The Subterranean: So how do you watch the movies?

(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,, 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.

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