New on Popshifter this week: Part Four of the ongoing hilarity of “so bad they’re good” YouTube videos from around the world; reviews of new releases by Chelle Rose and Portland Cello Project; The Lake Effect’s Expect Delays EP; Dave Martin’s Natural Selection; and whether or not The Avengers is a “chick flick.”
Peter Jackson replies to all those critics who were less than thrilled about 48 FPS at CinemaCon. In hindsight, Jackson admitted to The Hollywood Reporter ten minutes of footage might not be enough to get used to the look of 48 FPS. There’s more from Jackson in that THR article as well as an interview he did with Entertainment Weekly, who gets right to the point:
So what does he say to people who just decide they don’t like the glossy new look of the format he’s using? “I can’t say anything,” Jackson acknowledges. “Just like I can’t say anything to someone who doesn’t like fish. You can’t explain why fish tastes great and why they should enjoy it.”
As a vegetarian, what am I supposed to think? (I’m only partly kidding.) I tend to agree with Sean’s analysis at Film Junk: “If you ask me, the technological bells and whistles will only ever be a temporary fix; ultimately it is the quality of the movies themselves that matters.”
This seems to be supported by Jackson’s own comments in the THR article:
He also believes such options are important for exhibition. “As an industry there is a certain amount of trouble that we are in; kids seem to think watching a movie on an iPad is an okay thing to do,” he said. “Advocating that we have to stick with what we know [24 fps] I think is a slightly narrow mined [sic] way of looking at things when as an industry we are facing declining audiences. We have to find ways to make it more vibrant, more immersive—something that will encourage people to come back to the theaters for that experience.”
The kids who seem to think watching a movie on an iPad is an okay thing to do might be the same ones who think texting in the theater is an “okay thing to do” and they’re the last group we need to encourage or pander to.
Also on the technology front: According to /Film, Hulu is considering requiring authentication from its users in order to watch streaming videos. So what does this mean exactly? Basing their speculation on this article in the NY Post, the site claims that “the streaming service is considering requiring viewers to log in with their cable or satellite account number—thus proving that they have a pay TV subscription—in order to access content.” They admit this is just a rumor at this point, but it is a point of concern.
This is obviously frustrating for those who live in the US, but what about those of us in Canada? Basic cable is pricey and as we all know, paying an even higher premium for a bunch of channels you don’t watch or don’t care about isn’t the greatest alternative.
Without cable, our options dwindle considerably. We can’t access Hulu or any US network streaming videos because they’re geoblocked. This is because Canadian networks pay a premium to air US network TV shows and don’t want to lose money. If the show is played on a Canadian channel, chances are you can watch it via the Canadian channel’s website but usually not until the day after it airs.
We also have something akin to the Canadian version of Netflix, which is called Zip.ca, although it still uses the original Netflix model of having discs mailed to the user based on a flat monthly fee. Zip has been promising streaming service since 2009, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Netflix was introduced to Canada in September 2010, but it still has a pretty poor selection, with fewer than half the titles of US Netflix, due to licensing fees. Such fees are what the music industry says is the reason Canadians don’t have access to music streaming services like Spotify.
Two more options—Cinema Now (operated through Best Buy Canada) and YouTube rentals—are available, but rather than charging a flat monthly fee for unlimited access, users pay one amount to have access to one movie for a set time. With Cinema Now, you also have access to TV shows as well as the option of paying a higher price to purchase a movie outright. This sounds remarkably similar to what Blockbuster and other chains started doing to try and compete with Netflix a few years ago and we all know what happened to Blockbuster. It just seems to be moving backwards instead of forwards.
Also available in Canada are Roku and Boxee. These are similar to Apple TV, but without Apple’s proprietary content, although Boxee is also available as a downloadable software package. Of course, with any streaming services, you have to consider ISP caps and Usage Based Billing, which according to this report seem to be about the same in Canada as they are in the US (though I’m pretty sure Canadians would disagree).Finally, there is Western Digital’s TV Live Hub.
So if Canadians don’t like these options? You could cancel your cable subscription and purchase and install an OTA (over the air) antenna, unless you live in an apartment building or condo that doesn’t have one already, in which case you’re out of luck.
Granted, it’s a transitional time—and many would argue, an exciting one—so the future of streaming video is not set in stone. However, the technological innovations seem to be light years ahead of the business models and that is frustrating for the consumer.
Let’s end this on a more positive note: The new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is out!
A few weeks ago, THR mused about the PG-13 rating for the upcoming Batman film, pointing out the “sensuality” that was integral to that rating. From this trailer, it looks like Bruce Wayne might finally be getting something more than a kiss? (Seriously, he’s been hiding out for eight years. The Dark Knight Rises is practically its own porno name at this point.)
If you can’t wait until July 20 to get your superhero fix, this weekend should help. Last night The Avengers premiered at midnight in the US and Saturday is Free Comic Book Day! Check out the official Free Comic Book Day site to find a comic shop close to you.
And go see The Avengers!
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor