A brief look at new and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.
Budget projector is a bright idea
High-def has just gotten cheaper. Respected maker Optoma (www.optomausa.com) recently introduced a home-theater projector with the highest resolution, 1080p, for less than $1,000. The Optoma HD20 is a compact DLP projector that produces a bright, pleasing image that's ideal for home-theater fans who want excellent quality without breaking the bank. The projector has no lens shift, so it must be centered with the screen. And the image quality does look best on an actual screen, not a wall or cloth backdrop. If setup flexibility is important, spend $500 more on the more versatile Sanyo PLV-Z700 LCD projector. Otherwise, the Optoma HD20 will leave you with plenty of money left over to spend on Blu-ray discs -- which, by the way, looked fantastic using the projector on my 8 1/2-foot screen. It far outshines my old 720p Epson projector, which cost three times more five years ago.
RANDY A. SALAS
Youth film comes of age
In its gentle way, "Adventureland" restores a welcome note of humanism to a genre that has lately become little more than a repository for fart and vomit jokes. Jesse Eisenberg plays James Brennan, a recent college graduate whose plans for a European vacation before starting grad school are foiled when his family suffers an economic setback. James gets a job at the local amusement park. There he meets an eclectic group of lost and striving souls, including a thwarted rock musician (Ryan Reynolds) and a sultry, mysterious girl named Em (Kristen Stewart), with whom he furtively falls in love. Thanks to an exceptionally deft touch, director Greg Mottola captures the absurdity and anguish of young adulthood; his tender look back will ring wistfully true to anyone who has fallen in love, left home or still wonders what it would be like to do either. The DVD and Blu-ray (Miramax, $30-$45), released today, contain the rated and unrated versions of the film.
Also out today: "Californication" (Season 2), "Duplicity," "Here's Lucy" (Season 1), "House, M.D." (Season 5), "Lie to Me" (Season 1), "Life" (Season 2), "NCIS" (Season 6), "One Tree Hill" (Season 6), "Scrubs" (Season 8), "Smallville" (Season 8), "Sunshine Cleaning," "Thirtysomething" (Season 1), "Wiseguy" (Season 1).