Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 In Review

It's that time of the year: the time when we here at 4seating wrap up the year in film.  The year provided us with no shortage of surprises, which perhaps climaxed with the full-blown international incident that accompanied "The Interview".  Interest in the bedeviled film was so high, that it managed to gross a very respectable $18 million in its opening weekend, with a limited theatrical release and groundbreaking online streaming.  The innocuous action-comedy may yet end up bringing about a paradigm shift in the way Hollywood markets its films, with the online world now grabbing a slice of the pie previously reserved first for theaters.  And theaters have a lot to worry about, with the rise in home theaters providing an ideal venue for a movie in online release.

As important as this shift may be, films broke ground in other ways in 2014.  These are the author's picks for the best five movies he saw this year:



1. BOYHOOD: this film, shot over a period of 12 years, traces the coming of age of a young boy until he reaches his freshman year of college.  Being able to witness actor Ellar Coltrane grow up in real time, right before your eyes, is truly astonishing as the scope of the film takes in traumatic family events with a post 9-11 America as its backdrop.  The film manages to capture the elusive essence of life even amidst the drama, and is ultimately uplifting without resorting to 'feel-good' cliches. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke give moving performances as the boy's estranged parents.  The film is an Oscar favorite, and even President Obama named it his pick for 2014.  This is one of the most ambitious and unusual films to emerge from Hollywood in years, if not decades.



2. THE BABADOOK: when William Friedkin--the director of "The Exorcist"--said this was the scariest film he's ever seen, audiences took notice.  An Australian indie film shot on a low budget, "The Babadook" dispenses with makeup and gore and goes for eerie psychological thrills, as a monster from a children's book comes to life and torments the mother of a mentally disturbed six-year old boy.  When we do see the monster, it is one modeled after century-old designs, as if ripped out of a Victorian nightmare; director Jennifer Kent insisted that it be a real figure, neither constructed or enhanced digitally.  As the mother slowly descends in to madness, her performance keeps you locked at the edge of your seat.



3. INTERSTELLAR: Christopher Nolan has rapidly risen to become one of Hollywood's most intelligent directors of sci-fi blockbuster fare.  He followed up the uber-complicated hit "Inception" with this space opera, which focuses on the search for habitable worlds by means of a wormhole that has suddenly been detected near Saturn.  A father's fractured relationship with his daughter is at the heart of the tale, and provides much of the emotional pull.  The film finds its way to distant planets of oceans and ice, but kicks into a higher gear when it gets all quantum physics on the viewer.  The film is elegantly constructed, but you'll need to put your thinking cap on to fully appreciate what is happening on screen.



4. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: another quirky, quasi-surreal comedy from the mind of Wes Anderson, this delightful romp centers around the relationship between a hotel concierge and his lowly assistant, as the former is framed for murder.  The young boy helps his mentor escape prison and find the real perpetrator, but the plot isn't really the focus, here--it's all about the decidedly bizarre series of events that are set in motion by what happens.  The film's wry, European sense of wit will make it another Oscar favorite, for sure (it's already snagged several Golden Globe nominations).



5. FOXCATCHER: this chilling film was based on the real-life story of wealthy heir John DuPont and his bond with two wrestling brothers, who he ropes into his inner circle as he trains them for Olympic gold.  Comedian Steve Carell was praised for his utterly astonishing transformation into the unsettling character of DuPont, although Channing Tatum also gives the performance of his career (at least, to date) as the younger brother.  The film deviates from the real story in several significant ways, but this does not detract from the underlying sense of doom which permeates every frame.  The ending will shock anyone not familiar with the tale, not so much because it comes as a surprise, but because there is so little explanation for it--and that's exactly how it was in real life.  Even those who have no interest in the sport of wrestling will find this a gripping watch.

There were, of course, many other fine films this year that did not make this list.  Think I missed a few?  Let us know!

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Grenada LX Sectional

The Grenada LX sectional is a deluxe home theater setup that can be configured into loveseat, sofa, and curved row configurations, with or without wedge consoles.  This unique design also features several hi-tech additions which make it one of the most sophisticated sectionals on the market.


The design of the Grenada LX features strong,  bolstered seat backs, topped with generously overstuffed headrests.  The contemporary look exudes a smooth confidence that also secures your frame in plush comfort.  Black and brown color options add to its striking look, and are able to match any home theater decor with ease.  The seats of the Grenada feature a gently curved bottom which allows you to sink in for maximum leisure,  Stretch out with a full chaiselounger, which eliminates the traditional gap between seat and footrest for a full, pampered cushion of the lower body.

The Grenada LX is fashioned from Leather 7000, a premium grade of leather that exudes a luxury ambience.  This material is carefully handpicked from the top third of all hides and then buffed to remove any imperfections, resulting in a leather with an exceptionally fine grain and smoothly textured feel.  As you wrap yourself in its folds, your senses will be caressed in turn, right down to the material's distinctive aroma.  Leather 7000 provides easy maintenance--just rub down with a dampened cloth on occasion--and if properly cared for, will only improve in patina and softness over time.


The Grenada can be enjoyed as a loveseat and sofa, or as curved row configurations with unique wedge consoles.  Each wedge console folds down to reveal an overhead reading light, cup holders, power recline switch and USB ports!  Cup holders keep your beverages secure and within easy arm's reach.  Power recline allows you to adjust to any desired recline position at the press of a button, while USB ports offer a handy means to charge cell phones, tablets, and any other electronic items needed for a full night's entertainment.  Each armrest of the Grenada LX also features lighted cup holders, which emit a warm azure glow that keeps your beverages secure and discreetly lit, and are matched by ambient base lighting that provides a sensational marquee accent in a darkened room. Many other sectionals may boast one or two of these features, but all in one place?  The Grenada LX has it all!


As if that weren't enough, included tray tables offer plenty of space for snacks, remotes, magazines, tablets, and anything else you may need to make your evening complete.  When done for the night, simply place any items within the ample storage space located within each armrest.  With this many exciting options to choose from, you won't be able to turn this fully-loaded home theater sectional down!!

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Is Here! Celebrate With These Classic Films

Thanksgiving is one of America's most iconic holidays, and yet--especially compared to, say, Christmas-- there are only a handful of films that orient themselves around the celebration.  Still, there are enough wonderful, family-oriented Thanksgiving films to choose from, should you decide
to skip the football game this time around (or, why not double the fun and watch after the game?) The following is a shortlist of five Thanksgiving classics that don't receive nearly enough due:



1. PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES (1987): John Hughes took time out from directing classic teenage coming-of-age comedies like Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club, when he put Steve Martin and John Candy together for what is possibly his very finest film.  This tale of a hapless business exec just trying to make it home in time for Thanksgiving--and having to deal with an unwanted companion while a series of hilarious disasters strike around the pair--was the first film that came to mind for this article.  It is a laugh-riot through much of its length that comes to an unexpectedly heartwarming conclusion, one that celebrates the spirit of the holiday with able finesse. Over a quarter-century after its release, it remains staple Thanksgiving viewing.



2. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, 1986.  Woody Allen's best-received film of the 80s is not entirely focused around Thanksgiving, although the holiday does neatly bookend the plot.  The expert blend of comedy and drama is deftly handled, and the focus on a singular family--in this case, the three sisters of the film's title--tie it further to a Thanksgiving motif.  The themes of adultery and betrayal are on the mature side, and yet there's nothing here that can't be viewed by the whole family (outside of perhaps young toddlers).  Both Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine give memorable performances, for which both won Supporting Actor/Actress awards at that year's Oscars.




3. ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES, 1993.  Critically and commercially well-received at the time but somewhat forgotten since, this delightful sequel was superior to the first Addams Family film, and a worthy successor to the original 60s series.  The opening scenes--in which the Addams children concoct a riotous Thanksgiving play for their summer camp, mourning Native American genocide--are both subversive and hilarious.  This film is well-worth checking out again; you'll be surprised at how well it has stood up over the decades.  The cast was so good, in fact, that Anjelica Huston received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Morticia.



4. ALICE'S RESTAURANT, 1969. This film was based around a twenty-minute Arlo Guthrie folk song from 1967, which built a story narrative around a madcap crime, arrest, and police interrogation which occurs just after Thanksgiving dinner.  The film, like the song, had a strong political narrative and was seen as a counterculture indictment of the Vietnam War, the draft, and "establishment". Although that may appear to make the film dated, it is not, as the direction and acting is superb all-around.  This film is another that has been forgotten over time, and yet is a recognized American classic.



5. A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, 1973.  Although eclipsed by the legendary Charlie Brown Halloween and Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a delight, and perfect viewing for families with small children.  Snoopy's attempt to make Thanksgiving dinner, with toast and popcorn as the delectable entrees, will bring a silly smile to adult audiences as well.  It's actually surprising that more children's animated films do not focus around this family-oriented holiday--although The Simpsons have had several memorable TV episodes which take place during this time.

We here at 4seating wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Try not to pass out!

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veteran's Day Watchlist

The close of the year generally sees a concentration of holidays that translate into big family gatherings, sales events, and religious platitudes of piety and thankfulness.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, and Christmas take up the lion's share of attention, but almost lost in the shuffle is Veteran's Day.  This holiday was set up in appreciation of our men and women in uniform, and distinguishes itself from the earlier Memorial Day which honors those who have died in battle. It's not hard to figure out why Veteran's Day is often overlooked; there's nothing involved in the holiday which spurs consumers out to buy food, costumes, or gifts, and so stores usually ignore it, moving straight from Halloween candy sales to discounts on turkey and stuffing.

When one considers that the United States has been at war for 13 consecutive years, however, the importance of those soldiers who have risked (and sometimes lost) their lives to protect our nation cannot and should not be sidestepped.  You don't have to be a dogmatic flag-waving patriot, in order to appreciate the people in uniform whose stamina and courage is undoubted; or maybe you are a flag-waving patriot.  In either case, 4seating offers up this shortlist of soldier or military-themed films for your perusal on Veteran's Day.  In compiling this list, we avoided films with an anti-war theme (ie. Apocalpyse Now, Platoon), although many of those are classics worth considering as well.  

PATTON (1970)


George C. Scott's portrayal of General George S. Patton, a heroic commander who fought several key WWII battles, is considered one of the finest performances in film history.  The opening monologue, with Scott as Patton standing proudly behind the American flag, is iconic, but Patton is much more than that.  The battle sequences were state-of-the-art for their time and while film technique has moved on since then (see the films below), Scott's performance has not aged a day. Patton also just happened to be Richard Nixon's favorite film, but don't let that stop you from marveling at this gritty and epic tribute to the men who fought and won the greatest conflict the world has ever known.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)



Steven Spielberg was still primarily known as a director of sci-fi/fantasy oriented summer blockbusters when he decided to take the reigns for this WWII drama.  Sure, there had been 1993's Schindler's List, for which he had won the Oscar, but it was Saving Private Ryan (which won him a second Oscar) that married Spielberg's penchant for gripping action fare with an equally compelling story.  The first 27 minutes of this film are often hailed as the most intense and realistic depiction of war ever shot, and Hanks' performance in the lead was similarly praised.  Spielberg would go on to make further critically-acclaimed films, but this one stands as perhaps his best, and is perfect Veteran's Day fare.

PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980)



Goldie Hawn's career was in high gear when she decided to co-produce this starring vehicle for herself, which went on to earn several Academy Award nominations and be included in many "all-time greatest" comedy film lists.  The Private Benjamin of the title braves army boot camp, later romances a French doctor, and then ultimately leaves him when she finds out he's cheated.  Her stint as a soldier gives her the courage to strike out on her own; the film simultaneously works as tribute to the life of a soldier, as a feminist salvo, and as a deft mix of comedy and drama.  

THE HURT LOCKER (2009)



Known primarily as the film which garnered the first-ever Oscar for a female director (Kathryn Bigelow), The Hurt Locker is a tough, gripping character study that exposes the horrors of modern-day warfare.  Although its portrayal of a bomb disposal unit in Iraq met with claims of inaccuracy from those who were actually in the field, its main character Sgt.James is complex and multi-dimensional, torn between an obsession with his work and the needs of the outside world.  The film combines spine-tingling suspense with a look at the dangers faced on a minute-by-minute basis by combat soldiers in Iraq, without being preachy or taking sides.  

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)



Quentin Tarantino was never going to make an ordinary war epic, and Inglourious Basterds was unique in that it posited an alternate history of WWII with a completely different ending than the one we learn from history books.  The film is loaded with Tarantino's trademark dialogue and quirky sense of humor, although it is perhaps Christoph Waltz's breakout performance as Hans Landa which truly set it apart.  Waltz's "Jew hunter" Landa was lauded as one of the most memorable film villains in years, and won him a supporting actor Oscar for the role.  Inglourious Basterds may not be the most reverent war movie ever made, but it is one of the most fun.


At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  




Monday, November 3, 2014

Which TV--And Which Audio?

In the first segment of this series, we looked at the pros and cons of the various screen ratios that are available to those looking to build their home theater.  As we saw, the appropriate type of screen ratio depended on the individual needs of intended usage of the theater itself.  The same holds true when picking the kind of TV set and audio setup needed to enhance it.  In the second part of this article, we will look at both of these concerns, noting the distinct features and advantages to each model.  

TV SETS:



PLASMA: The advent of the plasma TV, with its flat monitor screen and high-definition picture, revolutionized the TV industry over a decade ago.  Although it took a while for prices to settle, plasma screens are a lot more affordable than they used to be.  They also still offer the best picture quality, including an extremely low variance in the all-important white and black "levels" that determine a screen's ability to pick up detail.  Basically, when a scene on the TV screen gets bright, having low "white levels" ensure that its brightness does not overwhelm small details; similarly, when a scene is dark, a good screen will have low "black levels" ensuring that the shadow does not obscure relevant detail.  While the most dazzling plasma screens are also the most expensive, anyone investing in a good home theater will find that the rewards of consistently outstanding picture quality will trump a momentary dip in the pocketbook.



LED: This term stands for "Light Emitting Diodes", which is how the television screen is backlit (by contrast, plasma TVs have phosphors which light up themselves).  LED screens offer several advantages that plasma screens do not: they are a bit less expensive, are lighter in weight, and consume far less power.  While the picture quality is of a slightly lesser standard, LED's have been catching up to plasma in recent years, with one model (the Sharp Elite Pro) now offering "black levels" equivalent to the best plasmas.  It is quite possible that LED screens may equal or overtake plasmas in picture quality within the next couple of years, which means that consumers may want to keep themselves updated on these advancements as they happen. At the moment however, while more expensive to purchase and more power-consuming, plasma is still--marginally--the way to go.  

AUDIO SYSTEMS



SOUND BARS: A sound bar is the cheap, no-hassle way to get a relatively good sound system for your home theater. These items do not require routing through an endless series of complex wire connections, and their portable size makes them easy to install and convenient for those looking for a clean, space-saving option. However, they do not offer authentic surround sound capabilities (don't be misled by ads telling you that they do), and come up a bit short when playing music (at least, compared to other options).  Those who want a good, inexpensive sound system, but aren't the kind of audiophiles looking for the absolute best possible sound, should seek out this option.  



STEREO SPEAKERS: This option is falling out of fashion, even though it used to be the standard audio setup in most homes.  Basically, we're talking two left-right tower speakers and a receiver, for excellent-sounding stereo.  While stereo does not offer the immersive benefits of surround sound, it can frequently be just as satisfying, as the tower speakers are bigger than those used in surround systems (generally speaking, it's still a golden rule that the bigger the speaker, the better the sound).  



AV RECEIVER AND SPEAKERS: The coveted surround sound option is provided by getting an AV receiver with multiple smaller speakers, which are then placed at various points around the theater. The advantages are obvious: full, glorious surround sound.  However, the many components involved are tricky; this is the option with all those connecting wires during installation, and you're going to have to spend some time in figuring out the right placement for each speaker, that will provide a good balance from each theater seat.  This is also the most expensive option, although as with plasma screens, the expense is often mitigated by the long-term investment one is making for their theater.  Besides, if you're all thumbs when it comes to installing complex sound systems like this model, you can always tap the services of that friend or family member who is an expert at it!  The option is less daunting than it appears, and for hi-tech surround sound, it's the way to go. 

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Which Screen?

The key to creating a great home theater, is realizing that there is no cookie-cutter model of excellence.  Your home theater should be designed to reflect your individual tastes and preferences. Not all home theaters are built for the same purpose--some are meant for families, some are meant for parties, some are meant for romantic evenings, and some are designed to combine these purposes. However, you will need to know just what you will be using your home theater for, when it comes to choosing the audiovisual equipment you install. In this article, 4seating will look at what is required when choosing the right screen size for your home theater--and as you will see, the task is not as simple as it may first appear.



The first thing to know for the novice, is that there are several screen size choices available.  The aspect ratio, which is essentially the ratio of the height to the width, will determine what kind of picture you see on the screen.  One of the most common aspect ratios is 16:9, also referred to as the sum of that division, 1.78.  Most flat-screen HDTV's are in 1.78.  Another of the most common aspect ratios is 2.4, which is used for projector screens.  It's wider than a 1.78 and fits the aspect ratio that many current movies are shot and projected in.  A third aspect ratio, just slightly wider than 1.78, is 1.85, which many other movies are shot in. 

The problem?  There is no one-size-fits-all screen, that will completely eliminate the dreaded 'black bars' appearing when you watch certain programs or films.  A 1.78 might be perfect for watching television broadcasts or certain kinds of films, but if you put in the DVD of a film shot in 2.4, you will see black bars appear on the top and bottom of the screen.  Similarly, other films and television shows shot in 1.78 or 1.85 ratios will have black bars appear on the sides of a 2.4 ratio screen. Therefore, you must choose carefully, depending on the types of programming you think will dominate the screen time in your theater.



2.4 ratio screens offer a wide, dramatic panorama that is popular with those looking to most authentically replicate the movie theater experience.  Since many current films are now shot in 2.4, this cinematic choice would make the most sense for those not planning on watching a lot of 1.78 ratio TV content.  However, the size of 2.4 screen you choose may be limited by the size of your home theater; a smaller theater will not accommodate a large screen (and the same can be said for 1.78 or 1.85 ratios).  Which leads us to the next consideration: once you have chosen a preferred aspect ratio, what will be the size of the actual screen, and how far should it sit from your seats?



The distance you sit from your screen should take into account the aspect ratio; generally speaking, 1.78 screens require a few feet further distance, as their height is more of a strain on the eyes. Beyond that, you will want to think about just how far you usually like to sit in a commercial movie theater--do you prefer to sit in the front, middle, or back?  It might actually be a good idea to gauge the ratio of your preferred seating relative to the size of the theater, and translate that to the size of your home theater.  Always keep the screen at eye level, as keeping it higher than that will result in neck and eye strain.  In this sense, the placement of your theater seats will be just as important as the placement of your screen.  

When you've done the calculations, actually sit in your seats to make sure you have the right distance, and then adjust accordingly if needed.  Finally, be sure to take into account room for outside speakers and theater curtains to flank your screen, if you plan on having them.  

Stay tuned for Part 2 in our series, which will go over choosing the right audio equipment setup for your theater.

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  



Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Halloween Horror Countdown, Part 2

In our last article, we looked at some of the greatest horror films ever made, counting down the second half (#s 6-12) of our top dozen.  In this entry, we will look at the films which made our final top six. In choosing, the staff looked at factors such as success, influence, importance, rankings on similar lists, and most importantly, sheer fright factor.  See if you agree with our picks--and if not, speak up and tell us what we should have picked!



6. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, 1968.  The first zombie flick to make a significant impact set the template for every one to follow, from the eerie look of the undead to the classic scenario of a group of misfits trapped in a house while the creatures fight to get in.  What makes the film so effective is its neo-realist tone: shot in gritty black and white with raw, impassioned performances, it feels like a home movie of the event...and there are very few of the usual theatrical cues to remind one that this is fiction.  Nearly a half-century later, the film feels like the beginning of modern horror, and can still craft a great sense of terrifying suspense.  



5. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, 1955.  There's not a single scene of blood, guts, gruesome-looking monsters, or any of the usual horror staples here.  The 'monsters' here look exactly like the residents of any 1950s California town, and yet Invasion Of The Body Snatchers managed to tap into our very deepest, darkest paranoia, during a time when the McCarthy era was ramping up that paranoia on a national scale.  Many critics have seen the film as a veiled political commentary on McCarthyist conformity, but this is first and foremost a sci-fi chiller of the highest order.  By the close of the film, as two residents flee for their lives in the hills while fighting to ward off the sleep that they know will kill them, the sense of panicked, wild-eyed horror is as palpable as any ever evoked in cinema.  The 1978 remake of the film, starring Leonard Nimoy, gets props for being nearly as good.  This film was so important, in fact, that it also made our earlier list of the greatest science fiction films of all time.  



4. NOSFERATU, 1922.  That's right, we have the ultimate vampire film in this list twice: first, Werner Herzog's masterful 1979 remake in at #11, and now the hallowed original, which actually gains strength from the fact that it is a silent B&W film.  Director F.W. Murnau was a German expressionist filmmaker who was able to utilize light and shade in stunning ways, although it is the severe, haunted look of Murnau's vampire which remains the one undeniably iconic takeaway here. Nosferatu is recognized today as one of the greatest films ever made, but it didn't receive the same reception upon release--Bram Stoker's widow successfully sued for copyright infringement, and all prints of the film were ordered destroyed.  One copy survived, and it is this copy which made the film a cult legend. No history of horror is complete without this look at one of the very first, and greatest, of its kind. 



3. HALLOWEEN, 1978.  the top three films on this list were all strong contenders for the top slot, and we were almost tempted to put this one there.  What better film to watch on Halloween, than the legendary horror film that takes place on the holiday in question?  The film's look at a deranged, knife-wielding killer literally spawned thousands of imitators (as well as a large number of inferior sequels), made Jamie Lee Curtis a star, and made Mike Myers masks (modeled, oddly enough, on Star Trek star William Shatner's face) a trick-or-treat favorite.  Ultimately, however, the film makes this list because it is one of the very few that a majority of audiences find truly scary; the director's mastery of suspense rivaled that of Hitchcock, and when matched to its grisly subject matter, the results were electrifying.  



2. PSYCHO, 1960.  Alfred Hitchock had been a world-renowned director for several decades with a penchant for nail-biting suspense, but nothing prepared audiences for what he unleashed on them with Psycho.  When audiences first sat down, they were disappointed: the first half-hour passed by as a by-numbers story of a girl on the run, and its low-budget, black-and-white TV feel was in direct contrast to the sumptuous globe-trotting extravaganzas of earlier Hitch epics like To Catch A Thief or North By Northwest.  And then...one shower changed cinema history forever.  The film, and that particular scene, has been parodied so many times that most of us today do not realize just how shocking it was for the day: audiences screamed and fainted in their seats, with many running out of the theater.  Very few films have had the startling, visceral impact on audiences as Psycho, although our #1 pick actually had a bigger one...



1. THE EXORCIST, 1973.  Widely regarded by many as the scariest film of all time, The Exorcist--allegedly based on a real-life exorcism--was so powerful that church bishops declared that there was actual evil residing within the reels.  The first time this author saw the film, was when a local TV station was playing it one afternoon--and even in broad daylight, with the sun shining through the curtains and seen on a tiny 12" TV screen, it felt like a shadow of pure black darkness had enveloped the whole room.  Much of the effectiveness of the film was down to its groundbreaking use of makeup and audio effects; the scene where Regan turns her head 360 degrees was so shocking, that certain theaters even provided special "Exoricst barf bags" for sensitive audience members.  Even now, the film manages to frighten new generations, and will likely do so for quite some time.  

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  




Friday, October 10, 2014

Our Halloween Horror Countdown, Part 1

We all know the tradition: Halloween is the night when you gleefully stock up on lots of teeth-destroying candy, make an extra-huge batch of popcorn, and stick your favorite horror film into the video machine while listening for trick-or-treaters.  In fact, of all of the holidays, Halloween is the closest we come to an official celebration of cinema --and while frequently maligned, there is no more honorable genre to take center stage for that celebration than the horror film.  Horror films are not easy to make--it's actually kinda hard to scare people, and even harder to do it in a way that appeals to movie critics.  Many horror films have succeeded as cult classics over the decades, in spite of being trashed by reviewers when first released.  In preparation for this article, your heroic blogger has decided to re-watch many of the following films, and all of them have held up or even improved over time.  

What follows is an attempt to list a dozen or so of the most memorable and iconic horror films ever made; this was an arduous task, which involved scouring the many "best of" lists available on the internet, pouring over them and considering each entry in turn.  There are, of course, many films on these lists that we here at 4seating had never seen--we wish we could see them all, but fortunately, there were quite a few we have seen, and had a blast re-watching for this occasion.  It goes without saying that horror is an excellent genre for a prime home theater setup--especially when accessories like tray tables, wine glass caddies, and bass shakers are installed in the seats--so the idea is to sit back, get comfortable, and find the horror pick that is guaranteed to make your Halloween this year a memorable one.  What follows are the first six picks in our reverse countdown, with the final six to follow!



12. THE INVISIBLE MAN, 1933: there's something about the old monster films of the 1930s that contributes to their creepiness; perhaps it's because shadows look more menacing in black-and-white, and in The Invisible Man these shadows are aided by then-groundbreaking special effects that completely wowed theater audiences of the day.  In adapting the HG Wells novel, the filmmakers also wisely focused the plot on its main character's descent from respected scientist to amoral madman, which has an almost Godfather-like aura to it.  There are scenes in this film that are still quite chilling some eighty years later, and that's an impressive feat considering how far theater audiences have evolved.  This is definitely a film you'll want to see with the lights off and the sound on at full blast, so that Claude Rains' iconic maniacal laugh can be heard in its full glory.  



11. NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, 1979: Arthouse horror reached its peak with fabled German director Werner Herzog's remake of the 1922 silent film, shot in color with a deliberately slow, methodical pace.  This is a vampire film unlike any other (even its original source), where long, meditative scenes build up an overall aura of dread that slowly envelops the viewer over the course of its length.  The masterful use of silence is abetted by incredibly lush cinematography and amazing performances by Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani in the main roles.  This is not the kind of film you put in if you want a slice-em dice-em horror experience; this is a film whose effect is as hypnotically entrancing as that of the vampire Nosferatu himself. 



10. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, 1955: This is one of those films that not only appears on lists of greatest horror movies, but the greatest films of all time, for any genre.  It's also probably the greatest horror film you've never seen, as it has remained a hidden cult classic all these years.  David Lynch and the Coen Brothers owe their entire careers to this unsettling, bizarre masterpiece, and Robert Mitchum's performance as your kindly-friendly oh-so-Christian serial killer made the likes of The Silence Of The Lambs possible.  Night Of The Hunter also hails from a time when censors wouldn't allow too much blood or gore on-screen, so all of its thrills and chills come entirely from the mastery of direction and acting on the screen.  More horror films need to be made like this, now.  Scary trivia: the events in this film are based on a true story.  



9. 28 DAYS LATER, 2002: By the new millennium it seemed like everything in horror had already been done, when along came 28 Days Later to re-write the rules yet again.  The direction, with its seizure-inducing style, enhanced what was then a novel idea for your standard zombie film: what if the zombies in question actually moved fast?  When matched with its post-apocalyptic tour of England, the resulting suspense had audiences at the edge of their seat, and paved the way for an avalanche of new zombie films, culminating in the current popularity of The Walking Dead.  The DVD came with three alternate endings, each one very different from the next, so if you're watching at home be sure and check 'em out.  



8. KING KONG, 2005: The 1933 original is a legendary film classic, and Peter Jackson knew his version had to blow minds, or there wouldn't be any point in a remake.  Fresh off of his gargantuan success with the Lord Of The Rings series, he was given an unlimited budget to let his imagination run wild...and what an imagination.  The jungle creatures that infest this particular nightmare were unlike anything previously seen in cinema, and will have you squirming at the edge of your seat.  In addition, an extended voodoo sequence with possessed children haunts one long after the film is over. Of course, King Kong is also much more than a fright-fest, and the relationship between the star ape and his love is handled with unusual grace and sensitivity even in the midst of the terror.  This is one of the best remakes of all-time.  



7. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, 1984: The character of Freddy Krueger is perhaps the most iconic in horror movie history, one that scared the bejesus out of hundreds of thousands of teenage kids in the 80s.  Let's face it: anyone who saw this film at the time had trouble falling asleep for weeks afterward, and that is surely the mark of highly effective horror.  Shot on a very low budget and taking its cue from real-life "Asian Death Syndrome"--in which refugees from Cambodia suffering from war trauma literally died in their sleep--the film rewrote the rules between fantasy and reality, blurring the two so effectively that the film's premise ended up impressing critics who normally savaged slasher films of this nature.  Elm Street is an obvious must-see, but be forewarned...

Up next: our top six.  Stay tuned!

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Baron

The newest home theater seat in Seatcraft's esteemed Signature line is the Baron.  This chair, with its clean, sharply defined lines that create pleasing rectangular edges, has hints of a postmodern style which does not sacrifice its utility or supreme sense of relaxation.  The minute you sit down against its wide backs and cushioned headrests, you'll instantly feel right at home.



The Baron is expertly constructed with a bonded leather finish, with black or brown color options that will blend into just about any home theater setting.  Black lends the seat a strong sense of polish, while brown carries a warm, earthy consistency that gently offsets the seat's contemporary design.   While the upper body is pampered by a wide seat back and plush, padded headrests, a chaiselounger footrest will allow you to stretch out the legs and feet with a full buttress of comforting support underneath.  These elements impart the Baron a sense of lounge chic that is as appealing to the eye as it is to the touch.



The Baron's many features both aid and accent the chair in exciting ways.  Included black tray tables can be used to place remotes, snacks, reading materials, or any other items you need to complete a perfect night at home in front of the screen.  These trays are perfect for company--but never fear leaving a mess, because any items can be handily stored in one of the spacious compartments located inside the armrest.   Cup holders keep drinks secure and close at hand, while an accessory mount on the armrest can be used to attach wine glass caddies, tablet holders, reading lights, and other deluxe options.  Speaking of tablets, a USB port located on the side of the armrest provides a perfect spot to charge electronic devices, which allows you to plug into the vast power of the internet without ever needing to worry about loss of battery.



This home theater seat is also unique in the Signature series, in that it comes in a unique array of configurations. Standard curved rows of 2, 3, 4, and 5 are available, along with sofa and loveseat options. However, there is also a unique sofa configuration that comes in a row of 3 joined seats, with two additional seats that curve out at either the left or right end (whichever end you choose).  In addition, each configuration is still able to maximize space in your home theater thanks to a "wall-hugger" design that allows the Baron to sit just inches from any wall, even in full recline.

We here are 4seating are excited to offer this latest state-of-the-art design from Seatcraft.  With its smart design, hi-tech USB ports, tray tables, chaiselounger, unique sofa configurations and more, it's bound to become yet another popular addition to our inventory!

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Innovator Sectional

Those of you looking for the cutting edge in home theater seating development will be pleased by the addition of the Innovator Sectional to the 4seating line.  This seat offers a dizzying array of features, matched by over 45 different sectional configuration options--put simply, there's no other seat quite like it!



Each individual piece in the Innovator Sectional is crafted from genuine bonded leather, which is designed to carefully replicate the swank look and rich texture of full-grain leather, at an outstanding value.  This material is easy to maintain; simply wipe down with a damp cloth and it will retain its polish for years to come.  The seat itself is extremely comfortable, with a marvelous "sink in" feeling that wraps itself around your body for a warm, snug fit.  The overall style of the Innovator is aggressively modern, with a streamlined look that boasts a slightly futuristic aesthetic.  Black and coffee color options are designed to match just about any room decor.



This commitment to relaxation is augmented by the seat's powered headrests, which are controlled by the simple push of a button by the lighted cup holders on the armrests.  This allows you to adjust the headrest to any position whenever you want, which besides providing maximum individualized support, helps to prevent neck and shoulder strain.  This pampering of the upper body is aided by a full chaiselounger, which offers a firm buttress of cushioned support to the legs and feet by eliminating the traditional gap between the seat and footrest.  This power recline option is quiet, smooth, and eminently practical.



If that was all there was to the Innovator, it would still be one of the most exciting and--yes--innovative seats on the market.  However, that's just the beginning.  This seat can be ordered with a special drop-down table fashioned from handsome burlwood, with two cup holders and ample space for the placement of trays, tablets, reading materials, and more!  Above the table, the headrest flips up to reveal an overhead lighting panel that will discreetly illuminate anything you may need in the dark, or double as a handy reading light.  In addition, a pop-up input plate just above the table is equipped with 2 AC adapter ports and 2 USB ports, so that you can charge tablets, cell phones, and other electronic devices for the complete expansion of your entertainment options.  With the connection of a tablet to your TV, the endless possibilities of the internet lie at your disposal.

As a sectional, the Innovator comes in a wide variety of both L-shape and sofa configurations.  There are over 45 different L-shape designs, which feature a seating wedge that connects the two sections together. The sofa arrangements come in 12 different options, with both L-shape and sofa styles featuring configurations with full chaises.  Options include two, three, and four seat sofas, seats flanked by two chaises, sofa-wedge-chaise lineups, or just about any combination of seats you can imagine.  With this many options, you are certain to find the configuration that suits the space, expected capacity, and taste of your home theater.



The Innovator has so many features, it's almost not enough space to put them in one blog.  Lighted cup holders emit a warm azure glow that keeps your beverages secure and close at hand, while in-arm storage compartments are perfect for a quick and painless cleanup of items when the night is over.  Taken together, this all-in-one extravaganza has become one of 4seating's biggest sellers, with the reasons for its continued popularity not hard to fathom.

At 4seating.com, we have the largest selection of in-stock and ready-to-ship home theater seating and home theater furniture available! We offer theater seating and design solutions for both the casual and professional home theater enthusiast.  We also have a complete line of custom home theater decor available.