Amazon

Photo by Tom Heinrich

While Gal Gadot is finally bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen in her upcoming appearance in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, the Amazonian princess has had a hell of a time making it to television. NBC’s disaster of an effort starring a game Adrianne Palicki never survived pilot phase, and it appears now that the CW’s offering, Amazon, is a no go, according to CW president Mark Pedowitz.

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amazon drones

Imagine you’re sitting at home, bored and hungry, and you suddenly get the urge to watch Wet Hot American Summer and eat some Tater Tots. A smile grows on your face in anticipation, but then you remember that not only do you not own this classic comedy on DVD but you’re also fresh out of Tots. (Also you live alone, your car is in the shop, and there are no stores nearby.) What do you do?! If this were the distant future you could probably watch the movie by way of some kind of digital signal stream through your television or wristwatch, but that utopia is not the world we live in my friend. Even if that was possible though, you’d still be Tot-less and hungry. Thankfully, this nightmarish scenario won’t be a reality for too much longer. It seems online retail behemoth Amazon.com wasn’t content with their recent move to rent out the USPS for Sunday deliveries to their Amazon Prime customers, as now they’re looking to get you your merchandise even quicker. Head honcho Jeff Bezos appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes last night and announced that Amazon is testing package deliveries via remote-controlled drones. The goal of the endeavor, currently called Prime Air, is to get purchases to consumers in under thirty minutes. Tiny helicopters, whizzing through the air, racing to and fro with fragile (yet deadly if dropped from a height) packages secured to their belly… what could possibly go wrong? Keep reading for a glimpse into […]

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Culture Warrior

It’s difficult to think that something as definitive of modern-age movie-watching as DVD special features could become a thing of the past, but there are plausible scenarios in which that could happen. DVD and Blu-Ray sales have slowed in the past few years as viewers become more and more accustomed to streaming services as their go-to means of watching movies in the home. However, when viewers streams a film via Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, or Hulu, more often than not, they receive the film itself and nothing else. The attraction for audiences who use streaming services is exclusively the film and the film alone, not the film in conjunction with other supplementary materials that immerse the viewer further into the creation of that film. The film – for the first time since the days of VHS – now speaks for itself. After DVDs first became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, the value of the DVD could be determined (and often manipulated) by how much material the discs provided for outside the running time of the film. The appeal of buying a DVD of a particular film did not lie in owning the film itself, but having access to that film in connection to a web of information related to it. Documentaries, commentaries, and deleted scenes provided a DVD experience that felt definitive – these discs made available the notion that herein was everything to know and understand about a particular film. The Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy, […]

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You gotta hand it to the writers over at The Oatmeal…they know how to start a debate. Whether it be here on this site or any of the other number of sites, the comic about pirating Game of Thrones due to its lack of streaming availability has sparked some incredibly vocal controversy. Some are waging in on the mental attitude of pirates, some about HBO’s potentially out-dated business model, and even some are arguing over whether it’s possible to steal things that aren’t physical ‘things.’ All of these discussions are thought-provoking and entertaining topics of deliberation – but there’s something that appears to be missed or ignored in this whole debate session, until recently on the AV Club,  and yet is almost directly front-and-center from the source of the discussion: People are fighting hard against the wrong villain.

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I used to love collecting TV seasons on DVD almost as much as collecting movies on DVD. But what the movie discs always added, things like commentary and behind the scenes docs, the TV discs completely lacked. After season 1, what’s left to say? We know how the show got made, why people got cast as they did, what a pain in the ass it was to get the pilot produced, the re-casting that occurred after the pilot. Extra content was hard to come by. For crying out loud, the most recent season of Dexter’s special features included episodes of other Showtime programs. Those are ads, not bonus features. A movie on DVD is easy. It’s a single thing, the story exists in that movie and that movie alone (usually). I don’t have to pop in the next five discs just to get to episode 22 where I find out that House is still a drug addict or that Jack is still really angry about something. In order to re-watch a TV series, especially a serialized one, I have to re-watch the entire thing. Very few shows exists that I enjoy watching single episodes of. I recently spent the last few weeks selling all my old TV on DVD sets, even the ones I had the complete series for, simply because I wasn’t watching them. As I packaged each one and put it into the mail box, I realized how much money I spent on the set, and how useless of a purchase it really was.

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Boiling Point

The other day I reached what one could consider the pinnacle of anger – Dr. Cole Abaius (retired) approached me about writing a Boiling Point about Netflix. Apparently the streaming and disc rental service got the good doctor angry and he did what any logical person would do – approached me to get even angrier on his behalf. At first I was somewhat reluctant to aim the anger rifle at Netflix. After all, I’ve been a subscriber for about six years and my experience has been mostly positive. For most of that six years, for a reasonable price you could get a lot of movies shipped to the comfort of your own home and later, even stream them right to your computer. But then, while using the official Netflix app, I became aware of many of its shortcomings and started getting angry. The floodgates opened – not only was I angry at the app, but I was angry at all of Netflix.

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Indie film producer Ted Hope and former high-ranking Facebook employee Chris Kelly have joined the board of a new website that allows users to stream from a library of indie and art films. I guess that’s a sign that people think this thing’s going to go places. At first glance Fandor might seem like it is a redundant service, given the existence of Netflix and Amazon, but upon inspection it actually takes a number of innovative approaches that make it an interesting new content provider to watch. The idea of making the online movie watching experience more social isn’t a new one; people have been tossing it around for a while. Netflix used to have more of a social platform built into it’s site, but they could never really figure out what they wanted to do with it, and ultimately stripped most of it away. It was just announced that The Dark Knight will become the first movie available to stream on Facebook, and I think the answer to making online movie watching more social is right there. Netflix shouldn’t have stumbled around trying to figure out their own social platform, they should have concentrated on integrating their service deeply with Facebook. One of the creators of Fandor, Jonathan Marlow, says, “Some have embraced the notion of inventing the Facebook of movies. We realized Facebook was the Facebook of movies.”

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Less than a week ago we reported that video kiosk king Redbox would be getting into the streaming video game in order to present a challenge to the ruler of that realm Netflix. However, it was shrugged off as not much of a threat due to their plan of charging for individual movies not being as enticing as Netflix’s unlimited streaming, once a month subscription fee. Well a new challenger has entered the battlefield, and this one looks like it could be more formidable. Today Amazon announced on their homepage that they would begin unlimited streaming of their online collection of movies to Amazon Prime members. What is an Amazon Prime member? It is a $79 dollar a year club that, to this point, got you unlimited free 2 day shipping on Amazon orders. Add to that perk unlimited streaming of movies and you might have something people want to sign up for. $79 dollars a year divided by 12 months in a year comes out to about $6.59 a month. That’s well over a dollar a month cheaper than Netflix’s current unlimited streaming plan of $7.99 a month. Will the savings be enough to get people to switch? The answer to who will reign supreme in the streaming video war will probably come down to who can maintain the largest catalogue of available content. Amazon is off to a good start with 5,000 movies and TV shows available. Their list of titles can be perused: here Which way will […]

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Online movie streaming and at home DVD distributing company Netflix has announced that they have amassed over 20 million subscribers.  They had projected to add 3.6 million subscribers in 2010, but ended up doubling that figure due to the astonishing growth in popularity of their instant streaming feature.  With all of these new paying customers profits are through the roof, rights to more content is being gobbled up, and brick and mortar video rental stores are nearly a kitschy memory.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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