Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Online Movie Streaming - Review of Providers for East Asian cinema

I've been doing a little research on who has the best selection of east Asian films available for streaming online and after having signed up to:

  • Netflix
  • Love Film
  • Mubi

I can reveal that I no longer subscribe to Netflix or Love Film.  Netflix is like a crummy video shop from the late 1980s that only has a very limited selection of films and a lot of B-movies you have never heard of.  It does carry some Cine Asia titles as well as Shaolin Soccer but I found it lacking for my East Asian movie fix needs.  Worth signing up for a free trial month and watching all the good stuff then cancelling though.  If you do that please watch the TV series 15 Storeys High with Sean Lock and Benedict Wong as it is extremely funny and many was sadly slept on when it aired on BBC.  Also it is shot just round the corner from where I grew up in South London (although maybe that's just cool to me!).

Love Film appears to have a lot of titles but when you get down to the nitty gritty most of the East Asian films are DVD rental only and not available for online streaming.  Disappointing.

Mubi has a different approach - only 30 films are available to watch at any time and they add a new title every day and remove one.  Therefore if you see a movie you are interested in has been added you have 30 days to watch it.  OK so the choice is limited but the selection is excellent.  It's like having a world cinema / art house / old movie geek select films for you (like a proper video shop used to be).  The East Asian selection has been pretty great with Johnny To movies like PTA, Sparrow and Mad Detective (currently available) being on the Mubi rotating movie shelf.  Mubi is the only site I've kept a subscription to (and you get a bloody good deal if you sign up for a year, about £30 I think).  I've watched obscure Thai art house film Hi-So as well as Hong Kong classic The Internal Affairs Trilogy and Park Chan Wook's I'm a Cyborg But That's OK (currently available).  It also shows old Amercian noir movies from time to time which you cannot seem to get anywhere else (crazy, I'd love to see more old movies available and not just on youtube - by the way all the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies are on youtube, fantastic watching!)

Now if only there was a site that streamed high quality Shaw Brothers movies! Mubi does lack a good martial arts selection but on the whole it is the best provider for streaming East Asian cinema.  A Lucky Cat recommendation.

(Picture show here is fan art created by Jerry Johnson, see: http://mubi.com/topics/mubi-fan-art-logo-competition)