Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Movie Preview: Hesher - Orlando Sentinel (blog)” plus 1 more

“Movie Preview: Hesher - Orlando Sentinel (blog)” plus 1 more


Movie Preview: Hesher - Orlando Sentinel (blog)

Posted:

Here's an arresting trailer that's a veritable roller coaster of ideas, tones and moods.

"Hesher" stars Rainn Wilson as a dad in a grief spiral, Piper Laurie as his mom, Devin Brochu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a thuggish, misanthropic title character/loser who connects with the kid and Natalie Portman as a woman who comes into their lives.

Look for "Hesher" this April.

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Amazon Couples Movie Streaming With Shipping - New York Times Blogs

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Movie-watching has gotten so confusing. My wife says, "Let's watch a movie," and I say, "Sure, satellite, Netflix, Xbox Live, Sony's PlayStation Network or how 'bout the old-fashioned DVD, or the Blu-ray player?"

And she gives me an exasperated look that says: "I had any number of suitors. Pick a medium and let's watch."

Yet the options keep growing. Today, Amazon.com joined the increasingly aggressive suite of contenders for our attention by ramping up its own movie offerings. Members of the company's Prime Service ($79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping) can now tap into a library of 5,000 movies they can stream for free.

The movies come from 16 studios and include a few recent notable titles, like "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and a few old big-name titles, like "Amadeus" and "Chariots of Fire," as well as shows like Ken Burns's "National Parks," for when you have no other way to kill 400 hours.

Movies as a complement to free shipping? Sounds odd, right? Like the Postal Service tossing in a Jay-Z single or a bucket of popcorn with the stamps. So what gives with this unusual coupling? And what does it say about the intensifying competition for our attention?

To the first question, Amazon can hope to achieve two aims by offering free movie downloads to its Prime members. One is that it sweetens a service that creates loyalty for Amazon as a retailer. After all, if you've already paid it for shipping, you're more inclined to visit it to buy the toaster or book or loafers.

Second, Amazon is trying to create attention for its movie download business, which sells downloads on a per-title basis ($3.99 for a new release), and which in general hasn't gotten near the recognition of competitors like Netflix. (Netflix's cheapest service is $96 a year.) By offering free movies to Prime shipping customers, it begins to associate itself as an entertainment portal in the minds of people already using it regularly.

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