Michael S Cox

Site Reviewer

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Vital Statistics

Age Group Early thirties, but getting older
Video Likes Razor sharp image, wide colour gamut and 16x9 enhanced transfers when applicable!
Video Dislikes Any MPEG encoding artefacts, telecine wobble, Pan&Scan, edge enhancement and any unnecessary film artefacts that should have been cleaned up.
Audio Likes Give me fully immersive, ES-Discrete 6.1 (DTS wins!) surround sound mixes anytime. Oh, and if it explodes on screen, I expect it to explode in my living room too.
Audio Dislikes I prefer to hear the environment I'm watching and not my speakers, so I don't like any sub-woofer or surround effects that draw undue attention to themselves. Clicks, pops and dialog that sounds like its been drowned in a washing machine are also not on.
Pet Peeve Mode ON:
I'm sick to death of suffering unflagged cinema equalised audio on DVD's (thanks THX). The cinema equalisation curve, which amplifies the treble in the front sound stage, has a tendency to drive the dynamic range of loud dialogue (in particular dialogue containing sibilance) beyond the audio codecs dynamic quantisation range resulting in clipping which NO subsequent re-eq can fix. This causes the dialogue to sound harsh and unnatural on good speakers which are capable of reproducing extremely high frequencies. I would like to see more DVD's remixed specifically for Home Theatre (ala Se7en) that are devoid of this cinema artefact an clearly marked as such.
Pet Peeve Mode OFF!
Favourite DVDs See my Top Ten list. These are my favourite movies weighted on a combination of plot, presentation and transfer quality.
Least Favourite DVDs I hate censorship with a passion and for that reason I hate anything that lands on our shores censored. Please use ratings, that's what they are there for. I'm also personally annoyed at the quality of the Farscape and Babylon-5 releases in Australia.
Most Eagerly Awaited DVDs StarWars Episodes IV,V,VI (you know, the original ones), Quantum Leap, Farscape, Red Dwarf, The Goodies and Fraggle Rock?

Opinions About Specific Movies and their DVDs

Titanic The DVD is pitiful. Someone's grandmother should be taken out and shot over this one. Along with LOTR and Harry Potter however, Titanic proves that the average attention span of audiences is greater than the 90 minutes Hollywood regularly assume of us.
The Matrix This was a great movie. Innovative story, fantastic special effects and a reasonably solid storyline. It's a pity about the ever present Messiah theme though.
Terminator 2 This movie is one of the best (up there with Aliens), even if it does break causality several times. The R1 Ultimate Edition release in DTS-EX is a cornerstone of my DVD collection.
Star Wars I'm a Sci-Fi addict and this is the movie that mainstreamed the whole genre. I still think the originals had more presence than the current offerings, but when will they EVER make it to DVD?
Godzilla I totally missed the point with this one. I mean Why?
Independence Day The special effects were great but I just couldn't handle the overdose of American patriotism coupled with the ridiculousness of an Apple MAC automatically interfacing to completely alien computer technology (hmmm, maybe that's why I have so much trouble with that aggravating OS. At least OS-X is unix'ish).

Equipment

DVD Player Pioneer DV-S733A , using Component output
Display Panasonic PT-AE500E Projector onto 90in screen . Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio Decoder Built in to amplifier/receiver . Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA.
Amplification Denon AVR-3802
Speakers Front LR - NEAR MainMast, Center - NEAR Genoa, ITU Rear LR - NEAR MainMast-II, THX Surround+Back LR NEAR Spinnaker DiPoles, Subwoofer - NEAR PS-2 DiPole

Top 10 DVDs

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1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Collector's Extended Edition (2001)
An absolutely spectacular adaptation of Tolkiens classic tale brought into the home theatre in all its visual glory
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2. Alien: Legacy (Box Set) (2000)
Aliens was the highlight and will be hard to beat. I can watch these over and over and over and ...
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3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Excellent movie and so many choices for the DVD. R1 Ultimate edition, R4 Ultimate Edition and now the R1 Extreme edition. Sigh...
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4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Collector's Edition (2000)
Beautiful scenery, exotic fight sequences, tragic story
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5. Moulin Rouge: Special Edition (2001)
The music and visuals are simply stunning
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6. Beauty and the Beast: Special Limited Edition (1991)
A fantastic package that includes the original, the extended edition and the truly unique work in progress edition
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7. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Great fun, original storyline and a superb DVD package
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8. The Fifth Element (Superbit) (1997)
Grows on me everytime I watch it, just like Hudson Hawk
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9. Contact (1997)
Human nature at its best and worst
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10. The Matrix (1999)
There is much, much more to the Matrix than first meets the eye

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