Friday This ‘n’ That – FREE 3D & YouTube Red

Epic Theatre Hendersonville

  • Intriguingly, the Epic Theatre chain has dropped their surcharge for 3D movies. I’m not a big fan of 3D movies as I find that in most movies, it serves simply as a distraction. It is supposed to make things more immersive but I find it has the opposite effect. Having said that, it is nice for patrons to have a choice without the exorbitant upcharge. Bravo, Epic!

YouTube Red

  • Borrowing a page from Hulu’s book, YouTube has introduced YouTube Red, their new ad-free service. It is $10 a month unless purchased through ios (ios charges $13). I already pay for Hulu and Netflix as well as receiving Amazon Prime because of my wife’s joy at receiving packages quickly (you can see why I don’t need cable). I can’t see shelling out for this but I can see it being useful for others (my granddaughter really enjoys toy unboxing videos).
  • This does bring up the possibility of a troubling new trend. Start something for free, get people hooked on content, then crowd the site with ads, finally offer to remove the ads if they pay each month to remove them.
  • Which brings us to microtransactions. They were an anomaly until several companies proved that you could make a fortune giving your game away and then making progress nearly impossible without a tiny tiny purchase of some in-game commodity. Now even games that cost $60 will charge you for planned but not yet released expansions, variant costumes, etc.

Spectre

  • Please pardon me as I’m off to see Spectre!

September This ‘n’ That

Epic Hendersonville* I posted a rather mixed review of the Epic theater in Hendersonville back at the beginning of May. I had detailed a pattern of behavior I had experienced from a particular clerk there and complaining to management had gone nowhere.

I heard back from their manager a few weeks ago and she apologized profusely for the misunderstanding and invited us to come back for a visit on her. She wasn’t there when Jenny and I arrived but her assistant politely got us tickets to Elysium. We purchased soda and popcorn and had a nice evening even though Elysium was not very good.

Netflix* Netflix revamped their instant front page to include customer’s queues. This was a very good idea and encourages queue use. I understand why they took the button off the overhead bar as there is no need for duplication. On the other hand, when you go to search for something and get away from the main page, the queue is no longer there. They should have left a button on the over head banner for non-main screens but I realize I am being picky.

The Netflix web interface is a dream compared to…

YouTube* I heard of the uproar over Miley Cyrus’ grinding on the VMAs and decided to go take a look. Is it controversial? Not really. It is just the same attention getting stuff that Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and so many others before her have gone through. Remember when Madonna would change her look and act every time people stopped paying attention? Remember when Roseanne Barr would come out with a new shocking confession every so often to keep her name in the papers? It’s all just a game and some play it better than others.

What I really wanted to mention was that when I went to YouTube, I was greeted by design hell. Would they ever have gotten ubiquitous if they had started with their page so cluttered?

The Return of Amazon, YouTube and Netflix This ‘n That

* You may have already noticed the new partnership between Amazon Prime and NBC Universal. Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation, Heroes and The Starter Wife are all part of the deal.

* Epix and Amazon also inked a new deal so after Epix’s 90-day exclusivity Amazon will get titles like The Hunger Games and The Avengers, presumably at the same time as Netflix. This currently benefits Amazon by adding Thor, Super 8, Iron Man 2 and True Grit to their catalog. These are of course already available on Netflix.

* In spite of recent gains, Amazon Prime’s movie selection pales in comparison to that of Netflix. On the other hand they do have a good selection and it’s only $79 a year versus $96 for Netflix. That and Amazon Prime gets you FREE access to the Kindle Lending Library.

Not to further shill for Amazon but you also get FREE 2-day shipping on now over 15 million items. Amazon Prime’s 2-day shipping is now more popular than their old Super Saver option. Speaking of popularity:

Most Popular Prime Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Most Popular Prime Television: Downton Abbey

Most Borrowed E-book: The Hunger Games

* Netflix has cleaned up and improved the account management page. I already like it but more improvements are coming over the next month.

* Since Amazon is getting Netflix castoffs, it seems only right for Netflix to pick up some of the Amazon catalog. Shooter, Mission Impossible, Mission Impossible III, Deep Impact, and Star Trek: Insurrection are now available on Netflix streaming.

* Troma films has released 150 movies for FREE viewing on YouTube. These include early Lugosi and Karloff films like The Ape & White Zombie on up to recent Troma films like Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Undead.

Youtube

Since this is Thanksgiving week and I’m not feeling well, I thought I’d take the week off from reviewing instant Netflix movies and cover some somewhat related topics instead.

YoutubeYoutube

The Hunt for Gollum

We have a saying around the house – “Youtube is the devil and the devil is bad.” Youtube can kill an otherwise productive day in just a few clicks (start with the Bruce Lee Ping Pong video). You’ll slowly sink from sight, never to be heard from again. Of course everyone on the internet is familiar with Youtube.

What you may not know is that recently Youtube has been branching out into full length films. Go to Youtube movies for a current listing of FREE movies. Unfortunately these movies do have commercials in a fashion similar to Hulu. They have a bunch of obscure movies – many of them public domain. Currently they have Clint Eastwood’s The Man with No Name trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) headlining but only for a few more days.

If you are a Lord of the Rings junkie, there is a very good independent fan-made movie, The Hunt for Gollum available for viewing. It clocks in at 39 minutes but is lovingly done in the style of Peter Jackson.It does not star the original cast but they have tried to match the look and feel of the trilogy.

There is also an abundance of trailers for new movies as well as an odd collection of shows. Youtube is also working to bring 1080p to the site as it’s clear that high definition is the next big thing. They seem to be only dabbling in movies at the moment but they still have some exclusive titles and are worth the occasional look.