films

Where is it?

Remember back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when the media and content providers claimed we would be accessing content from the four corners of the earth?

Well, it’s nearly 2020 and we’re still having serious distribution issues when it comes to music and film from Europe.

This may not be a problem for most english speakers in this country, who primarily look at Hollywood blockbusters and the odd independent film from the states, Canada, Britain, Ireland or Australia. But when you wander on the Internet Movie Database and encounter films that feature actors and actresses you know from some of those films, you may notice that these have not been made available to North Americans, regardless of the major award nominations or wins these have accumulated.

In my case I have been encountering dead ends trying to rent or purchase recent music and films from Denmark and Finland, that i’ve been searching for since the release of the Academy Award winning film “In A Better World” in 2011.

This excellent Danish drama is available on blu-ray in North America and can be downloaded via Google Play and iTunes in Canada and the United States. But Canadians will not be able to find “Someone You Love“, another Scandinavian drama featuring Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, or Danish teen horror flick “Danny’s Doomsday“, which features William Jøhnk Nielsen (one of the young, lead actors in “In A Better World“).

Those films were made available on DVD and blu-ray for a short time after their original 2014 theatrical release and are still available for rental and purchase in Europe via several services, including iTunes and Google Play. But only “Danny’s Doomsday” has made it “across the pond”, exclusively to Prime Video in the states.

I’ve contacted iTunes, Google Play and Amazon/Prime Video repetitively in regards to several other European films and the response is pretty much “we’re slowly adding to our catalog so it might appear online soon”, the response i’ve received for over a decade in response to my requests for several classic french films i’ve wanted.

The delays in regards to the french films i’ve asked for are understandable because they’re rather obscure outside of Quebec and the other parts of North America where french isn’t common. But I won’t lie and say I don’t find it rather irritating to see soundtracks from the more recent films being featured on those services instead.

Seriously, I had purchased some of the music off the “Urban Family” soundtrack from iTunes four years before randomly encountering the Finnish musical on some obscure channel on my Roku a few weeks back. And to make matters worse I have also yet to be able to purchase “Uusi Ullottovuus“, a catchy tune by the Brotherus Brothers, the young sibling trio that features Johannes Brotherus, one of the lead actors of that film!

There are also no guaranties that a foreign film will remain available for a long time in North America, which is made apparent by the disappearance of the multiple award winning films like “Good Bye Lenin!” and “I’m Not Scared” from our store shelves and content providers. And all we can do is add titles to our wish lists on the latter, occasionally checking with JustWatch to see if a film pops up somewhere online.

Yes, you could try to find these films on DVD or Blu-ray on eBay or Amazon and use an all region DVD or blu-ray player if these discs aren’t coded for our region but this can get quite costly because of the shipping and handling costs per disc, although the later is more bearable if the DVD or Blu-ray you’re purchasing is compatible with your current player ; Consult your DVD or blu-ray player’s manual for details.

Personally, i’d prefer paying the foreign film producers directly to rent or download their films, when no distributor is available. But there are usually contract issues lingering in the background that keeps that from happening, unfortunately.

I have managed to secure some foreign films on DVD and blu-ray, that were produced in North America. But i’m guessing these are going to get rarer as more and more people just stream or download films legally.

I guess we all need to be patient about these things. But sometimes…

Argh!


Disney+ Canada – Early 2020

Mobile Syrup has confirmed that the Disney+ streaming service will be made available to Canadians in the first quarter of 2020.

This service will feature content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

Netflix Canada Price Hike? Really?

Netflix has decided to raise their monthly subscription plan prices by three dollars, days before the departure of Disney, Pixar and Marvel films from their service.

Yes, I am as baffled as you are in regards to this timing. But apparently they think they have enough material to keep their current customers, which in my case is quite the risk.

I already have my favourite Disney, Pixar and Marvel films on blu-ray thanks to the Amazon and the Disney Movie Club. And Prime Video has just recently expanded their catalogue, although it needs to expand further to be compatible with Netflix, especially when it comes to concerts and music documentaries.

My previous relationship with Netflix was on and off due to their lack of material and they’re basically keeping me on with the odd film, stand up comedy program, concert and the American remake of The Office. And unfortunately for them I own quite a few films from their catalog on DVD and blu-ray already.

It would be nice to be able to just store these away and use the service to view them but they’re still not up to par with the American service and they don’t appear to be interested in foreign language films from Europe.

For example, where are the great French performances by Louis De Funes, Gerard Depardieu and Pierre Richard? Where’s the Gaumont film catalogue?

Netflix Canada need more films like “The Train To Busan”, on top of the mainstream classic Hollywood productions. And I suspect that if no major improvements are made that I will be leaving the service again, especially if they subject me to yet another $3 hike within two years.

It should also be noted that DC Universe is also starting its own streaming service in Canada shortly, which will likely cause additional material to disappear from Netflix Canada’s catalog. But I guess all we can do is wait and see what will happen in 2019.