James Bond Week – Hulu

Hulu of course has nowhere near the depth or breadth of the movies available on Netflix. However someone in their programming and procurement office is pretty savvy.

Hulu

At the beginning of the month, just in time for Spectre, Hulu acquired the exclusive rights for a slew of Bond films. Connery is well-represented, with Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds are Forever – even the non-canon Never Say Never Again. Only his first, Dr. No, is not available. Goldfinger and From Russia With Love are justifiable classics. The others are worth watching just for Connery though Never Say Never Again is a very lazy remake of Thunderball.

From Russia With Love

All seven Bond entries from the Moore tongue-in-cheek era are here: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Live and Let Die. Both Dalton’s The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill are available. Heck, they even have George Lazenby’s single outing as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That one is worth watching for the absolutely radiant Diana Rigg.

The more recent Brosnan and Craig entries are not on Hulu but 16 movies of the franchise is 16 more than Netflix or Amazon Prime have.

Mockingjay Double

Unfortunately I will be missing the Mockingjay double feature but both Hulu and Amazon Prime have The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One streaming in time for the theatrical premiere of Mockingjay Part Two. Netflix has….umm…the not really a satire Starving Games so good luck with that.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Hulu & Netflix

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Hulu

* In addition to their regular service and deluxe add-on of Showtime, Hulu now offers an ad-free service for $11.99.

* Season 4 of The Mindy Project is now streaming exclusively on Hulu

Netflix

* All the episodes of Netflix’s second Marvel series, Jessica Jones, premiere November 20th. I can only hope that they are as good as Daredevil. Soooo am I going to binge on them myself immediately or do I have the wherewithal to wait for my wife?

R.I.P. Lizabeth Scott and Omar Sharif

Lizabeth Scott

Somehow I missed this news item from much earlier this year. Actress Lizabeth Scott passed away January 31st, 2015 at the age of 92. I came across her obituary as a result of the FREE TCM course on film noir (still available to all). She starred in 22 films across the span of film noir (40s and 50s).

Sadly, Netflix’ search engine doesn’t even know her (or Omar Sharif, who passed away recently). Hilariously, if you search on Bogart, you can look up Andrea, Dominic, or Keith but NOT Humphrey. Wow, that is quite the fail Netflix. Perhaps they disable the search term when no films from that actor are available.

Hulu has The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Pitfall, and an episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour. Amazon Prime has Pitfall, Dark City, and I Walk Alone. I don’t know about The Colgate Comedy Hour but the others are all good examples of her fabulous work.

Omar Sharif

Actor Omar Sharif passed away July 10th at the age of 83. Since Netflix doesn’t recognize Omar Sharif, we have to turn to Amazon Prime. Prime has five of his movies streaming: The iconic Lawrence of Arabia (always a good choice), Crime and Passion, Beyond Justice, Shaka Zulu, and We Are Egypt.

Rest in peace, Omar Sharif and, belatedly, Lizabeth Scott. You will be missed (but apparently not by Netflix).

Film Noir on Hulu – The Big Combo, D.O.A.

 

I haven’t really had much time to peruse Netflix lately. For the next month, I am still taking Canvas Network and Turner Classic Movies’ FREE course on film noir. Netflix’ offerings on noir are pretty much non-existent. Their content from the past quarter century is phenomenal but the further back you go, the fewer offerings Netflix has.

Hulu

 

Hulu, on the other hand, has been phenomenally helpful. Since the course started, I have watched The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, D.O.A., Kansas City Confidential, The Stranger, Pitfall, The Red House, The Big Combo. I still haven’t exhausted their supply of film noir. I also watched two of the most important precursors to noir: M and La Bete Humaine.

All of them are good but I would most recommend these two:

Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

A ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., her childhood companion who is the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier.”

“Don’t ever look back baby, don’t ever look back.” – The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

What a cast! Barbara Stanwyck is always fantastic. Lizabeth Scott was born to play in noir. Van Heflin and Kirk Douglas are the male leads.

The Big Combo

The Big Combo (1955)

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn’t been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown’s girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.”

“It happens to be against two laws: God’s and Man’s. I’m booking her under the second.”

Look for a young Earl Holliman and a young Lee van Cleef as henchmen.

 

This ‘n’ That – Barnes, Noble, & Hulu

Hulu

 

* Hulu would really like to keep my interest through the summer. In addition to their heavily publicized acquisition of the entire run of Seinfeld (echoing Netflix’ wonderful success with Friends in January), they have also added Dr. Dimension Pants to their growing kids lineup of SpongeBob SquarePants, Adventure Time, Ben 10, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Little did they know that it is actually their substantial Noir offerings that I’m savoring.

Barnes & Noble

 

Barnes & Noble is running a series of pop culture events in July. All Thursdays are throwback Thursdays. The 9th is the 60s, the 16th is the 70s, the 23rd is the 80s, and the 30th is the 90s. There are Minions, Star Wars, and DC comics days as well. There will be events, sales, and giveaways. I hope this works out for them as I’d love to see more events like this.

Showtime, Netflix, Hulu This ‘n’ That

A little bit of this, a little bit of that from the pay services. Introducing even more options for cutting your cable and enjoying services a la carte. Admittedly I already have way too much to watch at any given moment. Now if only I could get TCM as a standalone…

Showtime

 

Not to be outdone by HBO Now, Showtime has a standalone service of its own for $11 a month (premiering in July). Of course, they are currently offering a 30-day FREE trial so definitely check it out. While you are at it, may I recommend Penny Dreadful. I thoroughly enjoyed the first season and look forward to seeing season 2 at some point.

Hulu

 

If you already pay for Hulu then you can add Showtime to your subscription for another $9 a month ($2 off the standalone price).

Netflix

 

Netflix just revamped its interface for quicker loading. I tried it and indeed it does load much faster.

Monday This n That – Hulu and AMC vs Regal

Hulu

 

* Hulu just sent me a notice that their subscription service will no longer be called Hulu Plus. Instead it will just be Hulu. No other changes, just a slight rebranding.

AMC Theater

 

* Since Regal is trying to come up with a rewards program that is more compelling than AMC Stubs (and presumably charge for it once it gets off the ground, again a la Stubs), AMC is upstaging Regal’s wonderful recliner program.

AMC Recliner

Introducing Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime: “Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime combines the most powerful image and sound technologies with cutting-edge, reserved recliners.” I loved the Regal recliners in Charlotte and enjoyed the reserved seating (you can buy tickets online and always save your favorite seat without waiting in huge lines). I haven’t had the opportunity to try the AMC power recliners but they are supposed to ‘pulsate with the action’ so a low bass effect, perhaps?

AMC has the program active at AMC North Point Mall 12 in Georgia, AMC BarryWoods 24 in Missouri, and AMC Deerbrook 24 in Texas. Additional rollouts are expected shortly in California, Kansas, New York, Texas, and Illinois.

Hulu Plus Plus Plus

Hulu

Hulu has really been upping their game lately. Obviously they have to work overtime to keep customers over the summer. Once all of the fall shows have had their finales and before they come back, what is there to watch on Hulu?

Adventure Time

In addition to 23 series from Adult Swim (I’m still looking forward to trying out Black Dynamite), Hulu added 10 for kids (Adventure Time, Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Regular Show, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ben 10 Omniverse, Flapjack, Foster, Gumball, and Steven Universe) from Cartoon Network.

They also have quite a few exclusives, such as Murder in the First. When the Mindy Kaling show was canceled by the network, Hulu snatched it up. I love the idea of streaming services rescuing worthy (and not-so-worthy) shows from oblivion.

Seinfeld

Taking a page out the Netflix playbook, Hulu has snagged the rights to the entire series of Seinfeld. They are obviously hoping that people will binge watch it as they did when Netflix acquired Friends early this year. Seinfeld starts June 24th.

As far as movies go, while they are not Hulu’s strong suit, Hulu still has an exclusive deal with Criterion to show almost their entire catalog. If you are interested in film history or the best of foreign cinema, definitely check them out.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 5/5/15 Plus Hulu

Some television shows and family movies that I missed on yesterday’s Netflix update plus a Hulu update below

Comedy: D. L. Hughley: Clear

Anita

Documentary: Anita

Nobody's Fool

Drama: Knockout, Nobody’s Fool

Family: The Amazing Wizard of Paws, Bratz: Good Vibes, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Lalaloopsy: Festival of Sugary Sweets, LeapFrog: Word Explorers, Wizards of Waverly Place

Television: Little Einsteins, Liv and Maddie, Sofia the First, Mighty Med, and new episodes of Special Agent Oso, Lab Rats, Quincy M.E., Kickin’ It, Switched at Birth, Melissa & Joey, and Royal Pains

Hulu

 

If you were thinking of ditching your Hulu Plus subscription because all the regular show seasons are coming to a close, Hulu would like you to think again. They recently made a huge deal with Adult Swim to stream full seasons of 23 of their biggest shows.

After thoroughly enjoying Michael Jai White in Black Dynamite, I’m pleased to get a chance to watch the animated series. Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Venture Bros. Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and lots more are available for animation fans to binge on.

Fun Friday – Hulu, Best Buy, Netflix

I was at Best Buy and happened to spot this:

Horror

 

I was lucky enough to dodge the Bieber bullet (lower right). My daughters are too old and my granddaughter too young. Still, I am not sure he belongs in the horror section.

Hulu

 

I spotted this on Hulu the other night. I understand service in the Middle East must be very difficult but, honestly, I would work on defusing (removing the part of an explosive that makes it explode) rather than diffusing (spreading over a large area) bombs. It would seem diffusing is something only the bomber would desire.

Netflix

 

 

I appreciate that Netflix wants to integrate with social media. They keep (visually) pushing me to recommend films to my friends. I understand that and would whole-heartedly recommend The Grand Budapest Hotel if that was what I had watched instead of the latest Asylum atrocity. /sigh

They have also revamped the search engine interface for the computer. Instead of an open search box in the upper right, you now have a search button. I’m not sure why one would add another layer to a commonly used function. Typing text in the box that opens up begins locating movies on the fly. The new search seems to be geared toward watching movies on the computer whereas I use mine to put stuff in the queue for viewing on the TV later.

Their search engine gets better with each iteration. It used to be just titles then titles and actors. Now you can search on titles, actors, directors, and genres. What would be really neat would be full imdb integration.