DVDs by mail

2009-04-23

in Daily updates, Films and movies, Internet matters

I am trying out zip.ca, a DVDs-by-mail system similar to Netflix. As such, I would appreciate if people suggested some films for me. I like the idea of having a big cue of random, interesting stuff and watching it in no particular order.

I have already requested Helvetica, Frost/Nixon, the third season of The Sopranos, and the second season of The Wire.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. April 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

Manufactured Landscapes seems well suited to both your environmental and photographic interests.

Litty April 24, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Here are some random recommendations:

Frost/Nixon (2008)
Doubt (2008)
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Milk (2008)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

LyT April 25, 2009 at 1:04 am

Have you ever watched Rome? HBO created this incredibly well-made series, but had to axe it after 2 seasons because of high production costs.

Milan April 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I saw the first season of Rome and enjoyed it.

Thanks for the other suggestions. Please keep them coming.

Milan May 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

Movies I have seen so far

Ratatouille – Quite good, amusing.

Brokeback Mountain – Good, but not as good as I was expecting, given all the fuss.

Letters From Iwo Jima – Powerful and depressing, especially when you realize that all the families the Japanese soldiers are missing are being firebombed by the US Air Force at the same time.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room – Interesting, and a good demonstration of how firms can exploit botched deregulation

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – Good, though Cohen’s own songs are mostly better than the covers included. It exposed me to two excellent songs I hadn’t known previously: “I’m Your Man” and “Everybody Knows.”

Rocky – Very good

Next up: Helvetica

. June 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Several years ago, when the state of Illinois decided to deregulate its electricity market, it wanted to avoid California’s disastrous experience, when the disgraced firm Enron manipulated prices, created shortages and caused rolling blackouts. The state authorities hired Charles Macal and colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory to build a sophisticated model of Illinois’ power market, incorporating suppliers, consumers and regulators, as well as the full network along which power flows.

The team first interviewed the various market participants to learn their behaviour. Each was represented in the model by virtual agents who could act on those strategies, but also learn on their own. Running the model, the team found that the initial legal framework for deregulation had flaws which made it vulnerable to Enron-like manipulation. The state successfully altered its plans, and the approach has since been used in similar cases in Croatia, Portugal and South Korea. Some stock markets, such as NASDAQ, have used it in planning changes to their trading rules.

Milan June 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Helvetica was less entertaining than I expected, but still interesting.

Marjoe was similar – interesting, but less so than I expected.

Munich was powerful and depressing – a good demonstration of the destructiveness of seeking revenge.

The Thin Blue Line was well done, but not as compelling as some of Morris’ other work.

The Beast was a good ‘crazy commander’ type war film, with some contemporary relevance in terms of the Afghan situation.

The new Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton was ok, though less good than the earlier recent Hulk film. It made me want to visit South America.

Who Killed the Electric Car? is discussed here.

Next up: the third season of ‘The Sopranos’

Tristan June 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I loved Helvetica. There is a kind of “end of history” about the font, which is in tune with our age. This is certainly a part of people’s emotive attitudes towards it. I don’t know how accurately the film portrayed the graphic design’s contemporary attitude towards font, but it sure has truthiness.

I found Helvetica very similar to “No Country for Old Men”.

A film I recently saw – Vicky Christina Barcelona, is a must see. I’d say its better than Helvetica, worse than No Country (but, more enjoyable).

Milan July 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

I have now received 105 DVDs through Zip.ca.

For the most part, I have been happy with them. The only annoyances I have encountered is how discs sometimes arrive too scratched to be watchable, and how it can be hard to get all the discs in a row when going through a popular television series like The Wire.

. November 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

On Sept. 22, Netflix began offering its streaming movie service in Canada. This was Netflix’s first venture outside of the United States, and because the company wasn’t offering its traditional DVD-by-mail plan to Canadians, its prospects seemed questionable. How many people would pay $7.99 per month (Canadian) for the chance to watch Superbad whenever they wanted?

A lot, it turns out. According to Sandvine, a network management company that studies Internet traffic patterns, 10 percent of Canadian Internet users visited Netflix.com in the week after the service launched. And they weren’t just visiting—they were signing up and watching a lot of movies. Netflix videos quickly came to dominate broadband lines across Canada, with Netflix subscribers’ bandwidth usage doubling that of YouTube users. At peak hours (around 9 p.m.) the service accounted for more than 90 percent of the traffic on one Canadian broadband network.

It’s not just Canada. Netflix is swallowing America’s bandwidth, too, and it probably won’t be long before it comes for the rest of the world. That’s one of the headlines from Sandvine’s Fall 2010 Global Internet Phenomena Report, an exhaustive look at what people around the world are doing with their Internet lines. According to Sandvine, Netflix accounts for 20 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America. That’s an amazing share—it beats that of YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and, perhaps most tellingly, the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, which accounts for a mere 8 percent of bandwidth during peak hours. It wasn’t long ago that pundits wondered if the movie industry would be sunk by the same problems that submarined the music industry a decade ago—would we all turn away from legal content in favor of downloading pirated movies and TV shows? Three or four years ago, as BitTorrent traffic surged, that seemed likely. Today, though, Netflix is far bigger than BitTorrent, and it seems sure to keep growing.

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