Posts belonging to Category Movies

Smooth Move

I got an email this morning about a proposed settlement in a class action suit against Netflix

Here’s the brief summary of the suit:

A class action lawsuit entitled Chavez v. Netflix, Inc. was filed in San Francisco Superior Court (case number CGC-04-434884) on September 23, 2004.  The lawsuit alleges that Netflix failed to provide “unlimited” DVD rentals and “one day delivery” as promised in its marketing materials.  Netflix has denied any wrongdoing or liability.  The parties have reached a settlement that they believe is in the best interests of the company and its subscribers.

I don’t recall being offered “one day delivery” in any marketing materials, but then I joined in December of last year, so perhaps they had stopped advertisting this by then.  As for the issue of “unlimited” rentals, I have seen a lot of carping about supposed “capping” in the comments section of various articles posted at Hacking Netflix.  I’ve never experienced it, but then I’m not someone who watches three movies in one or two days and then sends them back.  Supposedly, if you watch all your movies quickly, they will put some sort of unofficial, super-seekrit™, cap on your account that causes weird delays in shipping and causes normally available movies at the top of your queue to suddenly move to “long wait” status.  The rationale given is that it supposedly causes them a lot of churn and they can’t make money if you constantly turn around your rentals.

What I find interesting is that the “remedy” for class members is a free month of upgraded service.  The smooth move on Netflix’s part is that you automatically continue on the upgraded service at the higher price if you don’t manually cancel it. 

Of course, it’s not like this really makes a difference to me.  I think I’m just going to ignore the whole thing and continue with my current 3-at-a-time subscription.  Given my schedule lately, I’m probably the kind of customer they love.  It sometimes takes me a month to work through three movies.  Perhaps that’s why I sometimes get next-day service…

Win Win

PLEASE REMEMBER: No talking, no smoking, and crying babies should be deposited in the receptacle in the lobby.—Thank You, the Management

I don’t remember where I first ran across the above quote, but it accurately reflects my thoughts on proper decorum during movie viewing (although I don’t care whether people smoke, but that’s not up to me anymore).  Anyhow, I was reminded of this by a story that’s been running on Fox 4 News the past couple of days about how more businesses are catering to people with babies and small children.  An example they gave was a new program from the Angelika Theater called Crybaby Matinee.  It’s a special showing on weekdays for people with babies.  The lights are kept dim (rather than completely out), and the sound is turned down. 

It seems like a great compromise.  People (especially stay-at-home parents) have an opportunity to get out and see a movie and the rest of us don’t have to put up with crying babies while we watch our movies.

Now someone just needs to start a matinee series for idiots who talk to each other and their cell phones during movies…

A World Of Cheese…

I made the mistake of renting 13th Child (Legend of The Jersey Devil) this weekend.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything this cheesy in quite a long time.  The dialog was horrendous and it was delivered in such a wooden fashion that I started to wonder how the actors could move with such big sticks up their asses.  And then there was the cheesy rubber suited monster.  It’s almost enough to make me want to grow another hand so I can give this stinker more than two thumbs down.

Just Plain Stupid

Some of the projected blockbusters have tanked at the theaters this summer.  They’re now showing outright commercials before the movies.  And the MPAA is running an “it hurts the common man” series of commercials in theaters that accuses the audience of being thieves (I refuse to give in to their overcharged rhetoric and use the term “piracy” for file sharing; if a Kazaa user starts shooting people and stealing their computers then I might reconsider).  Oh, yeah, and they released some major stinkers this summer (Gigli, anyone?).  So what does the movie industry blame for the poor performance of their movies?  Text messaging.

In Hollywood, 2003 is rapidly becoming known as the year of the failed blockbuster, and the industry now thinks it knows why.

No, the executives are not blaming such bombs as The Hulk, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle or Gigli on poor quality, lack of originality, or general failure to entertain. There’s absolutely nothing new about that.

The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films – sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching – and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend.

“In the old days, there used to be a term, ‘buying your gross,’ ” Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. “You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience.”

I swear, these people are living in a dream world (although I find it strange that they’d own up to the fact that they’re trying to buy their way out of the fact that they make crappy movies).

But I think there’s more to it that just text messaging.  A lot of people go to IMDB and rate movies after they’ve seen them.  Quite simply, the movie studios have just discovered that we live in an era of highly distributed real-time communications.  A level of communication that allows the average person to see around and through the corporate hype machine that used to be able to snow them.

Link via Slashdot.

League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I decided to get out of the house on Friday and my choice of diversion was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  I’d noticed that this movie had gotten some bad reviews.  I decided to disregard these reviews and went in with an open mind. 

If you’re looking for Shakespearian drama that examines weighty issues, this movie isn’t for you.  But it was a good bit of eye candy and it had plenty of action.  The only thing that bothered me a bit was the speed of the action at times.  It seemed a little too fast (or perhaps the camera was too close).  Some of the action got a bit blurry.

Matrix Reloaded

I’d noticed that some people on various weblogs didn’t like the new Matrix movie.  I generally tried to avoid their reviews, because I didn’t want to get into spoilers, but I suppose that the overall tone lowered my expectations for this movie.  This was helpful, because with that in mind, I generally liked the movie.  I will be going to the next one, if for no other reason than to find out what happens.

There were a few things that bothered me about the movie, though (although they aren’t really about deep subjects like governments like some other bloggers have had).  First, while the effects were really good, I hit a saturation point where it just felt like it was all gratuitous.  I realize the Matrix allows for superhuman feats of strength and agility, but it started to get in the way of the story line, rather than being an integral part of it like in the first movie. 

While I realize that anything is possible in the Matrix (as opposed to the dirty and messy real world), there was one thing that bugged me about the freeway scene.  As far as I know, new motorcycles are always transported in big wooden crates without batteries or gas.  And with these high-end bikes (like, for example, the Ducati 996), I think the dealer also has to attach the fairing.  The idea of transporting a bunch of Ducatis on a car carrier just threw me (maybe people do this in other parts of the country, but I’ve never seen it).  I know, in the midst of all the other improbable crap that happened in that sequence, it’s a small thing, but it wrenched me out of my suspension of disbelief.

And then there was the ending.  I won’t say exactly what happened (in the hopes of not spoiling things), but the idea of the Matrix always seemed to me to be that one could do just about anything inside, but out in the real world everyone was human and subject to the laws of physics.  It looks like the movie makers decided to take a different path, although we won’t know for sure until the next installment.


I decided yesterday morning that I would go to see X2.  I’m usually not a big fan of movies based on comic book characters, and I was only marginally interested in the X-Men series.  But I saw the original X-Men movie and it was pretty good.  I’d also heard a lot of good things about X2 from various bloggers, so I was hopeful that it would at least be interesting. 

Now that I’ve seen it, I’d have to agree with them.  Overall it was very good.  In fact, I stayed in my seat despite needing to go to the restroom for the last hour because I didn’t want to miss anything (not that you particularly needed to know that smile ).  And I didn’t expect to end up feeling bad about what happened to one of the characters at the end (I won’t say more, since it would give away too much for those who haven’t seen it). 

I also saw the trailers for The Hulk and Matrix Reloaded.  I’ll probably go to the new Matrix movie, even though I was disturbed by the first one (the scene where they showed all the people in the rows and rows of little pods freaked me out).  As for The Hulk, I’m not so sure.  It was directed by Ang Lee and it appears to be very action-oriented.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  But I still may see it, if for no other reason that it has Jennifer Connelly.  smile  And I may also want to go see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as well.

Lately I’ve noticed an annoying trend where theaters are showing commercials as part of the trailers.  I’ve gotten used to seeing promotions for upcoming movies, but the commercials bother me for some reason that I have yet to try to fathom.  Anyway, that Powerade commercial based on The Matrix was very annoying.