Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hollywood Award Season Is Here!

Last weekend's Golden Globes broadcast was the official start to the Hollywood awards season, which will go through a number of more obscure critic's circle award events, before climaxing with the Oscars (usually late February or early March).  The Golden Globes are often seen as a good predictor of who will win at the Oscars, despite the fact that only four of the last ten Golden Globe winners for best drama film, ended up also claiming best picture at the Oscars.  The Golden Globes tend to be seen as Oscar's looser, drunker cousin, a tad more risque (anyone remember Ricky Gervais' recent stints as host?), but also thankfully devoid of the song-and-dance spectacle that usually drags the Oscar telecast down (the Oscars last between 3-4 hours; by contrast, the Golden Globes is a much more digestible two hours).



This year's Golden Globes telecast came just days after the horrific attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and the unprecedented global outpouring of support toward the French people.  The mass demonstration supporting Hebdo and the right to freedom of speech--attended by dozens of world leaders, although the United States was conspicuously absent from the proceedings--came just weeks after a very similar flap over the right to free expression attended the hacking incident surrounding the premiere of "The Interview".  The two events galvanized American opinion regarding the right of journalists, cartoonists, comedians, satirists, and filmmakers to say whatever they wanted, without the fear of reprisal.



So it was perhaps ironic that the Globes telecast was accompanied by several risque jokes which were considered offensive and over-the-line by some people, who took to Twitter to express their condemnation.  At one point, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did their best Cosby impressions, as they re-created the rape allegations that have swirled around the comedian over the past few months--provoking shocked gasps from some of the celebrity attendees in the front rows.  Later, Margaret Cho came out dressed as a North Korean general who wanted to take a selfie with Meryl Streep--and, in spite of the face that Cho is Korean herself (and has made parodying her mother's Korean accent a staple of her stand up for the past two decades), she was accused of milking Asian stereotypes.

Never has the line between free speech and PC correctness been tested to a greater extent, than it was here, on the same night that 3.7 million people spilled out into the streets of France to honor those who lost their lives for their satire.  It is this author's view that we did the right thing at the Golden Globes, telling jokes that made people squeamish--because freedom of speech is not about how we treat the things we like hearing, but how tolerant we are of the things we don't like to hear.



As for the winners of the 2015 Golden Globes, it was pleasing to see that several of 4seating's picks for the best films of 2014, including "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel", walked away with several awards each.  Tim Burton's excellent "Big Eyes" earned Amy Adams a best actress nod, while "Birdman" also won several big awards including best actor (Michael Keaton).  Meanwhile, Amazon's "Transparent" became the first exclusively online show to win a Golden Globe, for best Musical or Comedy--an award that was dedicated to the transgender community that is its subject matter.  Although TV categories are the province of the Globes, it looks like a showdown is brewing between "Birdman" and "Boyhood" as to which film will take top honors at the Oscars. Stay tuned, entertainment lovers!

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, January 8, 2015

The Tablet

The advent of the computer tablet brought a new portability to internet entertainment.  No longer restricted to bulky computers and laptops, you could carry it with you anywhere, anytime--the entire power of the web at your fingertips.  It's a fact that when it comes to audiovisual content, there are times when you want the power of a large screen and state-of-the-art sound system to make the action on-screen really come to life.  Conversely, those who have spent their savings on constructing the perfect home theater should not feel restricted only to what they can pop into a DVD player.  Happily, the marriage of the internet and the large-screen is easily accomplished by hooking a tablet to your TV set, bringing the million-plus options of the World Wide Web to movie theater excellence. 



There are two primary ways of hooking a tablet to a television set.  First, you may want to get an adjustable tablet holder which can fit easily onto your home theater seat's armrest, so that you can browse the web within arm's reach.  Then, you can either use your home wi-fi to connect your tablet to your screen, or use a cable to connect to the HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) ports on your tablet and TV.  Each option will work, although if you're looking for an ultra-fast connection you may want to stick with a cable hookup.  In addition, keeping your tablet charged has become less of hassle with the introduction of deluxe home theater seats like the Liberty and Horizon, which come complete with charging stations featuring USB ports.  

From there, you have the internet at your command.  Internet streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Google Play offer thousands of movies and TV shows (commercial free!) to choose from.  Recently Netflix has been focusing more on TV shows and original content, which has let Google Play and Amazon Prime offer a wider variety of movies. Therefore, it's best to become familiar with all the options at your fingertips, as between them you're bound to find what you're looking for.  The recent debut of "The Interview" in the online streaming format has possibly set a precedent for further films being made available this way--meaning that home theater owners may be set to catch more first-run releases online in the near future.  Youtube is also a great source for older films, TV, and especially live music uploads. Want to see The Beatles live on "Ready! Steady! Go!" in 1964, or the latest Taylor Swift video? Youtube is likely to have it, and watching these shows on the big screen, with the sound system that you spent so much time and care to install,  is the only way to do them justice.



Gamers will also have a field day with a tablet hookup, as the internet offers dozens of game sites that feature variations on classic board games and puzzles, with more sophisticated visual odysseys that will have you lost in their imaginative worlds.  This entertainment option has come a long way since Pac-Man or Super Mario, now offering characters, plotlines, and beguiling visual backdrops that are more akin to user-participation movies than games.  Once again, you will find a dramatic difference between playing these games on your tablet, and being able to do so with the advantages offered by a home theater setup.  Besides gaming, you can also access personal files to conveniently share family photos on the big screen, or spend time on social media. You won't ever have to squint if you wish to read an e-book, either, although with the tablet holder you can also read directly from your tablet while reclining in your seat without having to hold it in your hands.  

So what are you waiting for?  Why agonize over having to figure out what movie to watch, only to find that you have to wait to purchase or order it?  Get your instant gratification now by being able to browse to your heart's content from thousands of available choices--or decide to try that new online version of Monopoly. You'll never be at a loss, with your tablet hookup; the only problem will be how to narrow the endless list of choices 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.