16 April 2012

Feature: Curzon On Demand

When someone first said "the world is getting smaller", he or she she would have been greeted with pedantic scepticism. When you look at the world today, especially since technology has drastically improved, things got smaller, faster and smarter. Some people may not realise it, but every day we experience a little bit of the world in what we buy, eat, wear, find love online and even the thing we all treasure - film.

Film is perfect escapism from today's stressful times; watching the latest films at your local cinema is perfect tonic to be transported into the magical world  and forget about the outside. Money is in short supply, we try to do our best; sadly, local cinemas are closing, multiplexes are opening miles from town centres, and add to the transport prices increasing ticket prices, expensive snacks, poor quality films. But what if you don't like Hollywood films or are just crying out for a change? Step forward Curzon Cinema.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to know as quality diminishes in mainstream film, independent/world film has been constantly producing fantastic, high quality films. However, not everyone has the privilege of a independent/arthouse cinema locally. The Curzon Cinema chain may be based in London, however, they do have the answer to your frustrations, Curzon On Demand. The leading  independent cinema chain is moving into the on demand market providing their "In Cinemas - On Curzon" so that independent film fans around the UK and Ireland have the chance not just to watch a fantastic back catalogue of films from great directors such as Werner Herzog, Aki Kaurismäki, Takishi Miike, Paolo Sorrentino but will also have a chance to watch new releases from the day they are released! Curzon On Demand is more than just a home cinema experience; the service is interactive providing galleries, trailers and those little extras you expect from DVD and Bluray's, giving a more fufiling experience.

I gave this service a try last night. My town doesn't have an independent cinema (we dont have a cinema full stop) and to get to the nearest indie cinema I have to travel 11 miles into Glasgow city centre. By then, I have already spent the same amount as an adult ticket. The prices are fantastic too, with new release starting at around £4 up to £6, with back catalogue films as low as £1.50. So you can easily take your time to browse through the available films (all in HD) without the stress of checking if you'ved missed a performance. I decided to pick Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre, the film that launched  the service; a fantastic film which I recommend highly, especially if you love the works of Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson - poignant, funny, sad but a brilliant film. When it comes to watching the film, I've been a constant victim of buffering but I was pleasantly surprised how well things went - no buffering. I've tried those mainstream, bigger on demand service with which I encountered buffering but with Curzon, it was smooth, plain sailing. Easy to set up, a good starting catalogue of films but give it time; indepenedent and world cinema are growing and  Curzon On Demand will become the essential on demand service and cinephiles in the UK and Ireland will see it as their online home.

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