Movie theatres are shut down, so what’s streaming?
DISNEY+ has a huge library to draw on, films from Disney, Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Pixar, The Muppets, National Geographic and more. They have Stars Wars features and spin offs, cartoons and just this week added the all-time animated champ Frozen II. Disney knows how to benefit both its audience and itself at the same time.
You’ll also find those beautiful nature documentaries they’ve been sending us annually for Earth Day. They’ll be on there starting April 3 including this year’s new one, Dolphin Reef.
HBO/CRAVE: Telus bundles these together and it’s a bit hard to find what you want but scroll through categories like award winners, critical favorites and goofy movies.
HBO has a lot of films and series I only hear about on award shows. Titles like Big Little Lies and Killing Eve. Also mammoth series like Game of Thrones (if you need catching up) and an older one that I want to put in a plug for, Rome. We see the life and intrigues of the ancient empire through the eyes and experiences of two centurions.
John Doyle in the Globe praised a limited series called The Plot Against America, from the Philip Roth novel that imagines America if Hitler had won World War II. It’s largely a warning about electing a populist with no political experience (Charles Lindbergh in this story). Guess who the film is meant to remind you of. (Some friends in England had high praise for another series with that storyline: The Man in the High Castle. It’s available on Amazon Prime.
CRAVE has a wide variety of films from Angry Birds 2 to an Xavier Dolan and art house fare like The Last Black Man in San Francisco. One that interests me is Gun Fight a documentary about America’s gun problem from Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple. She made it a few years ago after one of the worst of the mass shootings.
YOUTUBE has added a streaming service. You can rent for cheap but there are also many films you can see for free, some with commercials to cover the cost. I read one complaint that most are not worth watching. Maybe, but I found a couple of westerns (an obscure early Charles Bronson and a big colorful Gregory Peck) as well as The Night of the Living Dead that seem to indicate that exploring further might be warranted.
TRIBUTE.CA has compiled a pretty good list of what the streaming services have available (see https://www.tribute.ca ) although they recommend them for binge watching while you’re self isolating. I’d be careful with that.
One Final Tip: THE INTERNET OF EVERYTHING: This is the latest documentary from Victoria’s Brett Gaylor critiquing the world of high-tech. In a web series five years ago he explored how you’re being tracked when you go on line. Here he explores surveillance even further starting with what we call the Internet of Things.
We hook up electronically to tell Alexa to do this or that, or have lights or music go off and on. At a trade fair he finds a voice activated toilet (who needs that?) and a device a woman can insert to read her fertility cycles to help with conception. Conveniences, yes, but as they work, Gaylor says, somebody is harvesting data about you. Business interests have perverted the internet. A sleep apnea sufferer is being read through the mask he wears. In China people earn (or lose) points on their “citizen score” and could end up on a blacklist.
In Vancouver, “predictive policing” has been used against burglaries, although in Los Angeles it’s been accused of racial profiling. In Toronto, Google’s owners are planning Sidewalk Labs, a smart neighbourhood run and monitored by technology. The film is very good at raising concern about all this but not as clear when it claims the same techniques are used in Barcelona to do good. Overall, though, intriguing stuff, just 52 minutes long and streaming March 22 on CBC Docs POV and on CBC Gem after that.