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4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology

Posted on Thursday June 19, 2014, 11:39 by James Dyer

2014 represents a difficult transitional period for home cinema. On the one hand, 1080p sets are sleeker and cheaper than ever before, on the other a new breed of UHD 4K models have now arrived, their clarity matched only by the accompanying price tags. Given the dearth of 4K content available, it’s hard for most of us to justify shelling out a king’s ransom for a UHD set when there’s nothing out there bar the occasional Netflix broadcast to truly take advantage of the pixel count. Equally, though, with 4K media likely to ramp up in 2015, do you really want to buy a standard HD set and risk early obsolescence?

The solution to this decidedly first world problem may be a clever compromise. According to Sharp, the newly launched Quattron Pro technology bridges the resolution divide between ‘Full’ HD’s 2 million pixels and and 4K’s 8 million, allowing...

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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Monday January 13, 2014, 14:48 by Ali Plumb

Bold, budget-busting and a bit bonkers, ‘His Last Vow’ felt like a real series finale: guns, girls, girls with guns, guys with guns, gadgets (but not really), helicopters, sleeping potions, twists, twists-upon-twists, face-flicking, face-licking, resurrections, references and revenge. It delivered the goods, and (figuratively speaking) had them sent in a private jet. How often do you see something this grand, this impressive, this BIG on British TV?

If you like feeling wrong-footed, this was the episode for you – I honestly can’t count the number of “…the hell?” moments I enjoyed. For those not familiar with the original Conan Doyle story of ‘The Man With The Twisted Lip’, seeing Sherlock choose life in a drugs den would have been one of them, but if you have read that short story, it’s a very similar set-up: one of Watson’s neighbours can’t find her husband, says he’s probably in a cloud of opium, and when...

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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Monday January 6, 2014, 17:08 by Ali Plumb

Like any good best man’s speech, The Sign Of Three is fun, loveable, messy, slow to start, booze-fuelled, sometimes funny, sometimes not funny, sometimes only funny if you were there (or read the book), full of incoherent anecdotes, but ultimately kinda satisfying and brings a tear to the eye (if you’re susceptible to squishy-cuddle stuff).

I enjoyed it, but the whole episode felt a little too busy. Where ‘The Empty Hearse’ danced a merry waltz on the line between smugness and self-confident silliness, its follow-up drunkenly hopscotches around the line before collapsing on the floor, smiling happily and bleeding from the belly.

You’ll accuse me of sniping here – and you should, because that’s what I’m doing – but I have a list of things that just didn’t work for me, starting with the opening ‘gag’. For the most part, I like Rupert Graves as DI Greg Lestrade, but his bank heist / desperate text skit was weak. ...

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Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction

Posted on Wednesday January 1, 2014, 20:59 by Ali Plumb

Sound the spoiler alarm! If you haven't watched this episode, go away. Still with us? Good stuff. Yes, Martin Freeman’s other half, Amanda Abbington, plays the role of Watson’s bride-to-be, Mary Morstan. And yes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, play Sherlock’s parents. Glad that’s out of the way.

I was lucky enough to watch a preview screening of The Empty Hearse at the BFI, which was followed by a Q&A with the stars (Freeman, Cumberbatch), the writer/co-creators (Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss), the director (Jeremy Lovering) and producer (Sue Vertue). With hundreds of fellow die-hard Holmes boys – okay, mainly Holmes girls – in attendance, there was A LOT of applause and even more laughter throughout the episode, so perhaps my appreciation for this first slice of the third season is a little higher than it might have been otherwise, but ...

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Empire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2

Posted on Tuesday October 9, 2012, 17:11 by Phil de Semlyen

University life can be fraught. When you’re not navigating around a mountain of dirty dishes or scratching out an essay under the malign influence of Pot Noodle, there’s a full-blown identity crisis to cope with and no bloody teabags to help you do it. Take Kingsley, Fresh Meat’s resident geology-turned-drama-turned-geology-again student. “He’s gone away for the Christmas holidays and come back as a self-styled ‘jazz man’,” erstwhile Inbetweener Joe Thomas tells Empire. “And he’s definitely overreaching.”

Sure enough, Kingsley’s new look for season two of Channel 4’s award-winning comedy involves some egregious knitwear and a Tony Almeida-style soul patch that quickly sees him dubbed ‘Patch Adams’ by housemates Vod (Zawe Ashton), Howard (Greg McHugh), Josie (Kimberley Nixon), JP (Jack Whitehall) and Oregon (Charlotte Ritchie). And, as McHugh explains, he’s not the only ...

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True Blood: Season Four - What A Witch

Posted on Thursday May 10, 2012, 17:18 by Helen O'Hara

So how are we feeling about True Blood these days? I have to admit, season four was something of a letdown for me. I mean, it's still entertaining, particularly when Lafayette was involved in anything, or Jessica. But so few of the rest of the cast seemed to be having fun, and many of them seemed to be forced to play against their strengths, and what with the show hitting DVD so that you can all have a look, let's consider what's been going on. Season Four spoilers, incidentally, follow throughout.

Take, for example, Alexander Skarsgard's Eric, struck with amnesia and rediscovering life alongside Sookie. In the books, it worked rather well for the big fierce manipulator to be suddenly reduced to powerlessness and then to finally get into Sookie's pants by dint of not endlessly contriving at same. Somehow here, however - not helped by Skarsgard's horrendously parted "innocent" hair - he just seemed a bit silly. Which has the knock-on effect of rendering Sookie's inability to resist hi...

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My Problems With Sherlock

Posted on Thursday January 5, 2012, 11:00 by Ali Plumb

Back at uni, I studied the Sherlock Holmes stories as part of a module on Crime Literature. Raffles The Gentleman Thief was also on the reading list, as were Father Brown, Lord Peter Wimsey, Poirot and Miss Marple. If you consider yourself a Sherlock fan, I heartily recommend them all, especially Lord Peter Wimsey. Start with The Nine Tailors, you won’t regret it.

I'm not calling myself an expert here – far from it – but I mention all this because although I’ve studied Conan Doyle's work, I don’t think of myself as a Holmes purist, and I genuinely enjoy the new Guy Ritchie films and the Moffat / Gatiss TV shows. This includes the latest episode, A Scandal In Belgravia, which despite the problems I mention below, I genuinely did enjoy. But after looking forward to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return for so long, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed – even t...

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Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original

Posted on Wednesday April 27, 2011, 17:48 by Ali Plumb

It’s frustrating for any US Office fan to hear the phrase ‘The Hangover’s Ed Helms’. He’s not The Hangover’s Ed Helms, he's The Office’s Ed Helms. And sure, The Daily Show had him first, but he wasn’t that big a deal there. He is and always will be Andy Bernard, and he likes a cappella, and he’s very preppy. He's an all-round lovely guy. After the anger management courses, anyway.

So seeing him in super-friendly-cute-and-funny comedy Cedar Rapids naturally brought a smile to my face, what with him playing a naive, sweet, sincere character who works a seemingly dull job – more specifically, playing an insurance salesman called Tim Lippe. That’s right, not a paper salesman called Andy Bernard. No sir.

Anyway, walking out of the Cedar Rapids the other day, dancing embarrassingly through Soho – all movies sh...

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The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Posted on Monday November 1, 2010, 05:00 by James White

What happens when the closing credits roll on a zombie film and the survivors are left to fend for themselves in a land infested with the undead? It’s certainly an intriguing premise that a few films have tackled, but it took Robert Kirkman to really crack it with his ongoing (for seven years now!) comic book series The Walking Dead. Kirkman didn’t just want to follow the characters for a few days or weeks, or even months, but years after the initial outbreak. So while the comic initially attracted a lot of interest from filmmakers, it seems only natural for the story to be told on TV, where many more hours can be dedicated to following what happens. And committed horror fan Frank Darabont has held on to the idea like a dog with a bone for years, keeping the flame alive through an unsuccessful attempt to get the show up and running at US network NBC before finally locking in a deal with AMC, the channel behind such shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

If you’ve never cracked open a...

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Boardwalk Empire: When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings

Posted on Sunday September 19, 2010, 20:33 by James White

If the latest show to saunter down the pipeline from US network HBO had an actual canine pedigree, it would probably be strutting around the show ring at Crufts, lumbered with a name like Prince Masterson Von Bonio, known to his over-enthusiastic owners as Matty. You want to talk pedigree? How about the fact that Boardwalk Empire comes from the brain of Terence Winter, one of the select few that Sopranos creator David Chase treated as one of his capos. More? Try the fact that the show has recruited a cast that includes the likes of Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg and Kelly Macdonald, not to mention a roll call of actors from other great shows such as The Wire (OMAR!)

But above all else, surely the biggest fish hooked on this particular line is Martin Scorsese. Returning to television in a directorial (and non-documentary) position for the first time since a 1986 episode of Amazing Stories, Scorsese agreed to produce the show and step behind the camera for the pilot, ...

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Nikita: The Premiere

Posted on Wednesday September 15, 2010, 17:46 by Phil de Semlyen

When a dossier thumps onto your desk last week with the word ‘confidential’ embossed across the front and an unusual request within, your interest is bound to be piqued. “I have recently escaped from a secret organisation that brainwashed me and trained me to become an assassin,” read the dodgy dossier. “I need you to help me bring down this corrupt organisation.” Hmmm, curious. What organisation could I, a humble hack who often struggles to tie his own shoelaces unassisted, possibly bring down?

As it turned out, my reverse-Apprentice skills weren’t called on. The reality – the world’s first iPad premiere, showing off the first episode of CW’s new miniseries Nikita – was no less exciting, not least for the possibility that they might forget to collect the iPads afterwards*. Held in the kind of cavernous, brick-walled edifice Jack Bauer would feel at home being tortured in, magically comfy-ed up, the event was like the TV equivalent ...

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Metropolis: It's Great, But Is It Good?

Posted on Friday September 10, 2010, 16:48 by Helen O'Hara

This week sees the reissue of the remastered, restored, spiffed up and super-duper Metropolis. If you like to call yourself a movie fan, you should go see it. If you like science fiction, you owe it to yourself to go meet one of Star Wars, and Avatar's, and Blade Runner's, ancestors. Since I am both a movie lover and a sci-fi nut and since, to my shame, I'd never seen it, I took the opportunity to go along last Friday to a press screening - and I have a few quick warnings for those of you headed to Metropolis.

First and foremost, this is two and a half hours long. Don't do what I did and blithely assure your website creative director that, "It's old; I'll be back in 90 mintes". An epic failure to check the press release on my part? Certainly. Still, I have visions of people making the same mistake. People with dinner reservations.&n...

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Sons Of Anarchy: Season Three Rides In

Posted on Wednesday September 8, 2010, 05:15 by James White

Apologies to anyone seething in the UK, where the second season has only just finished, but the bikes of SAMCRO roared back on to America's airwaves on Tuesday night, which can only mean one thing: Sons of Anarchy has returned.

Kurt Sutter’s blacktop Shakespeare tale of a motorcycle gang and the various shifting allegiances as they smuggle drugs, run weapons and rule their small California town has grown into one of the best dramas to come out of the US. The emotions run high, the violence is brutal but the characterisation is sharp and this is the most charismatic bunch of criminals since The Sopranos left the air. Even if they can’t swear like them…

I came late to the Anarchy party. After sampling the pilot and one or two episodes of the first season, I decided I simply couldn’t connect with these lawless bikers. But sheer pressure from people whose opinions I respect led me back this summer, and I binged on both seasons in a fortnight’s marathon. I&rsquo...

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Emmys 2010: Something Old, But Something New Too

Posted on Monday August 30, 2010, 07:17 by James White

The Emmy Awards rolled around again in the States on Sunday and there were actually a few surprises dotted among the expected winners and repeat… well, I wouldn’t call them offenders, since there were some deserving choices.

The biggest news is that media sensation Glee and big US comedy hit Modern Family did decent business, with Modern Family scoring Comedy Series and the Writing for a Comedy Series award, plus a Supporting Actor win for the always funny Eric Stonestreet. Glee, meanwhile, walked away with a well-deserved win for Jane Lynch (who is one of the few characters to really bring the funny on the series) and a Directing for a Comedy Series gong that went to the show’s co-creator, Ryan Murphy.

The surprises also came from elsewhere, with Kyra Sedgwick snatching an unexpected first award as Lead Actress in a Drama for cop show The Closer. And there was a rousing cheer when Jim Parsons scooped his first win as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Big Bang The...

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Sherlock Holmes And The Curious Case Of The Princess Bride

Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 10:10 by Helen O'Hara

So I rather enjoyed the first episode of Sherlock last night on BBC1, the Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman-starring update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective stories. And that, for those of you who didn't see it, doesn't mean a Guy Ritchie-style all-boxing, all-running about style take on the 19th century. It means that this Sherlock comes all the way forward to the 21st, with a Dr Watson who was wounded in Afghanistan and a Sherlock who's an expert phone hacker.

Let's start with the non-spoilerific stuff: returning veteran John Watson (Freeman) is wounded in body and mind and less than convinced that writing a blog about his experiences, as his therapist suggests, is the way to get his life back on track. Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) is a flamboyant criminal expert, developer of the "science of deduction" who is never happier than when called in by the police to solve the cases that they can't. In the words of one policewoman, he's ...

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True Blood: Bad Blood

Posted on Monday June 14, 2010, 05:21 by James White

“This episode contains violence, nudity, language and adult content. Viewer discretion is advised.” Welcome back True Blood… I’ve missed you.

The title card that US cable channel HBO throws up before screenings of the show to warn unsuspecting parents and, one suspects, to entice entirely suspecting teens into watch the thing is usually viewed as a gauntlet by show runner Alan Ball, who likes to take the Southern Gothic flavour of writer Charlaine Harris and add in a liberal sprinkling of extra gore, skin, sizzle and sin. Not that the books necessarily went wanting in that department, but the TV series has ramped everything up.

I’ve always wavered back and forth in my appreciation for the show. I nearly gave up early on, turned off by the overwrought turns of Anna Paquin as Sookie and Stephen Moyer as Bill. And while I still find their story of love across the boundaries of death and slightly wonky Southern accents frustrating at times, they’ve slowly...

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Lost: The End

Posted on Monday May 24, 2010, 01:12 by James White

“Endings are hard. Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There's always gonna be holes. And since it's the ending, it's all supposed to add up to something. I'm telling you, they're a raging pain in the ass…” No, that’s not Dickens or Shakespeare (or even the Earl of Oxford) writing about how it’s difficult to end a story, but Chuck Shurley, the meta-comment prophet who writes up the adventures of the Winchester brothers on Supernatural.

But it’s a sentiment that Lost’s key creative torchbearers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse would surely empathise with right now. After all, they’ve been charged with the responsibility of landing the multi-tonne mythology aircraft th...

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Justified: Fire In The Hole

Posted on Wednesday May 5, 2010, 00:01 by James White

One of the many pleasures of frontier series Deadwood – besides creator David Milch’s poetic blend of Shakespearian-toned patter and expletive-laden outbursts – was Timothy Olyphant’s performance as the clenched, conflicted Seth Bullock. As the frustrated law keeper of a chaotic, evolving chunk of the Old West, Olyphant brought a particular charm to the man.

If you’ve been missing his style, and disappointed with his recent film choices (Hitman? Die Hard 4.0?), then might I recommend checking out his new series, Justified? Created by writer/producer Graham Yost and adapted from the meaty crime fiction of Elmore Leonard, it follows the work of Raylan Givens, a 21st century US marshal, whose anachronistic style and penchant for leaving dead bodies in his wake becomes a headache for his bosses.

We’re introduced to Givens at the end of his previous tenure based in Miami. As the story opens, he’s shooting a criminal poo...

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Treme: Won’t Bow, Don’t Know How

Posted on Tuesday April 13, 2010, 23:29 by James White

There are always mixed emotions when the creator behind one of the best shows – if not the best – on television, and a personal favourite of many at Empire Towers, produces something new. Can it live up to the crushing weight of expectations? Will it wither when compared to the other series? It’s like a new relationship where someone fresh will be measured against that one true love of your life.

Fortunately in this case, the creator is David Simon, who brought the world The Wire and, after a brief detour into Gulf War miniseries Generation Kill, is back with this new labour of love. Treme is set three months after Hurricane Katrina and a raging storm of water tore through New Orleans and wrecked many of the city’s neighbourhoods. Working with Wire writer Eric Overmyer and late, lamented colleague David Mills (another Wire vet who died a few days before the new show aired in the US), Simon has brewed up another quality produ...

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Can Claudia Winkleman Save Film 2010?

Posted on Monday March 29, 2010, 18:05 by Damon Wise

In a year that saw Hollywood present the Best Director Oscar to a woman for the first time ever, the news that Claudia Winkleman is to replace Jonathan Ross as presenter of the BBC's Film 2010 show didn't exactly send out the shockwave the producers were perhaps expecting. But the truth is, I don't think too many people really care; all the story really boiled down to was this: New Presenter To Present TV Show. For a while, the joke about Film 2010 (as we shall call it) is that the title (which should be pretty easy to remember if you, like, remember what year it is), was always stuck in the year you first became aware of it. I've always called it Film 77. But I can't imagine there's been a new generation of viewers added since Jonathan Ross took over in 1999, and it boils down to two reasons. One is that the show hasn't strayed very far at all from its original format in nearly 38 years, the other is that the one way it has diverged could end up being its downfall. It went from being a TV show ...

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Earlier Posts  


4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
By James Dyer

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: 'The Empty Hearse' - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
By Ali Plumb

Empire Visits Fresh Meat Season 2
By Phil de Semlyen


4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"It doesn't matter if there are 50 billion pixels. The human eye cans perceive anything smaller than "
rubenjames  Read comment

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"4K TVs are actually not that expensive anymore and the 'Quattron' costs 2.300€ (60inches).<"
DrGreenSkunk  Read comment

4K Or Not 4K?: First Look At Sharp's '2.5K' Quattron Pro Technology
"So this is basically the "HD-ready" version of 4K."
grucl  Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2: ‘The Sign Of Three’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"Terribly self indulgent episode, I fear Sherlock has crawled up his own a*se!"
darthmhall101  Read comment

Sherlock Series 3, Episode 3: ‘His Last Vow’ - Initial Spoiler-Filled Reaction
"It was by the far the best episode of series 3, with a good plot, engaging villain and great dialogu"
dunc2001  Read comment


Lost: The End
112 comments

Why The US Office Is Undeniably Better Than The Original
57 comments

My Problems With Sherlock
49 comments

Sherlock Holmes And The Curious Case Of The Princess Bride
43 comments

Metropolis: It's Great, But Is It Good?
27 comments


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