I came up for a gasp of recreational Internet surfing this afternoon, and found myself on the Criterion Collection site. Criterion puts a ton of money and effort into restoring and releasing classic films on DVD (and Blu-Ray soon enough) — including two of my favorites, Seven Samurai and Hard Boiled. Basically, if you're a film nerd, you should buy everything Criterion produces, and if you know a film nerd, Christmas is right around the corner.

Two things got me excited on their site. First, they're opening an online cinema. For $5 you can watch a movie as often as you like over the course of a week, and those greenbacks get credited to your account if you want to purchase the real deal to play on your home entertainment system. I'm a little skeptical of the quality of the streamed video — if it's anything like Netflix, it'll be chunky and pause to rebuffer right when you wish it really wouldn't — but bandwidth keeps getting better so I'm sure it'll be fast and fluid in the near future.

Which gets me to Netflix. I think I pay $9/mo. for the basic unlimited package, but I still get to stream as many movies as I like. Great for casual movie nights. I'm looking forward to when The Sopranos become available. The only downside is the above mentioned streaming quality. When it's running, it's pretty darned good ... but after 15 minutes the network will crap out and I'll have to grab a drink while the buffers refill. My inside man at Netflix swears up and down it's a problem with Comcast and their throttling policies. Boo.

Anyhow, back to my original story of clicking around on the Criterion site. I'm super excited to see them working with The Auteurs, a social networking site for film aficionados that has been in the works for over a year. Hats off to Efe Cakarel for seeing it through. The world desperately needs an alternative to the eye-gougingly terrible IMDB forums.

Alright. Back to work for me. Gotta tie up some loose ends before Turkeyfest 2008.

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