Hey there, everybody! Yeah, one of IMJ’s newest columnists is really me– Stamps!
I’m an Inveterate Media Junkie through and through; and a huge part of my media addiction is spent watching Television Series and Movies. I adore my Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Streaming accounts. I watch a ton of Films and TV through all three of these sites. I once hooked an online Netflix data tracker up to my Netflix account and I watched nearly two weeks worth of content in less than a third of a year. I know a good chunk of the readers and commenters here have an account with a streaming service company as well and that’s why when Ian and Jose asked for Movie and TV reviewers, I jumped at the opportunity to be a streaming Movie and Television reviewer for the Inveterate Media Junkies website.
And not just ANY streaming, mind you– I want to review the legal kind. Watching a movie recorded in a movie theater with people in-frame, talking, coughing, moving; via a website that could infect my computer with any number of nasty computer viruses is not my idea of a good media experience. Paying around ten bucks for a plethora of good quality, safe versions of movies is an excellent thing on the other hand.
Hulu, Netflix, and others are becoming heavy hitters in the world of media consumption… And on-demand streaming content isn’t going away anytime soon. I fully believe that content delivery via the internet is the future of media reception in this increasingly instant world and I fully embrace it. Just like the price of monthly comic books is going up and becoming too much for many wallets to bear, so is the price for terrestrial media providers. Companies like Netflix and Hulu are convenient and affordable alternatives (or additions) to cable or satellite accounts.
So here’s my first column. In Streaming with Stamps™, I’ll be reviewing movies and TV shows that are available on legal streaming sites.
I will attempt to include content from more than just one service provider in each column—so every junkie will have something to check out. This may not always happen every time but I will strive to make sure at least one of the Films or TV shows discussed are represented on multiple service providers. Either that or I will include one title that is on a completely different service than all of the other offerings.
Now that the groundwork is laid, let’s get on with the reviews. For my first column, I decided to explore a few of my favorite gems that I’ve gone back and recently re-watched in the last couple of weeks:
Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt) – YouTube Video Rental ($2.99)
Norwegian horror film Cold Prey relies on one of the oldest tricks in the survival horror book; isolating its characters and having a murderer pick them off one by one. A broken leg brings a group of snowboarders in from the snowy slopes and into the nearest shelter. That shelter turns out to be abandoned resort with a secret resident out for blood. The best part of this film is how it makes you feel. While many horror films rely on gore and unnecessary brutality this film uses bloodshed only to reinforce your fear– not be its foundation. This film delivers quality suspense and horror in top-notch fashion.
Downton Abbey – Netflix/Amazon Prime Instant Streaming
I know what you’re thinking; a Masterpiece series…watched only by little old women and nerdy high school girls who are obsessed with Jane Austen novels. The series is best compared to a good beer. (Another of my passions.) It is full-bodied, refreshing… And when it’s over you want another. The plot centers around a family from old English money… Old money that is in extreme jeopardy after the heirs to the family title and fortune die when the Titanic sinks. While the First Episode throws a great deal of information at you, by Episode Two this information wave ceases– and an intense and complex drama flourishes. It’s easy to see how much effort was put into just scenery and wardrobe alone. The highlight of Downton is the always masterful Maggie Smith whose cranky character is repulsed by electric lights and disconcerted by swivel chairs. Trust me when I type that this show is well worth a stream. I myself watched the whole season in one day. (I told you I was a movie streaming addict!)
Archangel – Hulu/Netflix
After watching this Three-Part TV Miniseries, it’s quite easy to see why Daniel Craig was chosen as the latest James Bond. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Robert Harris, Archangel has Craig playing a history professor who stumbles upon the darkest secret of the Soviet Union—while on a trip in modern Russia. Interested to find out what people would kill to keep secret, Craig’s character travels all over Russia in search of the truth. His quest quickly becomes an obsession. Although, this mini has its faults (the third part of the series is a bit underwhelming in plot and features an ending that felt a bit empty) Daniel Craig carries this series to a satisfying conclusion that still makes the whole project well worth a watch.
The Art of the Steal – Netflix
If you wish to keep your faith in the legal system, then don’t watch this film. The Art of the Steal is a documentary that shows just how far power-hungry individuals will go to defile a dead man’s will to possess a multi-billion dollar art collection. Politicians, academics, lawyers, and high-powered old money families with more than just a small chip on their shoulders fight for the art collection of Albert Barnes. The film does a superb job of explaining just how, after the death of this self-made man, his truly outstanding art collection was taken from the grasp of who it was willed to and put into the hands of the art museum in Philadelphia, the last place that Albert Barnes would ever have wanted his beloved art to go. For many reasons, the intriguing, never boring documentary The Art of the Steal is the IMJ Stream of the Week™.
So what are the rest of you Junkies streaming? Do you have a Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu subscription? Watched any of these four? Let me know your thoughts.