This week’s best and worst Roku VOD Streaming Channels!

 

This week’s best and worst Roku VOD Streaming Channels!

 

The Best:

Netflix amazon_lead

The two pay channels of NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME, without any surprise I think,  come highly recommended, and were I to guess, they probably make up most of Roku’s streaming traffic.

Netflix for its growing empire of original programming (including DAREDEVIL, HOUSE OF CARDS) and selection of hotter in demand movies is a must-have channel for anyone.

AMAZON PRIME for its wealth of movie content, and a good number of older shows that are not available on NETFLIX, comes in a close second in terms of must have streaming channels.

Those are the only paid streaming channels I have or recommend.

The rest are no-cost, ad-supported, channels. Some of these are worth your time, many of them are not.

The one’s that are hits this week are:

 

popcornflix

POPCORN FLIX

Why? Well, good selection of older films and eclectic shows, mostly solid quality(screen pixelates occasionally) and ad interruptions kept to a minimum. this week’s recommended movies and shows are PHANTOM PUNCH (a Sonny Liston bio-pic directed by Robert Townsend), THE ASSAULT, IN HELL, TUNNEL RATS, SHUFFLE, BIG BAD WOLF, WYVERN, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, FREE MEN, BADCITY, GODKILLER and  CHILLERS – A short lived horror series  hosted by Anthony Perkins

 

ON

I tend not to watch regular TV, so this is a good channel for keeping abreast of the current pop culture and entertainment news. Some highlights are ESCAPE TO THESE BEAUTIFUL CARIBBEAN BEACHES THIS SUMMER, MODEL STARTS MOVEMENT TO ELIMINATE PLUS SIZE, 5 WAYS TO FINANCE YOUR HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.

 

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SNAG FILMS

THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, THE WASP WOMAN, THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS(short film, 15minutes), FUSE, a slew of Buster Keaton comedies, CARNIES,  THE MILLENNIUM BUG, EVEL KNIEVEL, LUCKY DAY (Fun 3 min Animated film), BLACK BOOK (1949),  LETTERS FROM THE BIG MAN, STAN (2009 Laurel and Hardy biopic), SICKO (A 6 minute short film that put a smile on my face. Enjoyable), POOR PRETTY EDDIE,  M.R. JAMES COLLECTION, CRAZY STREETS, ANTE, THE BET, HUNTING BUDDIES, THE GERBER SYNDROME, RIDDLE, BIGFOOT: THE LOST COAST TAPES, THE PURITANS (24 min Short Film), BLOOD MOON (18 min Short Film), LONDON VOODOO, DARK ARC

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TUBITV

THE MILL AND THE CROSS,  DOGTOOTH, THE OTHER SIDE, STREET FIGHTER Series

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CRACKLE

HANCOCK, 21, RETREAT, THE CAVE, BROTHERS IN ARMS,

HISTORY

A couple LOST IN TRANSLATION episodes, about a dozen PAWN STARS episodes, 10 AMERICAN DAREDEVILS episodes, H2 Special Presentations, 3 HUMAN  WEAPON episodes

 

The Channels that are losers this week and will just waste your time (rather than providing you great content) are:

 

 

WATCH FREE FLIX- The sound of the too plentiful commercials is fine, but the sound of the actual content, the shows and movies, is turned down and corrupted. Pathetic and a waste of time. Especially disappointing considering this channel has some interesting content if you could hear it. Fix your sound issue or close your channel.

VANGUARD- Limited movie selections and has not been updated in months. Website appears to no longer exist.

 

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MIDNIGHT PULP – Roku channel no longer being updated. The website shows additional content (not just the PULP ones) not available on the Roku channel. Watch THE SCARLET WORM and ZOMBIE A-HOLE then lose the channel.

ASIAN CRUSH –  not being updated and content that is readily available elsewhere

CRUNCHYROLL – With the exception of ATTACK ON TITAN, I’m not a fan on Anime. And that’s mostly what this channel has.

PARANORMAL REALITY TV – more interesting content can be found elsewhere.

FILM MOVEMENT – Small selection of indie, foreign films (that can be found elsewhere) and never updated

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DORADO FILMS – Small selection of mostly obsure 70s d-grade euro films, however unfortunately has not been updated seemingly since it launched. Which is a shame because the website is quite striking, and gave the promise of a great streaming channel.

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FILM RISE– This was going to make it on the recommended list for one movie, the brilliant SUDOESTE (SOUTHWEST), it is one of the few channels to have this beautiful film available. Unfortunately attempting to stream from this channel was a study in dissatisfaction. Spent more time buffering than playing the movie initially. And when it did play it was interrupted by an ad every 8 minutes, as opposed to the respectable 28 minutes an ad-supported streaming channel should allow you, before hitting you with another ad.  On top of that, with the exception of SOUTHWEST its content could be found on multiple other channels. FILMRISE failed to rise to the occasion.

THE MOVIE TRAILER CHANNEL – Do not make an ad the first thing I see, before even browsing content. Absolutely worthless.

INDIE CRUSH – A severe absence of content. Only about 30+ titles, and just about all of them are available at other, better stocked streaming channels. Not worth the time to add

Well I hope the above helps you find new channels to try and avoid the channels that can’t be bothered to provide updated, quality programming. Hopefully some channels that stumbled this week will improve next week.

You can add and remove channels here.

 

 

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Recommended On-Demand/Roku Channel : POPCORNFLIX

The Roku on-demand channel POPCORNFLIX currently offers 29 sci-fi films for your free viewing pleasure. That’s the good news, the bad news is most of those movies aren’t worth watching. Movies like DAY IN THE LIFE OF DOE that are poor and inept, and insults to the term film.

However the channel has two films in its sci-fi rotation that are worth your time. They are:

SHUFFLE – From the description it sounds like a poor man’s GROUND HOG’S DAY, but from the first frame announces itself as something inventive and unique. Recommended.

GHOST FROM THE MACHINE- This undeniably low budget film is surprising in its delicacy, more intimate drama about people living in the aftermath of loss. And what happens when things lost can in some semblance… be found. Recommended.

Now don’t expect Amazon Prime quality, the video quality of films on PopcornFlix is marginal, but still watchable. The plus being that unlike the travesty that is the CRACKLE channel, where the amount and frequency of ads makes watching films an awful experience, you can actually have a complete, relatively uninterrupted viewing experience on POPCORNFLIX

Try it for yourself here!

ON-DEMAND Viewing Guide: The best and worst Roku

If you have a Roku Box and are looking to explore the world of ON-DEMAND viewing, the challenge is always to find quality free channels, with good content and no ads or limited and unobtrusive ads.

That is always a fluid hunt, as channel offerings vary from month to month, and in some cases week to week.

So without further ado my list of best and worst of Roku Channels this October.

If you have a Roku I do recommend supplementing free channels with at least one provider such as AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX just because the Roku Free Channels, by themselves, you will find hard-pressed to fill your TV watching needs. However pair the free channels with AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX and you can safely kiss your cable bill goodbye.

So what are, the free channels that are worth your time?

Well I’ll start with the disappointing, CRACKLE. When I first started using Roku this channel was great, however in a scant month their ad usage has become so excessive (you get ads before movies, you get ads if you fast forward or rewind, you get ads every 15 minutes, and you are unable to fast forward ads) and so annoying and obtrusive that it is not worth the frustration of dealing with.

So CRACKLE from a channel that was initially one of the best, has become absolutely one of the worst. (Their XBOX ads are so annoying as to be an assault) . Avoid this channel and I recommend everyone unsubscribe from it, and as their numbers drop it should spur the Sony owned CRACKLE to do the right thing and reduce the # of ads, and stop having ads any more often than once every 30 minutes, and remove the automatic ads should you fast-forward or rewind, because that’s just idiotic.

So yeah CRACKLE gets our Worst Channel mention, they should be ashamed of themselves. Okay that negative over now onto the good stuff.

Today’s channel worth your time is:

THRESHOLD+ – Has a good if not great selection of B movies, with a heavy dose of classic Horror and scifi movies. From the alien movies of the 50s to the low budget exploitation films of the 80s. The quality of the video ranges from good to mediocre, since much of this seems to be sourced from public domain or TV prints so no HD quality here. However it makes up for this in the lack of ads. Some notable films available for viewing on this channel are:

BOOGEYMAN (2005) – Not getting the IMDB derision and hate for this film as I find it stylishly and inventively directed, and better acted than most films of the genre. A film of poetical horror, which perhaps is too subtle for the blood and gore crowd. However if you are a fan of atmospheric slow burn films like the recent WOMAN IN BLACK, you may find this film a worthwhile watch.

And thanks to THRESHOLD+ you can view it for free and decide for yourself.

And other notable films available on THRESHOLD+ are:

MESSIAH OF EVIL
I MONSTER
SCARECROWS (1988)
THE BELL OF HELL (1973)
ASYLUM
THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF
SHE
4D MAN
X: THE UNKNOWN

More recommended on-demand channels next installment!

365 Days of Roku: Day 2 – Crackle’s GODZILLA

the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb

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Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2003) – This movie is generally considered the best Godzilla film (ignoring as it does every other Godzilla film except the first one) and by the 25th minute mark, when the central conceit of this film is revealed, I begin to believe that.

Never a Godzilla fan I’ve seen other Godzilla films and they generally do not transcend the campy concept of watching rubber suits attack each other, with no real story.

This movie however has a story, only gingerly touched on, of Godzilla as some interpretation of the vengeance of God, a punishment for the attrocities of the War in the Pacific; an engine of destruction powered by the restless dead. It is a movie that has an unexpected conscience, calling to memory Japan’s (in many way’s overlooked) attrocities during the pacific campaign.

From rape and concentration caps, to ethnic cleansing and wholesale genocide, the Godzilla of this film is the personification of all the wrath for those wrongs, married to the mindless, unthinking attrocities of the atomic bomb, of true holocaust.

Godzilla is very much Japan’s antagonist in this film, and the antagonist of all the industialized world, a howling tirade against all that creulty and science that went into his creation.

And if Godzilla is the film’s heavy, the trio of other monsters he squares off against in this film are the protectors of Japan, the souls of earth and air and glade and all that should endure in the flora and fauna and hope of Japan. However it’s hard to, while not condoning Godzilla’s destruction, not root for him against all adversaries, Man or Monster. Given Man’s history it is hard not to root for the King of Monsters and the spirit of vengeance, and see man as some particularly virulent termite deserving of the heel.

This dichotomy makes it a far more complex film then its cheesy and campy origins should allow, as this particular Godzilla film becomes a film about war by walking acts of god, and as such beyond the judgement of men; can at best only be endured and hopefully survived by men.

Or for those seeking to read less into their rubber monster movies, it is also just a good monster throw-down. Either way it grades a solid B+.

Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER


Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER

Recently added to the Roku platform, VIEWSTER is a Swedish run on-demand channel that presents a surprising variety of free on-demand films. With a nice helping of Indie and Documentary films you are unlikely to find on other on-demand channels, as well as classic and current films.

Some that may be of interest this week are:

CROPSEY
THE THIRD MAN
WHEELS ON MEALS
LOVE COMES SOFTLY

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EVIDENCE OF A HAUNTING- the word on this movie is the only thing interesting is the poster, but you can see it for free here and decide for yourself

CLAY
SHADOW PEOPLE
DARK WOODS
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
HE WALKED BY NIGHT
THE STRANGER
THE AMAZING MR. X
THE RED HOUSE
THE CEREMONY

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SUBHYSTERIA

subhysteria

THE FRAGILITY OF SECONDS
SO YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A DEMON
BLOODMYTH
UNDER OUR SKIN

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THE SISTERS FOUR
THE MYSTERY OF SINTRA
THE BIG COMBO

Take a gander and let me know what ones you recommend.

TECH TIPS: Today’s CRACKLE ON-DEMAND TV Guide Watch List

Go back and see previous lists for more great recommendations.

Okay onto today’s list:

Review of movies/programs to catch on the on-demand Roku channel CRACKLE today:

CRACKLE the premier channel for free on-demand movies is showing the following flicks:

The ‘it will do if you have nothing better to watch’ pile:
EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES- a horrific premise, graphic scenes, and an intriguing if convoluted and dubious premise makes this french thriller worth a cursory look

THE CUTTER- This 2007 flick shows Chuck Norris still capable of mixing it up. The premise of this film about Nazis and diamonds doesn’t really hold one’s attention nor do the performances, but there are a couple decent and surprising fight scenes that are worth a look.

WIND CHILL- Starts off generally very effective and intriguing, but comes apart completely in the 3rd act.

The ‘Awful or trust me you really should avoid’ pile:
THE DEVILS TOMB
THE ORDER
SCREAMERS:THE HUNTING- Starts off intriguing, but once we get to the obligatory Noble Black who has to buy it in the first act of the movie, we’re in complete hack mode. Couldn’t finish it. Awful.

The Great or Very Good:
HERO WANTED- This 2008 flick is yet another fantastic Cuba Gooding Jr film (something that I thought for a long time was an oxymoron). Following up on my recent watch of HIT LIST. This and HIT LIST both are good enough that you’ll probably want to add them to your DVD collection.

LEGENDARY ASSASSIN- An action/martial arts movie, but what sells this one is really the touching story at its heart. Tender performances enliven what otherwise would be a routine actioner.

RUSSIAN SPECIALIST- An example of a great Dolph Lundgren film

SILENT RAGE- An example of a great Chuck Norris Film

HARRY BROWN- Michael Caine is mesmerizing in this tale of generational warfare and geriatric vengeance

TECH TIPS: Today’s Recommend Roku TV Guide Watch List

Recommend list of movies/programs to catch on Roku today:

CRACKLE the premier channel for free on-demand movies is showing the following recommended flicks:

punish

PUNISHER WAR ZONE Exceedingly violent straight to the point action flick. Good if not overly memorable.

KIDNAPPED is a fantastic, but short lived series, but you can watch the whole series for free here. It’s highly recommended. Once you start watching you’ll want to pick up the DVD set to have.

ANGEL OF DEATH- A modern day serial by Ed Brubaker(Comic Book/Graphic Novel writer) starring Zoe Bell, as a female assassin on the wrong side of her profession. Good and enjoyable.

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ASSASSINATION GAMES – Just plain great. One of Van Dammes best movies in years.

BLOOD AND BONE- I’ve raved about this film before. One of my favorite martial arts films (I’ll put it right up there with Jet Li’s FIST OF LEGEND), because it has great martial arts, and great performances, and a great story (the last two you don’t often get in a martial arts film). An easy A+.

GAME OF DEATH- see my previous review, in short, definitely recommended Action film/thriller.

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HIT LIST- Good direct to video movies and Cuba Gooding Jr don’t often go together in a sentence, however it does this time. THE HIT LIST on the surface is nothing more than a take-off on Michael Mann’s COLLATERAL, under the surface turns out to be a very good movie in its own right with solid performances by all involved. Cuba Gooding is surprisingly good here. Strongly Recommended.