One of the biggest losses that came with the demise of the video rental store was choice. Say what you will about Blockbuster, but the shelves were always stocked full not just with new releases, but also genre-specific older movies and classic film. As I expanded my film horizons in the 90s, Blockbuster became vital—I’d peruse the shelves and grab a new classic every week, immersing myself in the history of moviemaking one VHS at a time. And while digital streaming services are certainly much more convenient, we’re also seeing the dwindling of choice as outlets like Netflix and Amazon prioritize new releases and original content over accessibility to movies made before 1999.
Enter FilmStruck. Today, the new streaming service from Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection has launched, offering up a terrific way to enjoy classic cinema. Indeed, as Netflix’s library has shrunk (seriously, go look—it’s mostly B-level movies you’ve never heard of, brand new releases, and original content) TCM has become an invaluable and reliable source of classic cinema, and now they’re adding an “On Demand” aspect to their output with FilmStruck.
The streaming service features the largest library of “contemporary & classic arthouse, indie, foreign & cult films from the world’s most celebrated studios and directors.” The hundreds of titles are divided by genre, filmmaker, and even themes, and you’ll find everything from well-known classics to little-seen minor works from accomplished directors.
Additionally, FilmStruck offers plenty of bonus features as it’s also the exclusive streaming home of the entire Criterion Collection. Here you’ll find all the same bonus features available on the Criterions discs, as well as expert guides in which FilmStruck hosts will offer information about the films, production background, style and theme, and more—just like on TCM.
Basically, FilmStruck looks to be a terrific source of classic films and an invaluable resource for cinephiles—both burgeoning and well-established. They’re offering a free 14-day trial right now, and there are three separate plans to choose from: For $6.99 a month you get access to the library plus rare footage and special features; for $10.99 a month you get access to the library and the Criterion Collection, including bonus content; and for $99 a year you get everything that comes with both the basic and Criterion plan.
Watch the video below for more information, and click here to go to the FilmStruck website.