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I have used both netflix and amazon prime, and I like the idea of streaming. Sometime earlier this year I read about filmstruck, the movie streaming service for "serious" film fans. It is apparently a joint venture from Turner Classic Movies and Criterion. So a few weeks ago, I thought I'd give it the 2 week trial.
It's a mixed bag, but I'm keeping it. It is rather hard to know how many movies are available, it seems to be a few hundred. Like netflix, they come and go. They seem to be available for a few months from what I can see.
It's not any kind of comprehensive library or archive. It is a curated selection. So if you look for Hitchcock, for example, you see five choices, all prior to 1939. None of his classics. For Polanski, you find Knife in the Water and Tess, no Repulsion or Rosemary's Baby. And that's more or less how it goes. On the other hand, Godard seems to be featured right now, and there are many if not all of his movies on the site.
So if you are looking for something specific, you will probably be disappointed.
On the other hand, it is fantastic for browsing and for me, filling in gaps in my film history. I just watched Modern Times, my first Chaplin ever, and it was well worth watching. I had never seen Godard's Breathless, so I watched that. It does not seem as revolutionary as it might have in 1961, but the young Belmondo and Seberg light up the screen.
I caught up with Certified Copy, which is rather thought provoking.
And I watched Blood Simple, which I would have passed by on DVD, because I've already seen it. But I realized that I saw it in a theater over 30 years ago, so it was pretty new to me, and well worth revisiting.
Filmstruck claims to specialize in "arthouse," but that could mean a lot of things. I would consider much Japanese anime to be arthouse, but I don't see any of that. What they seem to mean is big name historical directors, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, etc. And that appeals to me, as I have seen some of this work, but certainly not all of it. And it is, to me, worth exploring.
It's not as great as a complete Criterion archive would be. But it's pretty good.
The $100 per year plan, including Criterion, does sound pretty appealing. Probably will try this out in 2018.
tunenut, did you subscribe to the "FilmStruck + Criterion Channel" plan? I was hoping that bump up in price would give you a LOT of Criterion, but have not checked it out.
I was considering signing up, but my local library has started providing Kanopy streaing service. That's keeping me busy for the moment!
I went for a year for $100 that gives you both. They make it hard to do a count, but I just looked at Browse All under Criterion and there are actually quite a lot. I counted over 120 just starting with the letter A.
So there might be quite a few more choices than I have been thinking.
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