Back when we noticed that Criterion was having a 40% sale on its entire library, we forgot to mention that they were launching a new website. Well it’s here and color me impressed. The Criterion Collection website comes complete with the option to watch several movies online. This is their big push into digital distribution, which seems counter to their market on high-end DVDs. Though I guess even Criterion has seen the writing on the wall.
It’s $5 for a one week rental and that’s applied toward the cost of the film on DVD or Blu-ray. Not sure it’s HD, but I can’t imagine Criterion skimping on quality, so when they claim the movies are “high quality” I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s the highest quality. There are only 17 movies online — including Au Revoir Les Enfants, Solaris, and Lord of the Flies — but they’ll be adding more as time goes on.
The site also has a ton of new content, including essays from their DVD releases. For example, you can read Martin Scorsese’s thoughts on Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket or learn what Rian Johnson’s top 10 Criterion films are. Also, each month they will be programing online film festivals, which will be advertising supported.
Not too shabby.