Monday, November 18, 2013

No movies, no problem

I don’t know what it is about 2013 but this hasn’t been a particularly great year for movies. Usually autumn is the time for the biggest new releases at least for films which seek critical acclaim with possible Oscar nods but even summer blockbusters were a dude. This past weekend was a case in point. Nothing of interest in either Windsor (no real surprise) or Detroit even at independent theatres. But alas this is 2013 and we have an alternative! It’s called Netflix. Yes, I’ve continued my Netflix subscription after the one month free trial. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone? $7.99 a month and a myriad list of movies (and TV series) to choose from? That’s almost half the price of a Canadian theatre movie ticket. I still subscribe to, where I’ve been a loyal member since 2005, thinking that was the best thing since sliced bread when it started. I’ve thought long and hard about severing my ties to this DVD service but not quite yet if ever. with tens of thousands of titles provides a much broader and deeper selection of films than Netflix. Netflix, on the other hand, is great for spur of the moment movie decisions. But most titles are fairly recent and among the most popular. But still it’s great when you have a long Sunday afternoon ahead of you and therefore can simply log on to Netflix and watch a movie or two. This is another example of how the Internet is making life simpler, more consumer-oriented, and giving more power to the individual at the expense of big institutions and corporations. If the theatres don’t have what I want I can choose it for myself. Just like how You Tube is changing television and how Songza is changing radio…..
Here’s what I watched on Netflix yesterday – Life in Flight (Tracey Hecht, 2008). Nothing particularly special but a good enough story about young New York professionals where career-climbing has come at the expense of a fuller life.

On Saturday night I watched a DVD from It was It Started in Naples, a 1960 (Melville Shavelson) late career film for Clarke Gable (he died that year at 59) and Sophia Loren. It was one of numerous romantic comedies from the period and very predictable. But what I really liked about it was how it captured some of the iconic images of Italy circa 1960 – the advertising signs, the cars, women’s dresses, jazz nightclubs, even patio umbrellas and store signs. That period will never come back despite the fact modern advertisers and graphic designers use many of those motifs in contemporary design, realizing the imagery of that period was something special.
On another topic….With due respect to the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) and any efforts organizers have for selling the fest to American filmgoers in the future, I’ve been told that WIFF’s website was partly inaccessible (i.e. playing trailers) when using a U.S. based computer.

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