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Streamin' Criterion
December 23, 2009 8:41 AM   Subscribe


 
Fantastic. Do they have a limited license, or are they up forever and ever?
posted by Think_Long at 8:43 AM on December 23, 2009


Awesome. The money I pay each month for Netflix was already worth it, but this is icing on the cake.
posted by dortmunder at 8:49 AM on December 23, 2009


I just got one of those Roku players and though it has only been a week... it's worth every penny. Such a cool new way to experience Netflix. We're going to downgrade to the 1 dvd plan soon. The selection of instant films is already great and it's getting better and better each day. The criterion dump is just another giant leap.
posted by JBennett at 8:54 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to get me to reup my Netflix subscription? Oh god, not again!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:56 AM on December 23, 2009


Thanks for this.
posted by ob at 8:57 AM on December 23, 2009


That's pretty great, but does 'Watch it Now' involve any of the extras? A lot of the reason Criterion editions are great is the commentaries, and other stuff on the DVDs.
posted by graventy at 8:57 AM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Instant queue before this post: 196.
Instant queue after this post: 231
Those queue numbers never seem to go down for some reason.

Stupid million dollar suggestion algorithm.
posted by edbles at 9:03 AM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's pretty great, but does 'Watch it Now' involve any of the extras? A lot of the reason Criterion editions are great is the commentaries, and other stuff on the DVDs.

Unless the criterion films have some kind of special deal (I doubt it, but I only just heard about this and haven't been home to try the films out yet), no. None of the streaming films on netflix have had special features. sucks, I know. it's the trade-off for the convenience for now. I firmly believe that netflix will find a way to add all of that stuff into the streaming service before too long, but that may be optimism on my part.
posted by shmegegge at 9:09 AM on December 23, 2009


This is great. The local video store with the Criterion Collection closed down a couple of years ago, and I've been wanting to watch some of these. And, hehe, I can log into my mom's Netflix account instead of signing up again. I'm sneaky like that.
posted by duvatney at 9:17 AM on December 23, 2009


Can I slightly derail? Why, thank you!

Anyone here know of ways to stream Netflix movies on a Wii? Does playon.tv work?
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:23 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are rumors that Netflix will be coming to the Wii soon.
posted by zixyer at 9:29 AM on December 23, 2009


I second JBennett's endorsement of the Roku. I love that thing.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 AM on December 23, 2009


Fucking sweet!
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:41 AM on December 23, 2009


of special note: NO ARMAGEDDON.

Consider this a feature, not a bug.

Streaming Netflix was one of the big reasons I was so happy to get a PS3 after my 360 bricked for the last time. I just couldn't get Silverlight to play nice with my OSX86 machine and the convenience of being able to randomly grab and watch an entire season of a TV show in a weekend was just too fantastic to not crave and want back.
posted by quin at 9:48 AM on December 23, 2009


This is good news, but some of these movies are available on Bluray and really should be seen in that format, that is if you're into the movie and own a player and are a stickler about the image and audio. The Seventh Seal and Wings of Desire are available on Bluray from Netflix; I'm not sure about the others.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:48 AM on December 23, 2009


but some of these movies are available on Bluray and really should be seen in that format, that is if you're into the movie and own a player and are a stickler about the image and audio.

It's worth noting that netflix streams in HD. I... don't believe it does surround sound. but it streams in at least 720p.
posted by shmegegge at 9:54 AM on December 23, 2009


This is great news. We picked up a ps3 recently and part of the motivation was to use the "watch it now" feature, but we've been somewhat disappointed by the limited amount of movies available.
posted by Big_B at 9:59 AM on December 23, 2009


Thanks for pointing this out! I'm not quite to the point where my instant queue is bigger than my DVD queue, but I could get there quickly now. Also noteworthy if your taste is less elevated: a bunch of TV shows also became available in the instant queue recently. I feel like I'm set for watch-anytime material for a long time now.
posted by immlass at 10:03 AM on December 23, 2009


Big_B - You're not queuing things up straight from the PS3 disc, are you?
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2009


Did Criterion ever really clear up why they included Armageddon in the first place?
posted by ocherdraco at 10:07 AM on December 23, 2009


There are rumors that Netflix will be coming to the Wii soon.

Cool, then I can use my Power-PC based game console to do what Netflix won't support on my Power-PC based media computer!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 10:12 AM on December 23, 2009


Well I know what I'm doing on Christmas if the rains threaten to blow the surf out!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:15 AM on December 23, 2009


Well I know what I'm doing on Christmas if the rains threaten to blow the surf out!

Wow, you and I live in very different places.
posted by Think_Long at 10:21 AM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


my local video store has had these for a long time.
posted by rainperimeter at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2009


The HD streaming of stuff like Lost looks really great on my xbox360... although not so good on my mac. If the Criterion movies are streaming in HD, I don't think you'll NEED to experience them on bluray; they'll look better than dvd.
posted by Huck500 at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2009


Does anyone know why there's a downloadable NetFlix app for the 360, but you have to insert a disc for the PS3? Is that just a beta or something? I'm so unbelievably lazy that I just hate swapping discs.
posted by naju at 10:55 AM on December 23, 2009


ocherdraco: "Did Criterion ever really clear up why they included Armageddon in the first place?"

To be ironic. Armageddon is the DVD distribution equivalent of a trucker hat.
posted by brundlefly at 10:58 AM on December 23, 2009


The HD streaming of stuff like Lost looks really great on my xbox360... although not so good on my mac.

I'm guessing it's just optimized for xbox, but yeah, i can't watch any of their stuff on the mac anymore...too jerky, even with good bandwidth and a nice computer. Wonder if it's just a mac thing...maybe it's better on pc...
posted by troybob at 10:59 AM on December 23, 2009


Does anyone know why there's a downloadable NetFlix app for the 360, but you have to insert a disc for the PS3?

my guesses:

-licensing hooha
-Sony's relentless devotion to building incredible hardware that is hopelessly crippled by this or that stupid software bullshit related to DRM or their latest format war.
posted by shmegegge at 11:00 AM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mostly foreign trash. Buy American!!
posted by Postroad at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2009


We upgraded to an HD Tivo so that we could record local broadcasts in HD and watch Netflix streaming.

I wanted the HD. My wife wanted the Netflix. She was the driving force behind the upgrade.

My wife is awesome.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:24 AM on December 23, 2009


Metafilter: Mostly Foreign Trash.
posted by Huck500 at 11:25 AM on December 23, 2009


You're not queuing things up straight from the PS3 disc, are you?

You mean accessing the queue using the disc? Yes. Is there some other way that I don't know about?
posted by Big_B at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2009


My wife is awesome.

Mine is, too:

Me: I want to go buy a plasma tv; I know ours works, but it's getting old...
Awesome wife: How big is it going to be?
Me: I was thinking maybe 50"...?
Awesome wife: I think we need the 58".
Me: Yes... yes we do. :-)
posted by Huck500 at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2009


The only thing I miss with the instant watch films is being able to occasionally turn on captioning and the commentary/ interviews. The commentary's in particular are a gold mine of film criticism by artists and academics who really know their stuff and over a few years of watching them, when I just couldn't let a great film go (you must know the feeling), I gave myself a good grounding in story arc, poetics, structure, visual communication, cultural history, literary references and authors.

With master directors like Antonioni or Kurosawa everything you see, every little gesture means something. I recommend the commentaries for either L'Aventtura, or the, other-worldly, profound moving IKURU.

Well I know what I'm doing on Christmas if the rains threaten to blow the surf out!

What you should be doing is watching the 1947 film I Know Where I'm Going!, by Powell and Pressburger, which for reason's I don't understand I disappeared into every weekend for a long winter a few years ago (it might've been the single malt it wnet so well with). Sadly it's not on the instant list yet. Also, notable for its absence is the too funny, inspired Withnail and I .
posted by Skygazer at 11:30 AM on December 23, 2009


ocherdraco: "Did Criterion ever really clear up why they included Armageddon in the first place?"

I think the practical reason was money. They probably sold more of that DVD than anything else (no citation, just guessing). If releasing, say, Transformers gets them enough money to enable them to finally redo Andrei Rublev like they've been talking about then I'm all for it (not that the first release was bad).

That said I believe the official answer is that they want to have films representative of all the genres including Hollywood Big Budget Blockbuster Action Thingy. No skin of my nose but sucks for the fanboy Criterion collectors.
posted by bfootdav at 11:31 AM on December 23, 2009


naju: They distributed the app on a disc because they are working on a downloadable/install app for the PS3. Netflix signed an agreement with Microsoft to limit installed Netflix streaming to the 360 for a time period. Once that is up, it will be available in the PS3 marketplace. I think this was a convenient loophole (one I'm happy about) to get streaming to other platforms.
posted by msbutah at 11:37 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now you mention it a Netflix DVD of Cleo from 5 to 7 has been sat on the side for a couple of months now.

So, hey, does Netflix work with Wii yet?
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on December 23, 2009


You mean accessing the queue using the disc? Yes. Is there some other way that I don't know about?

No no, I mean are you limiting yourself to the selection that the disc "comes with" instead of using the website to stick things on the queue and using the PS3 to play the queue?
posted by griphus at 11:37 AM on December 23, 2009


Me: I want to go buy a plasma tv; I know ours works, but it's getting old...
Awesome wife: How big is it going to be?
Me: I was thinking maybe 50"...?
Awesome wife: I think we need the 58".
Me: Yes... yes we do. :-)


This is your wife's way of telling you that size matters.
posted by The Deej at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2009


I wish Netflix didn't hate Mac users. It took them decades to finally get Watch Instantly supported on Macs, and the implementation is horrible. Jerky video and no way to get HD to stream despite my 10Mbps connection. Bah.
posted by mullingitover at 11:51 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recommend Man Bites Dog....

...if you want to watch the most disturbing but hilarious film ever made :D

It's the darkest blackest funniest thing. A masterpiece (but it takes some stomaching). You'll never forget it, I promise.

Thanks for the link! OOOh and the Seventh Seal too! And Gomorrah.....
posted by Monkeymoo at 11:52 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't recommend I Know Where I'm Going! enough. It's a fantastic gem; the title seems so upbeat but may be part of the problem. It's even more amazing when you find out the lead actor never left London, as he was acting in the West End.
posted by dhartung at 11:53 AM on December 23, 2009


Meanwhile... still no Netflix in Canada.

<Sad Trombone/>
posted by blue_beetle at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2009


Good god, you people have to go to rental stores?

Blech, you can keep your healthcare - I'll keep my netflix for my abbreviated life
posted by Think_Long at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2009


Big_B : You mean accessing the queue using the disc? Yes. Is there some other way that I don't know about?

I think griphus already touched on this, but what everyone is talking about is using a PC to set up your instant queue as opposed to trying to manage it from within the PS3/360 Netflix interface.

You can easily watch videos from your gaming console, but adding new films is arduous at best. As long as you are accessing Netflix to add new movies from a web browser, you should be fine. Fortunately, on the PS3 you actually have a proper browser for this, but you need to drop back to the actual disc based Netflix application to watch them.
posted by quin at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2009


Criterion on Armageddon
posted by unsupervised at 12:00 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
posted by Artw at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2009


Oh, man. This might be the thing that tips me over to the Netflix subscription after years of resistance.

DAMN YOU, NETFLIX! THESE NOVELS AREN'T GOING TO WRITE THEMSELVES!
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:10 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Once again, my decision to bail on DirecTV in favor of a TiVo HD + OTA antenna + Netflix one-disc subscription pays dividends. Thanks for pointing this out.

the money I save over DirecTV, I use as stuffing for my pillow
posted by davejay at 12:10 PM on December 23, 2009


Oh yes, they stuck Onibaba up! One of my all-time favorite movies. Can't recommend it enough to anyone who likes subtle creepy horror.
posted by OrangeSoda at 12:12 PM on December 23, 2009


by way of clarification, I should mention that these are not the FIRST criterion films to be added to netflix's watch instantly library. just the other week, inspired by the excellent mefi post on Christopher Doyle, I watched criterion's edition of In The Mood For Love, which is every bit as good as you've heard.
posted by shmegegge at 12:19 PM on December 23, 2009


DAMN YOU, NETFLIX! THESE NOVELS AREN'T GOING TO WRITE THEMSELVES!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:10 PM on December 23 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


It's true, but as long as you balance things out, the Criterion stuff, and as I said the brilliant commentaries are an educational goldmine of literary references and story-telling technique. Great films are like great books, there's no waste, every scene and every bit of dialogue is there for a reason and is fused to the throughline (story arc).

Actually Netflix/Criterion has ruined watching a lot of crappy movies for me, cos most movies can't tell a good story or follow through on a good ending, and I'm having a hard time watching anything predictable or too commercial these days...with the last really great film I saw being Gomorrah (Brutal, amazing and scary, with some images you will never forget). (Although I love B&W noirs just for the moods and snappy comebacks...especially if Bogart's in it.) BTW If a movie doesn't work on a small screen, it probably sucks story-wise.

(P.S. A really complex and intriguing plot needs to be shut down bit by bit with consecutive resolves. CF: LOTR Pt 3)

Blah..blah..blah....

So, is the Roku on available online or what's the deal with that, is it not available in electronics stores, my search is pulling up bupkis and I want to give it as a gift to someone.
posted by Skygazer at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2009


That Criterion article from Michael Bay's former college professor reads like a recommendation letter for grad school or a job somewhere. It's just confusing and seems like obligatory and effusive misplaced praise. "If he weren’t working in Hollywood, Bay would be the darling bad boy of the intelligentsia." I cannot parse this sentence at all. Where else would he be working? Independent films? Bollywood? The only place I can picture providing him with enough explosions to sate his epic bomblust would be as a tech on Mythbusters.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2009


Awkward Pause:Can I slightly derail? Why, thank you!

Anyone here know of ways to stream Netflix movies on a Wii? Does playon.tv work?


My experience with playon.tv on the PS3 (before Netflix sent out those fancy discs) has been slightly wonky. It mostly works but every once in while Netflix gets mad changes its API and no Netflix for 1 or 2 weeks. I would strongly suggest doing the 14 day trial first to see how it performs with the Wii. Playon does not seem to have a good connection (socially) with Netflix and can't always handle these problems quickly. But I enjoy it for the other services it connects me to and allows me to play wirelessly on the tv (hulu, youtube). Although there are definitely buffering issues on some of the hulu tv shows. Basically, you are trading setup time for waiting for buffering time and inconsistent playback situations. Or in other words, I like being able to watch the movies on the big tv with my roommates and not having to lose access to the laptop while still playing videos the tv. My roommates, not faced with this trade-off, are more vocal about how annoying the skipping and buffering is. YMMV

Artw: So, hey, does Netflix work with Wii yet?
It claims to.
posted by edbles at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2009


I can't recommend I Know Where I'm Going! enough. It's a fantastic gem; the title seems so upbeat but may be part of the problem. It's even more amazing when you find out the lead actor never left London, as he was acting in the West End.
posted by dhartung at 2:53 PM on December 23 [+] [!]


Yep, the wonderful Roger Livesey returning from war. Oh how many nights I've drank with this dude from mid-century England..little did he know. Also I had a huge crush on Pamela Brown, his childhood friend, and Wendy Hiller plays the over-ambitious, too-smart girl perfectly.

There was a point where I was pretty set to say that unless a film was: a.) Set in Scotland b.) Had a war backdrop c.) was shot near the sea during a storm and d.) had an old legend attached to it and a castle, well than it really wasn't worth watching...
posted by Skygazer at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2009


It claims to.

Results may vary?
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on December 23, 2009


MickeyMoo: I recommend Man Bites Dog....

...if you want to watch the most disturbing but hilarious film ever made :D

It's the darkest blackest funniest thing. A masterpiece (but it takes some stomaching). You'll never forget it, I promise.


Now that's what I call a recommendation. I'm going to watch it tonight. Thanks for the tip.
posted by Skygazer at 1:49 PM on December 23, 2009


The Michael Bay article that haveanicesummer links to contains the following sentence:

Those who claim that it was hard to tell where characters were in relation to each other in the space should take another look.

I have. It's hard to tell where they are in relation to each other. And even if it were easier on re-watching, that would still be a failure, would it not?
posted by brundlefly at 2:07 PM on December 23, 2009


Meanwhile... still no Netflix in Canada.

try zip.ca
posted by modernnomad at 3:27 PM on December 23, 2009


I just got one of those Roku players and though it has only been a week... it's worth every penny. Such a cool new way to experience Netflix. We're going to downgrade to the 1 dvd plan soon. The selection of instant films is already great and it's getting better and better each day. The criterion dump is just another giant leap


We have a Roku player too and it rocks. It also accesses stuff from Amazon, and keeps adding other channels....you can access Pandora from it for free too!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:54 PM on December 23, 2009


(also, just saying, you can do streaming Netflix video from your computer if you want.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:54 PM on December 23, 2009


Re: PS3/Netflix disc

To explain what some may be wondering about /or wondering what a few of us are talking about:

Yes there is a "default" selection using the netflix disc of 100 movies per genre (plus some other lists), although I think some cross genres. You can also add instant streaming titles to your queue via the computer/website and see more.

My point was that with the number of movies they have (100,000 according to wikipedia), 100 per genre plus the few movies we have wanted to see that will stream it is a very small pool. But it is still totally awesome.
posted by Big_B at 6:06 PM on December 23, 2009


I can't recommend I Know Where I'm Going! enough. It's a fantastic gem

Oh, absolutely --utterly totally wonderful, and I can't believe I never heard of it until I tripped over it on Netflix a few years ago. Weirdly enough, I was just looking it up on the IMDB a few minutes ago because when I saw the TV trailer for this Leap Year flick with Amy Adams, I said, "Shit, this has to be some dumbass remake of I Know Where I'm Going!" and sure enough, it is. In the commercial there's a brief blip of the leads at a ruined castle; that was the giveaway.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:40 PM on December 23, 2009


A remake?? AHHHHHh!!! BLASPHEMY!!! ON MY HONORARY SCOTTiSH SOUL I DAMN THAT REMAKE TO INSTANTANEOUS FAILURE!!
posted by Skygazer at 8:23 PM on December 23, 2009


The article at haveanicesummer's link is horseshit, but one of the comments below claims to have the explanation for Armageddon:

The only reason Criterion added this title – and The Rock for that matter – to their illustrious roster is because Michael Bay asked them to before even Criterion knew what the collection would eventually represent.

You see, before production companies realized the big money there was to be made in releasing special editions, limited editions, 2-disc sets and noticed the general interest in special features and featurettes among consumers, Criterion was ahead of that game and began… The Collection. Michael Bay noticed, and he wanted Armageddon to get the whole shebang – features, commentaries, the complete package. That’s just how much Michael Bay loves his own movies, and CC were the only people willing to go forward with such a project. And why not? They were still establishing the business, and at the time it was a big license… art-film or not. Bay made some calls, got the licensing together, blah blah blah… and there we have it, Armageddon in the collection and licensing for The Rock on the way. Years after, the Criterion collection has expanded and expanded and gained loyal buyers and collectors who eagerly await their every release with bated breath. But alas, the stain remains. They can’t just banish these titles from Criterion history, but I sure wish they’d tell the story and set the record straight to avoid such confusion among collectors.


Seems plausible - more plausible than the crap Criterion is selling with that essay.
posted by mediareport at 9:10 PM on December 23, 2009


Oh. Hell. Yeah.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:24 PM on December 23, 2009


The problem with that theory, mediareport, is that Criterion was already well-"established" back in the mid-'80s, long before Bay had even shot his first music video. They didn't need his help building the brand.

Having said that, there really isn't any big mystery here—Criterion has released a number of non-arthouse pics over the years. Armageddon is no Seven Samurai, but neither are Tootsie, The Blob, or Jason and the Argonauts.
posted by Lazlo at 12:40 AM on December 24, 2009


What happened was Criterion released David Fincher's Se7en on laserdisc in 1996. At the time it was considered kind of A Big Deal for a contemporary mainstream genre movie to get the Criterion treatment — the company was well established by then. Michael Bay, who came from the same milieu as Fincher (they both were affiliated with Propaganda Films), had a bit of a rivalry with him, and when he saw the gorgeous Se7en set, he was like, "I want one of those for my movie The Rock." I don't know the details, but it ended up being a really good deal for Criterion — as I heard it, they had to shell out very little for the actual production of the laserdisc boxed set, and they would have been crazy to turn the offer down. I assume Armageddon was a similar deal.
posted by Joey Bagels at 7:28 AM on December 24, 2009


Meanwhile... still no Netflix in Canada.
try zip.ca


I did. It's not the same. And besides that, I'm looking for the streaming that Netflix offers.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:58 AM on December 24, 2009


Man Bites Dog is a seriously deranged, genius film. I will not soon forget the sensitive, poetic, force of nature, Benoit.
posted by Skygazer at 7:46 PM on December 26, 2009


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