An Avalanche of Entertainment

It’s easy to under­stand why some peo­ple feel com­plete­ly over­whelmed by the enter­tain­ment options at their dis­pos­al. I do, too! When Net­flix and Xbox 360 paired up to stream Watch Instant­ly titles, I sud­den­ly found myself awash in on-demand options. Is it amaz­ing (and a much bet­ter expe­ri­ence than watch­ing on my com­put­er?) Absolute­ly. Do I feel like like I can’t pri­or­i­tize my enter­tain­ment options? Total­ly! All these options are a bless­ing and a curse to some­one who likes more than his fair share of movies. How do I know where to watch them?

Here’s what I’ve watched recent­ly and where:

  • For­get­ting Sarah Mar­shall (Com­cast On Demand)
  • Man on Wire (Net­flix Watch Instant­ly on Xbox 360)
  • The Horse’s Mouth (Com­cast DV‑R)
  • Gomor­rah (actu­al movie the­ater)
  • Sal­vador (Net­flix DVD)

I’m look­ing for some­one to pull togeth­er all of the enter­tain­ment options I have so I can man­age them from a cen­tral hub. I want to be able to pri­or­i­tize my Net­flix queue by know­ing if some­thing will be avail­able on Turn­er Clas­sic Movies or not. I want to be prompt­ed to record or rent when I search I know I’m not alone. Who does­n’t want to get the most out of their cable and Net­flix sub­scrip­tions? Isn’t stuff like this at the heart of the seman­tic web?


Criterion Delays Blu-ray Collection, Again

Engad­get dropped this lit­tle tid­bit last week about Cri­te­ri­on delay­ing their Blu-ray launch yet again. Do I sus­pect any­thing nefar­i­ous? Not real­ly, but I wish Cri­te­ri­on would recon­sid­er dump­ing mon­ey into a for­mat that will nev­er be adopt­ed in any mean­ing­ful way. I’m hope­ful that their flashy new web­site (pun intend­ed) is an indi­ca­tion that they may be rethink­ing Blu-ray and con­sid­er­ing some sort of HD dig­i­tal deliv­ery sys­tem.

With the HD Stream­ing Net­flix on New Xbox Expe­ri­ence blow­ing my mind, I’d hope that they’d find a way to get their con­tent uploaded there to spare the expense of author­ing Blu-ray discs. I have my fin­gers crossed.


Burn! and The Hour of the Furnaces

I may be up to my neck in work, run­ning, and the Phillies right now, but I’m real­ly excit­ed to check out The Hour of the Fur­naces tonight at Inter­na­tion­al House. The last movie I saw out there was Chris Mark­er’s amaz­ing 240 minute doc­u­men­tary, The Grin With­out a Cat. The Hour of the Fur­naces is a 260 minute epic released in 1968 that cov­ers left­ist strug­gle in South Amer­i­ca. If you’re curi­ous you should check out this essay about the movie over at Sens­es of Cin­e­ma. I’m hop­ing to be real­ly thrilled by tonight’s screen­ing of The Hour of the Fur­naces. It sounds like I won’t be dis­ap­point­ed.

I watched Gillo Pon­tecor­vo’s Burn! as a warm-up, no pun intend­ed. I’ve been mean­ing to see it since it was released on DVD some years ago, but sim­ply had­n’t got­ten around to it until last week when I final­ly mailed Cal­i­for­nia Split back to Net­flix after hav­ing it for over a month.

Burn! may not be as amaz­ing as Pon­tecor­vo’s Bat­tle of Algiers, but it’s a pret­ty effec­tive state­ment about busi­ness inter­ests superced­ing all oth­ers, star­ring Mar­lon Bran­do. Most inter­est­ing, Bran­do does­n’t Sean Penn it up and draw so much atten­tion to his char­ac­ter that it drowns out the mean­ing of the film. Pon­tecor­vo does­n’t beat you over the head with mes­sage either. The sto­ry, if you’re will­ing to hear it, explains itself: sug­ar cane more or less cursed the Antilles in the colo­nial era. Thanks free trade!

(As a quick aside, did you notice that Greenspan almost recant­ed his Ran­di­an beliefs in tes­ti­mo­ny yes­ter­day? It’s amaz­ing!)

One of the rea­sons I had­n’t seen it soon­er, despite hav­ing an inter­est in the top­ic, was the pack­ag­ing and pro­duc­tion of the DVD, as DVD Savant wrote at the time of its re-release near­ly three years ago. Movies like this can either be lav­ish pro­duc­tions direct­ed almost exclu­sive­ly at the snooty movie mar­ket, or they end up cheap­ies in the cut-out bin. This def­i­nite­ly leans more toward the lat­ter, as the print and pack­ag­ing are a lit­tle lack­ing and the extras are nonex­is­tent.

Stuff like this is a dis­ap­point­ment to those of us who wait patient­ly for left­field clas­sics to be reis­sued on DVD, only to find no rea­son to actu­al­ly buy the prod­uct. Film buffs will spend mon­ey for a good prod­uct. It pays to cater to them! As DVD sales decline and stu­dios waste mon­ey bulk­ing up their Blu-Ray library, it might be a good idea to talk to experts about the clas­sics that are just lay­ing around. If the music indus­try is reis­su­ing albums that came out six months ago, would it be impos­si­ble to lav­ish some atten­tion on movies that the stu­dios already own but are just col­lect­ing dust?