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.

 

snag-logo-color

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

tubilogo

TUBITV

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

cracle

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

dorado

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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Reviewing the Reviews

There are a few essential truths of the world wide web (which turned 25 this year. The internet turned 44 this year) one being that most of us use the WWW to find reviews or recommendations of new things, new joys, to consume.

Whether that’s a restaurant review, hotel review, auto repair review, book review, or as in this case movie review; the hunt for reliable reviews and reviewers can be a daunting experience. Separating viable, intelligent opinions on a movie from just caustic rants (whether overly combative or overly defensive of a viewpoint) , separating the signal from the noise can be a daunting experience; weeding out the howling mob, from the reasoned review.

Well my friends, I was doing just that today over at IMDB, a site that is unfortunately very high in the noise department, filled as it is with immature reviewers who want to grade everything either 1 or 10, the best or the worst; not realizing the truth is usually somewhere removed from those two extremes. Well I sifted through quite a few reviewers to come up with the below list of movies that sound interesting and/or stylish enough to try.

Here they go… Enjoy!

Night of Fear (1972 Australian Horror)
Ritual of Death (1990)
Night Visitor (1971)
Burning Bright (2010)
The Pack (2010)
Outcast (2010)
Wound (2010)
Buried (2010)
Amer (2009)
The Dead (2010)
In the Line of Duty 4 (1989)
The Lost Missle (1958)
Dead of Night (1945)
Angst (1983)??
Arcana (1972)
Pensione Paura (1977)
Sennentuntschi (2010)
Devil’s Business (2011)
The Dead Don’t Die (1975)
Robowar (1988)
The Card Player (2004)
Demonwarp (1988)
Ths Abomination (1986)
Manipulator (1971)
Sei Mong Se Jun / Abnormal Beauty (2004)

The Raid 2 (2014)
Under The Skin (2013)

Stranger by the Lake (2013)

TWO-MINUTE WARNING (1976)
THE MANIPULATOR (1971- The late, great Mickey Rooney in a horror movie?! I have to see it. 🙂 )
PLEASE MURDER ME (1956)
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970- Joseph Losey is one of the great unheralded noir and crime directors, so add the names Shaw and McDowell to this film’s description, and consider me intrigued)

Netflix Movie of the Day : Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS!

Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS is an odd but effective mating of Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and Alejandro Jordorowsky’s EL TOPO with a bit of Raimi and Fulci tossed in, but for all its influences, there is a lyric mania to this film that is all its own.

GALLOWWALKERS is a decidedly new and lurid and grand guinol take on one of the oldest of film genres. Plus it is just a beautifully shot film, with some of the best end-credits I’ve seen; a film that deserves to be owned, and will only grow more favored with repeat viewings. Grade: B+.

Today’s recommended FREE Roku Movies: ZOMBIE AHOLE and SCARLET WORM

Courtesy of the MIDNIGHT PULP Roku on demand channel you can view, this week, two pretty out there cult/weird/grindhouse films; namely:

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scarletworm

Stick with both of them, most requiring of that patience is ZOMBIE A-HOLE as it becomes by the end a far better film than the title or opening minutes would lead you believe (Quite a few times I had to almost turn the thing off for fear someone I respected would catch me watching it :), but resist that impulse, get past the first 15 minutes and you’ll find the movie actually has a plot).

And no, I am not a zombie fan, this film works by being very much a tongue in check homage to the grindhouse films of yesteryear. With a reputed budget of only $3000 the sheer amount of creativity in this injoke of a film is awe inspiring. If you’re a fan of homage films such as BLACK DYNAMITE and horror films such as the original EVIL DEAD, give ZOMBIE A-HOLE a watch.

SCARLET WORM– is also a micro-budget film, but doesn’t come across as one. It’s of that ilk of films, born out of the spaghetti western absurdities of the 70s that can best be described as the existential western, think EL TOPO meets DEAD MAN. And the film is very good, and one deserving of repeated viewings.

Sample both movies for free here!

And if as impressed with them as I am, buy them here:

Scarlet Worm, The

Zombie A-Hole

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!

MIAMI VICE: THE DIRECTOR’S EDITION DVD Review

MIAMI VICE THE MOVIE: THE DIRECTORS EDITION is quintessential Miami Vice. It’s everything that’s great about that mad 5 year show, that dream of Balmy Days and blood warmed nights… distilled. And to think in 2006 it received a dismal 44% rating from critics of the day (even judging just on the theatrical cut) says a lot about the sad state of critics.

The film is everything a big screen adaptation of MIAMI VICE should be. It’s a love letter to a place, it’s romance writ large. And for anyone to go into a MIAMI VICE film and complain about too much romance, or sensuality, or sentimentality is for people to be completely bereft of such necessary things in themselves. And yes it’s moody, and layered, and languid, like hot days and hotter nights.. and purposely so, it is paced for you to enjoy the view. Which is something too few of us do in this life… with anything.

And for all its languidness there’s not a wasted frame. Michael Mann coming home with this film, and showing he has lost nothing of his considerable directorial skill, and indeed has added new tricks to his bag.

All those are to the good. And the entire cast does a great job reinterpreting iconic television roles and putting their own spin on it, successfully I think. Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell and Gong Li and Naomie Harris to name a few of this stellar ensemble cast. Particularly apt is the romance, the counterpoint of the two relationships, as these men who spend so much time with lies, struggle to keep something real.

Ultimately MIAMI VICE is about people who lie for a living, and the toll such duplicity, for whatever reason, to whatever real or imagined good, ultimately takes on them. Much like the series, the film is about people who live on the edge, and their precarious balancing act.

It’s a great film, which is no surprise coming from Michael Mann, a filmmaker who consistently has created great films. An Actors’ Director, who understands giving actors that Authenticity in order to create (check the featurette to see the gun range preparation all the actors went through— Amazing!).

MIAMI VICE: THE DIRECTORS EDITION is in summation a consummately sumptuous, beautiful and frenetic film, crafted by one of the great directors of our time. My contention? When you put Michael Mann’s body of work in perspective… it will stand the test of time with the best of this still young, century old medium, called film.


Mann is not just a director, he’s a dissector and a biographer, a stylish one to be sure, of our age; And that is clearly seen in just how mesmerizing his director commentaries, and any special features are on his DVDs. If I’m an actor, Michael Mann is the director I want to work for.

And for film fans, he remains a director to watch and be inspired by.

Pick up MIAMI VICE both the series and the movie here:

Miami Vice: The Complete Series

Miami Vice (Unrated Director’s Cut) (See all Crime Movies & TV)