Great Movies Found In An “Instant”

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Movies
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

montageSummer is the season for blockbuster movies. Escaping the heat and the reality of life is enjoyed by just about everyone at some point between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Everyone except me.

I like the movies that are outside of the norm, off the radar, and hidden under the shadows cast by the huge Hollywood hits. For the most part, I scour the internet for reviews from the film festivals, follow underground hipster communities that buzz about the independent films and patiently wait to either buy or rent these films on DVD due to the lack of any independent cinema here in town.

A few weeks ago, keystrokes deep into another online journey, I discovered Amazon Instant Video. Now, I knew Amazon.com has been offering up streaming movies for a while (to aid in the sales of Kindle Fire and other portable devices), but what I didn’t know was the fact that they are experimenting with making available movies that are – or in some cases, yet to be – in theaters.

After searching through their library of new films, I realized how revolutionary this could be. Imagine watching a movie months before its DVD release, or catching an independent film the same day it is premiering at a film festival in Europe. Some films are exclusive to the service even prior to their theatrical debut.  That’s kind of a big deal, if you think about it.

This month, I’m going to tell you about three films – each part of this revolution at Amazon – that can be watched by simply getting online right now and clicking a few buttons to get your download.

vhs2The first is V/H/S/2. We wrote up the prequel – V/H/S – earlier in the year when it hit store shelves and loved it. The premise stays true to the first installment, where an empty house is filled with televisions and tapes, each tape telling its own story of horror and death. More of the same this time around, only with far better stories, much improved filmography, and added ways to scare the crap out of you. In the style of the old Tales From The Crypt, the stories are unrelated, jumping around from ghosts, aliens, cults and zombies. The lack of cohesiveness only adds to the fun, and the V/H/S franchise looks likes it will be around for quite a while. V/H/S/2 won’t even BE in theaters until September, so this is well worth the view.

downloadedNext, we have Downloaded, a documentary about Napster, file-sharing, and how the pirates of the internet have turned the music industry on its collective ear. While Napster has been out of the game for quite some time, the things they put into motion are more prevalant now than ever, as artists struggle to sell physical albums and labels search for the answers to keeping their failing businesses alive. If you are a musician, a business executive, or someone that has ever illegally downloaded a song or album, this is a must see. The film opened July 1st at select film festivals, but you can watch it from the comfort of your home for around four bucks.

resolutionI had never heard of our next selection – Resolution – until digging through the Amazon vault, and stumbled upon one of the greatest films I’ve ever watched. The rookie directing team of Justin Benson and Aaron Mooreland wowed the festival-goers at Tribeca with their humorous, intellectual, haunting tale of recovery and ritual. The story builds around Mike, who hunts down his drug-addicted buddy, Chris, in an abandoned cabin on an ancient Indian burial ground, hellbent on getting him clean and into rehab. As the two spend days in the worn-down shithole (Mike has Chris handcuffed to an exposed pipe throughout), strange messages start appearing in the form of pictures, books, and video tapes. Mike’s attempt to save Chris’ life takes a back seat to the strange happenings surrounding them, with no answers to be found. Is it the local squatters playing tricks on them, or something far more evil? My concerns about the low budget of the film and no-name ensemble quickly disappeared into one of the most enjoyable, genre-bending films this author has ever witnessed. The film will be released to DVD on October 8th – but you won’t want to wait that long to see this work of genius.

I applaud Amazon for their ground-breaking approach to changing the way we get to see movies, and I predict this pattern to soon hit iTunes and other online media outlets. These three films are a minute sampling of what’s out there, all which can be enjoyed without the crowds, without the eight dollar popcorn, and without the regret of wasting another “night at the movies”.

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