Sunday, 7 March 2010

[314] Two Months of Loving Film

Back in early January, I received a package through my door. It was a late birthday present from Mike C - a man who likes to sing and ramble - and his ladyfriend. The package contained a copy of the Karl French-edited film book Screen Violence and a voucher for 2 months free membership for LoveFilm, the online DVD rental service.

Within an hour, I'd signed up and logged a rent list of over 200 titles. Eight weeks later, I have rented 22 discs, with 3 more sitting on my desk waiting to be watched.

Part of the absolute genius of LoveFilm is that it is completely of-the-moment. It utilises current technology at every step: rent lists are chosen online, true, but the DVDs (or Blu-Rays) are posted to you, and the customer is supplied with a re-usable envelope to send the discs back. While there are options on their site to stream films, there is very little new media, or pioneering technology at hand.

This is surprisingly refreshing, retaining the tangible quality of receiving physical mail, and working in an element of surprise - as discs are picked according to the whims of stock and supply, not through pre-defined sequencing.

This cooks up some great mini-marathons, such as Peter's Friends followed by Dead Again, followed by The Night Listener. Or a run such as Les 400 Coups (a film about youth), Sleep Furiously (a film about a community lacking in youth), and Only Yesterday (a film reminiscing about youth).

Okay, it falls foul of the problems of non-digital distribution - having to wait for delivery, relying on Royal Mail (especially frustrating given the black hole of Sunday), discs arriving scratched or unreadable - but it works well. As previously noted, I've burned through over 20 films from them, two of which turned up scratched (Les 400 Coups, and Hunger), but both faulty rentals were replaced quickly. Considering that I went for the 'unlimited, 3 disc' package, which normally costs £16.99 a month, I think I'm getting my (theoretical) money's worth. Throw in game rentals, and you might have a brilliant service for those omnivorous souls.

Now, I have to go and choose which film to watch next. It's an interesting line-up: Aus-Western The Proposition, Abel Ferrara's King of New York, or Steve Martin's Shopgirl? We'll see.

In the mean time, here is the full list of the films I've watched (and, on the whole, loved) over the last 2 months. A nice mixture of flicks I missed at the cinema, classics I'd overlooked, or minor gems that had aroused my curiosity.

The Hurt Locker
The Night Listener
In the Loop
Love in the Afternoon
Memories of Murder
District 9
Dead Again
Peter's Friends
Fishing With John
Robinson in Space
London in the Raw
Raging Bull
Encounters at the End of the World
My Dinner With Andre
Only Yesterday
Sleep Furiously
The 400 Blows

No comments: