Cinema Paradiso: An Update.

Film Here's the short review of Cinema Paradiso after a couple of weeks. It's worked well enough so far that I've decided to cancel a few other subscriptions and stump up the extra eight pounds a month to upgrade my subscription to three discs at a time unlimited.

Now for something longer.

The two subscriptions were Spotify and Disney Life. Amazon Music Unlimited caters for all my music streaming needs, with a more flexible and user friendly mobile app and being able to stream through the two Echo Dots we have in the flat now. Since signing up to Disney Life, I think I've only watched about two films. So it seemed reasonable to convert those for more physical discs from CinPa.

Here are the list of positives:

Dispatches and receipts are as timely as latter day Lovefilm. Discs posted by them one day always arrive here the next and similarly those posted back are turned around the next day so I've still been able to churn through four discs a week, if I'm watching one each evening. We'll see how that changes with the increased dispatches.

The My List page is super flexible in terms of priority and you're able to literally put the films in a big long list in the order in which you want to see them. I have mine set up in release order going backwards and have been putting each week's new releases at the top. The algorithm apparently just works down the list from the top until it reaches a title which is currently in stock and allocates it which seems a lot more logical than the seemingly random approach Lovefilm had.

The profile page for each film which sometimes includes a Rotten Tomatoes score. Actor / director filmography pages seem modelled after the IMDb's and includes everybody and everything. Although sometimes it seems a bit inaccurate like suggesting Julia Roberts was in Season Two of Beadle's About which the IMDb contradicts.

The pre-release titles are listed in release date order going backwards which is something Amazon's flavour of Lovefilm couldn't accomplish despite being a feature of proper Lovefilm and Screenselect before it.

Customer service has been excellent so far. I had an initial issue with dispatches and it was sorted out via Twitter DM.

There's an option to buy top up rentals of you want to seriously binge if you have time off. I wonder how many people take them up on this in the Netflix age.

There's a scheme in which if you manage to persuade someone else to sign up you get 1/6 of your subscription off while they're still in the game and actively using the service. If you manage to have six, you get your subscription for free. So if you're thinking of signing up and want to help me out, use this link to begin your sign-up process - which includes a 30 day free trial (which is something I didn't even get).

The catalogue is huge and has items and unlike Lovefilm items don't seem to have been pulled since the service began.

The negatives:

In the New Release section et al, World Cinema and everything else are listed separately. Also there's an odd demarcation between "films to watch" and "movies to watch" which doesn't seem to be very clearly defined in terms of difference. Oh and new releases of back catalogue ("classics") don't have their own section and there's no way to sort them by theatrical release date.

The search is very raw: fine if you're just looking for a single title it falls over if you're looking for a franchise title like Doctor Who which then presents a list of nine hundred odd entries after presenting everything with the words "doctor who" in the title or synopsis and doesn't put those items with it in the title first.

None that I can see other than the price. Back in the day Screenselect charged £14.99 got three discs at a time before reducing the price to £11.99 some way into the Lovefilm ownership. £19.99 seems quite steep although my guess is its because the overheads of posting the discs back have increased a lot since then.

I received two discs in the same envelope today. Lovefilm offered the option of individual dispatch so I've asked if they do too. This will only really be an issue around Christmas time if a bumper envelope is delayed in the post going either way.

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