It's difficult to guess how much pressure Netflix is putting on arthouse theaters and those who call themselves that, but often fall short (like the Grandin in Roanoke), but after seeing "Even the Rain" tonight, my guess is the pressure is growing.
This is a powerful Spanish movie of the type you'd expect to see at the Grandin. It was nominated as Best Foreign Film by the Academy Awards in 2010 and stars Gael Garcia Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries"). It has all the elements of a movie that should have been at the Grandin. But it never made it. Instead, we got a string of second-rate mainstream movies that we could have seen at the multi-plexes and gems like "Even the Rain" were left to Netflix.
I normally don't watch much television because commercials offend me, but now, when I get a few moments and want to see a good movie without commercials, Netflix has my profile and can recommend movies like "Even the Rain," me a delightful surprise for less than $10 a month The Grandin's prices are over $8 for a movie, putting it in the same price range as theaters with far more amenities and often the same movies.
Last week, I found "Easy A" through Netflix' suggestions and I'm sure many more will come when I want them. It's a brave new world, one that is taking advantage of the fact that a part of the old world that could have a wonderful niche--movies like "Even the Rain"--prefers "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Kung Fu Panda 2."
It's a damn shame because this neglect and competition are going to ultimately close the doors of a Roanoke treasure and I don't see anybody in a position to do something about it getting up off his ass and moving.