Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TIFF 2010 Schedule

So it's almost that time again. I received confirmation of my advance ticket order, and this year, I got all the films I requested. Barring last minute changes, here's my expected schedule:

Thursday September 9

Inside Job (Ferguson)

Friday September 10

The Way (Estevez)
Guest (Guerin)

Saturday September 11

Erotic Man (Leth)
Stone (Curran)
Jucy (Alston)

Sunday September 12

Conviction (Goldwyn)

Monday September 13

Tamara Drew (Frears)
The Game of Death (Nick & Bornot)
Of Gods and Men (Beauvois)

Tuesday September 14

Miral (Schnabel)
Meek's Cutoff (Reichardt)

Wednesday September 15

Amigo (Sayles)
Blue Valentine (Cianfrance)

Hard to pick one film from a list like this and say it is what I'm most looking forward to, but Blue Valentine has been on my radar since Cannes. Look for reviews at 1More Film Blog.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Netflix Recommendations....

....kinda, well...suck.

I read somewhere that Netflix had a contest for a million dollars for someone who could improve their recommendations. They need it.

Recently I got this odd genre category: "Cerebral Movies With a Strong Female Lead"

Um, okay, that sounds like the SORT of movie I might like, but...

Based on Your Interest in:

Sex as Comedy (Catherine Breillat)
Filmmaker Catherine Breillat's semiautobiographical tale captures the making of a cinematic sex scene in all its awkwardness. Jeanne (Anne Parillaud), the director, has a clear vision of what she wants, but the actors (Grégoire Colin and Roxane Mesquida) loathe each other and just can't make it work. The situation is further complicated by Jeanne's sexual relationship with the actor, who balks as she tries to exert her directorial authority.

Netflix recommends:

Very Young Girls (Rachel Lloyd)
David Schisgall's startling documentary captures the heartbreaking stories of underage girls -- many as young as 13 -- who've been forced into prostitution in New York, exposing how pimps use isolation, violence and drugs to keep girls dependent. Many of the girls interviewed take part in GEMS, a shelter and mentoring program founded by activist Rachel Lloyd -- once a prostitute herself -- that helps them transition out of "the life."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Worst. Airline. Ever.

Gotta be Delta.

So I've got a 3:50 out of San Antonio. I get to the airport gate and they are delayed until 4:27. So I go to the gate agent and say, you know, it doesn't look like I'll make the connecting flight in Atlanta, so why don't you just go ahead and switch my reservation to a later flight to Raleigh. No, no, no, no, you'll make it, no problem. I get on the plane, and, of course, we circle Atlanta in the air for awhile and I deplane at 8:20 to try to catch my 8:30 connection in another terminal. Needless to say, I don't make it.

Delta has a a station set up to assist passengers--I should suspect something is up when every other gate has a red "Missed Your Flight?" sign with a "Swipe and Go" machine. The cusmoter service there says, well, the later flight to Raleigh, you know the one you asked us to put you on in San Antonio? Well that's sold out. Good news, though, there's a plane tomorrow morning.

I feel like saying "I told you so" but I've had a long day and I've been sick on the plane, etc. so I say "fine, just give me my hotel voucher and I'll take the morning flight." Well, sir, the hotel will be at a REDUCED rate for you...


Yeah, only $59.

Delta is not going to give me a voucher for causing me to miss my connecting fault? No, we don't do that unless it is our fault that you missed the connection. Ummmm....but it is your fault. No, it's air traffic control's fault because the weather shut down the airport earlier....that's why your flight in San Antonio was delayed. But that's also when I told you to put me on the later connection and you declined to so because you, Delta, said the plane would still arrive in time to make the connection.

Guess I won't be flying Delta again any time soon.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Courtyard by Marriott Scam

Hey Courtyard by Marriott welcome to the customer service hall of shame.

Wife and I prebooked a room via Priceline to stay at a Courtyard by Marriott for two days. When we checked in, even though the room was prepaid, they asked for a credit card for "incidentals." No problem, usually, since I just don't use the incidentals at a hotel.

When I checked out, they tried to charge me a $1.08/per night for a "Room Safe Warranty." I mentioned that I had paid in advance and that per the agreement with Priceline, they had agreed to give me a room for the price quoted.

I got a canned response that this was a "standard" policy and that this charge was not covered in the price of the room because it was an incidental.

Huh? Since when? Incidentals are things you request over and above the cost of the room or which you can opt out of by not using. A safe is in the room, whether you use it or not and they know it will be part of the room when they get the offer for the price. This is not like a movie or Internet service where the person can agree on the additional charge when they use the service--this was added just for it being there to use if I wanted it.

I swear, all I could think about was that song in Les Miserables:

"Charge em for the lice..
Extra for the mice...
Two percent for looking in the mirror twice!
Here a little slice,
There a little cut...
Three percent for sleeping with the window shut!"

Courtyard by Marriott, when the first thing that comes to someone's mind when they hear your name is the Thernardiers, you have a corporate image problem.

CC to Priceline, too...if the customer can't be assured that the price the hotel "agrees" upon when you book through Priceline is the actual price he will have to pay, then what is the point of using your service? So, if I were Priceline, I would tell Courtyard that they need to cease this practice or I won't send them customers. Their dishonesty hurts the faith customers have in YOUR service.

Monday, August 02, 2010

GoDaddy Rocks

Okay, so I'm probably going to get howls of derision from people who are really tech savvy, but since I've often posted about customer service nightmares I've had (I'm looking at you Blockbuster), it's only fair that I mention some positive experiences.

For the last year and a half, I've had my personal film blog, http://1morefilmblog.com hosted on GoDaddy. Today I had a technical issue that was giving an error message instead of my site.

I called the 24/7 help line at 11:30 at night, spoke to an ACTUAL PERSON (within a 10 minute wait time) who resolved my issue.

Having the tech support allows me to focus on the content of my site, which is what web hosting should be all about. For a very reasonable price, GoDaddy allows me to create a site that I think looks great and is kept up to date.

Plus, the service person I spoke to was very knowledgeable. He neither spoke to me like I was an idiot nor tried to shove more products down my throat. It's so weird to get good customer service these days that when you do it almost feels like, "That didn't just happen, did it?"

Thanks GoDaddy.