Still from A Night at the Opera.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Lovers of classic Hollywood films have one more reason to join Turner’s Filmstruck streaming network, now that Warner Bros has decided to shutter its own service that no one uses. It’s a rare moment in which media consolidation is good for everyone, and it positions Filmstruck as the best destination for finding those films that Netflix refuses to bother with.

Filmstruck is essentially the Turner Classic Movies version of a cord-cutting option. It launched a little over a year ago as a $7-per-month service that also includes hundreds of movies from the Criterion Collection for an extra four bucks a month. The launch coincided with Criterion pulling its films from Hulu, and Netflix withdrawing from the classic movie landscape in favor of releasing original programming. While Filmstruck has always included plenty of selections from all eras of film history, some movie buffs might have been turned off when faced with the absence of big classics like Casablanca and Citizen Kane. “The No. 1 request from FilmStruck fans has been, ‘Can we get the Golden Age of Hollywood movies?’” Coleman Breland, president of Turner Classic Movies and FilmStruckNow, told the Los Angeles Times. Filmstruck will have streaming rights to the Warner Bros. archives and is adding some new features to its rotating set of curated collections.

The first batch of new films hit the website today and a section called TCM Select highlights some of the picks with introductions from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, as well as various pieces of bonus material.

I’ve been using Filmstruck with The Criterion Channel for about six months and I’d say the collections of programming are its best feature. Browsing Netflix is a joyless slog and despite the presence of micro-genres like “cerebral visually striking romantic comedies,” Netflix’s lists always look repetitive to me. Filmstruck gives you categories that have more of a human touch. I’m especially a fan of the Friday night double-feature and Tuesday’s pairing of a short with a related movie. It’s just easy to trust the programming and go with it.

At this point, the rough edges that Filmstruck had at first have mostly been resolved but the service really does need to fully expand its app options. The lack of an app on the PS4 and Xbone is glaring, and the need to use Chromecast means that I just forget about the service sometimes.

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[Los Angeles Times]