(In anticipation of the Traverse City Film Festival July 25 through July 30)
When I watched, saw, experienced, yes, experienced, because a movie is more than just moving pictures, my first movie, it was the only way I could. In a movie theater with a single screen, a few hundred seats, musty smells of oily popcorn and heaven knows what else, sticky floors and stumbling around in the darkness. 35mm celluloid on an open reel projector with an operator in a booth. West side of Detroit. the Warren theater, our neighborhood theater.
It was summer 1953, on a Saturday afternoon, and my brother Phillip, five years my senior, and my cousin Eddie, begrudgingly took me to see “The War of the Worlds.” We sat in the front row. The screen was huge and I was not. All was well at first. But when the Martian cobra-head heat ray first blasts unfortunate Earthlings, in sympathy I started crying. My brother yanked me out of my front row seat and dumped me in a seat at the back of the theater. Sitting alone, abandoned, I began my private and personal relationship with the movies.
There was no hand held device, tablet, phone, laptop, PC, 4K Ultra HDTV, OLED, LED, plasma, flat screen, big screen, little screen TV, home digital projector.
No 200 screen multiplex, Atmos Dolby, THX, 7.1 surround sound, recliner seated, 70mm, IMAX, EPIC, giant screen formatted, digital 3D, 4D, DBOX.
No Beta/VHS VCR, laser disc, DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, MP3, MP4, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick.
No cable TV with 1000+ channels, HBO, Sinemax ;), Showtime, Starz, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo, Crackle, Fandor, Vudu.
And no Blockbuster or Redbox.
It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell in Barangrill, “it’s all of the crazy you get… from too much choice.”
So, to anticipate the Traverse City Film Festival, www.traversecityfilmfest.org, celebrating “Just Great Movies” in a theater setting and happening July 25 through July 30, I’m providing a list of films on their schedule that you can see now by way of the modern wonders of cable and streaming. I’ve noted one source where each is available, but there may certainly be other ways to access. Services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, FilmStruck (my new fave) and Fandor are by subscription and others like Vudu, Fandango and Video On Demand (available through a cable provider) offer movies for rent or purchase. Vimeo is mostly free, with some selections for rent, and is an excellent source for short films.
I will be giving you my reviews of some of them over the next two weeks.
Ada for Mayor – Vimeo
Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies – Showtime
Barry – Netflix
Beats of the Antonov – Vimeo
Cool Hand Luke – Vudu
Drone – Vudu
Elian – Vudu
Elle – Fandango Now
Fire at Sea – Netflix
Fishing Without Nets – Vudu
Gemma Bovery – Amazon
The Handmaiden – Amazon Prime (free to Prime members)
I Am Not Your Negro – Amazon Prime
I, Daniel Blake – Video On Demand (VOD)
Icarus – Vimeo Free
Julieta – Vudu Buy
Junction 48 – Netflix
La La Land – Vudu
My Life As a Zucchini – Amazon
Neruda – Netflix
A New Day in Old Sana’a – Fandor
Raw – Vudu
Red Turtle – Vudu
Reservoir Dogs – Vudu
The Salesman – Amazon Prime
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Vudu Buy
Speedy with the Alloy Orchestra – FilmStruck
Star Wars: the Force Awakens – Vudu
Starship Troopers – Vudu
Stop Making Sense – Fandor
Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby – Vudu
Things to Come – Netflix
To Be or Not to Be – FilmStruck
Toni Erdmann – Vudu
War Machine – Netflix
What About Bob? – Hulu
So how do you watch movies? At your local theater, multiplex, art house, museum or college? At home on your ginormous 27” TV with stereo sound? With your sweetie, best friends, alone?
An inquiring mind wants to know. Please comment.