Glenn Erickson of DVD Savant wrote a very engaging and useful piece about the pleasures of owning physical media. I second his thoughts. I am scared of a day, approaching even sooner than I'd anticipated, when video stores are scarce and films now commonly available have become much harder to locate, at least in a physical form. I still like DVDs, find them easier to organize, more attractive as objects, and generally of a higher quality than, say, some torrented AVI with mediocre image quality, with no art or notes or extras, burned onto a Sharpie'd DVDr alongside three unrelated films, stuck in a stack of other DVDrs, or, say, just sitting in a file on your hard drive... There's no real pleasure of ownership associated with such items. There's all sorts of ADVANTAGES to such technology - it's environmentally a lot more sound for people to have a few hundred movies stored on a hard drive than burned onto plastic, put in plastic cases, decorated with paper and ink, and displayed on a well-lit shelf - but aesthetic pleasure and pride of ownership are not among them.
Anyhow, for those who, like me, still like physical media - Applause Videos on Commercial Drive, just south of Broadway, is the newest video store selling off their stock. The official start date is July 8th, but by that time, if myself and my videophile friends keep dropping by, there won't be a whole lot left. Criterions are priced at $12.95. In fact, all their foreign and arthouse cinema starts there. Their more common stock is not a deal, so those of you who got all excited grazing the shelves at one of our city's dying Blockbusters can skip it, but for the true cinephile... I mean, I walked out of there with Bunuels, Bergmans, Bressons, Svankmajers... They had TONS of good stuff left over when I walked away. They aren't Videomatica, but then, nowhere is.