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Today in Gear: June 4, 2014

Today in Gear: a plant even the blackest of thumbs can’t kill, a sock of the month club, Zagato’s stunning Gallardo-based concept, Logitech’s latest wireless speaker, Rio-ready polos and Lone Survivor on Blu-ray.

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Today in Gear: March 5, 2014

Today in Gear we check out 12 Years A Slave, Lance Armstrong’s deception, a speaker that listens to you, Lexus’s newest sports car and more.

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Far over the misty mountains cold...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray 3D

Good old Bilbo. In a way, he’s the granddad we all hope to be: pipe-smoking octogenarian, enjoying good food and reminiscing about better times when he ran around with a crazy bunch of dudes who pulled pranks on rubes (trolls) and escaped some tight situations (trolling the Goblin King in the Misty Mountains). Of course, there’s other appeal to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray 3D ($28).

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007, Reporting for Duty

Skyfall Blu-ray

Bond, James Bond. Admit it; you read that with an accent. Was it Scottish? We ask because the upcoming Blu-ray release of Skyfall ($25) could cause you to reconsider your lilt. Under the direction of Sam Mendes, in what is certainly the most visually stunning of the franchise, Daniel Craig delivers a 007 that easily challenges Connery for the crown.

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Bold, blue and brilliant

End of Watch Blu-ray

On-screen chemistry isn’t something to be overlooked (just ask Padme and Anakin). Luckily, Jake Gyllenhal and Michael Peña don’t suffer the same wooden fate. As LAPD Officers Taylor and Zavala, the two actors shine in a dark world, providing just the right amount of wit, raw humor and law enforcement street cred to make End…

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Almost as good as bringing Goose back

Top Gun 3D

The tragic loss of Tony Scott will reverberate through Hollywood for years to come, but fans can at least delay letting go in the coming months with the release of Top Gun 3D ($20). Double dipping on the part of studios isn’t something we typically like to encourage, but Scott’s personal involvement overseeing the remastering…

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Plays well with others

Oppo BDP-103 Universal 3D Blu-ray Player

While the rest of the Blu-ray player market races to the bottom of a Dollar Store dumpster, Oppo remains resolute in serving those who demand the highest possible audio and video quality out of their home theater. The company’s latest OPPO BDP-103 Universal 3D Blu-ray Player ($500) includes Marvell’s Kyoto-G2h video processor for True 24p…

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Rise in your own home

The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray

You watched the creation, the fall, and the epic rise of your favorite (face it, the best) superhero in theaters. Now complete your Christopher Nolan trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises ($18) on Blu-ray, out today. The set also includes DVD and digital copies so you can watch Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Anne Hathaway and…

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12 Gift ideas for the sofa spud

12 Guys of Christmas: The Mediaphile

We’ve all got one. Maybe it’s you: The mediaphile in the family who’s impossible to shop for because he has it all and he’s seen it all — twice. His TV? Projected. His surround sound? 9.2. His wardrobe? Needs work. His love of movies and music has been fueled in the past by those enabling…

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Enter the kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Director Wes Anderson’s most recent (and perhaps most Wes Andersony) film to date, Moonrise Kingdom ($20), is now available on crystal-clear Blu-ray — obviously the best way to watch a movie that looks like it was shot on film equipment from the ‘60s. Featuring customary Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, the film also…

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Big things have small beginnings

Prometheus 4-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray

Ridley Scott’s perpendicularly plot-lined meta-prequel to Alien may have polarized fanboys, but no one can deny the beauty and complexity of Prometheus’s planetary vistas. While HD digital downloads have already been dropping jaws for quite some time, the upcoming Blu-ray release promises to also answer a few of your lingering questions. In addition to the…

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Smash Hit

The Avengers Blu-ray

The superhero movie of the century is now ready to blow up your living room. Naturally, you’d expect top notch audio and video quality, and the Blu-ray version ($20) won’t disappoint — especially for 3D fans looking to recreate the theater experience at home. There’s also plenty of intriguing extras to enhance the second go…

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That is a tasty box set

Tarantino XX Blu-ray Set

Get your fix for random philosophical dialogue and extreme violence with the newly announced Tarantino XX Blu-ray set. True fans might recognize a bit of double-dipping on the part of the studios here, since the new collection is essentially an augmented version of the Quentin Tarantino Collection that was available only overseas. The new XX…

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There is a war in this forest

Fear and Desire Blu-Ray Edition

Fear and Desire, celebrated director/producer Stanley Kubrick’s first attempt at film making, is a must-have for film aficionados. The movie follows four soldiers caught behind enemy lines as they battle, physically and psychologically, to return to safety. Directed, produced, shot and edited by a 24-year-old Kubrick, the Howard Sackler screenplay is intriguing in its examination…

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No longer Unobtanium

Avatar Blu-ray 3D Collector’s Edition

If you’ve made the jump to 3D TV, the visually stunning Avatar Blu-ray 3D Collector’s Edition ($28) should be on your must-have list. This edition gives you all three dimensions of the the Pocahontas remake, which is finally available outside of Panasonic 3D TV bundles this October. Unfortunately, the visual orgasm comes only in the…

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Tour de Brute Force

The Raid: Redemption

America is no stranger to epic blockbuster action movies — hell, we invented the genre. But one viewing of the Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption ($20) left us questioning Hollywood’s chops as the king of adrenaline. Its premise is beautifully streamlined: an elite squad of 20 SWAT members is sent in to take down Jakarta’s…

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It's still not safe to go in the water

Jaws Blu-Ray Edition

Real, life-affirming creations of art that come along at the right place at the right time to transform culture as we know it are… well, rare. Jaws is such a masterpiece, and one that has captivated audiences for nearly forty years. The film struck a chord through cutting edge effects, a genius score, and of…

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The master, remastered

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

Hitchcock’s role in the evolution of film needs no introduction, but his movies have been in desperate need of a little TLC in the age of high-def. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection ($299) is poised to be the damn-near-definitive Hitchcock release, updating the previous DVD version to glorious 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio. Specifically, the…

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The Holy Grail of anthologies

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray

If you’ve ever dreamt of being Short Round and yelling “Docta Jones, Docta Jones!” to an adoring Indy (everyone has that recurring fantasy, right?), then Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray ($75) should be on your pre-order list like Henry Jones, Sr. on that Nazi knockout Dr. Elsa Schneider. Modern-day films just don’t make male…

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Goes for the nuts first

Haywire

Think of Mallory Kane (played by MMA Fighter, Gina Carano) as Jason Bourne with a functioning memory and some sweet heels. Carano comes alive in this action-thriller by acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh. As hired heavy for a private black bag ops firm working for the United States Government, Kane is betrayed by the very people…

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All in, for the win

HP Z1 Workstation

Computer workstations are typically regarded as PC powerhouses for the professional. Boasting top tier internals and reliability, they’re only limiting factors tend to be size or an inability to upgrade components. That’s now a problem of the past. Designed and fast tracked in secret, literally in a lab within a lab, the HP Z1 Workstation…

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An animated classic resurfaces

Yellow Submarine Blu-ray

After being out of print for what seems like an eternity, The Beatles’ 1968 animated hit, Yellow Submarine has finally been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray. Getting the Blue Meanies all primped up and ready for their 1080p debut apparently was no easy feat. In fact, each frame of the film was restored by…

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Look who's back on top

Casablanca 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

Our insincere condolences to Hunger Games fans everywhere. This week we’re celebrating the release of the 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Casablanca ($45). Thanks to the Michael Bays and James Camerons of today, movies have certainly come a long way since 1942 in terms of production value. Yet this timeless classic continues to shape generations…

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Suspicion goes HD

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

While most assumed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was bound for success the moment it went into production, thanks to a combination of elite UK actors and one of the best spy-thrillers ever put to paper as a basis for a script, we were still skeptical. Call us George Smiley’s, but director Tomas Alfredson, after all,…

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Audio on another level

Breakthroughs: Dolby Surround Sound

Audio manufacturers started using the term “high fidelity” in the 1950s as a marketing technique to help grow consumer interest in home stereos. Thanks to the new buzz word and a concerted industry push, the consumer home audio world soon entered “The Golden Age of Hi-Fi” in the 1960s. It was during this boom when…

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Grips with both hands on the wheel

Drive Blu-ray

Drive confidently swerves around pigeonholes. Pink scripted credits, seemingly plucked from an 80s billboard, burn over opening shots of the LA skyline, right before plunging into a tense getaway that would make Michael Mann grin from ear to ear. The protagonist — whose proper name is never revealed throughout the entire flick — barely speaks…

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The whole Bondchilada

Bond 50 Blu-ray Collection

MGM has announced the mother of all boxed sets in celebration of 50 years of James Bond wooing women, breaking gadgets, and thwarting global disaster on the silver screen. Never before have all 22 films been available in high definition Blu-ray and compiled into one epic collectors item that’s truly a must have for any…

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Boxed-Up Box Office

BryteWerks Model One

Newbies in the display game rarely succeed given the variety of entrenched brands already doing well in the space. BryteWerks hopes to become an exception with their soon to be released Model One Cube, which takes a slightly more literal approach to the concept of a home theater in a box. Inside the sleek black…

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The wrong kind of touchy-feely

Contagion

Contagion is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. Director Steven Soderbergh and his usual team tackle a well-worn niche, ploughed by titles like Outbreak, to create a pandemic horror story that will leave most viewers running to stockpile Purell and hesitant to enter airports. Much of its success comes from a grounded depiction of how the world’s…

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Back in time with no DeLorean in sight

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris features plenty of Woody Allen trademarks, while avoiding many of the quirks that have irritated us about his work in the past. “Pair-eee” has rarely looked so good in a film and leaves viewers pining to hop a plane to de Gaulle as soon as the credits roll. The cast boasts a…