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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for April, 2013

Abt at the Movies-Zero Dark Thirty

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

zero-dark-thirty1

Since “Abt at the Movies” took a brief hiatus, there have been a handful of movies that have come and gone.  Many of which became Oscar winners or nominees this past February at the Academy Awards.  One such film had been under intense scrutiny before it even came out.  Noted for its subject matter and controversial depictions,  Zero Dark Thirty was ruffling feathers and sparking interest before the opening credits even began to roll.  Since its release, it has garnered a wide variety of critical acclaim as well as public outcry, much of which derives from the various interrogation scenes that were, according to the filmmakers, true to life.

The opening of the film is set on a black screen with the headline, “September 11, 2001”.  We hear an audio clip of a woman frantically calling 911.  She is in one of the World Trade Center buildings on a floor above where the first plane just hit.  Her fate is clearly understood in her voice.  A chilling start to the movie, but a necessary part that gives the audience an idea of just why the protagonists in the movie do what they do.

Directed by Katherine Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty showcases a whirlwind of emotions, perfectly crafted by the three lead actors, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler.  The rise and fall and rise again of the chronological hurdles that were faced is nothing short of exhausting.  Chastain earned her Oscar nomination as the beleaguered Maya who, through her tenacity and voracious determination, fought hell and high-water to find her target.

Director Katherine Bigelow does an equally amazing job at telling this story.  No stranger to military-style film-making  Bigelow was recognized by the Academy for her last film, The Hurt Locker.  Her attention to detail and gritty representation of the horrors of warfare were a perfect match to direct this movie.  The time progression in the film is handled perfectly.  With the events that followed September 11th, you are presented a series of immensely intense moments.

We all know the end of the movie.  We know what happened, or we know what we’ve been told, with the events that led up to finally eliminating Osama Bin Laden.  What Bigelow has done, is recreated a series of events spanning over 10 years that catapulted America to locating and disposing one of America’s Most Wanted.  In no small feat she has assimilated every little detail, every nuance and every possible feeling involved and encapsulated them in just under 3 hours of cinema experience.

Zero Dark Thirty is not necessarily an action movie.  It’s not totally a drama and it’s not a documentary.  It’s a primal look into what was gained, lost and then found again, to reach the ultimate catharsis for the players involved and, more appropriately, an entire country and more.  It’s a movie that has subject matter, riddled with a  variety of emotions, and presented them as thoroughly as possible, no matter how gut wrenching they may be.

Make no mistake, this movie can be difficult to watch.  Whether the events of September 11th are still a sensitive subject, or whether the idea of any kind of torture, no matter the outcome, is horrific, emotions will be touched upon in this 2 1/2 hour endeavor.  Zero Dark Thirty is an overall accomplishment in film-making and storytelling.

Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language.  Running time: 157 minutes.

Summary:

5 out of 5

 

HOME THEATER DEAL OF THE WEEK

Samsung 40-inch Black LED 1080p 3D HDTV UN40F6400

samsung un40f6400

 

 

Enjoy your favorite programming in beautiful high-definition with the Samsung UN40F6400 TV.  With incredible clarity and a Clear Motion Rate of 480, your images will be smooth and blur-free.  Connect directly to the internet to stream your favorite music or programs with the built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and Samsung’s proprietary Smart Hub TV.

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Join Abt and Sony for a pre-Mother’s Day Event

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Mother’s Day is still a couple weeks away, and we know how hard it can be to find a gift for that special lady. Walk around our store, and you’ll get a million different ideas: an elegant watch, a coffee maker, or a pair of chic sunglasses. But if she’s anything like my Mom, ask her what she wants and she’ll say “I want you to not waste your money buying me a gift,” and she’ll probably mean it. If that’s the dilemma you’re facing, stop in the store this Sunday, April 28th, from Noon to 4pm, and we might still be able to help you out.

In conjunction with Sony, Abt will be hosting a pair of creative digital artists, who will be using their skills to create personalized gifts that any mother will love.

Renowned photographer Me Ra Koh is coming to Abt to teach how to best capture photos of your little loved ones.

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Garage renovations that make your home jealous

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

USA Today ran a story recently about the ever growing popularity of the “Man Cave, or, also known as, the “Woman Cave“.  The popularity stems from someone seeing a unique opportunity to turn what was once a car and belonging storage space, to a relaxing, hospitable part of their home.

USA Today interviewed Abt’s very own Todd Shuster for a bit of information on the proliferation of these new “garage caves”.  “Man caves have always been popular, but with the ever increasing size of rec rooms and kids’ playrooms, the man has nowhere to go,” says Shuster. “Enter the garage, a place that can be a shrine to your favorite football team, your Harley or sports car.”

One of the most popular uses for a garage has been to store your car.  Celebrities and the wealthy have gone the same route, however, to much more expensive results.   “The place where you park has become a living quarters,” says Phil Berg, author and photographer for the book series Ultimate Garages.  This book series showcases a variety of leading celebrities and business owners who have an obsession with collecting and preserving cars in their pristine garages.  Celebrities like, Jay Leno.

jay leno garageImage courtesy of CNN

Garage uses range from the typically normal; they are storage devices to the more unique where homeowners transformed them into  spacious art-like galleries featuring cars.  For the every-man  Abt Electronics can help you turn your garage into the more traditional man or woman cave with a variety of luxury appliances, electronics and even furniture.  If you are simply looking to keep organized, we carry a wide variety of the popular Gladiator Garageworks.

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A Peek Inside Hasbro’s Workshop

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Anyone who has spent some time reading the Abt Blog, knows our interest in 3D printers.  From making items for major motion picture to creating dinosaurs, 3D printing makes a computer image, a reality.  This technology is prevalent in a major toy-production company.  Hasbro, known for the popular line of Transformers toys, gives a look into their process and technology.  The short video below is incredibly interesting to see what its’s like to work with toys.

 

 

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Abt at the Movies – Gangster Squad

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Gangster-Squad

It’s BACK! “Abt at the Movies”.  Every Tuesday we will be showcasing a new movie to come to home video.  In addition, there will be a special price on a select home theater item.  Check out our weekly reviews and piece together your dream home theater!

Gangster Squad

It doesn’t take us long to realize that the bad guy in this film is Sean Penn’s Mickey Cohen. I say that because after a brief narration showing Cohen boxing, we are taken to the high hills of Hollywood California behind the famous “Hollywood” sign. Cohen has a rival visiting Chicago gangster tied with chains between two cars as a couple of hungry wolves look on ravenously. In an obvious attempt to send a message back to Chicago about Cohen’s unwillingness to listen to anyone but himself, he tells both drivers to put the pedal to the metal and we see said Chicago gangster split in two as the wolves…well, you know.

A gruesome introduction to a clearly maniacal leader who wishes to have Los Angeles between his fingertips.  While Mickey finds no competition from outside gangsters, there is a lawman who sees Los Angeles, not as a place to be owned, but to be protected.  Sgt. John O’Mara played by Josh Brolin has an equally telling introduction as he is seen following a man who picks up a starry eyed girl from outside California hoping to make it big. O’Mara clearly knows this guy’s scam and follows him, much to the dismay of his partner who refuses to join his partner. Why? Because the creeper guy works for Mickey Cohen, a Los Angeles untouchable, even for the LA Police.  Not one to avoid conflict, O’Mara  proceeds to enter the guarded Cohen building and proceeds to crack some heads, break some hands, shoot some baddies and save the starry eyed girl from a disastrous outcome.

Upon returning to the police station,  O’Mara gets chewed out by his boss for doing his job, and being told that he should have never entered the world of Cohen’s.  Just shy of receiving disciplinary action, O’Mara leaves frustrated and is then approached by the grizzly Chief Parker played by the equally grizzly Nick Nolte.  Here, he offers O’Mara a proposition to put together a team featuring Ryan Gosling, Robert Patrick, Michael Pena, Anthony Mackie and Giovanni Ribisi.  They do whatever they can, off-the-books, to bring down Cohen’s criminal enterprise once and for all.

I found the look and feel of the movie very compelling. There is something special about a period piece that can recreate the sights and sounds of the post World War 2 generation. The songs, styles and overall look are remarkably recreated. I’m a sucker for noir stories, both for their look and feel and Gangster Squad hits the nail on the head in that department. Rainy nights, dark alleys, gruesome death scenes and so much more are sprinkled throughout the movie, it’s enough to satiate any hard boiled detective fan.

Where the movie does fault is in the pacing and the actual script of the movie. Once O’Mara puts together his rag-tag team of do-anything tough guys, it quickly moves from shoot out to shoot out without any intelligent progression. Penn’s Cohen character comes across as wildly blood-thirsty in several scenes, so much so, it looks like a parody of a Dick Tracy villain; prosthetic nose and all!

The movie also tries to stuff in a superfluousness story line featuring Gosling and Emma Stone‘s character as she secretly has a love triangle between him and Mickey Cohen.  It’s a really disappointing result and a distraction from the movie.  If you want to see Gosling and Stone all kissy-faced, check out Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Gangster Squad does a great job at recreating the look and feel of post World War 2 Los Angeles. Giving viewers a glimpse into the seedy, gangster ruled underground is fun, but the execution lacks in offering a lasting impression.  The script is, at times, laughable and can come across as a 1950’s gangster parody. A decent 2 hour crime drama, but do yourself a favor and check out others like L.A. Confidential or pretty much anything with Humphrey Bogart for a taste of great noir films.

Rated R for strong violence and language. Running time: 113 minutes.

Summary:

2 and half stars

 

HOME THEATER DEAL OF THE WEEK

Samsung Black Blu-ray Disc Player- BD-E5700

samsung bd-e5700

Make the leap to watching gorgeous Blu-ray movies with this Samsung BD-E5700 Blu-ray player.  Enjoy incredible quality video and watch streaming content with the built-in Wi-Fi!

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Sonos Showcases PLAYBAR & More at Wrigley Event

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

This weekend, SONOS threw together a private party with Chicago’s finest bloggers and media representatives to showcase their newest SONOS products.  The PLAYBAR and PLAY:3 were put to the test and showed off their impressive sound and booming bass.

Sonos Event 1SONOS rep demos the PLAYBAR & PLAY:3

We were all there at a Wrigley Field loft to watch the Chicago Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers. While the Cubbies were actually playing out in Milwaukee the incredible sound from SONOS made us feel like we were right there at the game.  The demo played by the SONOS reps was wildly impressive, mimicking the crystal clear audio and powerful sub-woofer you would typically find in a movie theater.

SONOS was also showing off their whole-home connectivity.  The reps had an iPad mini and cell phone that was connected to the Wi-Fi, allowing complete control, wherever they were in the loft.   If you are looking to outfit your home with new audio equipment that gives you complete control wherever you are, check out SONOS wireless audio speakers.

 

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Panasonic’s 5-Star HDTV

Friday, April 19th, 2013

panasonic tcp65st60 5 star cnet

CNET, one of the most trusted electronic review sites online, is giving the new line of Panasonic Plasma HDTV’s their 5-star rating.  The Panasonic Plasma ST series is a remarkable feat for plasma technology.  CNET’s review states,  “…incredibly good picture quality with exceedingly deep black levels, great shadow detail, accurate colors, solid bright-room performance…”

TV13097LOGO_ST60_cnetEditorsChoice_H

CNET does a great job at really breaking down the pros and cons of their reviewed items.  The TV industry is incredibly competitive with manufacturers always looking to out-do each other.  This is an exceptionally high rating by CNET and if you are in the market for a new HDTV, this is definitely one to check out.  Abt is proudly carrying this line, so shop the Panasonic Plasma ST Series and enjoy HDTV with 3D features at an incredible price.

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Abt Gets International Visitors

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Thousands of people come through Abt every week, for a variety of reasons. Most (we hope!) come with an intent to buy, some come to research a future purchase, and others come just to hang out. We like to think Abt is a pretty cool place to spend some time, especially on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when there’s fresh cookies baking in the atrium and Chicago sports on all the big screens. We also get a lot of out-of-towners, who may have heard about us from friends in the area or from our growing online presence. Today, we proudly hosted a large group of visitors from, literally, the other side of the planet.

billy group 2

The visitors came with a video crew in tow.

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Earth Day 2013 at Abt

Monday, April 15th, 2013

earth day at abt 2013

It’s that time of year when Abt plays host to a variety of environmentally friendly activities in honor of Earth Day!  On Earth Day, Monday April 22, Abt will help make Chicagoland a littler “greener” by helping you as well as local businesses properly dispose their unneeded electronics and appliances.

The following locations will have recycling collection sites for anyone who wants to drop off any e-waste materials.  They will even receive a free tote bag or t-shirt made from recycled materials.  Below are the locations and times.

1.     Chicago Center for Green Technology (445 N Sacramento Blvd., Chicago, IL) – 5am –11am

2.     WGN TV Studio (2501 West Bradley Place, Chicago, IL) – 6:30am –1:30pm

3.     Chicago Loop  (Michigan Ave. and  Lake St., Downtown Chicago) – 6:30am –1:30pm

4.     Abt Electronics Recycling Center (1200 N. Milwaukee, Glenview, IL) – 9am – 12pm

E-waste drop-off locations include: CPU equipment, monitors, televisions, cell phones, telephone equipment, gaming systems, printers, copiers, scanners, cameras, stereos, CD/DVD players, projectors, calculators, wire, circuit boards and cables, Vacuum cleaners, blenders, toasters, ovens and dishwashers, Batteries, HVAC and refrigeration equipment that uses freon, thermometers and thermostats that contain mercury.

Additional items accepted during drive include: Cardboard and paper, plastic (bags, saran wrap) and white Styrofoam (no peanuts)

Additionally, Abt will kick-off their Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 21 from 12pm-3pm with family fun activities including crafts and workshops from local organizations. We will even will be giving away EcoSmart T-Shirts made with up to 50% recycled polyester from plastic bottles and Eco-Friendly Reusable Non-Woven Shopping totes while supplies last.  For more information, check out www.abt.com/help/chicagoland-customers.  Hope to see you there!!

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ASUS Transformer AiO; Huge Tablet & Desktop PC

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

ASUS has introduced a very interesting combination of a tablet and computer.  ASUS Transformer AiO is perfect for productivity, but remove the 18.4-inch Full HD display and it instantly transforms into a multi-touch Android tablet. Imagine two iPads put together into one gloriously large tablet.  A bit large for convenient use, but large enough to be a portable entertainment powerhouse.

asus transformer tablet

The Transformer AiO is not purely a tablet. The AiO stands for All-In-One, which is where you can get the best of both worlds for a tablet and desktop computer.  When plugged into the included base, the tablet becomes a monitor for a full-fledged computer running Windows 8. Pull the screen from the base and it automatically turns into that super-sized tablet that runs Google’s Android operating system.  This definitely is aimed at the more professional side of consumers.  This would be an exceptional item to use at a workplace where presentations are the norm.  Work and prepare your presentation while it is a desktop, and pick it up and get going with it as a tablet.

transformer 2

 

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