Nov. 22nd, 2011 01:28 pm
trinityvixen: (awesome)
I made a specific point about getting through my Netflix DVDs by Monday so I could have a couple of movies to watch over Thanksgiving. I did manage to do that and to even remember to put them in the mailbox, and I'm getting my next movies Wednesday. I forgot, however, to rearrange my queue following Halloween because I've been holding onto movies longer and hadn't really noticed the selections being decidedly horror-focused.

Until, naturally, this week. I really doubt that, over the big family weekend, I'm going to find time to watch Hell's Ground and Book of Blood. I also have no memory of a) adding these movies to my queue or b) moving them up to the top of the queue. Awesome.
trinityvixen: (face!)
The fallout from Netflix's attempt to spin off its services into two separate revenue streams has finally been totaled. It's probably not a surprise that Reed Hastings is still not getting it--a friend of his told him, point-blank, when he mentioned the Qwikster thing, that it was bad idea and he was ignored; he thinks that the uproar was more about pricing than the irritation of having to manage two websites for the same service; he mentions the general irritability of the populace (it's OWS! it's the Tea Party!); and so on and so on. It should not be a surprise that the man who's behind the decision that cost the company close to a million subscribers is defensive of his actions (and in complete denial about why his plan failed).

No, what surprises--and galls--is The New York Times' reporting (as ever, it seems). For example:
In its reliance on data and long-term strategy, the company underestimated the unquantifiable emotions of subscribers who still want those little red envelopes, even if they forget to ever watch the DVDs inside.

It was never about the emotional satisfaction of envelopes, be they red or otherwise. It was about convenience, pure and simple. Sometimes, it's more convenient to get DVDs by mail--because they aren't on streaming; because customers don't have high-speed internet to stream; etc. etc.--and sometimes it isn't. The choice was the attractive feature about Netflix, as was the convenience: you could get the discs or you could stream, and you could get it all in one place. Take that away, right after hiking prices, and you've just made your convenient service a hassle, for the honor of which your customers have to pay more. Why is it so hard for the damn newspapers to say as much? Why does a group of disgruntled consumers with a legitimate beef with a company have to be "emotional"? What, are they women or something? (DEAR GOD THAT WAS SARCASM, DO NOT KILL ME.)

In less aggravating news, G4 is making a trilogy of short horror films based on video games with almost no inherent stories of their own, and they've started with Duck Hunt. It's actually pretty good, and I think, even if you didn't know the reference, you'd probably get it after a while. Stupid laughing, mangling evil dog!
trinityvixen: (vampire smile)
Netflix has abandoned Qwikster, the separation of DVD and streaming that might be the model of the future but which is definitely hurting their brand now. That's the sad part. They might actually have a point that streaming is the wave of the future, and they're smart to want to head the way that is going to be most profitable. But because of the way they rolled this out, they'll probably never be able to implement it again without everyone going, "This is gonna be Qwikster all over again."

Still, the time wasn't right and the method was completely wrong. If ever I thought otherwise, I was proven right in my negative opinion when, amidst declarations that streaming was the way to go, half of my streaming queue disappeared. My streaming queue was completely indiscriminate; it didn't matter how much I wanted to watch a thing--if I wanted to watch it even a little, I could just add it to the streaming queue and see if I ever got around to it. I didn't have to make it one of my two DVD rentals at a time and throttle my access to other things I might want more. My streaming queue was longer than my DVD queue, and my DVD queue is routinely over 400 titles, less than half of which was made up of things on my DVD queue that were also available for streaming. Because of the price increase and because my roommates were letting me use their streaming on the TV, I was debating dropping streaming from my plan. But only after I made sure to copy all the things on the streaming queue because I literally cannot remember all that was on there otherwise. As such, it may seem like no loss at all--can I really miss a thing I don't know I'm missing?--but it was worth trying to save, to me.

And now I can't. So forgive me if I take extreme delight in Netflix's walking back its idiocy. It's literally the least they can do by not rearranging their whole system.
trinityvixen: (Default)

In other news, getting closer to 8 hours of sleep has taken a lot of yesterday's edge off of, well, yesterday. Still have to write that one essay. Still want more sleep. What else is new?
trinityvixen: (bullshit right?)
I have to say that as annoying as Netflix's recent moves have been, the smugness of the "Well, I only use streaming anyway, so ther" folks is worse. This post at Balloon Juice is typical of the breed. It's a hipster-esque poseur posture of cooler-than-thou because he gets this streaming that you pathetic people with your digital versitile discs are helpless to understand. It's fucking annoying and has nothing to do with the cogent point that I and others have made that Netflix's business plan is to screw themselves (and their customers) in some extremely uncomfortable place. It has nothing to do with being a luddite. I have streaming access on four different types of devices--mobile phone, video game system, tablet, and home computer--I think I can handle the streaming. The point is that I want the flexibility of still getting DVDs for times when, say, I'm upstate with no internet connection and shit cell phone reception which precludes my using Netflix's streaming service.

Or, to put it the way a commenter on that post did:
"The streaming catalog is a tiny fraction of their total DVD library, so streaming-only (while convenient) means instead of finding the specific movie you wanted to watch and watching it, you end up searching for something to watch. Instead of having the “whatever I want, when I want it” experience, Netflix streaming-only option re-creates the 1980’s video store experience of wandering through genre sections, looking for something that seems worth watching. That’s exactly the opposite of why I signed up for Netflix originally."

Oh my fucking God YES. THAT IS EXACTLY IT. I have a streaming queue that's easily longer than my DVD queue, and yet, when I go to it to see what I want to watch, I spend longer deciding what I want to watch--from a selection of things I must have thought I wanted to watch at some point!--than I do watching whatever it is I end up picking.
trinityvixen: (stabbing)
It's fucking stupid. There are a hundred and one reasons that this Qwikster thing is bad news, all of which other people have gone over in detail, and I won't repeat here. For me, it simply comes down to the power Netflix is pissing away in this move. Separating out their business, which I and others think is a sign they're looking to sell off the DVDs-by-mail business entirely, halves their subscriber base, thus giving them fewer voices with which they may shout at studios providing them content in order to get that content more cheaply. Worse, splitting the websites makes it hard for people to maintain their queues. People are fucking lazy. Netflix has heretofore made excuses for that laziness by making everything easier than ever (put it in your DVD queue, and bam! added to your instant queue, too! etc. etc.). Making it hard for anyone, much less people less tech-savvy than most of the people I know reading this is just stupid. They'll drop half your service. I already know one person who's doing just that. More will follow.

And even if you retain the supposed "wave of the future" customers who only want streaming (probably at least one of my siblings), they are called the customers of the future for a reason. They are not "the customers of now." Streaming may be the future, but it's not there yet. There are some big names conspicuously absent from Netflix's streaming library. Perhaps most notable? HBO. HBO will never give over its streaming access to Netflix. It has it's own streaming service, HBO Go, which is restricted only to people who subsribe to HBO. There's zero incentive, no matter the cost of maintaining that service, for them to drop it because maintenance must cost less than losing subcribers who are willing to wait until they can get Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, etc. on Netflix. HBO may be the only half-smart player in this; they probably took a hit when HBO was losing subscribers over Netflix DVDs-by-mail and weren't about to go through that twice. They've been incredibly smart, even, as I've noticed that their shows, while still expensive, are no longer outrageously priced to own on DVD. HBO's the model of the future, as moonlightalice has pointed out: streaming is most likely going to end up being doled out piecemeal among the different studios, who will be incredibly possessive of their content (having learned, much later than HBO, that it's better not to farm out your content to someone who'll make more distributing it than you'll get in fees).

But, yeah, I don't see Netflix as streaming-only being that great until you can break someone like HBO into giving over their content, and their ability to bully for less cost is going to be taken away by splitting up or spinning off their DVD division. That's economicsFAIL! right there. All other considerations--the fact some people can't stream, that some people like special features, that streaming is unrealiable and prone to last-second loss of content--come second to that, far as I'm concerned.
trinityvixen: (face!)
After yesterday's aggravating discovery, the news that Blu Ray sales are disappointing BRINGS JOY TO MY HEART. I am a small and petty person. Sue me.

It's clear which way the wind blows on the issue of physical media, whatever its "definition": high or low-res, digital copies are going to take over. I don't have to like it--point of fact, I don't, overly--it's a fact. Movies lagged behind music in this respect because of numerous factors, such as the late arrival of a practical disc version of movies (versus the longer history of the CD), the fact that movies were more expensive, etc. etc. High Definition, like 3D in the movie theater, is only a setback on an overall irrevocable march towards a very obvious future. In this respect, the few months/years it took to resolve HD-DVD vs Blu Ray eliminated the maybe 5-year lead Blu Ray could have had to really take off before digital took over.

Well, digital has taken over, whether we know it (and/or use it) or not. Digital streaming, digital downloads not only come in high definition--the last refuge of physical media--high def has become de rigeur. Don't get me wrong, digital still has all the hiccups of media delivery systems that preceded it, the fight over DRM not least among them. Here's hoping for a future with more Netflix-like flexibility about where we absorb our media and less "Sorry, but your Digital Download is expired" dogmatic insistence on the customer conforming to the studios instead of the other way around.
trinityvixen: (somuchlove)
Oh my. Oh, oh, oh, this made me splutter at work. Um, it's probably not safe for anyone's work but mine, where, because I laughed out loud, I then got to show it around to my other coworkers. Who laughed, probably mostly at me for finding this so funny. But it was.

Ooh, look what's coming to Netflix!
I was kindly given the X-Men cartoon on DVD at Christmas, but I'd be so interested to watch the old Spider-Man cartoon (from the 1990s, not the old-old one from the 1960s). I bet it is even worse than I remember it.

In a stunning bit of thinking, a judge rules that people are not their IP addresses. Or vice-versa, whichever. This is still of the good. I'm all for stopping the kiddie porn watchers, but I still believe you should have to do a liiiiittle more actual investigation than assuming that because something was downloaded to a given IP address that it must be the person residing at that address' fault. People are far too lazy about securing their wireless or patrolling their friends'/roommates' habits. Use the IP link to start a proper investigation, fine. Use it to smear someone FOREVER with a link to kiddie porn? Not so much.
trinityvixen: (question)
If Netflix has a bunch of these on streaming already, how can having these titles on streaming make Hulu Plus worth $8/month?

And not to join in with the wouldn't-see-a-movie-with-subtitles-if-it-were-a-porno crowd, but those titles hardly appeal. Also, if, indeed, Robocop is on this Criterion collection, why do you need to stream it? You should own it already, like any civilized person of taste who was ever exposed to 1980s ultraviolent movies. Du-uh.

I'm not really knocking Hulu. Their free service does all right by me. I'm still so many, many episodes behind things, though, that I haven't made use of them much lately. (The closer I get to grad school application deadline time, the further behind I'll get, I should imagine.) I just don't see the advantage to paying them money to still be bombarded with ads. Much as I like Netflix, I'm beginning to lose patience with their rental-only copies that skip all the special features but leave on all the ads that play--unskippable most of the time--at the start of the DVD. I fail to see why I should add Hulu Plus, with its ads and its fee, to that aggravation.
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
It has been an exceedingly busy day at work, and I've got about twenty minutes of downtime to share a few things. You will not be surprised to learn they are mostly about movies.

1. Bucky Barnes has a promo still from Captain America. You may be forgiven if you don't spot him right away. (You are also forgiven if you have no idea who he is.) He's not at the center of the still. (Chris Evans, playing the Cap, is.) He's definitely not wearing his, ahem, old uniform. In fact, the only way to tell he's of any more significance than the other dudes standing around in WWII costume who are not the Cap is that he is facing the camera. I think that article title--"Nobody Cares About Bucky"--probably extends to the person choosing stills to release to the press.

2. Unlike most theories about the state of contemporary cinema, this one may be correct. Although I still take issue with the hyperbolic use of the words "death spiral" to describe things, it stands to reason that there's a supply and demand issue with movies. The demand for movies has not ebbed, it has shifted past what the suppliers are able to, financially, provide in the manner to which they had become accustomed. I'm not entirely sure how the studios will handle this shift, either, because there's no way Netflix is going away. Hell, Netflix could double its subscription fees, and I guarantee their business would be fine. (Pretend you didn't hear that, PLZ, Netflix!) People have found a solution that works for them that is legal, and they'll be loath to part from it easily. The 28-day release window that Netflix has hasn't hurt them at all. If they made it a 45-day window, I bet no one would notice. My queue is so long, they could make it a 5-year window, and I bet I wouldn't notice.

This is all relevant to my interests as someone who is not only not on trend, as far as seeing movies is concerned, but who is actively bucking it by making the effort to give Hollywood all of my money. I will continue to go see movies in the theater. I may be slightly less inclined to part with my money after I complete this zany screening schedule for a year, but I'll still always like the theater experience. It's a shame that it's turned off so many others. But I do understand their point. It's the studios' move.

3. The only coherent thing I can say about Egypt is this: It is not about you. That goes for Americans, that goes for Europeans, that goes for the various groups all holding their breath to see who will come out on top. Coverage has been mostly atrocious on this side of the pond, though I do think that Rachel Maddow's coverage has been more thoughtful than most. Her tack has been to not pigeonhole the demonstrators so much as to understand the long game of a revolution as one happens. I appreciate that.
trinityvixen: (win!)
Netflix is raising its prices for DVD-and-streaming plans in the wake of announcing a streaming-only plan. My plan is going up!

...by one dollar.

Netflix, I don't know how you continue to make a profit by being both scrupulously honest with your customers, helpful, and pre-emptive when it comes to complaints (There was a service outage? Don't hate us! Here's 2% off your bill! Even if you weren't trying to stream!), but I think I love you.

I guess I could halve my bill by getting streaming only, but I honestly rent too damn many DVDs to do that. And I like having the option not to be totally beholden to an internet connection to make the most of my service.

But seriously: Netflix, I love you. Even when you make me pay more, I love you. You are doing everything right.
trinityvixen: (horror)
This is scarier than any of the movies in the meme below: Mark Wahlberg is the Crow if he wants to be.

For the record, I love The Crow inordinately. I even liked one of the sequels to it okay. This is news that makes me make the face you see in my icon.

I need a meme, STAT: I like horror movies! )
trinityvixen: (balls)
I was so excited about this past weekend. To be fair, I did get a lot done this weekend. In that way, I have nothing much to complain about. I got my bed frame moved against the wall before the new mattress arrived, so it's now flush with the wall, and I got all the space back that I wanted. I then, even with a bad back, got two queen-sized mattresses up a flight of stairs apiece at my parents' place all on my own. I caught up on at least three television shows, watched all my Netflix movies, got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] hslayer and [livejournal.com profile] viridian and tried out a nauseating form of mini-golf. (BLACK LIGHT IS NOT MY FRIEND.)

Nonetheless, I started out the weekend bummed as anything 'cause the bike I ordered was warped enough that I couldn't use it. The front wheel supports, the fork that goes around the axle of the wheel, weren't aligned properly. With one of the supports at a funny angle, I couldn't install the front wheel. It's such a bummer. I had to rebox the bike, drag it to FedEx, and send it back. The place that sold it to me is going to have another shipped to me as of Wednesday. But it won't be here until the week after, so that eats about two weeks worth of what's left of summer (since no matter when it arrives, I'll still have to assemble it and get it tuned up). Which, well, is almost the only time one can comfortably and safely ride a bike in the city. Sigh.

Balls indeed, little icon bear. Balls indeed.
trinityvixen: (balls to that)
Rocko's Modern Life has season one now on Netflix's Watch It Now.

Okay, okay, nobody panic. Breathe. Breathe. There doesn't seem to be any mention of Rocko coming to DVD any time soon in season-long format.

trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
I have to catch up on my list of movies that I've finished, but I just wanted to drop a recommendation for my friends with premium channels and/or Netflix Watch It Now.

Starz has a show called Gravity on right now that is very odd and oddly compelling. The show is centered on a group of suicide survivors--as in people who tried to commit suicide and failed--and their various tribulations. Thus far, five episodes in, we've seen how just about every one of them tried to kill themselves, and even the "funny" attempts are still kind of heartbreaking. I really like the lead characters, Robert and Lily, who are entirely believable as being definite suicides who are only just figuring out that they want to live. Lily skates perilously close to being a manic pixie dream girl, but she's grounded in her depression and serious enough to escape that categorization. The show is shot in better-quality video, meaning it looks almost like it's an expose on the news, which lends weight to the reality of the situation in which the characters wallow.

I don't know if this subject just is more engrossing for me (having known a suicide) or what, but I watched all five currently available episodes almost in one night. (If not for an internet break down, I would have.) I think part of the appeal is that it harkens back to a book I read and enjoyed until its ending went nowhere: Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. Good book about desperate people forming a bond after almost killing themselves, but the ending is just another one of his go-nowhere-with-the-premise endings. Just ruins it. Gravity also bests A Long Way Down in that it features people who haven't come close to attempting suicide, but people who did and failed. If you'll pardon the pun, I think Gravity has the greater dramatic weight for the difference.
trinityvixen: (vampire smile)
Because Netflix threatened to remove it from my Watch It Now queue today, I watched Weekend at Bernie's last night.

Why, other than the fact it's expiring on my queue, would I watch this? Well, curiosity for one thing--Weekend at Bernie's seems to be a movie that lots of people reference but few have actually seen. Also, 1980s screwball comedies are just...they're a genre unto themselves, you know? They're frequently not laugh-out-loud funny, and although the better ones (Coming to America, Better Off Dead) have some memorable lines, it's really all about the absurdity of the set up in a way that modern comedies...aren't. Modern comedies want you to laugh at a sight gag or a punchline. 1980s comedies expect you to go along for the ride and get your amusement out of going, "Why? Why would anybody react to this situation like this???"

And that's what I got out of Weekend at Bernie's. Instead of immediately calling the police upon discovering a corpse, the two dudes decide to fake like the guy's alive and hope they'll get away with it long enough to figure something else out to do with it when it stops being a passable prop. Because it's a 1980s screwball comedy, the straight man drops the call-the-police plan every time the girl of his dreams walks into the room. What follows is an hour of antics with a corpse, many of which are less funny than the fact that the murderer is in fits because he thinks he keeps failing to kill the dead guy. Who behaves this way!?

Another thing: some of these comedies wait an awful long time to deliver on the premise that seems to be their sole source of amusement. "Antics with a dead guy" would seem to be the whole point of the movie, but Bernie's still alive 40 minutes into a 100-minute movie. That kind of build up is nowhere in comedies today, possibly for the better, seeing as 40 minutes of Andrew McCarthy's "acting" outside of the screwball setup is worthless.

Weekend at Bernie's is ultimately fluff--nothing you need to see to get the aforementioned references but nothing that it harms you to see either. Unless 80s fashions hurt you--there was a shot of men in business suits where the pants were shorts, gro-oss--it's harmless.
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
I posted a little while back about my incredulity that people could be kept waiting on movies from Netflix. Today, scanning Hacking Netflix, I see that someone did a side-by-side comparison of their Netflix/Blockbuster Online queues to compare wait times for new releases between the two. And Blockbuster promised shorter wait times overall for all the same titles.

The agitation about new releases in that post left me rather self-satisfied, I must say. It must be very hard to be so goddamned picky about movies. You may mock me for my unquestionably terrible taste in film (and television--have I mentioned I am still watching Heroes?). Heck, I mock me. But I must be doing something right because aside from having to pace back and forth and wiggle about like I'm a three-year-old who has to pee over the delay between sending back a disc and getting the next one of a highly anticipated series...I have it easy when it comes to being satisfied by DVD delivery via Netflix. Hell, Netflix keeps improving without me asking for anything! Can't get a movie on the spot? Have Watch It Now! Watch It Now too limited? We'll add 20,000 titles inside of a year and a half! Don't want to watch on your computer? Have box or an XBOX or a PS3! (Or, as rumor has it, possibly even the Wii.)

How hard it must be to be those people who have to have the movie now now now now. For whom Blu-Ray is such a BURDEN to have to pay extra for. I never have a problem with new releases because by the time they climb their way up the 400+ title list of my queue, they're no longer remotely new. It's easy being me with the way I watch movies. (Speaking of, I have three that need taking care of that I've had for weeks...)

Anyway, the title of my post refers to a trick I learned when I worked at Blockbuster. For those who might NEED movies on the Tuesdays they are released, you can get same-day delivery. Put the new release at the top of your queue, return a disc on Friday/Saturday before, and you should get it Tuesday. At Blockbuster, we got all new releases the Friday before. Employees could take 'em out, and it gave time for them to be wired up for security/scanning purposes. (I think that's why there was a delay. I have no idea, really.) Netflix will send it to you Monday because you won't get it before Tuesday. It works, I've done it. (This is also how Amazon does it with same-day releases.) Just FYI for those who might have the same-day new release fixation as the people at that post.
trinityvixen: (question)
ETA: After posting, I went to look at what's coming in the mail to me today. It's Dragonball Evolution--the live-action movie with white people pretending (or not) to be Asian. No wonder I never have to wait for movies!

Someone has been unable to get a DVD through Netflix for almost three months.

How does that even happen? I have never had to wait longer than maybe a couple of days even for something that said "Very Long Wait." I bumped G.I. Joe to the top my queue a few days before going to San Francisco because I thought my brother-in-law would watch it with me. (Turns out he already owned it.) I was mad at myself at the time because I was sure it would never arrive in time--"very long wait" and all. It came like three days later, maybe one whole extra day from the usual two-day turnaround I get on my Netflix movies.

Granted, I live in NYC, and we've got a huge Netflix processing center in Queens on top of the fact that our giant population means that there are always fifteen billion copies of every movie imaginable ready to go at any time. But really? You can be kept waiting for movies? It's always the other way around for me--my movies are waiting on me--and have been to the point that the XBOX is threatening to mutiny if I try to make it load all fifty billion Watch It Now movies I have in my queue one more time.

Other Netflix news: Supposedly Netflix is negotiating with movie studios to arrange a no-rental window on new releases. This is entirely being done to prop up waning DVD sales. It's both a dumb and a smart move. It's dumb in that Netflix risks losing customers who really want new releases as they come out. (Because Netflix, like the old brick-and-mortar video stores of old, gets its new releases on the Friday prior to their general availability, they can mail a new movie such that it arrives on the day it actually comes out.)

It's smart, however, in that I cannot believe Netflix won't get something reeeeeally good out of this. I'm not entirely sure of the power dynamics at work here, but it's the studios who have something to lose. They're not going to pull out from Netflix--that would be suicide--so they don't have much to bargain with. They're going to be the ones coming to Netflix for the favor, and the favor-granter has the power to extract more in return. I wouldn't be surprised if this turned into a cost-cutting measure, where Netflix agreed to the freeze but paid less for the discs or the licensing of streaming movies. If they're smart enough to demand that, that is. The streaming is where so much business is going, but it's hard to get a start in it without a broad, shared base library like Netflix already has (and which Hulu has but weeds out with time). No studio-run start-up streaming sites have taken off. Once again, they need Netflix, and Netflix would be crazy not to milk that for all it was worth.


Nov. 9th, 2009 09:27 pm
trinityvixen: (vampire smile)
"You know Mrs. Morris? Not any more you don't because she's been eaten!"

"Jesus, that was violent!"

Off of [livejournal.com profile] negativeq's recommendation, I threw Boy Eats Girl on the Netflix Watch It Now. Very charming, in its way.

Best use of landscaping tools as a weapon since Dead Alive.
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
So this post has to be about something frivolous. Let's talk TV!

For the record, I feel like I've been defeated by the movie/show if I can't get through it. I can count on my one hand the number of movies/shows I've given up on entirely. Skipped some episodes (Smallville season four, ::shudder::), haven't finished the series (Farscape!), watched it in bits and pieces and probably have seen the whole thing but haven't seen it start-to-finish (Silence of the Lambs, and, bizarrely, Casablanca). But I usually finish the damned thing. There are three exceptions I've made on Netflix that I can think of off the top of my head: one was a truly D-level "comedy" that wanted to be American Pie (I got it because the premise and the cast--Heather Matarazzo--inferred it was of higher quality); another was A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, which, Robert Downey Jr. or no RDJ, I couldn't be arsed to get on with, especially not when Channing Tatum showed up.

The last was the UK version of The Office. I finished it, finally, but it took some doing. (No spoilers!) )

Whew. I had far too much to say there. I suspect this is going to be one of those posts only I read ever. :)


trinityvixen: (Default)

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