredible advancement in the 3D technology and application. Particularly impressive are the scenes where Scrooge and various ghosts are flying over London and the details and texture in the otherwise ordinary, everyday things, like the wrought-iron fence and the characters’ skin. The animation still lacks a small detail of realism, particularly in the characters’ eyes, which fail to sparkle and light in a way that simulates lifelike. But the people are so well animated that you can, upon being introduced to new characters, guess the actor voicing them instantly, particularly Colin Firth as Scrooge’s nephew who plays a well-wishing opposite to his cold uncle. You’ll find yourself trying to guess each actor as we meet new guests and ghosts.
My favorite scene in A Christmas Carol, which does a particularly good convincing job using 3D to suspend disbelief, shows Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present watching a Christmas party through the floor of Scrooge’s vast London manse. I was impressed by the visually-stunning semi-opaque wood that is blends to be both the floor of the mansion and the ceiling of the party. Watch for the grains of wood disappearing into nothing and for the pressure caused by Scrooge’s hands on the ceiling. Its small details and effects like this that make this picture particularly enchanting and rather whimsical, spookfest-aside. At the end of this scene, Scrooge looks up at the ghost and, if shown the image as a still frame, in 3D, next to a photograph of the character, I would have been hard pressed to guess the animation from the actor. The talent is simply terribly impressive and represents a true advancement because instead of merely forcing a illness-inducing gimmick into an otherwise enjoyable movie, A Christmas Carol and the storytelling is instead enhanced by 3D.

The story is timeless, but the application of the latest 3D animation technology, as well as the affect from really talented actors, including my personal favorite, Gary Oldman, make for a stunning holiday movie that may be the first movie I’ve seen that’s worth the $15.50 for admission.

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