Category: Streaming Video

Dec 16 2013

The Top 10 Classic Films Released On Streaming Platforms In 2013

In the years since Netflix added a library of streaming titles to its disc rent-by-mail business, that stream has become a gusher and streaming movies and TV shows changed the home video habits of American households. But while there are plenty of classics are readily available to stream via subscription or VOD, from Birth of a Nation and The Rules of the Game to Citizen Kane and Chinatown, countless titles come and go. While this is far from a definitive list, these 10 noteworthy films that became available on streaming platforms in 2013 deserve singling out.

“Fantomas: The Complete Saga” (1913-1914)

The adventures of the cinema’s first supervillain in five wicked, delirious surreal short features, Fantomas was Louis Feuillade’s first great serial and there was no more creatively energetic, playfully inventive and entertainingly surreal filmmaking of the era. Fandor has the complete five-film sage as well as his later serials Les Vampires and Judex, but Fantomas is the only one of them available to stream in HD.

'Die Nibelungen: Siegfried'

“Die Nibelungen: Siegfried” (1924) and “Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge” (1924)

Fritz Lang’s pair of early works combine into the original fantasy epic, an astounding silent spectacle based on the German myth that inspired Wagner’s “Ring” cycle. It is magnificent to behold, a mythic landscape of ancient forests, fairy tale waterfalls, lakes of fire, and caves and crevices hewn out of earth and rock, built entirely in the studios of Ufa. They have previously been available on streaming services but the new restoration from the F.W. Murnau Institute trumps all previous editions and this definitive edition of Lang’s silent epic is now available on both Netflix and Fandor.

Continue reading at Indiewire

May 19 2012

Netflix Fest: Roger Corman in the Sixties

Roger Corman

How timely: in the wake of the DVD and Blu-ray release of the documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel a couple of months back and a long overdue Oscar, a veritable festival of films directed by Roger Corman have been made available this month on Netflix, bumping their library up to a dozen or so of his best films.

His cycle of Edgar Allan Poe films were the first to really be taken seriously: stories of madness and melancholia set in gloomy, crumbling mansions and shot in rich, bleeding color and CinemaScope, most of them starring Vincent Price, whose theatrical flourish gives his brooding heroes a sense of tragedy. The success of “The House of Usher” (1960), the first of the cycle, paved the way for the more ambitious “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961), highlighted by Barbara Steele’s savage eyes and feral smile, Price’s cackling transformation into a sadistic ghost, and the grandiose bladed pendulum set piece. Ray Milland takes over for Price in “Premature Burial” (1962) as the doomed, brooding aristocrat gripped by a paralyzing fear of being buried alive, and Price is back for “The Raven” (1963), a comic take on Poe co-starring Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson, and “The Tomb of Ligeia” (1964).

Corman’s crowning achievement in the cycle is “The Masque of the Red  Death” (1964), a deliriously colorful gothic horror (vividly shot by future director Nicolas Roeg) of a demented, debauched Prince whose castle is the sole sanctuary during the plague, but the price to enter is to become a plaything of the sadistic tormentor. Vincent Price is no longer the haunted gothic hero but the sadistic Prince Prospero, a sadist who wields the power of life and death with no pity: his subjects are toys and he revels in their humiliation and torture. This is Corman’s most daring character study and most stylistically impressive film.

Continue reading at Videodrone

For more releases, see Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and streaming video for May 15

Apr 02 2012

Streams and Channels: Free Criterion Movies on Hulu

Hulu, the streaming movies and TV service, has an exclusive deal for the Criterion catalogue, a collection that also features a number of titles that Criterion has yet to release on DVD.

This week, for a limited time, Hulu is making a small selection of “Midnight Movies,” cult films, and rarities available to stream for free, with limited commercial interruption.

There are ten titles in all, including the influential Japanese horror classic Jigoku (1960) from Nobuo Nakagawa, George Franju’s lyrical, haunting, and poetically horrifying Eyes Without a Face (1960) from France, the American indie horror classic Carnival of Souls (1962) (as of this writing, the link on the Criterion front page goes to the 1998 remake, which is to be avoided, but you can search for the 1962 version easy enough), and the utterly gonzo Japanese haunted house/high school romp/demon killer/surreal fantasy film House (1977), which has to be seen to be believed.

These are all very cool and well worth the time, but the more exciting opportunity in this offer has to do with a collection of titles not currently available on DVD or Blu-ray in the U.S., Criterion or otherwise. These include the quiet, insidious thriller Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) from Britain (previously available on Home Vision DVD, long out of print), the fabulous female coming of age psycho-drama fantasy Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) from Jaromil Jires (released on DVD by Facets, now hard to find), and a pair of Japanese films I’ve not had the pleasure to see yet: Kateo Shindo’s The Naked Island (1960) and Kon Ichikawa’s Princess From the Moon (1987).

Continue reading at Videodrone for the final two (and the best two) films in the collection

Image | WordPress Themes