Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category
What movies are coming to DVD in 2010?
We currently only know the names of movies coming to DVD in 2010 for January and February, and a few hints about March.
The early DVD season will be dominated by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which did big numbers at the box office. Expect I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell to be big at frat houses and 16 year old boy’s sleepovers everywhere.
Here are the upcoming 2010 DVD releases that we know for sure right now.
Movies Coming to DVD in January 2010
- Big Fan
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Lorna’s Silence
- Post Grad
- The Final Destination
- Brothers At War
- Halloween II
- In The Loop
- X Games 3D: The Movie
- Death In Love
- I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell
- The Escapist
- Whip It!
Movies Coming to DVD in February 2010
- Good Hair
- Couples Retreat
- Free Style
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Black Dynamite
- Love Happens
- The Time Traveler’s Wife
- Coco Before Chanel
- Private Lives of Pippa Lee
- Women in Trouble
- Dead Snow
- The Informant!
- The Vicious Kind
Movies Coming to DVD in March 2010
- Matlock: The Complete 4th Season
- Have Gun Will Travel: Season 4, Volume 1
- Capitalism: A Love Story
- The Stoning of Soraya M.
- Walker Texas Ranger: Seventh Season
- Hawaii Five O: 8th Season
- Monk: Season 8
- South Park: The Complete 13th Season
- Bigger Than Life
- Days of Heaven
You might also be interested in this article about good movies to rent at Only Good Movies. Also, please note that if you buy something via our Amazon link, we make a small commission. (So please pre-order some DVDs!)
This post is part of a series of posts we’re making about 2010 movies. Other posts in the series include:
- What Movies Are Coming to DVD in 2010?
- What Movies Are Coming out in 2010?
- What Movie Sequels Are Coming out in 2010?
- What New Horror Movies Are Coming out in 2010?
- What New Marvel Movies Are Coming Out?
Readers of AskDeb.com often ask me, “What movies has Tom Cruise been in? What are the best Tom Cruise movies?” While I’ll often respond with movie titles like Top Gun, that’s just barely scratching the surface of Tom Cruise’s long and influential Hollywood career.
In this article, I’ll start by looking at the five best Tom Cruise movies. Afterwards, I’ll end the article by listing all of the other Tom Cruise movies available on Blu-ray and DVD. When you’re through reading, you should know the answer to “What movies has Tom Cruise been in? What are the best Tom Cruise movies?”.
What Are The Best Tom Cruise Movies?
If you want to know, “What movies has Tom Cruise been in? What are the best Tom Cruise movies?”, then examining his finest films is a good place to start. In my opinion, the following Tom Cruise movies capture the actor at his best.
- Rain Man (1988) – Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a self-absorbed yuppie who takes his autistic brother (played by Dustin Hoffman) on a road trip in an attempt to gain a share of his inheritance. Cruise is great playing the shallow character who learns to care for the brother he never knew.
- Top Gun (1986) – As Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Cruise became the poster boy for the United States Air Force. Cruise’s good looks and charm stand out, as do the eye-popping aerial dogfights. The supporting cast is also excellent, featuring Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Meg Ryan and Michael Ironside.
- Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – Tom Cruise teams with Oliver Stone to make this movie about the effects of the Vietnam War on those who fought in it. As paralyzed war vet Ron Kovic, Cruise gets to do some serious acting for a change, and in many ways it serves as the antithesis of Top Gun.
- Magnolia (1999) – Joining an ensemble cast with the likes of John C. Reilly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore, Cruise shines as Frank T.J. Mackey, a self-help guru who teaches men how to seduce women. But there’s more to the seemingly shallow Mackey than meets the eye, and audiences get to see Cruise range from over-the-top to absolutely anguished.
- The Last Samurai (2003) – Cruise plays Captain Nathan Algren, a man bereft of self-respect and tortured by his past. After being captured by a group of samurai, Algren begins his slow ascent back towards a life worth living. Beautifully shot, The Last Samurai allows Cruise to demonstrate a wide range of emotions (and the sword battles are pretty cool, too).
Tom Cruise Filmography
Tom Cruise has worked steadily since his movie debut in 1981’s Endless Love. While he has primarily served as a leading man, he has also made the occasional cameo. All Tom Cruise film roles (as of this writing) are listed in the Tom Cruise Filmography below.
- Endless Love (1981) – As Billy
- Taps (1981) – As Cadet Captain David Shawn
- The Outsiders (1981) – As Steve Randle
- Losin’ It (1983) – As Woody
- All the Right Moves (1983) – As Stefen “Stef” Djordjevic
- Risky Business (1983) - As Joel Goodson
- Legend (1985) – As Jack O’ The Green
- The Color of Money (1986) – As Vincent Lauria
- Cocktail (1988) – As Brian Flanagan
- Young Guns (1988) – As Cowboy (uncredited cameo)
- Days of Thunder (1990) – As Cole Trickle
- Far and Away (1992) – As Joseph Donnelly
- A Few Good Men (1992) -As Lt. Daniel Kaffee
- The Firm (1993) – As Mitch McDeere
- Interview with the Vampire (1994) – As Lestat de Lioncourt
- Mission Impossible (1996) – As Ethan Hunt
- Jerry Maguire (1996) – As Jerry Maguire
- Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – As Bill Harford
- Mission Impossible II (2000) – As Ethan Hunt
- Vanilla Sky (2001) – As David Aames
- Minority Report (2002) – As John Anderton
- Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) – As Himself (cameo)
- Collateral (2004) – As Vincent
- War of the Worlds (2005) – As Ray Ferrier
- Mission Impossible III (2006) – As Ethan Hunt
- Lions for Lambs (2007) – As Senator Jasper Irving
- Tropic Thunder (2008) – As Les Grossman
- Valkyrie (2008) – As Claus von Stauffenberg
- Men (2009)
- Tourist (2010)
If you’re the type of movie fan who loves to rent or buy hit films as soon as they become available, maybe you should be asking, “Where can I find out about new movies on DVD?”. Fortunately for you, there are a large number of resources out there to help you in your quest for popular movies.
Latest DVD Releases Online
In this article, I’ll be detailing a number of answers to the question, “Where can I find out about new movies on DVD?”. Some answers, like finding the latest dvd releases online, are pretty obvious, but there might be a few surprises included that you’ve never even considered.
New DVD Releases On The Internet
When it comes to finding out about almost anything, the Internet is always at the top of my list. A vast number of websites exist which detail upcoming new release DVDs, but the following are some of the best that I’ve come across:
- Amazon – They won’t rent you a movie, but they’ll be more than happy to sell you a copy and ship it right to your door. Amazon carries all the popular DVD and Blue-ray releases for both film and television, and their site is grouped into convenient categories which allow customers to search by movie genre. Upcoming release dates for films are also available.
- Movies.com – This movie website features release dates for new DVDs, a list of new movies on DVD, and reviews of new and older films. Of course, what else would you expect from a site with a URL like movies.com?
- DVDVerdict.com – DVD Verdict specializes in movies on DVD and Blue-ray. They includes reviews for all new DVD and Blue-ray releases, and they even have a section where you can see literally every DVD coming out this week (as well as weeks or months in advance). From movies on DVD to aerobic exercise programs on DVD, this site has it all. You can even browse the cover art for upcoming DVD releases, which can be especially helpful when you’re trying to look through a few hundred options.
Check Your Local Video Store
When answering the question, “Where can I find out about new movies on DVD?”, I would suggest that you check your local video store. Rental chains such as Blockbuster, Family Video and Movie Gallery each have a list of upcoming DVD releases right next to the checkout counter. Since they want your repeat business, a video store is going to do everything in their power to make sure you’re aware of that hot DVD release that’s right around the corner.
While it’s not the most effective way to learn about upcoming DVD releases, you’re bound to see commercials for a few new DVDs if you watch enough television. I wouldn’t go out of my way to attempt this strategy, but you might pay closer attention to the commercials if you’re going to be watching anyway.
Ask Your Friends
When looking for the hottest new release movies, be sure and consult your friends. If you have a pal who’s a real movie buff, their knowledge could prove especially valuable. Whether you’re looking for new movies on DVD today, new movies on DVD this week, or the best new movies on DVD, friends can often be an unexpected source of information.
Learning how to write a screenplay can be a daunting task. There are a large number of protocols to follow, not to mention trying to create a compelling narrative that’s likely to get turned into a motion picture. While this article won’t tell you every step involved in writing a film script, it will set you on the path and arm you with some reliable advice. With a little hard work and lots of luck, your next stop will be a red carpet in Hollywood.
Types of Scripts
Since you’re learning how to write a screenplay, a good starting point is to learn the various types of scripts.
- Spec Script – Also known as a Submission Script, this is a screenplay that’s written with the hope that it will be purchased or optioned eventually. If you’re writing a screenplay for the first time, you’ll definitely be doing a Spec Script.
- Commissioned Screenplay – When a writer is hired to write a specific work for the screen, this is known as a Commissioned Screenplay.
- Shooting Script – Also known as a Production Draft, this is a script that’s been purchased and put through a series of rewrites. In this script, all the shots and scenes are numbered, and they’re broken down into the components needed to film them. This allows the order of filming to be arranged in a way that makes the most efficient use of cast, crew, sets, etc.
Before Writing a Screenplay
- Read Screenplays – To get an idea of how the written word translates to the big screen, it’s a good idea to read the work of other screenwriters. You can read as few or many as you like, but it’s a good idea to expose yourself to as many ideas as possible. You can either purchase individual scripts or view them for free at sites such as ScreenWriterCenter and Drew’s Script-O-Rama.
- Take Classes – If you’ve never written a screenplay before, it would be worth your time (and money) to take a course in the subject. Any university with a film department should offer such a class, and it will allow you to become familiar with the fundamentals. Some classes may also require you to write a script as one of the requirements, which can be an excellent motivational tool for those less-than-focused screenwriters out there.
- Learn Proper Formatting – Besides creativity, one of the most important elements of learning how to write a screenplay is knowing the proper formatting. It’s not as simple as opening up Microsoft Works and typing away. There are a number of industry standards for screenplays, and many agents or studios will ignore it if proper formatting isn’t followed. You can find specific instruction on the Internet or in books such as “Screenwriting for Dummies,” “Screenplay,” and “How Not to Write a Screenplay.” Below, I’ve included a few of the most common requirements (there are many more).
- Formatting Requirements – A traditional screenplay is written on 3-hole punched paper measuring 8 1/2″ by 11″. Courier 12 font is normally used, and the top and bottom margins range from .5″ to 1″. The left margin measures between 1.2″ and 1.6″ (allowing for brads to be inserted), and the right margin is between .5″ and 1″. Dialogue margins are indented 2.5″ from the left, and 2.0″ to 2.5″ on the right. Dialogue is usually 30 to 35 spaces at the maximum. In the header of the upper right hand corner, a sequential number will appear on each page (except for the first page).
The average script is between 95 and 125 pages, and one page written in Courier 12 font equals roughly one minute of screen time. Dramatic scripts tend to be longer, while comedies and action films are usually shorter. Keep length in mind when writing your script, as some producers won’t bother to read one that’s considered too long. 125 pages is pushing it, as most modern Hollywood scripts are around 114 pages. The shorter the film, the more showings per day can be worked in at theaters.
While keeping up with all these rules can be a major pain, there is some good news: screenwriting software is available that instantly formats your script by industry standards.
The following are some of the best examples of screenwriting software currently on the market:
- Montage Software (Mac only)
- Final Draft (Mac or PC – One of the default applications used by Hollywood screenwriters)
- Storyist (for Mac)
- Celtx (available on the Internet for free in Mac and PC formats)
- Adobe Story
- FiveSprockets (offered for free online)
- Movie Magic Screenwriter (Mac or PC – One of the default applications used by Hollywood screenwriters)
- Movie Outline (Mac and PC)
- Page 2 Stage
- Plot Builder
- Screenwriting Pro
The following are screenwriting tips to keep in mind both during and after the writing process.
- Think Original – Try to come up with a script idea that hasn’t already been done 50 times. A fresh screenplay can often enhance your chances of someone in the industry wanting to read it.
- Set a Schedule – No matter what, set a goal to write for a certain amount of time each day. The screenwriting process can be an exhausting one, so it’s important to keep yourself motivated and never give up.
- The Importance of Dialogue – Great dialogue (and actors) can turn an average screenplay into a work of art. Pay special attention to your film’s dialogue, even if the focus is more on action or horror. If you’re unsure of how it will translate to the screen, you can always hire professional actors to read your script aloud (known as a “reading”). This will quickly give you an idea of what needs work.
- Rewrites – Nobody writes a script worthy of an Oscar on their first try. That’s why editing is so important. Read and re-read your script, looking for any dialogue or action that doesn’t drive the film forward in a meaningful way. When you find such an example, cut it from the script with extreme prejudice.
- Heroes Need Villains – Whether your character is fighting Asian mummies or cancer, it’s important to make the enemy seem as capable as possible. What’s a hero without a great villain?
- Shot Selection – While a screenwriter will need to include shots in their script, don’t go overboard. You’ll need to mention a shot occasionally in order to direct the eye of the audience, but leave the rest of that up to the director.
- Active Voice – The actions as described in your script should always take place in the present tense, not the past. Use the active voice.
- Proofread – Before you even think about submitting your script, make sure it’s free from all grammatical errors and misspellings. It’s also a good idea to get someone else to proofread your screenplay.
Register Your Work
Once you’ve completed your screenplay, be sure to register your work. This may not keep someone from stealing it, but it will give you a chance to sue them successfully. While a copyright begins the moment your create a piece of art, that won’t do you much good in court.
The first option is to register your script with the Writer’s Guild of America. It’s quick and easy, although the registration will expire more quickly than you might imagine.
The second option is to copyright your screenplay with the Library of Congress. This is a more involved (and slightly more expensive) process, but the copyright on your work will be valid for decades to come.
Write a Treatment
In many cases, producers will ask for a treatment of your script. This is an abbreviated version of your script that allows them to determine if they want to read the actual product. A treatment includes the title, logline, and synopsis.
- Title – Try to come up with a title that makes the audience want to know more. Simple is better.
- Logline – A one or two sentence pitch that describes the basic premise of your script. This is what producers will usually read first, so make it as compelling as possible.
- Synopsis – This should run between three and seven pages long and outline the script’s most important plot points. The film’s three primary acts will be discussed, and an overview of all the major characters will be given.
As I mentioned in the very first sentence, it’s a daunting task to write a Hollywood script. With so many rules–and the odds working against you–it’s a miracle that anyone ever sells a script in Hollywood. But they do, and thousands of serious spec scripts get written each year with the hopes of becoming the next Juno, Hurt Locker, or Little Miss Sunshine. So hone your skills, put on a fresh pot of coffee, and refuse to stop until you’ve made your own indelible mark on the industry.
This section is dedicated to movies, films and other forms of video entertainments. Here you will find movie questions & answers furnished by our readers and members. We hope to provide you with useful advice and tips to help address questions like “Where can I watch a movie online?” or “How do you burn DVD movies?”.
If you have a question you would like to submit please send an email to questions [at] askdeb.com.
This section if filled with movie advice researched by the staff at AskDeb.com. If you would like to contribute please email us or visit the “Write For Us” section.
We wrote an article about good movies for teenage girls that was such
a big hit that we just had to write a companion articles. Here it
is–good movies for teenage boys.
Here at AskDeb.com, we often receive emails asking, “Where and how can I download movies?” While the choices are plentiful when it comes to downloading movies online, you need to be aware that not all movie download sites are legal.
AskDeb.com readers must think I’m a real movie expert, as I’m always getting asked, “Which recent movies do you recommend?”.
A lot of movie fans must read AskDeb.com, as I’m always getting asked, “Where can I find out about movie releases and movie release dates?”.
At least twice a week, I receive emails from AskDeb.com readers wanting to know, “How do you burn DVD movies?”.
If you want to watch movies on Google, it’s easier than you might think. In fact, this article is designed to tell you all about Google Movies and Google Video, especially how convenient and simple they are.
I received an email the other day from an AskDeb reader who wanted to know, “What are the most popular movies ever?”. In this article, I’ll attempt to answer that question.
A question I’m commonly asked by movie fans on the go is, “How can I download movies and videos for my iPod?”. Anyone who owns an iPod knows how handy it is to be able to have portable movies and videos right at your fingertip.
Readers who are looking to make their own movies should be asking, “What is Windows Movie Maker, and how do I use Windows Movie Maker?”.
When someone asks me, “What are your favorite comedy movies?”, I always respond with “How much time do you have?”. You see, I love movies that make me laugh, whether they’re romantic comedy movies, musical comedies or screwball comedies.
Recently, a reader of AskDeb.com with a 15-year-old daughter wrote in and asked, “What are some good movies for teenage girls?”.
I get emails all the time from people wanting to know, “Where do you rent movies?”. In an effort to answer that question, the following article will discuss my five favorite places to rent DVDs.
If you’re the type of movie fan who loves to rent or buy hit films as soon as they become available, maybe you should be asking, “Where can I find out about new movies on DVD?”.
If you own a PC with a high-speed Internet connection, isn’t it time that you considered the question, “Where can I watch a movie online”? Viewing online movies is more convenient than renting, and you’ll also save on gas and general vehicle wear.
When someone asks me, “Where is the best place to buy movies?”, I’m always happy to inform them that they have a number of excellent choices.
Recently, many readers of AskDeb.com have written in and asked, “What is the Internet Movie Database?”. Since our stated goal is to answer any and all questions, I figured it was high time that I addressed this query.
We’re fortunate to count many families and parents among our readers here at AskDeb.com. As a result, I often receive emails asking questions such as, “What are some good family movies in the theater now?
I love to watch movies, but I also like to have a little information about them before I commit a few hours of my life. Is the script supposed to be solid?
If you look at the box office numbers, it seems that everyone loves Adam Sandler. Whether he’s starring in an outrageous comedy or stretching his abilities in a drama, Adam Sandler movies are among the top earners every year.
Readers of AskDeb.com often ask me, “What movies has Tom Cruise been in? What are the best Tom Cruise movies?” While I’ll often respond with movie titles like Top Gun, that’s just barely scratching the surface of Tom Cruise’s long and influential Hollywood career.
In these tough economic times, readers are always asking me, “How can I save money on movie rentals?”. Sure, you want to keep your family and friends entertained, but renting movies can be time consuming and include extra fees such as the gas it takes to get to and from the video store.
Our readers with children often ask me, “What are some good kids movies?”. Because of this, I’ve decided to put together of list of some of the best kids movies currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.
When I’m reviewing the questions sent in to AskDeb.com, one which comes up over and over is “What biography movies would you recommend?”.
Considering that the 2007 Transformers film, starring Shia LaBeouf and directed by Michael Bay, made over 700 million dollars worldwide, it’s not unusual that I’m often asked, “Will there be a second Transformers movie, and when will the first Transformers movie come out on DVD?”.
If you’re looking for some good action movies, there are a wide array of choices available. From shootouts and car chases to martial arts battles, the modern action movie is a great way to pass a few hours with friends or family.
Our readers are avid movie watchers constantly looking for lastest movie tips. We’ve compiled the section below specifically to meet their movie needs.
What’s a good movie to rent?
Check out Tom’s Home Theater Picks for rental suggestions.
What company made James Bond’s car and security system in “For Your Eyes Only”?
From the paragraph below it seems like the answer is a Lotus Esprit and the security system is that it is disposable. I hope that’s right.
“Back in London, Bond is assigned his mission by the Chief of Staff ( credited as Tanner and played by James Villiers ) and Minister of Defense (Spy’s Geoffrey Keen again) as M is away – sadly actor Bernard Lee was ill and died after the movie’s release. James is sent off to Madrid to track down the hit man Gonzales in a ‘disposable’ white Lotus Esprit. After capturing Bond, Gonzles is ‘perforated’ by Melina so James has share her mode of transport due to the burglar alarm in his Lotus. This leads to a great Citroen car chase down the mountains with James commenting “love to drive in the country-side, don’t you ?”
Considering that the 2007 Transformers film, starring Shia LaBeouf and directed by Michael Bay, made over 700 million dollars worldwide, it’s not unusual that I’m often asked, “Will there be a second Transformers movie, and when will the first Transformers movie come out on DVD?”. Luckily, I have both of those answers for you.
Plot of Transformers
Prior to the beginning of the film, a deadly war had been waged between the heroic Autobots and the villainous Decepticons (races which appear as giant robots). The Decepticon leader, Megatron, sought the All Spark to destroy his enemies, while the Autobots hoped to find it to end the war and restore their destroyed homeworld.
Megatron found the All Spark on Earth, but he crashed and was frozen in the Arctic Circle. The giant robot’s body was found by a group of explorers led by Captain Archibald Witwicky in 1897, and the location of the All Spark was copied onto his glasses.
The All Spark was discovered and hidden by the construction of the Hoover Dam. Megatron, also moved to the Hoover Dam, was studied by the U.S government, and many modern inventions were created by reverse engineering his body.
In present day, a group of Decepticons appear on Earth looking for their leader. They soon learn that Witwicky’s glasses hold the key to Megatron’s location, and they are currently in the possession of his descendant Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).
When the Decepticons attempt to grab Witwicky, it is revealed that the Autobots are also on Earth. With both sides disguised as modern-day vehicles and aircraft, a running battle begins for possession of Witwicky and the glasses.
While much more occurs during the film, I don’t want to spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it. Needless to say, however, the good guys triumph in the end.
Cast of Transformers
- Shia LaBeouf – Plays Sam Witwicky, the teenage hero of the story.
- Megan Fox – Plays Mikaela Banes, a teenage girl who Sam has a crush on.
- Josh Duhamel – Army Captain William Lennox. Survives the Decepticon attack on Qatar.
- Tyrese Gibson – Air Force Technical Sergeant Robert Epps. Survives the Decepticon attack on Qatar.
- John Turturro – Reggie Simmons, a government agent who works for Sector 7, the agency which guards the All Spark and studies Megatron.
- Rachael Taylor – Portrays Maggie Madsen, a computer expert who assists the Department of Defense.
- Anthony Anderson – Plays Glen Whitmann, a friend of Maggie and a computer hacker.
- Kevin Dunn – Plays Ron Witwicky, the father of Sam.
- Julie White – Plays Judy Witwicky, the mother of Sam.
- Jon Voight – Portrays John Keller, the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
- Peter Cullen – Supplies the voice of Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. He was also the voice in the 1980’s Transformers cartoon series.
- Hugo Weaving – Supplies the voice for Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons.
When Will The First Transformers Movie Come Out On DVD?
For those of you still wondering, “Will there be a second Transformers movie, and when will the first Transformers movie come out on DVD?”, I will now happily answer the second question. The first Transformers movie released on DVD on October 16th, 2007. It would go on to sell 13.74 million copies in 2007, making it the most popular DVD release of the year. Following its release in Blu-ray format on September 2nd, 2008, the first Transformers movie has made over $278 million in DVD sales.
The Second Transformers Movie
I’ve received numerous questions asking, “Will there be a second Transformers movie, and when will the first Transformers movie come out on DVD?”. I’m happy to report that the second Transformers movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is scheduled to hit theaters on June 26th, 2009. With an estimated budget of $200 million, it’s sure to be one of the biggest hits of the summer.
Plot of Transformers: The Fallen
The basic plot of Transformers: The Fallen revolves around Sam Witwicky’s continuing adventures with the Autobots and Decepticons. This time around, we learn about the Transformers and their previous appearances on Earth.
The Decepticons look to capture Sam for information, while the heroic Autobots once again seek to protect him. The climax of the film is said to take place at the Giza pyramid complex.
Cast of Transformers: The Fallen
The following actors and actresses will be part of the cast of Transformers: The Fallen:
- Shia LaBeouf – Reprises his role as Sam Witwicky. He’s now a college student majoring in Astronomy.
- Megan Fox – Plays Mikaela Banes, Sam’s girlfriend. She couldn’t afford to attend college with him.
- Josh Duhamel – Captain William Lennox. Part of a taskforce battling the Decepticons.
- Tyrese Gibson – Master Sergeant Robert Epps. A teammate of Duhamel.
- John Turturro – Reggie Simmons, the former Sector 7 agent.
- Ramon Rodriguez – Plays Leo.
- Kevin Dunn – Portrays Ron Witwicky, the father of Sam.
- Julie White – Portrays Judy Witwicky, the wife of Sam.
- Rainn Wilson – Makes a cameo as a university professor.
- Matthew Marsden – Plays Graham, a special forces agent from the UK and member of Lennox’s team.
- Peter Cullen – Voices Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.
- Mark Ryan – Provides the voice of Bumblebee.
I love to watch movies, but I also like to have a little information about them before I commit a few hours of my life. Is the script supposed to be solid? Have I heard of any of the actors or actresses in the film? For this reason, I sometimes find myself asking, “Where can I find reviews of current movies?”.
Online Movie Review Sites
Keep in mind that not all online movie review sites are created equal. Whether they deal with family movie reviews or top movie reviews, many sites feature less-than-impressive writing, while others use words that the average person would need a dictionary to understand. Still others seem to gush about every fanboy flick that comes down the pipe.
Movie Review Web Sites
The following list is my attempt to answer the question, “Where can I find reviews of current movies?”. You might like some of these movie review web sites, and you might hate others. My only suggestion is to find one you can relate to and stick with it. Just like with a physician, it’s important to trust your favorite movie critic.
Rotten Tomatoes – This site collects movie reviews from various online and newspaper movie critics and groups them all together. It also calculates who liked the movie and who didn’t, allowing the site to assign each film a freshness rating. The higher the rating (on a scale of 0 to 100), the “fresher” the film. The lower the rating, the more “rotten” the product.
If you like to read the opinions of lesser-known movie critics, Rotten Tomatoes has plenty available. They also feature movie reviews from such impressive names as Roger Ebert, Harry Knowles and James Berardinelli. In the case of Hollywood blockbusters, you can literally find hundreds of reviews per film to choose from.
The site also features upcoming movie trailers, forums, movie news and much, much more. Rotten Tomatoes is like one-stop-shopping when it comes to the movie industry.
RogerEbert.com – The best-known movie critic in the country, Roger Ebert certainly answers the question, “Where can I find reviews of current movies?”. He’s authored many movie review books (as well as writing for the Chicago Sun-Times for years), and visitors to his website will be treated to reviews of all the latest films.
If you have a short attention span, you’ll want to check out his “One-Minute Movie Reviews.” These are much shorter versions of his normal reviews, allowing you to get to the heart of the matter in far less than a minute.
Movie Review Query Engine (mrqe.com) – This movie review site compiles reviews from critics all across the globe and makes them available in a no-frills format. You can read reviews on today’s top movies, or you can search through their database for older movie reviews. Either way, you’ll find an impressive number of movie reviews to choose from.
For example, let’s look at the movies which released on January 16th, 2009. MRQE included the following: Defiance (136 reviews), Hotel for Dogs (84 reviews), Last Chance Harvey (92 reviews), My Bloody Valentine (86 reviews), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (85 reviews) and Notorious (106 reviews).
US Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org/movies/) – If you’re looking for some spiritual guidance to help you choose the right movie, why not check out the movie reviews from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? Movies are given a rating based on their moral suitability and artistic merit, and a short synopsis is provided for each film. If you’re the type of viewer who loves nudity and gore, don’t even bother looking at this site.
FilmCritic.com – Features reviews for new release movies and those just released on DVD or Blu-ray. A large archive of over 8,000 older reviews is also available. In addition, the site features Top-10 lists, reports from film festivals, articles and quizzes. This is a solid movie review site which is easy to navigate (something which is becoming increasingly rare).
I get emails all the time from people wanting to know, “Where do you rent movies?”. The following article discusses where to rent movies, and it goes into detail about places where you can
rent movies online and off.
Whether you’re looking for new release movies or cheap DVD rentals, the home video market has a business model designed to meet your needs. And thanks to recent innovations, you can even get your movie rentals delivered to your mailbox or pick them up at your favorite supermarket.
Renting Movies from Redbox
Redbox stands out from the crowd in that it’s not a regular video store. In fact, it’s not a store at all.
Redbox allows customers to rent DVDs through automated kiosks at places like Giant, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, Stop & Shop and McDonald’s. The cost is $1 per night, and there are no hidden or late fees.
To take advantage of this DVD rental service, you’ll first need to go online and browse their large selection of movies. When you’ve found the movies you’re looking for, reserve them via the website.
Finally, travel to one of the 12,000 Redbox locations in the United States and pick up your movies. You’ll need to bring a
credit card along in order to pay for the rental.
After watching your movies, you can drop them off at any Redbox kiosk (regardless of where you picked them up). The ability to drop off the films at any kiosk makes Redbox one of the most convenient options in the modern-day video rental business.
Renting Movies from Blockbuster
Another answer to the question “Where do you rent movies?“ is Blockbuster Video, the world’s largest video rental chain. Besides the thousands of stores across the United States, they have an additional 2,600 locations outside of the country.
In an effort to compete with Netflix, the company has also started an
online movie business. When it’s time to start renting movies from Blockbuster, you’ll find over 90,000 online titles to choose from. There are no deadlines or late fees for the online rentals from Blockbuster.
The online plan from Blockbuster offers two options:
- Blockbuster by Mail – Rent movies online, receive them in the mail and then return them via mail. Movies can also be returned to a local Blockbuster store and exchanged for discounts on video game rentals and DVDs.
- Blockbuster Total Access – With this plan, you’ll be able to return movies you ordered over the Internet to a physical Blockbuster location and receive free movie rentals or discounted video games. You may also choose to return the movie by mail.
Renting Movies from Netflix
Netflix is an innovative online
movie rental service which allows the customer to have movies delivered right to their door. The customer can keep the DVD as long as they want, and there are never any late fees or hidden charges.
Many of the movies on the Netflix website are also available for instant viewing on your computer (or Xbox 360). Just log in, select the “Instant View” option for the film you’re interested in, and your movie will begin playing within seconds.
Netflix also offers instant viewing of over 12,000 movies on your television. You’ll need a high-speed connection and a special device for this purpose (the special device costs around $100).
The following subscription plans are available from Netflix (Note: Netflix customers do not have to pay shipping and handling for movies they receive).:
- 1 at-a-time (2 a month) – The customer can get up to 2 movies per month for only $4.99. Two hours of instant watching time is available.
- 1 at-a-time (unlimited) – $8.99 for unlimited viewing time each month. One movie at a time.
- 2 at-a-time (unlimited) – For $13.99 per month, a subscriber can watch unlimited hours of instant programming, plus have up to 2 movies out at once.
- 3 at-a-time (unlimited) – $16.99 per month. Up to three movies out and unlimited time to watch instant movies.
- 4 at-a-time (unlimited) – Four movies at a time and unlimited instant movies for $23.99.
- 5 at-a-time (unlimited) – $29.99 per month.
- 6 at-a-time (unlimited) – $35.99 per month.
- 7 at-a-time (unlimited) – $41.99 for seven movies at a time and unlimited instant viewing.
- 8 at-a-time (unlimited) – $47.99 for eight movies and unlimited instant viewing.
Renting Movies from Movie Gallery
The second largest movie store in the U.S., Movie Gallery has thousands of stores to choose from. Besides renting movies and video games, they also sell new and used versions of their rental items.
The franchise was formed in 1985, and it rapidly grew to 37 stores (and $6 million in revenue) by 1992. By 1996, Movie Gallery had grown to over 850 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
This expansion continued until Movie Gallery was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007. The company restructured the way they did business, and Movie Gallery emerged from Chapter 11 in 2008.
Renting Movies from Family Video
Family Video is the third largest movie and game retailer in the United States (550 stores). They are also privately owned and employ over 5,000 people in 18 states.
Family Video was first started in 1978. After finding themselves in possession of a large number of movie videos, Charlie Hoogland and his employees decided to rent them out for profit. The idea was a success, and now Eric and Keith Hoogland (Charlie’s sons) run the company.
If someone asks you, “Where do you rent movies?”, you’ll be able to mention Family Video with pride. No explicit films are rented in their stores, and great attention is taken to create an environment which the whole family can enjoy.
Family Video also sells used movies at their stores and online. The prices on these items are often as low as $2.99.
So where do you rent movies? Do you like to stick to the chains, or is there a hometown video store that you’re partial to?
If you know a great movie rental store that we’ve overlooked, be sure to drop us a line. Who knows? Maybe we’ll mention them in a future article and send some extra business their way.
In these tough economic times, readers are always asking me, “How can I save money on movie rentals?”. Sure, you want to keep your family and friends entertained, but renting movies can be time consuming and include extra fees such as the gas it takes to get to and from the video store.
The tips provided below will allow you to save money in the long run, whether you’re looking for top movie rentals of even new movie rentals. With the money you save, you can have a little extra in your bank account, or you might just want to rent more films. Either way, every penny counts when it comes to saving money on movie rentals.
Self-Serve DVD Kiosks
A new trend for movie fans is developing with the growing popularity of self-serve DVD kiosks. Redbox movie rentals lead the pack, and these kiosks are available at leading grocery stores and even some McDonalds restaurants.
With some of the movie rental kiosks, you simply insert your credit card into the machine, select the movie you want, and then take it home for viewing. It’s like a vending machine for movies. When you’re finished, just drop it into a slot located on the kiosk.
Other machines, such as Redbox, allow you to go online and select from various top films. You pay online by credit card and then visit a local kiosk to obtain your movie rentals. When you’re done, the movies can be deposited into any Red Box kiosk, even if it wasn’t the one you initially used.
Prices vary depending on the brand of kiosk. Some offer movie rentals for as little as $1 per day, while others will offer discounts on certain days of the week (such as Monday). If you’ve got to go to the grocery store anyway, movie kiosks are a great way to save time and multi-task.
Movie Rental Programs
If you‘re still wondering “How can I save money on movie rentals?”, you might want to check your local video stores and see if they offer any special movie rental programs. These will vary from store to store, and many chains will not offer them at all. If you have a local mom & pop video store, however, you might be surprised at the deals available.
I’m talking about programs which might allow you to rent multiple movies at a discounted rate. In other cases, you might be able to take advantage of a “rent two, get one free” deal on top movie rentals. When you’re looking to save money on movie rentals, it never hurts to look for movie rental programs.
If Movie Gallery offers movie rentals for less than Blockbuster, then it’s common sense to assume that you’ll end up saving money by choosing to rent at Movie Gallery. If a hometown video store beats both their prices, then why not give them your business?
When you’re shopping for a car, you might visit a number of dealerships in search of the best price. You should use the same logic when figuring out where to rent movies. If you save anywhere from $1 to 50 cents per rental, those savings can really add up over a year.
Many libraries rent movies. The best part is, they rent them for free! Sure, you might not be able to get new movie rentals or even top movie rentals, but your local library should have plenty of classics and popular movies. For those who are wondering, “How can I save money on movie rentals?”, your local library is an excellent option.
If you watch a lot of movies (like me), you’ll definitely save money in the long run by choosing Netflix online movie rentals. You make all your selections online, and Netflix sends them to your home; keep them as long as you want with no late fees. When you’re done, simply mail them back without paying any postage or handling.
There are a number of Netflix movie rental plans available, and prices range from a couple of dollars per month (for 1 or 2 movies at a time) to around $50 per month (for 8 movies at a time). You can select the plan which works best for you, and you’ll also have the ability to change your Netflix rental plan at any time. Oh, and Netflix has more than 100,000 of the most popular American and foreign films.
Trade With Friends
If you don’t want to pay any money for movie rentals, why not trade movies with your friends? This is a simple and inexpensive way to see movies for the first time, and it’ll also give you and your buddies something to talk about when you next get together. When it comes to answering the question, “How do I save money on movie rentals?”, this is the cheapest option available.
A lot of movie fans must read AskDeb.com, as I’m always getting asked, “Where can I find out about movie releases and movie release dates?”. Well, the good news is that readers looking for DVD movie release dates and new movie release dates have plenty of quality options to choose from.
New Movie Release Websites
These new movie release websites feature different sets of information about new films and movies new to DVD.
ComingSoon.net – This site offers information on upcoming movie release dates, even as far as three years into the future. Just find the year you’re interested in, click on a month, and then click on a specific date. Each movie entry contains the following information:
- Release Date
- MPAA rating
- Link to official website
- Link to available reviews
- Link to DVD reviews
- Link to buying the DVD
- Movie poster
- Production stills
- Plot summary
- Movie trailer
- User comments
Joblo.com – You can view new movie release dates up to three years in advance, while DVD movie release dates can be viewed up to 12 years in the past. For each release date, you’ll see the name of the film, the date of its release, the average viewer rating (from 1 to 10), genre, studio and any available movie reviews. Joblo.com also offers:
- Movie trailers
- Movie wallpapers
- Movie scripts
- Movie forums
- Movie items for sale
MovieWeb.com – If you’re still wondering, “Where can I find out about movie releases and movie release dates?”, MovieWeb.com may be the answer you’re looking for. Viewers can search by “Releases this week,” “Releases this month,” or even “Releases this year.” Each entry includes the title of the film, its release date, its rating and a brief synopsis. A special link is also available for readers looking to submit a review of the film. Other site features include:
- Movie reviews
- Box office results
- Movie forums
- Monthly contests
- Movie News
Movies.com – With a name like Movies.com, you know they’re going to have a lot of information about the world of cinema. If you’re especially interested in DVD movie release dates, this site updates them from week to week. Each entry includes the title, cast, director, MPAA rating, synopsis, and a link to purchasing the movie at Amazon.com. Other features of Movies.com include:
- Buzz on upcoming films
- Information on movies currently playing
- Movie showtimes
- Spotlight on upcoming DVDs
MetaCritic.com – This site specializes in reviews and upcoming release dates for movies, music and books. Each major movie release of this week is listed, along with a brief synopsis and average movie rating.
Their upcoming release calendar is also helpful, grouping movies by the date in which they hit theaters. The movie ratings are perhaps the most valuable feature of MetaCritic, however, as anywhere from dozens to hundreds of reviews are complied and averaged to provide the films with a reliable ratings system. A perfect answer to the question, “Where can I find out about movie releases and movie release dates?”.
I received an email the other day from an AskDeb reader who wanted to know, “What are the most popular movies ever?”. In this article, I’ll attempt to answer that question.
When it comes to deciding what are the most popular movies ever, I feel a little uncomfortable simply giving my own personal opinion. Therefore, I thought I would provide two lists to help you make your own decision.
The first list shows the 20 most popular movies ever based on worldwide box-office performance. The second list answers “What are the most popular movies ever?” by looking at the 20 top-ranked movies according to the vast membership of the Internet Movie Database.
Between these two lists, you should have no trouble deciding what are the most popular movies ever. You should also get some pretty good ideas on what movie to watch this weekend.
Most Popular Movies By Box-Office Performance
Based on worldwide box-office results, these are the all-time most popular movies. In ten years, expect this list to look radically different, as 16 of the 20 entries were made in the last decade.
- Titanic (1997) – Made $1,835,300,000 worldwide. The story of a boy, a girl, and one very doomed ship.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – Made $1,129,219,252. The final film in the blockbuster trilogy.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) – Made $1,060,332,628 worldwide. The second movie in this Johnny Depp trilogy.
- The Dark Knight (2008) – $996,356,746. Heath Ledger shines in his role as The Joker.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – $968,657,891. Just like the novels, the Harry Potter movie franchise rakes in the cash.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – $958,404,152. The finale of the series makes big money for Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and company.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) – $937,000,866. Another huge performance from the kids at Hogwarts.
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – $922,379,000. Featured an awful script, but nobody seemed to care. George Lucas hits another homerun.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – $921,600,000. Huge battles, talking trees and Christopher Lee. What more could you want?
- Jurassic Park (1993) – $919,700,000. Before he was a major star, Samuel L. Jackson gets eaten by dinosaurs.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) – $892,194,397. J.K. Rowling must sleep on a mountain of cash at night.
- Spider-Man 3 (2007) – $885,430,303. The weakest film of the franchise, but anticipation was at an all-time high.
- Shrek 2 (2004) – $880,871,036. Mike Myers scores a big hit in this animated story about a loveable ogre. Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz also lend their voices.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – $866,300,000. Something is turning the students to stone, and it’s up to Harry to solve the mystery.
- Finding Nemo (2003) – $865,000,000. A Marlin braves the ocean to find his lost son in this Pixar film.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – $860,700,000. Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of Tolkien’s novels begins here. Orlando Bloom has never looked prettier.
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) – $848,462,555. Everything falls apart, and we get a first-hand look at the creation of Darth Vader.
- Independence Day (1996) – $811,200,000. An all-star cast gathers together to rid the world of invading aliens.
- Spider-Man (2002) – $806,700,000. A wall-crawling, record-breaking movie which launched a franchise. Features one of the best kisses in movie history.
- Star Wars (1977) – The movie which forever changed science fiction, it made Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and company household names.
Most Popular Movies According To Internet Movie Database
One of the features of the Internet Movie Database allows members to select their favorite movies and rate them on a scale of 1 through 10. The list changes from time to time, but the top 20 remains fairly static.
- The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Tim Robbins is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Over the years, he befriends Morgan Freeman and plots his eventual escape. Based on a story by Stephen King.
- The Godfather (1972) – The original features strong performances from Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan. Influenced generations of filmmakers and hip-hop artists.
- The Godfather: Part II (1974) – Pacino takes over the family’s criminal empire, while Robert DeNiro adds depth in a series of flashbacks.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – As The Man with No Name, Clint Eastwood shoots his way across the Old West in search of buried gold.
- The Dark Knight (2008) -Christian Bale speaks in a raspy voice and gets upstaged by Heath Ledger.
- Pulp Fiction (1994) – Quentin Tarantino’s bloody classic returned John Travolta to leading man status.
- Schindler’s List (1993) – Based on a true story, this Spielberg film details a German businessman’s efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Jack Nicholson is committed to an asylum and immediately butts heads with the repressive staff.
- 12 Angry Men (1957) – Henry Fonda and 11 others must decide the fate of a man’s life.
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The darkest film of the original trilogy. Boba Fett debuts and Billy Dee Williams looks really slick in a cape.
- Casablanca (1942) – A classic film of romance and intrigue, Casablanca had a huge influence on generations of filmmakers.
- Star Wars (1977) – An epic space opera which can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
- Seven Samurai (1954) – Inspired countless remakes and even an American western.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – While it takes forever to wrap up the endings, the film still offers a satisfying conclusion to the sprawling fantasy trilogy.
- Goodfellas (1990) – DeNiro and Ray Liotta are great, but Joe Pesci steals the show as a loveable psychopath.
- Rear Window (1954) – A cat and mouse game develops between the wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart and the murderous Raymond Burr. Grace Kelly never looked better.
- City of God (2002) – An epic tale of life on the Brazilian streets. Reminiscent of Goodfellas in its structure.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – The greatest pure adventure movie ever made. Who doesn’t love that theme music and the bullwhip?
- Once Upon the Time in the West (1968) – Charles Bronson is a harmonica-playing gunfighter out for revenge. Henry Fonda plays against type as the heavy.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – The trilogy which introduced a whole new generation to Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn.
If you own a PC with a high-speed Internet connection, isn’t it time that you considered the question, “Where can I watch a movie online”? Viewing online movies is more convenient than renting, and you’ll also save on gas and general vehicle wear.
Websites That Allow Watching Movies Online
There are some websites that allow watching movies online without even needing to download software. These sites are to be preferred, as downloading anything on the Internet can open your computer up to viruses and pesky adware. If you do download software prior to watching movies online, be certain that it’s a site that you can trust.
Movie and Video Streaming Websites
The following movie and video streaming websites all answer the question, “Where can I watch a movie online?”. Be sure and check them all out before settling on one, as this will give you a better chance of finding the online movie site that’s best for you.
Momomesh.com – If you’re looking for free online movies and TV shows, Momomesh may be just what you’ve been searching for. This site searches through free video hosting sites like YouTube, Stage6 and Veoh to allow you to watch online movies for free. You click on the movie you want to view, and the site will then provide a number of links to sites where that movie can be seen for free.
Many of the sites they link to experience huge traffic, so your free movie watching experience might experience slow loading times. Broken links can also be a problem, so be sure and report any you find. You’ll need at least a 1mbps DSL Internet connection to properly use their service.
In most cases, there is no download required. Sometimes, though, you’ll be asked to install software in order to watch online movies for free. The people at Momomesh recommend software from Tudou.
Momomesh avoids breaking the law by not directly hosting any videos. They simply link to sites that do. That may seem like a fine line, but I guess it keeps the lawyers off their back.
While the regular Netflix service offers thousand upon thousands of movies which can be delivered right to your door, the instant view option is much more limited. Many of the movies are less-than-popular, although you will find an occasional diamond in the rough. A wide range of genres are available, from “foreign movies” to “horror movies.”
Once you select your movie, the Netflix site will take a few seconds to determine your connection speed. Afterwards, your movie will load (never takes more than a minute) and then begin to play. I have a cable Internet connection, and I’ve never experienced any problems.
Hulu – If you don’t feel comfortable watching free online movies on sites that don‘t have the creator‘s permission, you can legally get free online movies and TV shows from Hulu. This service was founded in 2007 by NBC, and they currently offer over 100 movies which can be watched absolutely free without any downloading.
Normally, you can watch movies online without even signing up, but you’ll have to do so if you want to see an R-rated film. Each movie also includes between five and ten minutes of advertising throughout the film. That might sound like a pain, but it’s not really asking much considering you’re getting a legal way to watch popular Hollywood movies for free. Hulu is the perfect answer to, “Where can I watch a movie online?”.
Readers who are looking to make their own movies should be asking, “What is Windows Movie Maker, and how do I use Windows Movie Maker?”. We have the answers here at AskDeb.com, and this article will cover everything from “Windows Movie Maker download” to “Windows Movie Maker update.”
How Do I Use Windows Movie Maker?
In order to answer “What is Windows Movie Maker, and how do I use Windows Movie Maker?”, we first need to look at what the product actually does. As the name implies, Windows Movie Maker allows the user to import video from a camera and then edit the footage. Special features also allow for timeline narration, titles, credits, special effects, transitions and audio tracks.
Windows Movie Maker comes included with all current Microsoft Windows packages. It was first introduced for Windows Me in 2000, but it has also been included in the following: Windows XP, Windows XP SP 2, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Windows Vista.
In the Ultimate and Premium versions of Windows Vista, Windows Movie Maker also supports footage from HDV camcorders. The downside is that the latest version of Windows Movie Maker won’t support imports from an analog video source such as webcams or VCRs.
NOTE: It should be noted that Windows Movie Maker was scrapped following the release of Windows Vista. In future Microsoft products, it will be replaced with software known as Windows Live Movie Maker. You can download Windows Live Movie Maker for free at Windows Live Essentials.
Importing Footage With Windows Movie Maker
If you’re looking to import footage to Windows Movie Maker, you have two options. First, you can capture the video from a scanner, camera or other device. You can also choose the “Import Into Collections” option which allows existing video files to be transported to the user’s collection.
The following formats are supported for importing: MPG, WMV, ASF, AVI, WAV, WMA and MP3. The DVR-MS and MPEG-2 formats are supported on the Ultimate and Premium versions of Windows Vista.
I’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to importing footage with Windows Movie Maker. For additional information, visit the official Microsoft site for the product.
Layout of Windows Movie Maker
The layout of Windows Movie Maker can be viewed in Timeline or Storyboard view. Windows Movie Maker Storyboard view breaks down the video into a number of clips (one for each time the record button was pressed during shooting). The Timeline view allows still images to be stretched for set durations and audio clips can even be lowered momentarily to make way for dialogue. Think of the Storyboard view as a broader tool, while the Timeline view is for more precise work.
Editing For Windows Movie Maker
The editing for Windows Movie Maker is incredibly intuitive. In most cases, all you have to do is drag and drop. Movie clips can be split, duplicated and even dragged to other positions. Once it’s been imported, there’s very little you can’t do with your movie footage.
Exporting For Windows Movie Maker
Once you’ve made your movie, what will you do with it? That’s an important question when asking, “What is Windows Movie Maker, and how do I use Windows Movie Maker?”. Just keep in mind that this program is limited to exporting video into DV AVI or Windows Media formats.
In early versions of Windows Movie Maker, files had to be saved as AVI files, and then burned to DVD using separate authoring programs. Luckily, that’s a thing of the past, as the latest version for Windows Vista utilizes Windows DVD Maker to burn your original movies straight to DVD.
Users are also able to publish their videos onto video hosting websites such as YouTube. If your camera supports the option, you can also export edited footage back to your camera.
Special Effects For Windows Movie Maker
The newest version of Windows Movie Maker for Windows Vista features 49 effects and 63 transitions. When it comes to movie titles, users can create news banners, spinning newspaper animation, static, fading and even flying titles. All you have to do is select the title or effect you want and then drag and drop into the appropriate position. Windows Movie Maker makes creating movies a snap.
Our readers with children often ask me, “What are some good kids movies?”. Because of this, I’ve decided to put together of list of some of the best kids movies currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Rated G Movies for Kids and Teens
Whether they’re animated or live-action, a good rated G movies for kids and teens have the ability to transport your child to a different time and place. While keeping them occupied, a kids movie can also teach children valuable moral lessons (which is always an added bonus).
Good Family Movies for Children
Here are some good family movies for children. At the end of the article, I’ve also included a list of other kids movies worth checking out. When combined, there should be enough movies here to keep you child occupied and entertained for quite some time.
- 101 Dalmatians (1961) – A charming tale from Walt Disney, this animated feature revolves around the adventures of numerous Dalmatian puppies as they attempt to escape from the sinister Cruella De Vil. A heartwarming and timeless classic, this film has grossed over $200 million during the years (and deservedly so).
- Charlotte’s Web (1973) – Another classic animated film, this time about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by a barn spider named Charlotte. You’re guaranteed to cry at the end, but the positive message of the film teaches that life continues to go on. Listen for the voice of Paul Lynde in a standout performance as Templeton the Rat.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) – Considered a children’s classic, this musical is based on the book by Ian Fleming (yes, the same man who created James Bond). Starring Dick Van Dyke and a flying car, this rollicking kids movie includes musical numbers, people disguised as toys, and Benny Hill.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – This science-fiction film from Steven Spielberg can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. After becoming stranded on Earth, a small alien is befriended by a young boy who tries to help him get back home. Many critics consider E.T. to be the greatest science fiction film ever made, and it’s one of the first films I suggest when someone asks me, “What are some good kids movies?”.
- The Black Stallion (1979) – Based on the classic children’s novel, this live-action kids film is about a child stranded on a desert island with an Arabian stallion. The two eventually become friends, and, following their rescue, compete in a race against two champion horses. A great story of friendship, and the happy ending is a nice bonus.
- Babe (1995) – An Australian film about a pig who longs to be a sheep dog. Combines live action with animatronic pigs and Border Collies. The excellent cast is lead by James Cromwell and also features the voice talents of Hugo Weaving. An excellent kids movie which teaches what a person (or pig) can do when they set their mind to it.
- The Lion King (1994) – Another Disney animated film makes the list. The Lion King was a monster hit across the globe, grossing over $783 million. Voice actors include Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Cheech Marin and Robert Guillaume.
After his father is killed, a young lion named Simba must grow to adulthood and claim his rightful place as king of the animals. Musical numbers include “Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
- Mary Poppins (1964) – This live-action Disney film stars Julie Andrews as a magical nanny who teaches some valuable life lessons to an English family. Everyone remembers a song or two from this classic, including “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
- Monsters, Inc. (2001) – An animated comedy from Pixar Animation, Monsters, Inc. is a hilarious look at what happens when children turn off the lights at night. If your child is scared of the dark, Monsters Inc. may be just the cure. Features the voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly and Mary Gibbs.
- Beauty and the Beast (1991) – The only full-length animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Beauty and the Beast is guaranteed to enchant every member of your family. The fairy tale romance between Belle and the Beast teaches kids not to judge outward appearance, and the soundtrack is rocking with four songs nominated for Oscars. If you’ve got kids, this one certainly belongs in your movie library.
Other Good Kids Movies
So there you have it; my answer to the question, “What are some good kids movies?“. If you enjoy the above suggestions, you might also want to give the following good kids movies a try. They’re all available to rent, or you can purchase them at retail stores such as Target or Wal-Mart.
- The Aristocats (1970) – This animated comedy from Walt Disney features French cats talking and singing. When a family of aristocratic cats are kidnapped, it’s up to a common alley cat to save the day.
- Babar: King of the Elephants (1999) – This animated film is a follow-up to the first Babar movie and the televised show on HBO. A must-see for fans of the Babar book series by Jean de Brunhoff.
- Born Free (1966) – This inspiring live-action movie revolves around a couple who raise a lion club to adulthood and then release her into the African wild. Based on the best-selling book by Joy Adamson.
- Fantasia (1940) – The third animated movie made by Walt Disney, Fantasia is a delight to the senses. Featuring eye-popping animation and music from Bach, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Schubert and many more.
- The Jungle Book (1967) – The last film to be produced by Walt Disney, this animated classic follows the adventures of the jungle child Mowgli. Popular songs include “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You.”
A question I’m commonly asked by movie fans on the go is, “How can I download movies and videos for my iPod?”. Anyone who owns an iPod knows how handy it is to be able to have portable movies and videos right at your fingertip. And when you want to show your friends the latest top movies, you don’t have to wait until you’re near a PC or DVD player.
Downloading Videos To An iPod
When answering the question, “How can I download movies and videos for my iPod?,” I always like to start by discussing video downloads . In the following explanation, I have included instructions for downloading videos using both iTunes 7.0 and iTunes 6.0 or earlier.
Downloading Videos with iTunes 7.0
To begin with, you’ll need to find a video to download. A good place to search is on Google Video.
- Once you’ve found a video you like, you’ll need to click on the “Download video – iPod/PSP” link. This is located on the right side of the desired video. You will not be able to download the video without clicking on this option.
- Next, save the video onto your computer. Then connect your iPod player to your computer and open up the iTunes 7.0 application.
- Once iTunes is open, select the option labeled “File” >“Add File to Library.” You’ll then be able to choose from any video downloaded onto your computer. Select the video you recently downloaded and click on “Open.”
- Once this has been accomplished, click on the “Movies” tab, check the “Sync Movies” box, and then click on “Apply.” Your video should now begin downloading to your iPod. Pretty simple, right?
Downloading Movies to Your iPod Using iTunes 6.0
Many of the steps are the same when it comes to downloading movies to your iPod using iTunes 6.0 software. Things start to get a bit different once you’ve hooked up your iPod and opened your version of iTunes.
- Select “File” > “Add File to Library” and the find the video you wish to download. Once you find it, click “Open.”
- Next, select “Edit” > “Preferences” > “iPod” > “Videos” > “Automatically update all videos.” When each of these steps has been completed, click on the “OK” button.
- This final step listed above will allow your version of iTunes to copy the video straight to your iPod. Once this has occurred, you can play your video anytime you wish by selecting “Videos” > “Movies.”
Downloading Movies To An iPod
Now that I’ve partially answered, “How can I download movies and videos for my iPod?”, let’s finish the discussion by focusing on downloading movies. The two most common options are:
- First, go out and purchase the DVD that you want to download to your iPod. You’ll then need to rip the DVD onto your computer (which will require additional hardware and software). Next, the movie will need to be converted to a format recognized by your iPod. Once this has been done, you can transfer the movie to your iPod just like you would a video.
- The second option involves joining an online service which allows you to purchase movies, television shows, sporting events, music and photos already converted into the iPod format. This is much faster than the above option, and it’s also cheaper.
Three of the most recognized services which enable you to download movies are:
- FeedMyiPods.com – No per download fees. More than 95 million files to choose from.
- iPodNetDownloads.com – Download movies and get software to transfer DVDs to your iPod. You can also download music, TV shows and music videos.
Recently, many readers of AskDeb.com have written in and asked, “What is the Internet Movie Database?”. Since our stated goal is to answer any and all questions, I figured it was high time that I addressed this query. Whether you’re looking for information on “Internet Movie Database actors” or “Internet Movie Database film,” this article should have you covered.
What Is The IMDB?
The Internet Movie Database, also known as the IMDB, is located at imdb.com. It’s a site for fans of movies and television, and it offers a wide array of fun and interesting content. Some features of the IMDB include:
- Movie and television news
- Movie reviews
- DVD and Blue-ray information
- Message boards
- Tickets and showtimes
- Movie trailers
- Full television episodes
- Independent short films
- Movie and television articles
- Movie trivia
- Movie quote of the day
- Detailed information on individual movies
- Full-length downloadable movies
- And much more!
As you can see, the IMDB offers lots of features and unique content. This should go a long way towards answering the question, “What is the Internet Movie Database?”, but we’re just getting started.
Perhaps the most popular IMDB feature is the ability to look up thousands of movies and find out everything about them. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at a specific film and see what the Internet Movie Database has to offer. For this example, we’ll search for Sling Blade, the 1996 hit starring Billy Bob Thornton.
IMDB Movie Photos
The Sling Blade article has photos of Billy Bob Thornton standing in a theater lobby next to a poster for his film, but a quick glance shows that 30 other movie photos are also available. You can even select a slideshow option and view them one after another.
IMDB Movie Videos
Next to the IMDB movie photos is a section appropriately entitled “Videos.” In the case of Sling Blade, the viewer can choose to see the full-length trailer for the film.
Below the pictures and videos is a section labeled “Overview.” This IMDB section is intended to give viewers basic information about the film. It contains the following features:
- User Rating – All members of the Internet Movie Database can rate the movies on the site. Movies are ranked on a scale from one to ten, and it’s free to become a member. The ratings are compiled to give the film an overall rating. In the case of Sling Blade, it has an overall rating of 8 out of 10 (with 36,842 votes).
- MOVIEmeter – Analyzes the trends in a movie’s popularity. When I viewed the page, Sling Blade was down 6% in popularity for the week.
- Director – The name of the director.
- Writers – Includes the names of the film’s writers.
- Contact – Provides information for contacting the company that made the film.
- Release Date – Lists the date that the film was released in the United States and other countries.
- Genre – Tells the viewer what type of movie it is. In this case, Sling Blade is listed as a “Drama.”
- Tagline – The line that’s usually featured on the movie poster or DVD cover. The tagline for Sling Blade is listed as “Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place.”
- Plot - Gives the reader an idea of what the movie is about. If you want more details, you can also click on the “Full Summary” option.
- Plot Keywords – Keywords associated with the movie. By clicking on these keywords, you can find other movies which share similar themes. A couple of the Sling Blade keywords were “murder,” “repair shop,” and “mental institution.”
- Awards – Details all the awards which the film has won. It also includes nominations.
- News Desk – If the movie has been in the news lately, it will be documented here. For example, by looking at the first two stories I can see that Liz Lemon recently did a Sling Blade impression on an episode of 30 Rock, and Dwight Yoakum (who appears in Sling Blade) will be starring in an upcoming movie titled Crank 2: High Voltage.
- User Comments – Clicking on this link will show short comments from various IMDB users.
- US TV Schedule – Want to know when the selected movie will air on television? That information is provided here. Looks like Sling Blade will be airing a few times over the next two weeks.
The Internet Movie Database includes cast members, and most actors or actresses can then be clicked on to view their individual pages (which usually include a bio, trivia and complete filmography). Many movie characters will also have their own pages featuring quotes and fun trivia.
IMDB Additional Details
The following extra goodies are also included on each IMDB movie page:
- MPAA – Tells viewers what rating the movie received in the U.S. and why.
- Parents Guide – A content advisory for parents.
- Runtime – The length of the film.
- Country – Where the movie was made.
- Language – What language is spoken by characters in the film?
- Color – Is the film in color or black & white?
- Aspect Ratio – What aspect ratio was the movie filmed in?
- Sound Mix – How was the sound for the movie recorded? In the case of Sling Blade, it was Dolby Digital.
- Certification – Provides around-the-world content ratings for the film. In Singapore, for example, Sling Blade was cut down to a PG rating.
- Filming Location – Where the movie was shot.
- Company – What company distributed the film?
IMDB Fun Stuff
When answering questions like, “What is the Internet Movie Database?”, I’m always sure to mention the IMDB fun stuff section. It’s one of my favorites, and I’m betting that you’ll be fond of it, too.
- Trivia – Provides interesting facts about the film. For example, Billy Bob Thornton placed crushed glass in his shoes to make his walk more awkward.
- Goofs – Points out mistakes that made their way into the finished product.
- Quotes – Memorable quotes from the film. “I like them French friend potaters.”
- Movie Connections – Has the movie been mentioned in another film, or does it make reference to a movie? Any such reference or connection can be found here.
- Soundtrack – What songs are on the soundtrack and who recorded them?
IMDB Frequently Asked Questions
If there are frequently asked questions about a film, the Internet Movie Database will list them in this section. Considering their attention to detail, you can also bet that they’ll have an answer for the question.
IMDB User Comments
People love to give feedback, and this section allows all sorts of IMDB user comments. Whether you loved a movie or hated it, this is the place to give your unfiltered opinion.
IMDB Message Boards
Each IMDB entry has its own message board where fans or detractors can come together and argue. In this section, the six most recent IMDB message board posts will be displayed.
The IMDB searches through its vast database and recommends five films which you might also enjoy. Since I’m on the Sling Blade page, it lists the following as IMDB recommendations: American Beauty, Road House, The Notebook, Infamous, and A Time to Kill. I’ve seen three of the five recommendations and enjoyed them, so it looks like this feature is pretty reliable.
If you want to watch movies on Google, it’s easier than you might think. In fact, this article is designed to tell you all about Google Movies and Google Video, especially how convenient and simple they are.
What Are Google Movies?
Google movies are shown as part of the Google Video website. This allows you to watch clips of numerous shows from around the world, as well as television programs, movie trailers and other types of entertainment. Google movies also includes many full-length feature films, although copyright issues could cause them to be pulled in the future.
If you go to Google.com, you can choose from options such as “Images,” “News,” and “Web.” At the end of the list, you’ll find an option labeled “More.” If you click on this option, a drop-down menu will appear with additional Google functions.
The top option will be labeled “Video,” and this is the one you want to click on. After doing so, you’ll be taken to the main page for Google Video.
Google Video Search
If you want to know, “How do you watch movies on Google? What are Google Movies?”, you may want to start by checking out the page’s search features. You have two options: conduct a search through all the videos on Google or search through only the videos playable on Google.
In smaller font, you’ll also see an option called “Advanced Video Search.” By clicking here, you can search for videos within the following parameters:
- Videos in a specific language (everything from Arabic to Norwegian)
- Videos under 4minutes, from 4 to 20 minutes, or longer than 20 minutes.
- Videos from a specific site such as YouTube.
- Videos posted today, this week, this month, or all dates.
- Videos which only feature closed captioning.
- Videos which are comprised of one or more of the following files: ASF, MOV, AVI, MP4, FLV, MPG, M4V or WMV.
- Searches can be instructed to search for specific words, exact phrases or even to omit words.
- Results can be sorted by relevance, rating, views and date.
- You can choose to view 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 results per page.
Google Video Content
When people ask, “How do you watch movies on Google? What are Google movies?”, I often reply by just directing them to the site. Within seconds, even the most computer illiterate person should be able to figure out how it works.
The Google video content is always changing, and visitors to the site will first see the “Hot Videos” of the day. Here are just a few of the Google videos I saw when first arriving to the site:
- A Japanese animated program.
- Etta James in concert.
- An interview with the mother of octuplets.
- A trailer for Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
- An interview with Lil Wayne.
If you sign into the site, Google Video will also perform its own search and make recommendations for you. While you won’t always be interested in its suggestions, you’d be amazed at how many unique movies and videos you might otherwise miss out on.
Google Video content is also available in International versions for the following countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, The United Kingdom, China, Japan and Korea.
How To Watch Movies On Google
When I’m asked, “How do you watch movies on Google? What are Google movies?”, I tell them that watching movies on Google is ridiculously simple. Just find the video or movie you want to watch and click on it. Assuming that you have a high-speed connection, it should begin playing within a matter of seconds. That’s all there is to it!
Recently, a reader with a 15-year-old daughter wrote in and asked, “What are some good movies for teenage girls?”. While my teenage days are far behind me (unfortunately), I consulted with some teens and young adults I know and came up with the following
teen girl movie list that should satisfy even the most picky teenage moviegoer.
(See also: What Are Some
Good Movies for Teenage Boys? and
Greatest Chick Flicks.)
Movies for Teen Girls
- A Teen Girl Movie List
This list consist of some movies for teen girls that we’ve picked out. Some may consider these movies as “teen chick flicks” which they very well may be but we feel these are appropriate and enjoyable movies.
Sydney White (2007) – This film stars Amanda Bynes and is a modern-day retelling of
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When she’s thrown out of the most prestigious sorority on campus, Sydney is taken in by a group of seven dorks and learns that true beauty in on the inside. Also stars Matt Long, Sara Paxton, Crystal Hunt and John Schneider.
What a Girl Wants (2003) – Another film starring Amanda Bynes, What a Girl Wants is a remake of the 1958 film,
The Reluctant Debutante. When Daphne, a free-spirited American girl, learns that her long-lost father is an important British politician, she must choose between material gain and being herself. Also starring Kelly Preston, Colin Firth and Oliver James.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002) – This comedy was a hit around the globe and introduced audiences to the talented Keira Knightley. A young British Indian girl, Jesminder Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), wants to follow her dream of playing soccer (like her idol, David Beckham), and she’s soon befriended by the tomboyish Jules Paxton (Knightley). Despite the protests of their parents, Jesminder and Jules excel both on and off the soccer field. This movie absolutely falls into the category of “What are some good movies for teenage girls?”.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) – The kids from East High are back and faced with their impending graduation. Before they are possibly split up to attend different colleges, they decide to stage a musical which reflects their hopes, dreams and fears. Stars the popular duo of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. If your teenage girl loves musicals, this movie is a must-have.
Clueless (1995) – This comedy, based on
Emma by Jane Austen, revolves around a clueless Beverly Hills teenager and her equally shallow friends. Clueless is loaded with recognizable faces, including Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, Jeremy Sisto, Paul Rudd, Alisha Silverstone and Breckin Meyer. Everyone learns a valuable lesson in the end, and teenage girls will enjoy the depictions of the various high school cliques.
The Princess Diaries (2001) – Based on the novel by the same name, this chick flick boasts some real star power with Anne Hathaway, Mandy Moore and Julie Andrews. When a poor and unpopular girl learns that she’s a crown princess, her life drastically changes (but not all for the better). If your teenager girl enjoys this film, be sure to rent the sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Not Another Teen Movie (2001) – A parody of teen movies such as
10 Things I Hate About You,
Road Trip and
She’s All That, this hilarious comedy stars Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Mia Kirshner and Lacey Chabert. It even goes so far as to use the fictional John Hughes High as the setting for the action. If your teenage girls likes the
Scary Movie franchise, then suggest that she give this one a try.
Sixteen Candles (1984) – One of the most popular teen movies ever made,
Sixteen Candles stars Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. Ringwald portrays Samantha Baker, an awkward teen dealing with a crush on a popular boy and her sister’s upcoming wedding. Directed by John Hughes,
Sixteen Candles is a popular teen movie which has been highly influential on the coming-of-age genre.
Never Been Kissed (1999) – Another comedy suitable for teens and featuring a monster cast. This one stars Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Alba, James Franco and Marley Shelton. When Josie (Barrymore) goes undercover at a high school in order to write a newspaper article, her own traumatic school days come back to haunt her. A sweet film about how superficial and cruel teenagers can be. Your teenage girl might learn a valuable lesson from watching this one.
27 Dresses (2008) – This romantic comedy stars Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman and Edward Burns. A bridesmaid for 27 weddings, Jane Nichols (Heigl) has finally found the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, he also happens to be engaged to her sister.
27 Dresses was one of the top comedies of 2008. When answering the question, “What are some good movies for teenage girls?”, this one is always on my list of suggestions. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
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- Good Movies to Rent
We’re fortunate to count many families and parents among our readers here at AskDeb.com. As a result, I often receive emails asking questions such as, “What are some good family movies in the theater now? What are some good family movies on DVD?” Fortunately, I have an answer for both of these.
New Release Family Films
Going to the movies can sometimes be an ordeal for a family. So many movies these days are filled with gratuitous sex and violence that it’s hard to find something everyone can enjoy. This makes it much harder to answer the question, “What are some good family movies in the theater now? What are some good family movies on DVD?”.
Luckily, most theater chains are always showing at least a few new release family films. As of this writing, here are the top family films currently playing:
- Marley & Me – Based on the best-selling memoir by John Grogan, Marley & Me follows the lives of a married couple (played by Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson) and their Labrador Retriever named Marley. As the couple grows older, Marley is their constant companion and becomes a true member of the family. A heartwarming family film, I challenge anyone not to cry like a baby during the end of the movie.
- Inkheart – Based on a children’s book, Inkheart revolves around Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his young daughter, Meggie (Eliza Bennett). Both have the ability to bring characters from books into the real world, but a real person must also enter the pages as a consequence. This eventually leads to a perilous journey in which Mo gathers together a band of adventurers to rescue his wife from the pages of a book entitled Inkheart.
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop – Kevin James (The King of Queens) stars in this good-natured comedy. Paul Blart is a lonely, overweight man who dreams of being a police officer. In the meantime, he makes a living as a security guard at the local mall. When robbers take control of the mall, Blart must spring into action in his own hilarious way. Appropriate for the whole family, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the rare film which features a truly nice main character.
- Hotel for Dogs – Based on the novel by Lois Duncan, Hotel for Dogs stars Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin as a couple of teens who begin taking in stray dogs at an abandoned house. If your family loves dogs, you’ll certainly want to see this one. Don Cheadle, Kyla Pratt and Lisa Kudrow co-star.
What Are Some Good Family Movies On DVD?
If you’re still looking for the answers to “What are some good family movies in the theater now? What are some good family movies on DVD?”, you’ll be happy to know about these quality family films on DVD and Blu-ray.
- Star Wars (1977) – The movie that launched a franchise and changed the face of science-fiction forever. The original still holds up, and adults and kids alike will thrill to the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.
- Back to the Future (1985) – Starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, this sci-fi/adventure movie revolves around the concept of time travel. Full of laughter and fun, you and your family may also enjoy the sequels (1989 and 1990).
- Toy Story (1995) – This computer-animated film from Pixar Animation Studios gives us a look at what toys do when children aren’t around to play with them. The antics of Woody and Buzz Lightyear can easily be enjoyed by a kid, and adults will also appreciate the clever dialogue and pop culture references. Excellent voice work from Tom Hanks
(see this article for more
Tom Hanks Movies), Tim Allen and Don Rickles.
- The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Kids will absolutely love this family film filled with flying monkeys, a cowardly lion, and a young girl named Dorothy trying to return home to Kansas. Adults will appreciate the lavish musical numbers. This is a must-see family movie which is still entertaining after 70 years.
- WALL-E – Another hit from Pixar, WALL-E is about a robot in the future who is tasked with cleaning up a polluted Earth. When he falls in love with a female robot named EVE, he follows her into space and has the adventure of a lifetime. A charming family film about hope, love and perseverance.
At least twice a week, I receive emails from AskDeb.com readers wanting to know, “How do you burn DVD movies?”. While burning or copying DVD movies is an excellent (and legal) way to back up your movie collection, let me also provide a word of warning before continuing.
Making a duplicate of a copyrighted movie and then selling it or giving it away is illegal unless you have permission from the holder of the copyright. In other words, George Lucas can legally burn and sell copies of the Star Wars series, while you cannot. This law applies whether you’re looking to download and burn DVD movies or burn DVD movies for free.
Having given a word of warning, I’ll now do my best to answer the question, “How do you burn DVD movies?”. Just don’t blame me if the feds show up at your house and confiscate those boxes of pirate DVDs you’ve been selling on eBay.
Three Types of DVD Media
Before you burn a DVD, you should always know what you’re trying to create. There are three common types of DVDs, and we’ll be taking a brief look at each one.
- Commercial DVD Copies – Commercial DVDs are copyrighted, and movies would fall into this category. To make the copies you want, you’ll need a DVD burner, software to burn DVD movies, and software which specializes in getting around the anti-copy safeguards built into most commercial DVDs.
In order to fit a normal commercial DVD onto a blank disc, you’ll need to compress the information. After that, just use the software and follow the prompts to burn yourself a copy. It’s really pretty easy to burn DVD movies for free.
- Data DVDs – This includes ordinary data such as spreadsheets, documents and database files. When burning data DVDs, you’ll only need the most basic kind of DVD burning software. Luckily, many computers now come with DVD burning software.
Open up the DVD burning software, and select the Data DVD option. A number of prompts will then appear to guide you through the process. It normally takes about 20 minutes to fill a complete DVD with data. If you have a high-speed DVD burner, then it will be even less. Once you’re through, the DVD should be able to be viewed in any computer.
- Multimedia File DVDs – This is very much like burning regular data onto a disc, but you may want to add features such as chapters to give it a more professional look. This will also allow the user to skip through the DVD, which can be especially nice if you’re burning a wedding ceremony or graduation.
DVD Burning Software
Since you’ll need DVD burning software to make a copy, you may be wondering which kind to buy? One of the best-known brands is called DVD Ripper, and it can be obtained via Internet download. In many cases, you can try it for free for a limited time. Afterwards, you’ll have to buy the product to continue using it.
Another good product is Clone DVD. This software will allow you to make copies of DVDs with just one click of your mouse. It can also be used to copy movies onto your iPod, PSP, smart phone or personal computer.
DVD Burning Synopsis
The question, “How do you burn DVD movies?” is actually pretty easy to answer. Basically, all you need it the necessary software. Once that’s been obtained, burning DVD movies can be accomplished with a single click.
If you’re looking for movies to rent, check out our “Where to Rent Movies” article.
For more information about how to burn DVD movies, visit:
If you’re a movie fan and own a computer, you should be asking yourself, “What are downloadable movies and how can I watch downloadable movies?”. The answer to this question will give you a whole new perspective on watching your favorite films, and you might even be able to save some money by not having to buy a DVD player for your television.
Just make sure you have a broadband Internet connection before trying to download movies online. Without it, your waiting time will be unreal, and you’ll most likely lose the connection at some point with dial-up.
What Are Downloadable Movies?
Let’s start by answering the first part of the question, “What are downloadable movies and how can I watch downloadable movies?”. As the name would indicate, downloadable movies are films which exist online and can be downloaded onto your PC or Mac. Once they’ve been downloaded, you can choose to watch them immediately or wait until a later time (since its now saved on your computer).
Downloading Movies Online
There are several types of downloadable movies available on the Internet. Some are legal, while other are less-than-legal. Always be aware of this before you begin downloading movies online.
- Free Movie Downloads and Illegal Movie Downloads – One of the most popular ways to get movies off the Internet, you can bet that most free movie downloads are also illegal movie downloads. While this is very cost effective, you do open yourself up to legal actions by the lawful copyright holders of the movies you pirate.
Another negative is that many of these free movie download sites will also transfer other software onto your computer during the download process. This can include spy ware, adware and computer viruses.
- Legal Movie Downloads – In most cases, legal movie download sites will charge you a one-time fee to download their movies. This will then allow you to access thousands or even millions of online movies. These pay sites are legal, so you don’t have to worry about being arrested or getting sued. They are also free from viruses and annoying adware programs.
Many of the most established sites also offer a money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your download, you can get a refund. This allows you to download movies such as Max Payne, The Dark Knight, Gran Torino, and even The Wrestler.
- Streaming Movie Sites – These includes sites such as YouTube. Most of the time, the audio and video quality of these movies will be low. They’re perfect for watching short clips, but not so good for viewing full-length movies.
How Can I Watch Downloadable Movies?
Finally, we’ll take a look at the second part of the question, “What are downloadable movies and how can I watch downloadable movies?”. Watching downloadable movies is actually incredibly easy.
To download to your computer, you’ll only need to follow a few prompts on your computer screen. The biggest hassle is just waiting for the movies to download. You might try doing this before you go to bed. This way, the movie is busy downloading while you’re asleep. When you wake up, your movie will be ready.
Once it’s downloaded to your computer, all you’ll need to do is double-click on the appropriate movie to watch it. The film will then be launched by a program like Windows Media Player or something similar.
Here at AskDeb.com, we often receive emails asking, “Where and how can I download movies?” While the choices are plentiful when it comes to downloading movies online, you need to be aware that not all movie download sites are legal.
In fact, if a site offers you the ability to download movies for free, there’s a good chance that the site isn’t legal. Movie copyrights exist to help the creators of a film make a profit without having their work stolen. If a movie download site isn’t charging you anything, ask yourself, “How would the writer, director and stars of the film be making money off this?”
While plenty of people download movies illegally, there’s always the small chance that such activity could get you into trouble with the law (especially if you download thousands of films). This could result in fines or jail time, and it’s not worth the hassle. For that reason, this article will concentrate on where to download movies legally.
How To Download Movies
For starters, let’s answer the second part of “Where and how can I download movies?” With technology continuing to advance at a rapid rate, downloading movies is usually a simple task. In fact, film buffs can now download movies to iPod or other portable devices.
Keep in mind that movies files are very large, so downloading them to your computer can take a while. This process will take even longer with a dial-up connection, and it might even be impossible in some situations (especially if you occasionally lose your Internet connection).
The best strategy for downloading movies is to do it late at night before you go to bed. There will be less Internet traffic, so the download speed should be improved.
On a PC, try right-clicking on the link to the file and then select “Save Link As” or “Save Target As.” If you’re using a Macintosh, hold the button down while the mouse is over the link, then select “Save Target As” when the menu comes up.
If you experience problems, you can try everything from using a different computer to trying a different browser. You can also use the “Download File” link if your computer doesn’t let you use the “save as” feature.
If you’re trying to download video from a streaming site, you might try software such as Internet Download Manager. This software should allow you to download from any streaming site at up to 20 mb/s.
Reasons To Legally Download Movies
While most people never think much about online movie piracy, there are actually a number of reasons why it’s best to avoid this practice. Here are three things to think about the next time you consider using a free movie download site.
- Legal Problems – If the authorities decide to go after you, they’ll be able to track you right back to your IP address. Don’t risk it.
- Piracy Increases the Price – As online movie piracy continues, the price for legal movie downloads slowly goes up for the rest of us. This is because the studios have to compensate for all the money they’re losing.
- Bootleg Copies Suck – Have you ever seen a bootleg movie? The sound and picture are horrible, and sometimes they’re even shot by someone sneaking a camera into the movie theater.
Where To Download Legal Movies
If you’re still wondering, “Where and how can I download movies,” let’s take a look at three legal movie download sites. You can use these services without fear of criminal charges, and you’ll still have a wide selection of online movie downloads to choose from.
- The Movie Downloads – A one-time fee of $34.95 gets you a lifetime membership to this legal movie download site. All movies are DVD quality, and they will normally take between 40 and 90 minutes to download.
Customers can choose from over 80 million movies and television shows, and 24/7 customer support is available to help you with any problems. This service is available to every country on the planet.
- The Entertainment Magazine On Line (EMOL) – Founded in 1995, this movie download site offers classic movies and television shows which can be legally downloaded to your PC. Movies can also be saved for download to iPods, iPhones and other portable devices.
You can choose from over 200 movies to download. These include comedy films, horror films, westerns, musicals and more.
Classic television shows include episodes of Johnny Carson, The Honeymooners, Dick Van Dyke, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show and much more. Current television shows are also available, including The Office and Saturday Night Live.
- Hulu.com – A joint venture between NBC Universal and NBC News Corps, Hulu offers streaming movies and television shows with no charge to the customer. Short commercials are inserted at several points in the movie or program, and this is what allows Hulu to operate for free.
Available TV shows from Hulu include 24, The Office, Burn Notice, Battlestar Galactica and Saturday Night Live. Movies include The Bourne Identity, Shaun of the Dead, The Usual Suspects and Spider-Man.
When someone asks me, “What are your favorite comedy movies?”, I always respond with “How much time do you have?”. You see, I love movies that make me laugh, whether they’re romantic comedy movies, musical comedies or screwball comedies. There’s nothing I’d rather do on a rainy day than pop some popcorn and watch a film with cut-ups like Bill Murray, Ben Stiller or John Cleese.
In my mind, the best comedy movies aren’t always the top comedy movies. While I liked There’s Something About Mary, I don’t really think it stands up to some of the movies listed below. Of course, it’s all a matter of opinion.
Recommended Comedy Movies – Funny Flicks & Films
I’ve put together this list of recommended comedy movies in response to the question, “What are your favorite comedy movies?”. You may or may not agree, but I urge you to see them all before making a final judgment. Hopefully, these funny flicks & films will provide at least a few chuckles.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – When someone asks, “What are your favorite comedy movies?”, this is usually the first film that crosses my mind. The lads from Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) take the old legends of King Arthur and turn them upside down.
There’s the killer rabbit, the Black Knight, the Knights Who Say Ni, and, of course, those damned French. The movie is an outrageous off-the-wall journey from the very beginning (even the opening credits aren’t spared). The jokes and oddities come at such a rapid pace that you’ll need several viewings just to take it all in. A true comic masterpiece.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – Ferris Bueller was the epitome of the cool teenager, and this was the role that catapulted Matthew Broderick to stardom. The fine cast is rounded out by Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey and Jeffrey Jones.
Ferris often breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience, but it doesn’t seem at all out of place in this inventive comedy. As he and his friends ditch school, they are relentlessly pursued by the Dean of Students, Mr. Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones in his finest role). Every movie in the last 20 years about a “cool kid” outwitting the authority figure was partially inspired by this comedy gem.
- Wayne’s World (1992) – Mike Myers and Dana Carvey took their metalhead characters Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar from Saturday Night Live and successfully transplanted them to the big screen. The two loveable losers host a weekly cable access show from the basement of Wayne‘s house (where he lives with his parents)
Things get a bit out of hand when a sleazy agent played by Rob Lowe offers to give them a big-time television contract. The boys must choose between staying true to themselves or cashing in on their newfound fame. Tia Carrera co-stars and is smoking hot as Wayne’s love interest.
- The Cable Guy (1996) – Ben Stiller directs and Jim Carrey stars in this dark comedy with a strong message about the American reliance on television and pop culture. Matthew Broderick plays Steven Kovacs, an average guy who makes the mistake of showing kindness towards cable repairman Ernie “Chip” Douglas (Carrey). When Douglas begins obsessing over his new “friend,” things get increasingly bizarre with hilarious results. Jack Black and Leslie Mann also star in supporting roles.
- Dr. Strangelove (1964) – This black comedy stars Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn and Sterling Hayden. With master director Stanley Kubrick behind the camera, the film pokes fun at the Cold War and the very real possibility of mutually assured destruction. Sellers really steals the show, playing a British officer, the President of the United States and a wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi scientist named Dr. Strangelove.
- Meet The Parents (2000) – When a male nurse (Ben Stiller) goes to meet his girlfriend’s parents (Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner), all hell breaks loose. The movie allows both Stiller and DeNiro to shine, and their rivalry builds to a hilarious crescendo. A sequel, Meet the Fockers, was made in 2004.
- Groundhog Day (1993) – Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a television weatherman with an out-of-control ego. Sent to report on the annual Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, he finds himself reliving the same day over and over. Andie MacDowell plays the woman who captures his heart. If you’re a fan of Bill Murray, you’ve probably already seen Groundhog Day at least five or ten times. It’s just than good.
- Airplane! (1980) – This movie was made by the same guys who brought us the hilarious Naked Gun movies. Crazy gags abound throughout this comedy, including an inflatable co-pilot, a white woman who can “speak” jive, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar playing himself but pretending to be a pilot named Roger Murdock. One of the all-time great zany comedies (just be sure to avoid the sequel).
- Clerks (1994) – While I don’t really think this one has held up well over the years, it remains on my list of top comedies. Dante, a slacker in his twenties, is called in to work at the convenience store on his day off, and he’s kept company throughout most of the film by his best friend, Randal (who‘s supposed to be working at the video store next door).
Director Kevin Smith crafted a truly original comedy, dealing with issues such as fear and uncertainty about the future. The dialogue crackles with energy, and this was the first time I’d heard movie characters riff on subjects such as Return of the Jedi. If you’re a movie geek who loves comedies, this is a must-see.
- A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – The second movie on my list starring John Cleese and Michael Palin, A Fish Called Wanda also includes Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline in the cast. Kline won an Oscar for his performance as clueless hitman Otto, and the recognition was certainly deserved.
Cleese plays a frustrated lawyer whose life is turned upside down when he meets the seductive Wanda (Curtis). Of course, things hardly go as planned, and he soon finds himself tangled up in a jewel heist with the comically murderous Otto hot on his trail. Palin is especially good as an animal lover with a speech impediment.
When someone asks me, “Where is the best place to buy movies?”, I’m always happy to inform them that they have a number of excellent choices. While many movies can be purchased straight from online retailers, there are other options available which might save you money (especially if you’re not opposed to buying used DVDs).
Places to Buy Movies Online
The following list offers a few solutions to the question of “Where is the best place to buy movies?”. With a little searching, you’ll no doubt be able to find other alternatives. Hopefully, though, these suggestion will more than suffice.
Amazon.com – If you value options such as reliability, price and speed of service, Amazon has to be my top answer for “Where is the best place to buy movies?”. You may be able to find sites which sell movies for less, but my dealings with Amazon have always been smooth and dependable.
Most items you purchase will arrive within the week (faster, if you pay extra), and Amazon also allows other vendors to sell through their site. This means you can get like-new DVDs (and sometimes even brand new DVDs) for very low prices. Just make sure an independent dealer has a high rating and solid track record of service.
Amazon has a huge selection of DVDs available, with items ranging from top movies and TV shows to fitness and instructional videos. New items are constantly being added, and their site is simple to navigate.
eBay – In some ways, eBay is similar to Craigslist. The biggest advantage that eBay has, however, is their rating system for sellers and the fact that many people make their living from selling items on eBay (including movies).
When someone is going to be held accountable for their actions, they’re far less likely to try to sell you junk. Just stick with the sellers who have 1,000 or more positive reviews and you usually can’t go wrong.
EBay uses the bidding system, and there’s always the chance that you’ll be outbid at the last second (this is known as “sniping”). If you’re lucky, though, there will be no other bidders, and you can get your item for a real bargain. “Buy It Now” options are also available, allowing buyers to purchase items without having to undergo the sometime frustrating bid process.
Places to Buy Movies Offline
Your Local Video Store – Most video stores offer movies for sale, although the prices can vary greatly. Used movies can often be found for reasonable prices, and sometimes 2-for-1 deals are also offered.
In my experience, the Hastings chain (which specializes in music, movies and books) offers the best prices around on new and used movies. If a used DVD isn’t in perfect playing condition, you can simply return it and get your money back. Other options for buying movies include Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and Family Video (the three largest video rental chains in the U.S.).
Craigslist.com – Like a massive online garage sale, Craigslist.com features people selling items from all over the country. It might not be the best place to buy movies, but you’ll have a shot at getting some really great deals. The downside is that you never know what’s going to be listed, and there’s not much recourse if you’re unsatisfied with your product.
“What are some good movies for teenage boys?” That’s a question
I hear all the time, and you’d be amazed at how many mothers, aunts, and
big sisters write in to AskDeb looking for suggestions. There are so
many, in fact, that I’ve decided to relent and put together this list of
good movies for teenage boys currently available on DVD and/or Blu-ray.
While plenty of movies exist about teenage girls, this list is meant
to focus on those aimed at males between the ages of 12 and 20. That’s
why films like Thirteen, as good as they are, just don’t make the final
cut. For films related to the feminine gender, be sure to read our
companion article: What
Are Some Good Movies for Teenage Girls?.
Superbad (2007) – A monster hit from producer Judd Apatow
and co-star/co-producer/co-writer Seth Rogen, this wacky comedy follows
a trio of high school buddies (Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher
Mintz-Plasse) as they enjoy the final two weeks before high school ends.
This includes attending a major party, hooking up with girls,
befriending a pair of twenty-something cops (Rogen and Bill Hader), and
buying the most obvious fake ID ever created. When answering the
question “What are some good movies for teenage boys?” be sure to give
this film as your answer.
American Pie (1999) – As their high school days come to a
close, a group of male friends make a pact to lose their virginity prior
to graduation. The film would spawn a number of sequels (including
straight-to-DVD releases) and launch the careers of numerous young stars
(Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Alyson
Hannigan, and Shannon Elizabeth). It would also ensure that Eugene Levy
would stay employed for the next 15 years, which is never a bad thing.
Stand By Me (1986) -
on the novella The Body by Stephen King, this Rob Reiner film
follows four teenagers as they make a two-day trek to find a dead body
in the Oregon woods in 1959. Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman,
and Jerry O’Connell star. A charming coming-of-age story, and teenage
boys are bound to see a little of themselves in each of the main
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – Opening in theaters almost
one month after his fatal car crash, Rebel Without a Cause stars
James Dean as Jim Stark, a volatile teen misunderstood by his parents
and other members of society. Luckily, he’s got a disaffected pal named
Plato (Sal Mineo) who idolizes him, as well as a beautiful love interest
(Natalie Wood). If your teenage son or nephew is looking for a movie
about rebellion, why not expose him to one of the classic works on the
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – Written and directed by
John Hughes, this 80’s classic stars Matthew Broderick as the coolest
teenager ever. Loved by almost everyone except the school’s Dean of
Students, Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), Ferris skips class, watches a
baseball game at Wrigley Field, and even lip synchs during a parade in
downtown Chicago. And all the while, Rooney does his best to catch
Ferris in the act. A good-natured comedy filled with a talented cast,
innovative narrative techniques, and a soundtrack with everyone from The
Beatles to the classic “Oh Yeah” by Yello. Holds up well after all these
years, and teenage boys are sure to still rate Mia Sara as a hottie.
Kids (1995) – Wildly fascinating and sobering as hell,
Kids is the kind of film that will cause parents to lock up their
children and never let them leave the house. Dealing with promiscuous
youngsters in New York City, the movie follows Jennie (Chloe Sevigny), a
teen recently diagnosed with HIV, as she searches for Telly (Leo
Fitzpatrick), the boy who infected her. Telly, by the way, has a policy
of only sleeping with virgins, rationalizing that it prevent him from
getting an STD. Also starring Rosario Dawson in her film debut, Kids
is an unflinching look at life on the streets, and issues such as drug
use, alcohol abuse, rape, and child molestation are frequently depicted.
Still, it provides a great opportunity to open a dialogue about some of
life’s more uncomfortable subjects.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – The first
film adaptation of the long-running J.K. Rowling series, the
Philosopher’s Stone finds Harry Potter as a bespectacled 11-year-old
about to begin his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry. Along with pals Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint),
Harry encounters a three-headed guard dog, a living chess set, and a
traitor intent on returning Lord Voldemort (the series’ chief
antagonist) to the land of the living. Later films in the series are
darker (and sometimes better), but any teen who hasn’t experienced this
fantasy series needs to start at the beginning. Co-starring Richard
Harris, Maggie Smith, and Alan Rickman.
River’s Edge (1986) – After murdering his girlfriend, a
teen brags about it to his pals and shows them the location of the body.
Inspired by a true story, the film stars Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves,
Ione Skye, and Daniel Roebuck as the teens, while Dennis Hopper plays a
local nut who’s all too eager to discuss his prior misdeeds. A good
movie for teens, although highly disturbing.
La Haine (1995) – Three Parisian friends (Vincent Cassel,
Hubert Kounde, and Said Taghmaoui) try to make sense of their
surroundings in the aftermath of a riot. With violence and racism a
constant threat, the trio must contend with skinheads, undercover cops,
and the hopeless future of life in the ghetto. With a blistering
soundtrack provided by legendary French rap group Assassin, the
film–along with Mathieu Kassovitz–would capture a Best Director award
at Cannes. A must-see for fans of City of God.
The Lost Boys (1987) – No list of good movies for teenage
boys is complete without this tale of youths taking on a gang of
California bloodsuckers in the late 1980s. Set to the strains of INXS,
Lou Gramm, and Echo & the Bunnymen, the film stars Jason Patric and
Corey Haim as brothers recently relocated from Arizona. When Michael (Patric)
falls for a local girl named Star (Jami Gertz), it draws the attention
of the spiky-haired David (Kiefer Sutherland) and his gang of
miscreants. Meanwhile, Sam (Haim) begins to notice the tell-tale signs
of vampirism all around him, and he must team with the Frog brothers
(Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) to clean up Santa Carla.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Before George Lucas went
completely mad and started churning out CGI train wrecks, fans of the
series were treated to this sci-fi masterpiece written by Lawrence
Kasdan/Leigh Brackett and directed by Irvin Kershner. Filled with
revelations, a series of cliffhanger moments, and the debut of both Yoda
and Boba Fett, Empire provides a more mature look at the ongoing
galactic struggle. Favorite moment: the gathering of all the bounty
hunters aboard Darth Vader‘s ship, including the mad droid IG-88 and the
The Basketball Diaries (1995) – Based on the autobiography
of author/poet/musician Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries
features a powerful performance from Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role
as a high school basketball star who gets mired down in a life of heroin
abuse and prostitution. Co-starring Lorraine Bracco, Mark Wahlberg,
Bruno Kirby, and Ernie Hudson (aka the fourth Ghostbuster). For more
greatness from the late Jim Carroll, be sure to check out his 1980 debut
album, Catholic Boy (which includes the single “People Who
Boyz n the Hood (1991) – John Singleton burst onto the scene
as a writer/director in this supercharged tale of violence and sexuality
in South Central Los Angeles. Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is the
virginal lead of the film, a young man planning for college despite
being surrounded by rampant drug use, drive-by shootings, and police
corruption. Both a commercial and critical success, the film co-stars
Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Angela
- Where to Rent Movies
- Good Movies to Watch When You’re Bored
- The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made
- Good Movies to Rent
When I’m reviewing the questions sent in to AskDeb.com, one which comes up over and over is “What biography movies would you recommend?”. While there are many great biography movies available, I decided to put together a list of favorites for my readers.
In case you’re wondering, a biography movie is one which tells the story of a real-life person. Sure, some of the events may be slightly altered for entertainment purposes, but the essential details are always included.
Biography Movie Reviews
Anyway, here’s my answer to “What biography movies would you recommend?”. If you like the following films, I would suggest an Internet search to find many more quality biography movies.
- Raging Bull (1980) – Considered one of the greatest movies ever made, Raging Bull was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert DeNiro as middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta. Other cast members included Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty.
The film deals with LaMotta’s battles inside the ring and outside, as he is eventually consumed by his anger and jealousy. Noted for its realistic and brutal boxing sequences, Raging Bull was nominated for eight Academy Awards, with Robert DeNiro winning for Best Actor.
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Russell Crowe stars as John Forbes Nash, a winner of the Nobel Prize in the field of Economics. Nash also suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, frequently seeing imaginary people and picturing himself at the heart of various government intrigues.
After receiving eight Oscar nominations, the film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Adapted Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman), and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly). Many of the events in the movie differ from Nash’s real life, but the filmmakers stated that A Beautiful Mind was not meant to be a literal representation.
- Braveheart (1995) – Mel Gibson stars as William Wallace, one of the leaders of the First War of Scottish Independence against Edward I of England. Other cast members include Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox, Patrick McGoohan and Angus Macfadyen.
Braveheart was lauded for it’s epic feel, solid performances and intense battle sequences. A success at the box office, the movie was also popular with film critics. Braveheart won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (Mel Gibson), Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Editing. It was nominated for an additional five Academy Awards.
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – This epic British masterpiece stars Peter O’Toole as the legendary soldier and writer, T.E. Lawrence. The film follows his pivotal exploits in Arabia during World War I. This epic biography co-stars Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Jose Ferrer.
Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, it has influenced the work of such directors as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Sam Peckinpah and George Lucas. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, it won seven, including Best Director (Sam Spiegel) and Best Picture.
- Amadeus (1984) – While only loosely based on the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, this film still provides a fascinating look at the time period. Beautiful music also abounds, including works from Salieri, Mozart of many other composers of the era.
tarring Tom Hulce as Mozart and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri, Amadeus focuses on the efforts of Salieri to destroy his musical rival. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, it won eight, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Abraham), and Best Director.
- Stand and Deliver (1988) – Edward James Olmos portrays Jaime Escalante, a math teacher in East L.A. who challenges his students to get a better education. Other cast members include Andy Garcia, Rosanna DeSoto and Lou Diamond Phillips.
If you’re looking for something that will uplift and inspire, Stand and Deliver is worth watching. The students in Mr. Escalante’s class must overcome poverty, racism and many other factors to succeed. When I’m asked, “What biography movies would you recommend?”, this one is always high on my list.
- Lean on Me (1989) – Another inspirational movie biography which takes place in a school, Lean on Me stars Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark, an inner city principal in New Jersey. Faced with drugs and gang violence, “Crazy Joe” uses his own unique methods to clean up the school.
While a number of liberties were taken with the real-life facts, Lean on Me remains an inspiring film. It’s one of Morgan Freeman’s best performances, and that’s saying a lot.
- Milk (2008) – Directed by Gus Van Sant, Milk stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to a public office in California. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, and it does a great job of capturing the tumultuous political climate of San Francisco in the 1970s.
- Patton (1970) – George C. Scott stars as General George S. Patton. A complex man who believed in reincarnation, Patton was often plagued with the seeming inability to function in times of peace. This led to his career downfall, but his contribution during wartime cannot be denied.
Patton won seven of the 12 Academy Awards it was nominated for (including Best Picture and Best Director). George C. Scott also won the Best Actor award, but he famously refused to accept it.
- Schindler’s List (1993) – Steven Spielberg directed this biographical movie about Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews during World War II. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. It is considered by many to be one of the 10 greatest American movies ever made.
A critical and box office success, the haunting and frequently brutal Schindler’s List grossed over $321 million. The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Biography Movies Worth Mentioning
While I wanted to focus on the preceding 10 films, there are a number of other biography movies worth mentioning. If you like movie biopics, you should also consider giving these a try:
- Malcolm X (1992) – Directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington as the African-American activist.
- Hotel Rwanda (2004) – Starring Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina, a hotelier caught in the middle of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
- Gandhi (1982) – Starring Ben Kingsley as Indian leader and activist Mahatma Gandhi.
- Frost/Nixon (2008) – Starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, this film recreates the famous 1977 Frost/Nixon interviews.
- Walk The Line (2005) – Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon star as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
- The Aviator (2004) – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as eccentric pioneer Howard Hughes.
- My Left Foot (1989) – Daniel Day-Lewis plays Christy Brown, an Irishman who only had control of his left foot, but who went on to become an artist and author.
- Elizabeth (1998) – Cate Blanchett portrays Queen Elizabeth I of England.
- Out Of Africa (1985) – Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, and based on the novel by Karen Blixen.
- Catch Me If You Can (2002) – Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr., a highly-skilled teenage con artist. Tom Hanks plays the FBI agent trying to apprehend him.
movies. Whether he’s starring in an outrageous comedy or stretching his
acting abilities in a drama, Adam Sandler films are among the top earners every year. Considering this fact, it’s not surprising that readers of AskDeb.com frequently ask, “What movies has Adam Sandler been in? What are the best Adam Sandler movies?”.
We’ve listed the best Adam Sandler movies (in my opinion) and given a brief description of why
they are his strongest works. At the end of the article, we’ve also
listed the remaining Adam Sandler films, just in case you want to see
every movie that Adam Sandler has been in.
Here’s your complete Adam Sandler filmography.
What Are The Best Adam Sandler Movies?
Billy Madison (1995) – The breakout comedy role for Sandler, it helped establish him as a reliable box office presence. Playing alongside Darren McGavin, Bridgette Wilson and Bradley Whitford, Sandler portrays 27-year-old Billy Madison, a loveable goof who must go back and complete every grade of school to inherit his family’s hotel chain.
Happy Gilmore (1996) – This comedy is often cited as one of the best sports movies. Sandler plays Happy Gilmore, an aspiring hockey player with a powerful slapshot but poor skating skills. In order to save his grandmother’s home, Happy tries his hand at golf, using his powerful swing to quickly propel himself into the P.G.A. tournament. Don’t miss the classic fistfight between Happy and Bob Barker.
The Wedding Singer (1998) – Co-starring with Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler plays wedding singer Robbie Hart in this film that’s a must-see for anyone who grew up in the 80s. Set in 1985, Robbie is stood up at the altar by his fiancée, but he soon falls in love with a waitress (played by Barrymore). Less zany that Sandler’s previous films, it features a heart-warming love story and great music.
The Waterboy (1998) – Sandler is surrounded by a great cast including Henry Winkler, Kathy Bates and Jerry Reed. He plays Bobby Boucher, a simple-minded waterboy who transforms into a terrifying linebacker simply by channeling years of pent-up aggression. A great comedy for people who love sports films.
Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – In his first major departure from wacky comedies, Adam Sandler achieved many positive critical reviews for his role as a lonely and frustrated manufacturer of novelty items. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film wasn’t a box-office success, but it deserves a look from serious Adam Sandler fans.
Here’s an idea. Take the
Netflix free trial for a spin, and use the opportunity to catch up
on the Adam Sandler movies above that you haven’t yet seen.
Adam Sandler Filmography
If you’re still asking, “What movies has Adam Sandler been in? What are the best Adam Sandler movies?”, then the following list should fill out the remaining Adam Sandler filmography. While he stars in most of these films, a few may feature Adam Sandler in a supporting role or cameo.
- Going Overboard (1989) – As Schecky Moskowitz
- Shakes the Clown (1992) – As Dink the Clown
- Coneheads (1993) – As Carmine
- Airheads (1994) – As Pip
- Mixed Nuts (1994) – As Louis
- Bulletproof (1996) – As Archie Moses
- Dirty Work (1998) – As Satan (uncredited cameo)
- Big Daddy (1999) – As Sonny Koufax
- Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999) – As Robert Justin (cameo)
- Little Nicky (2000) – As Nicky
- The Animal (2001) – As Townie (cameo)
- Mr. Deeds (2001) – As Longfellow Deeds
- Eight Crazy Nights (2002) – As Davey Stone
- A Day with the Meatball (2002) – As Himself
- The Hot Chick (2002) – As Mambuza Bongo Guy (cameo)
- Anger Management (2002) – As Dave Buznik
- Pauly Shore is Dead (2003) – As Himself
- Stupidity (2003) – As Himself
- The Couch (2003) – As Couch Testing Guy
- 50 First Dates (2004) – As Henry Roth
- Spanglish (2004) -As John Clasky
- The Longest Yard (2005) – As Paul Crewe
- Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) – As Javier Sandooski (uncredited cameo)
- Click (2006) – As Michael Newman
- Reign Over Me (2007) – As Charlie Fineman
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) – As Chuck Levine
- Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) – As Zohan Dvir
- Bedtime Stories (2008) – As Skeeter Bronson
- Funny People (2009) – George Simmons
- Grown Ups (2010) - Lenny Feder
- Just Go with It (2010) - Dr. Danny Maccabee
- Jack & Jill (2010) – Jack Murray/Jill Bristow
- Zookeeper (2011) – Capuchin Monkey
See Also: Where to Rent Movies
For more information about what movies Adam Sandler has been in,
check out this
biography of Adam Sandler.
If you’re looking for some good action movies, there are a wide array of choices available. From shootouts and car chases to martial arts battles, the modern action movie is a great way to pass a few hours with friends or family.
While action movies aren’t as successful as their heyday in the late 80s and early 90s, a number of solid adrenaline-fueled films are routinely released on DVD. Of course, you also have hundreds of classic action films to choose from.
What are some good action films? Here are some quality recommendations from a self-professed action movie junkie.
Great Movie Fights
When asking, “What are some good action movies?”, it’s never a bad idea to start by looking at action movie fight scenes. People love a good fight, and guys like Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme used to bring them to us in spades.
Unfortunately, the current trend in modern cinema is to favor quick editing and shaky camerawork over actual quality fighting, but fans of great movie fights can still find some gems if they know where to look. Here are a few suggestions to get your started:
- Marked for Death (1990) – John Hatcher (Steven Seagal) and his pal Max (Keith David) take on a Jamaican drug dealer named Screwface. The fight scenes are fast, furious, and Seagal breaks plenty of bones. Considered one of Seagal’s best action films.
- Kill Bill – Volume 1 (2003) – The chapter entitled “Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves” includes one of the great movie fights in the history of American cinema. Before The Bride (Uma Thurman) can gain revenge against Asian crime boss O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), she’ll have to wade through the Crazy 88, O’Ren’s personal army, and Gogo Yubari, O’Ren’s bodyguard who dresses like a Japanese schoolgirl. There’s so much blood that director Quentin Tarantino cuts to black and white for a few minutes to avoid a NC-17 rating (the Japanese version of the film is in full color).
- They Live (1988) – After putting on a pair of special sunglasses, John Nada (Roddy Piper) finds that he can see aliens living among us. He tries to share this information with pal Frank Armitage (Keith David), but the wary construction worker resists. What follows is a brutal 5 ½ minute slugfest which is now viewed as one of cinema’s great movie fights.
- Kung Fu Hustle (2004) – This Hong Kong film is part comedy and part action movie, but the end result is all greatness. Stephen Chow directs, writes, produces and stars. The various fight scenes combine the grace of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with the over-the-top antics of The Three Stooges. A truly original film which works on many levels.
- Any Which Way You Can (1980) – Clint Eastwood is back as Philo Beddoe in this sequel to Every Which Way But Loose. Beddoe, considered the best West Coast fighter, is booked in a match against dangerous East Coast fighter Jack Wilson (played by movie tough-guy William Smith). Their showdown rages across an entire town, with the two stopping to talk about life and their mutual admiration for one another. An epic battle that shouldn’t be missed.
Great Movie Shootouts
There’s no doubt that America is a gun culture, and that’s certainly reflected in our action movie shootouts. However, when it comes to hot lead and bullet-riddled bodies, the following suggestions will show that other countries also know how to film great movie shootouts.
- The Killer (1989) – A highly acclaimed action film, The Killer was directed by John Woo and stars Chow Yun-Fat as a professional killer nearing retirement. But after accidentally blinding an innocent woman, he agrees to take one more mission to pay for her corneal transplant. Along the way, he’s pursued by a relentless cop and double-crossing crime figures. Non-stop action and a never-ending series of gunfights.
- Desperado (1995) – Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, this action classic features Antonio Banderas and the lovely Salma Hayek. Banderas plays a former mariachi seeking revenge against the crime boss who killed his girlfriend. His guitar case loaded down with weapons, El Mariachi cuts a bloody swath across the Mexican landscape. Also features Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi and Cheech Marin.
- Hard Target (1993) – Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Chance Boudreaux and featuring the American debut of director John Woo, this action film features plenty of martial arts moves by Van Damme and an equal amount of gunplay courtesy of the villainous duo of Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen) and Pik van Cleef (Arnold Vosloo). There’s a climatic shootout amidst old Mardi Gras floats, and Wilford Brimley shows up as Chance’s moonshine-making uncle, Douvee (who’s pretty handy with a bow).
- Battle Royale (2000) – Directed by filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku, this bloody flick features a group of Japanese schoolchildren who are abducted by the government, transported to an island, and forced to fight to the death. Highly controversial, especially considering that the students getting shot up, blown up and chopped up are played by Japanese actors in their mid to early teens.
- Heat (1995) – Boasts an amazing cast (Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, etc.) and one of the great movie shootouts in recent years. The aforementioned gun battle takes place after Neil McCauley (DeNiro) and his crew are surrounded by cops following a band robbery. Since surrender is not an option, the desperate criminals turn downtown Los Angeles into a war zone. Bullets fly, bodies drop, and an instant classic is born.
Great Movie Car Chases
When asking, “What are some good action movies?”, you also need to look at films featuring great movie car chases. With fenders flying and cop cars running off the road, a well-choreographed chase can elevate an average action flick to a timeless work of art.
- The Road Warrior (1981) – Also known as Mad Max 2, this Australian film features a climactic scene with Mel Gibson driving a tanker truck across a post-apocalyptic landscape. Pursued by savage marauders led by the hockey mask-wearing Lord Humungus, Max gets some much needed assistance from The Gyro Captain and The Feral Kid. It’s impossible to count the number of films inspired by this classic.
- Vanishing Point (1971) – This cult favorite concerns the efforts of the burned-out Kowalkski to deliver a 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco. Carey Loftin, a Hollywood stuntman, executed the driving sequences which are still considered some of the best ever.
- Bullitt (1968) – They didn’t call Steve McQueen “The King of Cool” for nothing. As badass cop Frank Bullitt, McQueen prowls the streets of San Francisco looking to take down organized crime. In the most influential car chase scene in movie history, he pursues two mob hitmen in his 1968 “Highland Green” Ford Mustang. McQueen did much of his own stunt driving, while the rest was handled by Carey Loftin (who would work on Vanishing Point three years later).
- Smokey & the Bandit (1977) – With an all-star cast featuring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed and Jackie Gleason, this classic comedy spawned numerous sequels. But the star of the show was the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am owned by Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds). Needless to say, Trans Am sales skyrocketed following the release of the film.
- Ronin (1998) – This Robert DeNiro action vehicle also stars Sean Bean and Jean Reno as mercenaries in Europe. During the film’s three major car chases, vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz 6.9, BMW M5 and Audi S8 all tear along the coast of the French Riviera. Often overlooked, Ronin undoubtedly features some of the great movie car chases.
Great Overall Action Movies
There are good action movies and then there are great action movies. I’m talking about films that combine intense action scenes with quality acting and a solid script. If you’re looking to watch some great overall action movies, the following five should easily answer the question, “What are some good action movies?”.
- The Matrix (1999) – Neo (Keanu Reeves) and company fight against tyrannical machines in this influential sci-fi/action film. While the sequels weren’t as good, this film was the epitome of cool. Neo and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) have a standout kung-fu battle, and there are numerous opportunities to admire the gun-toting Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her tight leather outfit.
- Lethal Weapon (1987) – The quintessential buddy cop movie, Danny Glover and Mel Gibson star as L.A. cops Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs. Villains get wasted left and right, and the climatic hand-to-hand showdown between Riggs and the equally lethal Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey) is one for the ages. And don’t forget about the excellent Shane Black script featuring tons of memorable lines.
- Big Trouble in Little China (1986) – This movie has a little bit of everything: comedy, drama, kung-fu, mysticism, monsters and Kurt Russell. Directed by John Carpenter, the film was a commercial flop, but it has went on to be considered a cult classic. If you’re looking for great overall action movies, then look no further.
- Die Hard (1988) – Hands down, the greatest action movie ever made. Bruce Willis is his wisecracking best as John McClane, a New York cop stuck in an L.A. skyscraper during a hostage situation. Alan Rickman (in his first movie role) hits one out of the park as the villainous Hans Gruber, and a number of other fine performances (Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason) dot the landscape. The action sequences are original, the script well-written, and the performances career-defining. If you haven’t seen Die Hard, watch it immediately. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again.
- The Rundown (2003) – If this movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had been released in the early 90s, it would be considered one of the great overall action movies. Directed by Peter Berg, the film follows the efforts of Beck (Johnson), a retrieval specialist for the mob, to bring the treasure-hunting Travis Walker (Sean William Scott) back from the Amazon jungle. Along the way, he’ll have to deal with the greedy Hatcher (Christopher Walken), the dangerous Mariana (Rosario Dawson), and a jungle filled with angry rebels and horny monkeys. If the first 10 minutes (in which Beck single-handedly takes on five members of a professional football team) doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, you might want to make sure you’re still alive.
What new horror movies are coming out in 2010?
Update–September 27, 2010 – My friend Shane Rivers has just published a post about Upcoming Horror Films at Only Good Movies. Check it out for the latest info about this October’s slate of new horror movies..
A LOT of new horror movies are coming out in 2010.
If you’re like me you’re weary of the same old shlock that Hollywood’s been putting out for the last couple of decades. We’ve had so many “romantic comedies” mixed in with countless reboots and rehashed plots you’d think there was a writer’s strike going on.
Luckily for fans of horror films, 2010 looks like a more than decent year. Each month has an exciting movie and while some are sequels or reboots there is plenty of original material coming out in the next year.
Daybreakers, starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe
Early reviews of this film are good.
Legion is a horror movie about angels. I like the sound of that.
The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins
If this film hadn’t swapped directors (Mark Romanek to Joe Johnston) maybe early murmurings would be more positive. Still, a great cast and a cool setting usually means a great horror flick.
Season of the Witch, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman
If you’re ready for another Nic Cage-led instant B-movie classic, this film’s for you. According to reviews, Cage is playing a Crusader without an accent. That’s right, we get to hear the real and completely anachronistic American accent of Cage throughout the film. Go see this horror film because it may be one of the worst movies released since Cage’s last travesty.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The most anticipated horror film of the year. We’re hearing all kinds of crazy rumors about A Nightmare on Elm Street. Some people say that the new Freddy (played by the quite talented Jackie Earle Haley of Watchmen fame) is an improvement, others say it is a detraction. Some say the new makeup effects make Freddy’s burns look “too realistic”, although I can’t see that being a bad thing. One thing is for sure–this is one reboot worth buying early tickets for. (Get ready for the remake by watching all of the original movies, which are available at Amazon cheap. And if you buy something from Amazon using our link, we’ll make a small commission, which helps pay for the hosting on the site.)
Honestly there’s no horror movies coming out during early summer that are worth seeing. Go check out Prince of Persia in May and The A-Team in June. Seriously.
Predators, starring Adrien Brody and Topher Grace
The long-awaited direct sequel to Predator, this film is Robert Rodriguez’ old spec script he shopped around for years but never got made. Yeah, I know, another reboot. But this one’s got Predator dogs! Predator freakin’ dogs, man! Get over it.
Friday the 13th, Part Two
Though we’re unsure if this film’s gonna make it out on schedule, we think it may be worth a spot on your calendar. Rumor has it, the film’s gonna be in 3-d, though the fact that none of the original cast want anything to do with it isn’t a good sign.
Priest, starring Paul Bettany and Christopher Plummer
Yes, another movie in 2010 in which Paul Bettany plays a holy figure in a horror setting. Hopefully this film will be better than January’s Legion. Unlikely, as they were both directed by the same person. Expect your standard “vampire western” here, lots of big guns and nasty vampires.
October – December 2010
Look out for any of these titles which are as yet unscheduled but are worth watching:
After.Life – Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci star in this weird movie about a woman being buried alive. I want to see this right now.
Splice — Guillermo del Toro produced film about the horrors of genetics. Looks really brainy and beautiful.
Ravenous — A woman and her brother are trapped in a house with a man-eating tiger while a hurricane rages outside. Seriously. If I could make this kind of thing up, you think I’d be blogging right now?
This post is part of a series of posts about movies in 2010. The other posts include:
- What Movies Are Coming to DVD in 2010?
- What Movies Are Coming out in 2010?
- What Movie Sequels Are Coming out in 2010?
What Is Independent Film?
You hear the term all the time, but you aren’t really sure what it means. What is independent film? Sometimes called “indie” film, independent film is a simple word used to refer to films that are made outside of the realm of Hollywood’s major studios. Independent film is seen as a more pure version of film, as it is separated from the cheapening and immoral influence of Hollywood’s deep pockets.
Independent movies are the perfect antidote to the kinds of films being made by mainstream Hollywood studios. Blockbuster films are starved of the element of truth–shlockfests full of explosions and big name actors making millions of dollars by memorizing lines.
At the beginnings of independent film, they were seen as being “everything that the major film studio films were not”–that means artistic and small as opposed to huge and commercial. Hollywood sells films that are “safe”, devoid of true emotion, meant to let the film’s viewer escape into the hugely expensive special effects the film provides. Indie films are the opposite, small-scale movies meant to show life as it really is. In other words–independent films are films as art rather than films as distraction.
Small Budgets, Big Dreams
An independent film is usually made on a tiny budget. The great independent film directors are well-known for financing their movies in very unconventional ways. The director Robert Rodriguez started his indie career by taking part in medical trials. One-time indie director turned major studio director Gus Van Sant faked a car accident to get his financing from the insurance company. Indie films are made on money that comes from credit cards, loans from family and friends, and pretty much any other financial source, legal or not.
Why Are Independent Movies So Huge?
In the nineties, independent film gained the popularity of mainstream film. Major studios in the past would not come anywhere near indie films because they lack profitability. A small film company called Miramax was instrumental in changing the studio’s attitude toward Indie– the owners of Miramax, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, realized that they could buy films on the cheap from independent film directors and make large profits.
The success of a number of small-budget indie films in the late 80s and 90s (Sex, Lies and Videotape, Pulp Fiction, and Good Will Hunting being pretty good examples) changed Hollywood’s attitude toward independent film.
Compared to the studio pictures, indies cost nothing at all, can be shot quickly, and use lots of first-time artists who command lower salaries. Independent movies started grossing in the hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, and the studios sat up and paid attention.
Film Festivals and Indie Films
The Sundance film festival and other film festivals became the place to see indie films. Big name studio executives from LA began to show up to try and buy up the hot indie films from the festival circuit. Big names like Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Gus Van Sant were all broke indie film directors who made some of the highest grossing films for very little money. They were all discovered first on the festival circuit.
Indie Film Directors
The stories of the passion of independent movie directors could fill a book. When indie filmmaker Barbet Schroder was busy making the film Barfly, his production cash was cut off and the film was shut down. According to legend, Schroder visited his producer with a chainsaw, threatening to cut off his own fingers if the film was not refunded. The film was made, and whether or not the producer was convinced by the chainsaw or not we’ll never know.
How To Tell If a Film Is Independent
It is harder to tell an indie apart from a big-ticket film these days, especially because huge studios are now making indie pictures.
In general, independent films have more lifelike plots, gritty and “realistic” characters and dialogue, and their subject matter is usually darker or more mysterious than with big-ticket films.
List of Independent Movies on DVD
You can find a list of independent movies on DVD at almost every online DVD rental service website, but we recommend Greencine for this.
See also: Odd Films
Note: Most of the movies below are based on classic literary
works, so they’re perfect for educators looking to create lesson
plans related to the holiday season.
Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year, and one of the most popular ways of enjoying the holiday for many people is to
watch Christmas movies with their kids. Our “ultimate guide to Christmas movies for kids” provides a list of some of our favorite
Christmas movies, along with reasons why we think they’re such good choices for families to watch each year.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best (and the first) of all Peanuts animated specials, and it
won both an Emmy AND a Peabody Award. It’s worth watching for just the wonderful music, but there is more value to be had in the story as well.
Charles Schulz revolutionized what a comic strip could do and be, and he peppered his comics with Christian messages that were so subtle that
even the most secular audience didn’t seem to mind.
A Christmas Carol – The 1984 version, starring George C. Scott as Scrooge, is our favorite film version of this classic Charles Dickens work. A Christmas Carol is faithful to the original literary work and the performances are outstanding. George C. Scott is a master at work.
A Christmas Story – This 1983 comedy was directed by Bob Clark, and it was based on Jean Shepherd‘s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. It’s the tale of nine year old Ralphie Parker, and all Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. The movie is set in the 1940′s, so it’s a great opportunity to discuss the differences between how we live now contrasted to how we lived then.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - In 2005, C.S. Lewis‘ masterpiece was brought to the big screen. The movie
is a great way to get children interested in reading C.S. Lewis’ series of fantasy books set in the magical land of Narnia.
Elf – Jon Favreau’s 2003 comedy is one of the few movies that made our list that wasn’t based on a classic literary work, but it’s so good and so charming that we couldn’t stand not including it here. Elf has a rock solid cast, too, including Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, and James Caan.
Frosty the Snowman – This movie was inspired by the 1950 song that was originally recorded by Gene Autry. The legendary Jimmy
Durante is the narrator for this 1969 film, and it’s well worth watching even today. We doubt that anyone could possibly be too old
The Gift of the Magi – This is the 2004 movie version of the classic O. Henry story. It’s only 16 minutes long, but it captures the theme of the story perfectly. The Gift of the Magi won several awards, including the 2002 Parents’ Choice Approved Award, the 2002 Kids First! Award, and the Bronze Award at the Houston International Film Festival.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Don’t bother with the 2000 live action version starring Jim Carrey. Watch the original 1966 cartoon
starring Boris Karloff as the grumpy monster who has plans to steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville. Another animated classic
that is as fresh today as it was three decades ago.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – This animated Ranking Bass adaptation of the poem is 25 minutes long, and it plays fast
and loose with the source material, but it’s charming and entertaining at the same time. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
originally aired in 1974, but it’s aged well. It’s not dated at all.
How to Become a Director
Before you become the next Spielberg or Scorsese, you’ll need to know how to direct a film. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, as this post is devoted to helping the aspiring director take those first awkward baby steps in the business. Not only will we discuss the responsibilities of the movie director, but we’ll also examine the different types of directors, as well as mistakes commonly made by beginners. By the time you’re finished with this guide on how to direct a film, you’ll be ready to dazzle Hollywood with your talent.
Directing Movies – What Does the Director Do?
So what does a movie director do? Their primary goal is to oversee the creative vision of a motion picture, which means taking the script and translating it into a series of moving images. It also entails approving every detail related to the on-screen product, including lighting, camera angles, set design, special effects, and more. In some cases, the director will also hire key members of the crew (such as the Director of Photography).
Directors will attend auditions and give input into the casting process. They will then work with any actors hired to bring the script to life. This may include a number of rehearsals or none at all. Since actors can often challenge the director’s vision or bring personal baggage onto the set, it’s important for a film director to be able to work well with other (or at least have the authority to fire any troublemakers).
When filming wraps, the director’s job isn’t done. They play a pivotal role in the post-production process, working with the editor to sift through the various shots and select the ones most appropriate to the narrative. The director must also decide which scenes are included in the film and which get cut out entirely. In addition to editing the film, the director will help oversee the mixing of the film’s score and sound.
How to Become a Director – Three Keys to Being a Good Director
While there are many qualities that make a good director, I believe the following three to be of utmost importance. Learning how to direct a film is crucial, but there’s more to the craft that knowing all the terminology and how equipment works.
- The ability to tell a story
- People skills
Types of Directors
When learning how to direct a film, it’s helpful to know which kind of director you are. The following list runs down some of the most common types, as well as providing some examples.
- Directors who produce their own films – Eli Roth, Robert Rodriguez, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino
- Directors known for B Movies and Z Movies – Uwe Boll, Roger Corman, and Ed Wood
- Directors who compose their own scores – John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, Satyajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, and Clint Eastwood
- Directors who allow their actors to improvise – Werner Herzog, Spike Lee, Christopher Guest, Gus Van Sant, and Jean-Luc Godard
- Directors who want cast and crew to follow precise instructions – James Cameron, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock
- Directors who appear in their own films – Kevin Smith, Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, and Charlie Chaplin
- Directors who write their own scripts – John Cassavetes, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Tyler Perry, Billy Wilder, Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Oliver Stone
- Directors who also serve as editor and/or cinematographer – Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Joel and Ethan Coen, Steven Soderbergh, and Nicolas Roeg
Joining the Director’s Guild
Membership has its privileges. That’s why you should join the Director’s Guild of America if you have a chance. It’s a union that includes directors, assistant directors, and several other positions in film and television. They protect the creative rights of their members, and one must be a member to work for the large studios. In addition, they have training programs where applicants can gain experience working in the industry. And it doesn’t hurt that guild members are guaranteed a minimum salary per week (in 2005, it was between $8000 and $15,000). To learn more about the Director’s Guild of America, be sure to check out their website.
Tips for How to Direct a Film
- Learn about acting – Since you’re going to be working with actors on a daily basis, it helps to understand them. Take some acting classes when you have a chance. Then the next time an actor is pestering you about their character’s motivation, you’ll know where they’re coming from.
- Map out characters – Once you’ve found a script, read over it carefully to establish the progression of each character. You may want to make notes and share them with each actor, as this should save time once filming begins.
- Storyboards – The use of storyboards are an important element of filmmaking, as they allow the entire cast and crew to understand what your vision looks like. If you want to save time (and money), there are numerous types of storyboard software available to assist you.
- Work with your actors – Pre-production doesn’t cost anything, so take advantage of this phase as much as possible. One of the best ideas is to read through the script with your actors and let them to get a feel for things. This also allows you to give notes on each character and the overall progression of the story. Once sets have been located or constructed, it’s also a good idea to perform “blocking,” where actors are instructed where to stand and move for each scene. In some cases, you may disagree with your actors about a certain line or scene. Hear them out, but remember that you’re ultimately the boss of the production.
- Coordinate with the AD and DP – The Director of Photography and Assistant Director are an immense help during filming. The DP will set up shots and help with the overall look of the film, while the AD will make sure that everything runs smoothly on the set and gets done the way you want it. Communicating your vision to these individuals is absolutely vital to the success of the film.
- Be prepared – Arrive early to the set each day and be prepared for all the scenes that are going to be filmed. It’s also a good idea to walk through each scene with the actors before shooting. Many things can go wrong while you’re making a movie, so always have a back-up plan ready to go. So when disaster strikes (and it will), you’ll be ready to roll with the punches.
- Have fun – Remember that directing a movie should be a fun process. After all, you could be working at a fast food restaurant or digging ditches for a living. Savor the experience and keep a positive mental attitude.
Common Mistakes New Directors Make When They’re Learning How to Direct a Film
When learning how to direct a film, it’s just as important to learn what NOT to do. The following list includes some of the most common mistakes by both novice and veteran directors.
- Always accept criticism from professionals – Even if you disagree with their opinions, it’s important to listen to constructive criticism from those with more experience than yourself.
- Don’t listen to criticism from friends and family – Unless they’re also a director, there’s a good chance your mother or girlfriend doesn’t know a thing about the craft of cinema. While there’s no reason to be rude, just don’t take their opinions to heart.
- Give the actors time – Some directors want to rush and not allow their actors proper time to build characters and hone their performances. Make sure to give your actors all the time they need–within reason, of course. Rehearsal is a good way to accomplish this.
- Don’t coddle the actors – If an actor isn’t living up to expectation, don’t be afraid to replace them.
- Don’t accept amateurs – Even a low-budget filmmaker can find professional actors to work with if they known where to look. You don’t have to settle for family and friends, unless you really want to.
That concludes our look at how to direct a film. There’s plenty more to learn about directing, and the Internet has a wide array of articles dedicated to the subject. Here’s hoping this post sparked your interest enough to seek them out. If so, I’ll be looking for your name up in lights.
See also: How to Produce a Film
What Is Hulu?
Hulu is a website which streams videos of movies and television programming from several major film studios and most of the tv networks, including Fox, ABC, and NBC. I guarantee that Hulu.com contains a lot of recent content that you would never imagine showing for free on the Internet.
Hulu Programming – Hulu Homepage
Let me give you some examples. Go to the Hulu homepage and you get a good idea of the video options. There’s an episode of “The Morning After” which debuts on February 2nd (tonight as I write this) in the “Recent Episodes” feature. Other featured videos includes “Popular Clips”, “Popular Shows”, “Featured Content”, and even “My Videos”, which lets you cull the clips you like the most.
Hulu Featured Content
Among the featured videos on Hulu at present, you get your standard fare of Saturday Night Live skits (two SNL clips showing at present), a glimpse at Katy Perry’s appearance on an upcoming tv show, and a feature involving Brooke Burke on the E! Network. As you can tell, watching Hulu clips lets you keep up with American pop culture and entertainment, if that’s important to you.
The video content ranges from the high-minded to the absent-minded. You can watch clips from “Million Dollar Money Drop”, which I have to admit has to actively pursue the worst decision-makers they can find, while the clip just below features a Charlie Rose interview from PBS–which many might find stimulating, but many others might find to be soporific. (I love Charlie Rose, but I might have to go with the crowd on this one, since it involves Barbara Walters.)
You’ll find a whole list of featured programming just on the Hulu homepage. Here’s a list of tv episodes currently featured.
- House Clips on Hulu
- Family Guy Videos on Hulu
- The Bachelor on Hulu
- The Office Clips on Hulu
- The Biggest Loser on Hulu
- Lie to Me on Hulu
- Saturday Night Live Hulu Clips
- Parenthood Hulu Videos
You can also click on the “More” link right beneath these options to find a wider selection. This takes you to the “Most Popular” videos on Hulu, including streaming vids of Greek, Detroit 1-8-7, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Chuck, Naruto Shippuden, E! News Now, Human Target, Modern Family, The Simpsons, and the all-important Glee.
Hulu Movie Trailers
You can also go to Hulu to watch film trailers and previews for both new releases and upcoming releases. For instance, movies like “Just Go With It” starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Nicole Kidman. There’s also the super-hot model Brooklyn Decker (Andy Roddick’s wife–the lucky bastard) in a key role. Sure, this looks like another mailed-in Adam Sandler performance, but anyone interested already knows that. The point being, this is the latest preview of a big release coming up in just over a week’s time.
Other movie trailers being offered include Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never”–in fact, five different clips. There’s also sneak peaks at “Peep World”, starring Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman, and Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, and “Today’s Most Popular” entries like Miss March, The Eagle, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Hulu Load Times
People visiting a video website are going to want (and have) a high-speed connection, but Hulu tries to help out where it can. The site is designed with small thumbnails of the clip in question, but they are small enough and the rest of the design is sparse enough to make navigation and connection times reasonable. That’s important, even for those ready to stream videos.
Hulu “Coming Soon” Page
To see what you don’t want to miss in the coming days and weeks, Hulu also offers it’s “Coming Soon” link, which gives a list of episodes and video clips that should be loaded soon. Each day has it’s own list of soon-to-be-added videos, such as Friday (2/04/11), when Bones episode 6.12 (“The Sin in the Sisterhood”), Grey’s Anatomy 7.13 (“Don’t Deceive Me: Please Don’t Go”), and Private Practice 4.12 (“Heaven Can Wait”) all arrive. I should mention that the Grey’s Anatomy episode title may be one of the wimpiest tv program titles I’ve ever seen.
These programs can be arranged according to “Coming Soon”, “Air Date”, or “Latest”. You can also simply “Browse TV”, so you can search Hulu clips in whichever manner best suits your taste and browsing habits.
Who Owns Hulu?
Hulu is owned jointly by “NBC Universal”, “News Corporation” (Rupert Murdoch’s company), and the Disney Corporation in a joint venture to produce Hulu. Disney is the world’s largest media conglomerate, followed by Time Warner (owner of NBC) in the #2 position, and News Corporation in the #3 position. Therefore, Hulu is owned and operated by a joint partnership of the three largest media conglomerates in the world. No wonder Hulu has the best video clips.
How Does Hulu Make Money?
Hulu makes most of its own from advertising sales. Hulu ads are placed briefly at the beginning of video clips and elsewhere on the sites. The video ads are relatively unobtrusive for streaming video ads, and are what you’re used to on many other video websites out there. Hulu also makes money from subscriptions to “Hulu Plus”, which gives additional content options for paid customers, but I imagine that’s a small part of Hulu’s overall revenue stream.
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Good Movies on Netflix Instant Play
The question “What are some good movies on Netflix instant play” was a lot harder to answer than it is now. That’s because the selection has grown to include many of the first-run blockbusters and new releases on the video rental market. I even know one person who chose the cheapest of the Netflix plans available because he ONLY uses their instant watch capability.
Most people looking for good movies on Netflix already have their by-mail Netflix queue filled up. But with the many new instant viewing options on Netflix, your instant watch queue might be a little limited.
In fact, if you have haven’t watched Netflix streaming videos since their inclusion of Starz Play in late 2008, you may have given up the idea altogether, or you might only have B-movies and bad movies on your viewing list. So I wanted to talk about the latest good movies from Netflix you can find to watch instantly, since the selection is so much better than it used to be.
You might be asking yourself what’s changed so radically in a couple of years. I’ll give you the answer: Starz Play on Netflix.
Using Starz Play, a partnership of Netflix and Starz Entertainment, you can watch over 1,000 first-run movies instantly on your tv or home theater system. When you get on the Netflix homepage, click on the link at the top of the page called “Starz Play” to see what’s available. You can use your Wii or XBOX 360 to sync the Starz Play with your tv, or hook up directly to your television set or computer. You might have to click on the link “Instantly to Your TV” and follow the instructions to know what’s required to set up the instant watch option.
Good Movies on Netflix – Instant Queue
Just like you have a Netflix queue for movies you want sent to you through the mail, you can browse the Netflix instant queue library to see what to add to your Netflix Instant Watch Queue.
If you haven’t streamed movies from Netflix in the last couple of years because you thought their selection wasn’t so hot, check out the latest selection through Starz Play. The purpose of this deal was to allow Netflix to show new releases, blockbusters, and A-list movies in their first-run, instead of less mainstream selections. These are big name movies and critically-acclaimed movies from the big studios–not just B-list productions and niche films.
Good Movies on Netflix Instant Watch
This lets you plan a movie watching schedule with your entire family without taking the time to go to the movie rental store or you forgot to put the right movie at the top of your queue, all you have to do is use the instant watching option accessed through your television screen. Here are examples of good family entertainment movies you could choose on Netflix instant watch
- Up (Disney & Pixar)
- The Princess and the Frog
- Alice in Wonderland
- Astro Boy
- Planet 51
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Dragon Hunters
If you want viewing for your children that the entire family might not actually watch, you can choose from selections like Strawberry Shortcake: The Sky’s the Limit, G-Force, Ponyo, and Care Bears: Big Wish Movie.
Good Movies on Netflix to Watch Instantly
But don’t think Netflix Instant Watching and Starz Play is just about good kids movies. There are hundreds of mainstream films for an adult audience, always entertainment at the top of the mind of a contemporary audience. Below are some good movies on Netflix available for instant viewing.
- The Proposal
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Dear John
- The Ugly Truth
- The Crazies
- Year One
- The Taking of Pelham 123 (remake)
- District 9
- Young Victoria
Looking through the list of current instant watch DVDs on Netflix, there are still plenty of lousy movies. I saw a few Rob Schneider films on the list–always a sign of a bad movie. But the bulk of these films are going to be the selections you would be seeing in the new releases section at your local video rental outlet.
Good Movies on Netflix Streaming
You’ll also find many classic films available for streaming on Netflix. Starz Play can interface with televisions, desktop PCs, laptops, Mac computers, iPads, Wii consoles, and XBox consoles. Name just about any standard electronics able to view movies and you can watch excellent movies through Netflix streaming with it.
- Netflix Plans and Pricing 2011
- What Is Starz Play?
- Netflix VS. Blockbuster
- What Is Blockbuster Video?
- Where to Rent Movies
- DVD Kiosks
- Watch Movies Online
Starz Entertainment and Netflix
Starz Play is an streaming video service by Starz Entertainment which lets you watch tv, film, and concert videos instantly through providers like Netflix and Verizon.
You can interface through you Wii or XBox, or watch instantly on Microsoft PCs and Macs using the Silverlight Movie Player.
And if you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can stream videos directly through your home theater system or television set.
What Is Starz Channel?
Starz began as a tv channel back in 1994, when it was known as Starz!. Starz is owned by Liberty Starz Encore, and Encore Channel and Starz are considered the flagship stations in the network.
Starz is known for showing first-run motion pictures on its channel. As of 2008, it boasted over 17 million subscribers.
Starz Play Service Netflix
Starz Play service from Netflix is a partnership between Starz Entertainment, LLC and Netflix, Inc to provide streaming videos to all subscribers to the Netflix online video rental service. The deal was brokered in fall of 2008, and gives users access to over a thousand instant watch videos.
At the time the deal was announced, Netflix already had over 12,000 movie and television titles available through their instant queue. What “Starz Play” provides is premium content and new releases. Everyone who streamed videos from Netflix up until a year or two ago can tell you that Netflix’s instant view options were limited to older titles and (generally) low quality and B-list productions. StarzPlay provides quality to go with that quantity.
Starz Play Quality
When I say Starz Play quality, I mean new releases among tv shows, films, and musical performances. I also mean that these are releases from the big production studios, like Sony, Walt Disney, Pixar, Miramax, The Weinstein Company, IFC, and other studios at that level. So Starz Play quality is top quality entertainment.
Starz Play Netflix
Few people know this, but Netflix subscribers have the option to subscribe only to Starz Play for $6.99 a month. To find this option, log into Netflix and go to the homepage. Then click on “Your Account & Help” in the top right-hand corner of the page. Click on the “Change Plan” link, which should be on your right and towards the upper portion of this page. Finally, scroll down to “Limited Plans” and click on “Show Additional Limited Plans”. The $6.99 option should be the last option on the page (as of this writing).
Starz Play Community – Starz Play Wiki
If you want to keep up with the latest developments with Starz Play and Netflix, go the Starz Entertainment official website and register with “My Starz” to join in discussions on the community message boards, custom schedules, rating & favorites, email & SMS reminders, and eNewsletters. You’ll also be able to find Starz on Facebook and Starz on Twitter. I’m not aware of a Starz Play wiki, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one exists.
Starz Play Verizon
“Starz Play” through Verizon costs $5.99 a month for Verizon FiOS or Verizon High Speed Internet subscribers, or $9.99 a month for everybody else. A Starz Play subscription entitles you to over 2,500 films and videos for up to 3 devices per one membership. You can bundle this subscription with Verizon Games to get more savings.
Starz Play Wii
To watch Starz Play Netflix through your Wii console, go to your Netflix homepage. Click on the “Instantly to Your TV” link, which should be in the center of your page towards the top. This takes you to a page with a whole list of options of interfaces. Scroll down the page until you get to the “Wii Console” option, then click the appropriate “Learn More >” link.
This provides quick and easy instructions for setting up your Netflix account to your Wii. You can instantly watch TV titles and film titles stream via Netflix into your game room.
Starz Play Mac
Netflix Instant Viewing is compatible with Apple MacIntosh, too. You’ll need an intel-based Mac with OS 10.4.8 or later, Safari 3 or higher (or Firefox 2 or higher), and 1 GB of Ram. Mac users complained for years that Netflix wasn’t compatible, but a deal was brokered in late 2008. The Microsoft Silverlight Movie Player is now compatible with both PC and Mac.
Starz Play Review
Depending on the method used, Starz Play lets you watch between 1,000 and 2,500 new releases and mainstream films, television show episodes, and musical concerts. The Netflix-Starz partnership is going to continue at least into 2012, and the titles offered are going to continue to be among the best new releases in the video market.
Whether you buy a subscription through Netflix or Verizon, or whether you want to stream through your television, home theater system, cell phone, XBox, or Wii, you can get streaming videos through Starz Play for less than $10 a month.
- Netflix Plans and Pricing
- Netflix Versus Blockbuster
- What Is Blockbuster Video?
- Where to Rent Movies Online
- Rent Movies at DVD Kiosks
- Where to Watch Movies Online
- Netflix Pricing Plans (at OnlyGoodMovies.com)
Netflix Rental Plans for 2011
Netflix recently announced new price plans which go into effect on January 11, 2011, so I wanted to go over the Netflix plans and pricing for 2011. Whether you’re prospective customer to the online DVD rental giant, or a continuing costumer trying to figure out whether to change to a new rental plan, you’ll find data to inform your choices.
Netflix Plans and Prices
There are a variety of Netflix plans and prices, including the traditional DVD rental tiers most people are accustomed to, Netflix plans for blu ray rentals, and streaming-only plans. I’ll go over each of these, giving the latest pricing tiers for 2011 and a comparison of the plans based on a combination of cost and service.
A Netflix executive recently stated that Netflix was now primarily a streaming video company–not the by-mail movie rental company most people perceive–though I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. That’s where Netflix is pointing itself, but the day when most of us stream videos to our tv sets, instead of getting movies in the mail, is still in the future. That future might not be too far down the line, though.
For the time being, I’m going to cover the plans and prices you can rent DVDs and blu ray discs via the snail mail, then discuss the streaming option below.
Netflix Plans – Prices
As of January 11, 2011, here are the new prices for Netflix rental plans.
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $10.99 a month
- 2 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $16.99 a month
- 3 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $20.99 a month
- 4 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $28.99 a month
- 5 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $35.99 a month
- 6 DVDS out at-a-Time - Unlimited Rentals – $42.99 a month
- 7 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $49.99 a month
- 8 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $56.99 a month
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $4.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No DVDs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans Comparison
Now that you see the full list of Netflix plans, let’s discuss several of the most intriguing options. Let’s get streaming videos out of the way first, since it’s what is on everyone’s mind right now. It’s hard to argue with the deal Netflix is throwing out there for customers.
Netflix Plans – Streaming Only
For $7.99 per month, you can choose to avoid the DVD mail plans altogether. That means you won’t be able to get Netflix movie discs mailed to you. Instead, everything is streamed directly to your television set. You’ll need to have your tv set up to interface with your computer, and that might cost you the money to have someone come out to your home to install and prep the electronics. Once set up, the streaming plan is the easiest and most efficient, and you don’t have to remember to drop off your return videos in the mail.
You can see why Netflix executives are pushing this option. The overhead of dealing with the U.S. Postal Service and having to “throttle” customers who rent too many films for the cost structure is eliminated. You click on a button and Netflix streams the video to your home. I’ve found there are some connection issues at time, but this is clearly the wave of the future. For $7.99, you get unlimited film rentals pumped directly to your television.
I tend to wonder if Netflix isn’t making this the introductory price, to get more people to switch over from the mailing plans, and the price won’t go up, once most people have made the switch. But if you have the electronic set-up at your house, this is the best plan, according to bang-for-your-buck.
Netflix Plans $4.99
Now let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. The most basic Netflix pricing plan is the $4.99 a month for a maximum of 2 rentals. I suppose people and families which watch few movies, but want to avoid the trip to the video rental store, can use this plan. I don’t see why anyone would choose this option, though.
For five dollars more, you can get unlimited rentals, while still having the same number of DVDs out at one time. Even if your family has one movie watching night a week and you want 1 disc per week, the unlimited $9.99 plan is going to service your needs better.
Netflix Plans – Pricing
As for the standard “DVD out at-a-time” plans, the best remains the 3-film plan, in my mind. This is one of the price plans which has gone up in price ($2 from $17.99 a month), but that’s because it’s the most popular one of the bunch. That’s because 3 movies at a time let’s people stagger their movie watching, almost always having a film DVD to watch. With the standard 2-day turnaround on shipping, the three-video plan simply works.
You can choose the bigger plans, especially if you’re a film geek or you have a whole family of movie watchers, but the price increase from 3 to 4 videos is a steep $8. I still wonder at the people who need 8 film rentals out at a time, but those people exist.
I imagine these people should be among the first to get the $7.99 streaming option, since they can take those $48 per month in savings to put towards having someone come out and set up a streaming connection between their computer and television. A couple or three months of savings should more than make up for that expense, and then they’ll be paying eight dollars a month for unlimited rentals (not just 8).
Netflix Plans – Blu Ray
To add blu ray rentals to your option list, pay an additional $4.00 a month. Remember that you’ll need a high-definition television to watch blu ray discs at home. There are also streaming plans or blu ray-only plans available, listed below. By the time January 11, 2011 rolls around, the prices on several of these might have gone up, but these were the latest pricing tiers for blu ray rentals I could find.
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $9.99 a month
- 2 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $14.99 a month
- 3 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $19.99 a month
- 4 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $27.99 a month
- 5 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $34.99 a month
- 6 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $41.99 a month
- 7 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $48.99 a month
- 8 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $55.99 a month
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $5.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No Blu Ray Discs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans – Cost
Whatever the case might be, Netflix remains the best movie rental company in the world. Netflix rental plans are efficient, on the cutting edge, and scandalously cheap. Who knows whether that remains the case in the years ahead–Blockbuster once was the giant of the film rental industry–but as far as 2011 goes, Netflix plans and pricing remain the best.
- Netflix or Blockbuster?
- Blockbuster Video Movie Rental Stores
- Rent Movies Online
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- Watch Movies Online
On the Internet:
What Is Blockbuster Video?
Blockbuster Video is an American chain of DVD, Blu-ray, and video game rental stores. What started as a single movie rental store at a busy intersection in Dallas, Texas in 1985 eventually became the largest video rental store in the country. Blockbuster had incredible business success well into the early 2000s, but then online video rental stores like Netflix started gaining customers. Customers preferred the convenience of sending and receiving movies and games through the mail, and even when they attempted to create their own warehouse video system like that operated by Netflix and others, it never really caught on. As of September 23, 2010, the company is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Blockbuster is still headquartered in downtown Dallas.
Blockbuster Video Successes
Their company is often credited, rightly, with popularizing videotape recorders and VHS playback in the home. Blockbuster filled a need in the late 80s that no one else was involved in — people loved their VHS systems, but no widespread system existed to let them watch movies just once or twice rather than buying them.
Back in 1987, Blockbuster soared again after businessman Wayne Huizenga took control of the company and started to get aggressive. They expanded so often under Huizenga’s reign that customers often found new stores opening in their neighborhood seemingly overnight. Huizenga also spent a lot of time and money buying out Blockbuster’s regional competition.
Carl Icahn took control of ten percent of the company in the early 2000s, when it was first showing signs of trouble. Icahn got the ball rolling on Blockbuster’s entry into the DVD-by-mail business, and though Blockbuster never had nearly as many customers as Netflix, the DVD-by-mail service is still up and running, and had it worked, Blockbuster could have become at least competitive with Netflix.
Are Blockbuster Stores Still Open?
For the moment, your neighborhood store is probably still operating. There are stores closing around the country, leaving people wondering where to rent movies now, but many are in business as usual.
Unfortunately for fans of their stores, that won’t always be the case. The announcement of Chapter 11 bankruptcy carried with it some bleak news for the future — yes, there are still some 3,500 Blockbuster stores currently open in the U.S., but the odds that the “mounting losses, rising debt and better competition” will get any better for Blockbuster in the coming months are low.
A group of investors (led by billionaire Carl Icahn) is likely to order hundreds of stores closed in a last-ditch attempt to make a profit. This is terrible news for employees of Blockbuster — the Dallas, Texas company has almost 2,6000 employees, including 7,500 workers earning a full-time wage. As Blockbuster stores close, and if profits continue to drop, there could be a huge number of Blockbuster employees seeking jobs.
If the demise of Blockbuster looks anything like their old competitor, Hollywood Video, the future for these stores is dark indeed. Hollywood Video liquidated just a few months after declaring Chapter 11, and while that company’s website says they’re “in the process of exploring new ways of delivering entertainment”, it looks more like the end for Hollywood.
What Caused Blockbuster Video’s Decline?
Blockbuster points to several factors in explaining what happened to the company — low reserves of cash, a heavy debt load, and competitors who have built better models for distributing DVDs to customers. Think of your own video experience — how many times have you visited any retail store video rental chain in the last year? Now compare that to how much video rental you did, say, ten years ago — Americans just aren’t renting videos the way Blockbuster wants them to. People are watching movies online, or renting them through the mail, using “cable on demand” services and even video rental vending machine services like Redbox.
How bad is Blockbuster’s debt? The company claims they have about $1 billion in assets, but they also claim to be over $1.5 billion in debt. It will be nearly impossible for Blockbuster to gain back the customer base they once had. Eight years ago, Netflix boasted 1 million subscribers. Today, Netflix has well over 15 million members and climbing. How can you win back a customer base that’s found a new way to enjoy movies?
How Blockbuster Could Stay Alive
Though the odds are stacked against them, there is hope for the one-time video rental giant.
By filing for Chapter 11, Blockbuster will probably reduce its debt from $1 billion to about $100 million. They’re planning to pay off $125 million in debt through a financing program for bankrupt companies, and this money will be paid to suppliers, customers, and employees while the company reorganizes. Blockbuster is planning on spending about $40 million on rights to movies, money paid directly to movie studios to keep their stores stocked with current and new DVD titles.
All of those plans may work. Blockbuster could drastically reduce the price of membership in their DVD-by-mail program, holding a 6 month promotion (for example) that cuts rates in half or by some other dramatic amount. That could get them an influx of new customers upset about the rising prices at Netflix. Whether or not this temporary fix would hold with time is up in the air.
Another move Blockbuster could (and should) make immediately — close 1000 low-performing stores. If a store is performing poorly, closing it and focusing your effort on neighborhoods where movie rentals the old-fashioned way are still popular. Blockbuster has long had their fingers on the pulse of the neighborhoods in which they are franchised. Movie stock, classic titles, and video game saturation differ from store to store, reflecting the different dynamics of the neighborhoods in which they do business. They should use this information to trim the fat, and spend the savings on beefing up high performing stores and adding inventory to their online service.
Blockbuster Video is a household name brand — even if you aren’t a member, you know the name and you know what they do. Blockbuster is planning on revamping Total Access (the name of their video by mail service) to be less “mainstream”, including a wider variety of titles, classic movies, animations, foreign movies, indies, etc. The biggest knock on Total Access is that Netflix simply has a better, more eclectic collection, and making small changes like this to existing services could ensure that Blockbuster will be with us for another 25 years.
Megan Fox Profile
Megan Fox is a Hollywood actress and sex symbol who has appeared in such movies as Transformers, Jennifer’s Body, and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
She is also a mainstay on “most beautiful” lists in magazines like Maxim and FHM, and is one of the most downloaded women on the Internet. Though she has never received wide acclaim for her acting skills, this brunette is known by every fan boy, and is widely considered one of the most desirable women in contemporary films.
Like many aspiring actors and actresses, Megan Fox got her start on television, with successful stints on tv shows like Ocean Ave. and Hope & Faith. She also has made lesser known appearances on televisions shows like Two and a Half Men and What I Like About You, as well as two made-for-tv movies.
I’m sure, like millions of others across America, I first remember seeing her on an episode of Two and a Half Men and thinking, “Who in the world is that hottie!” With her role as the love interest in the Transformers movies, Megan Fox made those otherwise unwatchable movies (if you’re an adult) extremely interesting, and we can only hope she continues to appear in what’s certain to be a long series of awful movies, though she claims she’s done with the Transformers movies, because she doesn’t want to be type-cast (chew on that one for a minute).
Megan Fox on Television
Here is a full list of television appearances by Megan Fox, who got her start in the 2001 made-for-television drama, Holiday in the Sun. As you might imagine, she tends to play the role of the smoking hot vixen, though that wasn’t always the case.
Megan Fox Television Roles
- Holiday in the Sun (movie) – 2001
- Ocean Avenue – 2002-03
- What I like About You – 2003
- Crimes of Fashion (movie) – 2004
- Two and a Half Men – 2004
- The Help – 2004
- Hope & Faith – 2004-06
Megan Fox Movies
Of course, what got the attention of the general public was Megan Fox’s roles on the silver screen. While she turned heads in the forgettable Bad Boys II, it was in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen that Fox began to get noticed by a wider audience, where she played the foil for star Lindsay Lohan. After a three year hiatus from Hollywood movie roles to accept a recurring role on Hope & Faith, she had her first starring role in a mega-hit, with the 2007 original Transformers movie.
Megan Fox Film Roles
- Bad Boys II – 2003
- Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen – 2004
- Transformers – 2007
- How to Lose Friends & Alienate People – 2008
- Whore – 2008
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – 2009
- Jennifer’s Body – 2009
- Jonax Hex – 2010
- Passion Play – 2010
It’s interesting to note that, for all the considerable attention and fame Megan Fox has received, she hasn’t really appeared in that many big name movies. One of her first vehicles truly for her, Jennifer’s Body, was a disappointment at the box office. Even some of her fans expressed difficulty getting through the entire movie, despite Megan being on-display throughout most scenes of the film. The Jonah Hex movie was another disappointment.
On the positive side, many actors have their duds, and Megan Fox is bound to continue to light up the screen for years to come, so she’s bound to have better results in the future. Once thing is for certain: she should be hot for some time to come, so expect to see her remain one of Hollywood’s most popular beauties, regardless of her box office results. Not everything about Megan Fox is based around films, though: she also appeared in the 2010 Eminem music video, “Love The Way You Life”.
Megan Fox Personal Life
Megan Fox has been in a long term relationship with Brian Austin Green (of 90210 fame) since 2004, when the two met on the set of Hope & Faith. (Brian was 30, Megan was 18.) Since then, they have been engaged twice, broke up for a while in 2009, and eventually married in 2010.
According to past interviews, Megan Fox has dabbled with bisexuality in the past, apparently “falling in love” with a female stripper when she was 18. She is also a fan of comic books, video games, and anime. In other words, roll it all together and she is a geeky fanboy’s perfect woman. Damn you, Brian Austin Green.
If you want to know how to film a movie, the following information should serve as a gateway to the wonderful world of Hollywood. Whether you’re an aspiring director, actor, or simply a fan of cinema, this article includes a number of tips for completing a film and getting your name mentioned in the same breath as James Cameron and Steven Spielberg.
Film School – Attending a quality film school is a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of the business. If this isn’t an option, be sure to watch lots of movies and study their shot composition closely. Here’s a list of film schools to get you started.
Find a Script – You’ll need to find a script to shoot from, preferably one that has lots of dialogue and a limited number of locations. This will keep your budget low. Never use a permission without the permission of the writer.
Hire Actors – While members of the Screen Actor’s Guild can be hired, you’ll have to pay them a minimum amount of money per day. Amateur actors, on the other hand, may work for free (although you may get what you pay for). Posting an ad on Craigslist is a good way to find low-budget talent. Always make sure to have actors sign release forms.
Check About Permits – Does your town or city require a permit for filming? Find out before you begin, or you might be facing a fine.
Hire the Crew – Many of the crew may be willing to work for meals and credit on the film, and you can find cheap alternatives by checking local colleges and placing ads on Craigslist. If you can find crewmembers with their own equipment, that’s even better. Various crew positions can be found later in their article.
Rent Your Equipment – You’ll need a lighting kit, regardless of your budget (unless you want to deal with natural lighting). You’ll also need a camera (digital or film), tripod, boom microphone. And equipment for recording audio. Make sure that your camera has at least three chips (3CCD).
Shoot Your Movie – Now it’s time to shoot your movie. Make sure shoot every scene from multiple angles and cover all actors during dialogue. Stay on schedule and stick to the film’s budget.
Edit the Movie – After you’ve wrapped shooting, you’ll need to edit the film and sound. You’ll also need to add music. All of this can be accomplished with various editing software available for the Mac or PC.
You may decide to shoot digitally to keep the costs down. A digital movie camera can be purchased for less than what it costs to rent a film camera for a week (minus the film, of course). If not, you’ll need to purchase film for your camera. This brings up a number of questions, such as where to store the film, where to get it developed, whether to use 35mm or 16mm, and what kind of speed stock to purchase.
Film can drain your budget quicker than anything else, and having it developed only adds to the cost of doing business. There is a bright side, though. In some cases, the film companies may give you a special discount if you’re a student or low-budget filmmaker. This isn’t always the case, however, so don’t get your hopes up.
That’s why I recommend digital for the low-budget filmmaker. It’s slowly become an accepted medium within the industry, and you’ll be able to take the money you saved and set it aside in case of emergency.
Experimenting with the different type of shots is important when learning how to film a movie. Each shot can change the look and feel of the movie, and utilizing the proper selection can elevate a pedestrian work of art into something truly majestic.
- Long Shot – Also known as a Full Shot or an Establishing Shot, this shot generally shows an entire object or human figure in relation to its surroundings.
- Medium Shot – Shows a figure from the chest up.
- American Shot – Also known as a ¾ shot, it shows a figure from the knees up. Often used in Westerns in order to include the holsters of a gunfighter.
- Close-up – Shows a figure from the neck up.
- Extreme Close-up – Only a certain part of an individuals face or body is visible. Also known as an “Italian Shot,” where only the character’s eyes are shown.
- Two Shot – Two figures are included in the shot.
- Low-Angle Shot – The subject of the shot is seen from a low angle.
- Point of View Shot – The camera serves as the eyes of a character.
- Over the Shoulder Shot – The camera peeks over the shoulder of one character, usually while they speak to another character. Most often used during conversations between characters.
- Crane Shot – Shows the characters from above, often moving up and away from them. The films Touch of Evil and High Noon both feature legendary examples of crane shots.
The Film Crew
It’s not enough to learn how to film a movie. As the process moves forward, you’ll soon find that you need to depend on many others to see your vision appropriately translated to the big screen. The following list includes a number of the film crew positions found in films with an average budget. While they can make your life easier, not all of them are required. This means someone working on a low-budget can cut many of them out and still get the job done.
- Director - Oversees the creative aspects of the film. In control of the cast and crew during filming. Some directors may also serve as producers.
- Production Coordinator – Assists with booking talent, renting equipment, and hiring the crew. If something needs to be organized, there’s a good chance that the production coordinator is responsible for it.
- First Assistant Director – Oversees the day-to-day management of the set, cast, crew, equipment, script, and schedule.
- Second Assistant Director – The chief assistant of the First Assistant Director.
- Stunt Coordinator – Hires stunt performers and coordinates any stunts.
- Production Assistant – Perform general tasks for the production office and assist the 1st AD with set operations. Known as a PA.
- Script Supervisor – Keeps track of what scenes have been filmed and how they differed from the script.
- Production Designer – In charge of makeup, props, costumes, and settings.
- Art Director – Oversees people such as the set decorator and set designer.
- Set Designer – Helps draw up the plans used to construct the set.
- Set Decorator – In charge of decorating a film set.
- Set Dresser – Applies and removes “dressing” to the set, such as drapes, furniture, and carpet.
- Buyer - Buys the items and material that the Set Dresser will be responsible for.
- Props Master – In charge of all props that appear in a film.
- Props Builder – In charge of building all the props that appear in a film.
- Armourer - Deals with any firearms that might be used on the set.
- Construction Coordinator – Oversees the construction of all sets.
- Make-up Artist – Apply make-up to the actors to alter their appearance. This can be as simple as applying rouge or as complicated as making the performer appear to be a monster.
- Director of Photography – The head of the lighting and camera crew, the DP works with the director to achieve a specific look for the film, often by using various filters, lenses, and lighting.
- Camera Operator – Operates the camera on behalf of the Director of Photography.
- Boom Operator – Uses a boom pole to position the boom mic above or below the actors, just out of frame.
- Gaffer – Head of the electrical department.
- Film Editor – Takes the film and assembles it into a story. They usually work with the director to accomplish this.
- Visual Effects Supervisor – In charge of the visual effects department.
- Composer – Writes the score for a film.
- Foley Artist – Creates and records the sound effects for a motion picture.
There’s a lot more to learn about how to film a movie, but hopefully this post has pointed you in the right direction. Making movies is the ultimate team effort, requiring the best from dozens or possibly hundreds of individuals. When it all comes together, however, the finished product is a sight to behold. Now get out there and make some magic of your own!
How to Become a Movie Producer
Learning how to produce a film can be a tricky proposition, and entire books have been filled with tips and techniques. This article is designed to provide the most basic of information, starting with the development phase and ending with you selling your product to a studio. Along the way, we’ll also cover elements such as finding investors, renting equipment, hiring a director, and tracking down the next Oscar-winning script. While producing a feature film isn’t easy, it’s a rewarding process that allows you to interact with a wide array of individuals and possibly even increase the size of your bank account.
What is a Producer?
Before you learn how to produce a film, it helps to know exactly what a producer does. There are actually a number of different kinds of producers, and this section will take a look at each.
Producer - The film producer, also known as a movie producer, begins the process of making a film. They raise funds for the movie, select the script, hire the cast and crew, and generally manage the overall process. From development to post-production, the producer is involved in the filmmaking process. While the director may have creative control in some cases, the producer often wields equal or greater power (especially in the case of the major studios). The producer can usually fire the director if problems arise.
Executive Producer – This title is normally given to a producer with a financial interest in a film.
Line Producer – A member of a film’s production team, the line producer manages the day to day aspects of a production. They are always present on the set, and they keep track of the film’s budget. They make also arrange deals with vendors and hire members of the crew.
Do Your Homework
While you’ll no doubt learn valuable lessons about how to produce a film along the way, it never hurts to do a little (or a lot) research before you begin. While reading books on the subject might not be a bad idea, it’s even better to attend film seminars and film production classes. Websites and trade publications on the subject are also helpful, and never be afraid to try to network and get advice from those with experience in the field. Another option involves watching the production process unfold, which is where a series like the HBO/Bravo Project Greenlight comes in.
Producing a Movie – Four Phases of Production
Now that you know what a producer does and you’ve put in some time doing research, it’s time to learn the nuts and bolts of how to produce a film. To do so, we’ll walk through the four phases of production step by step.
Development – The first thing you’ll want to do is secure the services of a decent entertainment attorney. Making a movie does a legal side to it, and things can get pretty hairy if you don’t have some manner of representation. In a perfect world, you’ll find someone who’s knowledgeable about entertainment law but still new enough not to charge
rates that are through the roof.
Learn this word and learn it well: deferment. This means a payment that occurs once the film is sold. If you can get a deferment on the salary of the cast or crew, then you won’t have to pay them until the film is sold. This allows you to keep the budget as low as possible, and, if the movie doesn’t sell, you’ll never have to pay off the deferment. This won’t always be an option, but it’s certainly one that’s worth looking into.
Now that you’ve secured the services of an attorney and learned a trick for keeping expenditures to a minimum, it’s time to go out and find yourself a script. Assuming you’re looking to produce a low-budget independent film, you’ll want to seek out scripts that allow you to save money. I’m talking films with plenty of dialogue and a minimum of locations. It’s unwise to attempt to make the next great Biblical epic on a limited budget.
To locate a quality script, spend some time browsing spec script websites, and place ads in industry publications. There are plenty of writers looking to break into the business, so you should have plenty of screenplays to choose from. This trick is finding one that’s actually of a high quality. Optioning a script will grant you exclusive rights for a period of time, usually 18 months. You’ll normally pay a fee to option the script, then another fee if the film goes into production. For writers with no previous experience, you can often buy the script for just a few thousand dollars. If they’re a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, however, expect to shell out a considerably higher amount (although the quality of work is often greater).
Try to avoid scripts that include animals, children, and lots of explosions. The latter requires and expert to handle such things, otherwise you could wind up with serious injuries on the set. Children and animals are notoriously difficult to deal with, so try to bypass them if at all possible. Also stay away from scenes that require shooting on the water (how do you think the Waterworld production went so over budget?).
While the producer keeps everything moving in the right direction, you’re also going to need a director to handle the creative side of things. You’ll need someone who can stay on schedule, work well with actors, and generally has their act together. You can always search through Internet films to find potential directors, as well as attending festivals devoted to short films and student films. Plenty of directors are looking to break into the industry, so the biggest challenge is simply finding one with real talent. If you’re willing to spend a little more money on a director, you can also consult the membership of the Director’s Guild of America.
Unless you have piles of extra money sitting in the bank, you’ll also need to find investors to fund the film. Friends and family can always be approached, but the serious money may need to come from an outside source. Keep your ears open for local businessmen and wealthy types who are looking to invest in a project. You’ll need to make a professional presentation to sell them on the project, and you’ll also need to illustrate how they’re going to make a profit. Most investors aren’t keen on just throwing money away. In most cases, the investor will be the first person to receive money if the film sells. The remaining money will then be split between the producer and the investor, with any deferments coming out of the producer’s cut.
When searching for investors, make sure to deal with reputable individuals who can afford to absorb a loss. This way, you don’t have to worry about threatening phone calls or physical confrontations if the film fails to get sold. Also be aware that some investors may make certain demands before they commit, such as changing a scene or having a spouse or relative cast. Before you accept such demands, make sure you and the director will be able to live with them in the long run.
Pre-production – Now that you’ve got a budget, director and script, you need to hire your crew. Make sure you hire people who will take the shooting process seriously and work hard. Professionals with limited experience are always a good option, as are film students (the latter will work for far less money).
If you’re really ambitious, you can hire a Unit Production Manager to keep track of the budget and hire crew members, or you can save money by doing this yourself. An Assistant Director will go over the script and develop a shooting schedule. A Director of Photography will operate the camera and give the film it’s visual look, although the director may serve in this capacity for a low-budget production. You may also consider people to build a set or handle lighting, although money can be saved by getting other crew members (non union) to wear multiple hats.
Equipment will need to be rented, and this includes cameras and lights. You can shoot in 35mm or 16mm, but film is very expensive to wok with. To save money, you may want to shoot with digital video instead. Such a camera can be purchased for the cost of renting a film camera for just a week. DV has become an acceptable format, so this is the way to go for a low-budget production.
Once you know where you want to shoot, you’ll need to make sure that the owners sign a location release contract (your lawyer will be able to help draw up such agreements). Unless you’re just dying to shoot at a particular location, avoid paying to do so. To save money, you can always offer the property owners a small role in the film.
Actors are also a must, unless you plan for your film to simply consist of buildings and plants. It’s important to get the highest-quality actors available, and theatrical performers will often work for low wages in order to add a film credit to their resume. Members of the Screen Actors Guild will demand higher wages (a minimum of $100 per day up to thee days, and $75 per day after that), but their talents are often superior (although not always).
Ultimately, you want performers who embody the roles they’re playing, regardless of their level of experience. You and the director can conduct the casting process yourself in order to save money, and it’s always a good idea to let the director in on the process, since he or she will be the one working with the performers on a daily basis. Amateur actors will often work for peanuts, while performers with representation will have their agent conduct the negotiations for salary.
Production – Now it’s time to shoot the film. The director will largely take over at this point, although you’ll need to make sure that he and the crew stay on schedule and under budget. Feed your cast and crew regularly, and try to give them at least 10 hours between shooting days.
Making a film can be an arduous process, so you want to ensure that everyone is fed and as rested as possible. When production is completed, make sure to throw a wrap party for the cast and crew. It’s a great way for everyone to unwind.
Post-production – Once shooting is completed, it’s a good idea to take a little time off to recuperate from the stress and strain. A few days are an appropriate length of time, and no longer than a week is suggested.
Now it’s time to begin the editing process, which will mainly be conducted by the editor and the director. The same process will also be done with the music and sound, and the producer should oversee each phase to make sure things are going according to plan (and schedule).
Film Festivals – Selling You Film
Once your film is completed, you’ll need to sell it to a distributor. This is where film festivals come in. These events are held annually all over the world, and they allow filmmakers and distributors to come together to do business.
Filmmakers normally pay an entry fee to have their works considered, although this isn’t always the case. If your film is accepted, it will be seen by members of the public, as well as representatives of various studios. If any of the latter individuals are interested, they’ll approach you about the possibility of purchasing your movie. While getting money up front is the best possible option, many distributors prefer to offer residuals based on how well the movie does. Other options include self-distributing your film on the Internet.
- Sundance Film Festival – The largest independent film festival in North America.
- Cannes Film Festival – Founded in 1946 and held in Cannes, France, this is the most famous film festival in the world and one of the most prestigious.
- Tribeca Film Festival – Held annually since 2002 in New York City.
- Berlin International Film Festival – Founded in 1951, this is the largest publicly-attended festival in the world. Held at the same time as the European Film Market, an annual film trade fair.
- South by Southwest – Annual film festival held in Austin, Texas. Created in 1987, the festival focuses on new directing talent and is frequented by names such as Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
- Ann Arbor Film Festival – Started in 1963, it’s the oldest experimental film festival in North America.
- San Francisco International Film Festival – The oldest continuously running film festival in North America.
- Toronto International Film Festival – Second only to Cannes in terms of prestigious film festivals.
- Cartagena Film Festival – The oldest film festival in Latin America, focusing on Latin American television, video, and film.
- Raindance Film Festival – The largest independent film festival in the United Kingdom.
- Venice Film Festival – The oldest film festival on the planet, it has been held annually on the island of Lido, Venice, Italy since 1932.
- Telluride Film Festival – Founded in 1974, the Telluride Film Festival is one of the more expensive and exclusive festivals in the world.
- After Dark Horrorfest – An annual horror film festival featuring eight indie horror flicks and a handful of unannounced movies. Movies shown are later released on DVD as “8 Films to Die For.”
Now that you have an idea of how to produce a film, get out there and start putting together the next surprise indie hit. The entire process is a demanding one, but attending film festivals, rubbing elbows with celebrities, and making a potential profit all make it worthwhile.
See also: How to Direct a Film
Once you’ve written the next Hollywood blockbuster, you’ll want to know how to sell a screenplay. Keep in mind that this is a difficult proposition, as even the most high-quality script has a slim chance of being sold. And the odds of it making to theaters is even smaller. While this slim odds shouldn’t stop you from trying to sell a screenplay, you should temper your expectations and remain realistic about your chances.
The following article will provide practical advice on how to sell a screenplay, including agents, cold calling, and copyrighting your work. We’ll also look at some of the most common terms used when discussing scripts, including the dreaded “development hell.”
How to Copyright Your Screenplay
Once your screenplay is written, it’s a good idea to copyright it. While it’s unlikely that an agent or studio would actually risk litigation and steal your idea, there’s also no point in taking any chances with something you’ve worked so hard on. There are two ways to copyright a script, but please note that sending yourself a copy in the mail isn’t one of them. This method will not stand up in court, so forget what you’ve heard. The following are the only acceptable ways:
- The Writers Guild – A writer’s union that allows you to copyright your script. You don’t have to be a member to do so, and the fee is $20 per script. This can be done quickly, and the entire process can be accomplished online.
- Library of Congress – While a copyright exists the moment that you create your work, it will need to be registered in order to bring a lawsuit. The best way to do this is toregister it with the Library of Congress, although it will take longer than the Writers Guild. The beginning fee is $35, although certain options may cause the price to rise.
If you’re really serious about protecting your work, you’ll want to register with both the Writers Guild and the Library of Congress. It does take a time, effort, and money, but it’s nowhere near as taxing as actually writing a script. Before you learn how to sell a screenplay, this is the first step you should take.
If you’re looking to sell your screenplay, it’s important to start small. The best people to target are independent producers. These are men and women who specialize in finding promising scripts and combining them with actors and directors. Once this has been accomplished, the resulting package of talent is sold to a studio. The best way to get in touch with a producer is to first have an agent. First of all, this will keep you from getting suckered by one of the many con artists running around Hollywood. Secondly, it assures the producer that you’re a reputable individual who won’t sue if the studio turns down your script and releases something that bears a slight resemblance to your story a decade later. Finally, Hollywood is all about who you know. Having an agent is like having an automatic friend in Hollywood, and that kind of help can never be underestimated.
Before directing Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino sold the screenplay for True Romance, and he also did an uncredited re-write for Past Midnight. John Sayles is another example. While he’s directed films such as Lone Star and The Secret of Roan Inish, many of his projects have been funded by writing genre scripts for films such as The Howling, Piranha, and Alligator. Starting small can lead to big things.
How to Sell a Screenplay in Hollywood – Finding an Agent
Finding an agent is not an easy task. It takes perseverance, people skills, and (sometimes) talent. Before you begin, make sure you possess at least two of the three qualities just mentioned.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of potential agents. Again, it’s best to start small, as major agencies won’t accept unsolicited scripts. The best option is to obtain a copy of the Hollywood Agents and Managers Directory. This periodical is published twice a year, and it details every reputable agent currently working in Hollywood. A one-year subscription will cost you $80, while a single issue runs around $50. It’s well worth the price if you’re serious about learning how to sell your screenplay. You can also purchase The Agents Directory or The Guide to Literary Agents, books that are published annually.
It’s important to target an agency that deals in the genre of film you’ve written. This will save you time in the long run and maximize your chances of finding an agency that will potentially represent you.
Agencies located in Hollywood and Los Angeles are the best to target, while those in New York should be secondary considerations. For additional tips and ideas on what individual agents are looking for, you might consider attending a writer’s conference. This is also a great way to network, and there’s no telling what you might get accomplished over a couple of drinks after the conference has concluded.
Once you’ve compiled a list of talent agencies you’re interested in, you can either send out query letters or try cold calling. Either option can be a frustrating proposition, and this is where you’ll need to use all your skills of perseverance. Query letters should be no longer than a page and succinctly tell the agent what your screenplay can offer them. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope and maintain a professional attitude at all times.
If you decide to cold call, be prepared to deal with lots of receptionists, many of whom won’t be willing to give you the time of day. Don’t give up, though. Small agencies may have actual agents answering the phone, and this could lead to an invitation to send in your screenplay for review. Just remember: never send an unsolicited script to an agency. It will wind up in the trash. In fact, you may even receive a letter from their legal department kindly asking you to not send unsolicited material.
Making the Sale
When you secure an agent, then the process of selling your screenplay will begin. The agent will contact producers throughout Hollywood, pitching them on your idea. Any that are interested will then be sent your script, and then it’s simply a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Keep in mind that the agent doesn’t work for free, and they’ll usually receive a small percentage of whatever you get paid for your project.
Types of Sales
Anyone who wants to know how to sell a screenplay should be aware of the three major kinds of deals.
Development Hell – A very rare deal that virtually guarantees that the screenwriter will get paid (often double) even if the project is derailed. This kind of deal is hardly ever made, as it often allows the writer to sue the producer or studio if things go horribly awry. Don’t expect this one to ever come up.
Option – Basically, a producer rents your script for a specified period of time. You get paid for this rental, and you cannot shop the script to anyone else while it is being optioned. During this time, the producer can choose to buy the script, or he can let the option elapse. If the latter happens, ownership and control of the script reverts back to you. The usual fee for optioning a script is under $50,000. A common deal in Hollywood.
Sale – This occurs when a producer buys your script outright. This usually ranges from $60k to $100k, although screenwriters with excellent track records can often demand higher salaries. In some cases, you may be offered a deal such as “100 against 300.” This means that you would receive 100k for the sale and another 300k of the film actually got made. There’s also a chance to receive residuals, meaning the writer will receive profits from DVD sales and other forms of merchandising. Your agent will negotiate such points for you, but only writers with a great amount of clout can usually expect the premium deals.
- 15 Awesome Resources for Screenwriters
- Screenwriting at the Open Directory Project
- How to Write a Screenplay
- Syd Field
What New Marvel Movies Are Coming Out?
Four new Marvel movies are coming out in 2010 and 2011. All of them are Avengers-related.
First up is Iron Man 2 in May of 2010. Scarlett Johansson stars alongside Mickey Rourke and Robert Downey Jr..
Fans of Marvel movies will have to wait almost a year for another film, but the wait will be worth it. May of 2011 offers The Avengers by Louis Laterrier. Then we’ll see Thor, directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, hitting theaters in June of 2011.
Just one month after Thor, The First Avenger : Captain America pops up on the big screen.
Rumor has it that other Marvel projects are in the works, including movies involving Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi.
Ever since Disney acquired Marvel, people have been wondering if that means that Pixar will be making Marvel movies any time soon. This seems unlikely, as Pixar’s lineup has always been original material. In fact, their next three or four films scheduled are either original or sequels to their originals. I doubt we’ll see Pixar’s involvement in the Marvel movies series any time soon.
If you’ve been looking forward to new Marvel films the next two years will be a great time for you. Sure it is a bummer to have to wait until 2011 and get all three movies within three months of each other, but at least you know the movies are coming down the pipe.
Want to learn more about the Marvel Universe? Take a look at Marvel Encyclopedia, available via Amazon. It’s an affordable way to get caught up on the hundreds of characters that are Marvel’s intellectual property. (And we get a small commission if you buy it using our link, which helps us keep this site live.)
This is part of a series of posts about what movies are coming out in 2010. Some of the other posts include:
- What New Horror Movies Are Coming Out in 2010?
- What Movies Are Coming to DVD in 2010?
- What Movies Are Coming Out in 2010?
- What Movie Sequels Are Coming Out in 2010?
What movie sequels are coming out in 2010?
Lots of movie sequels are coming out in 2010. It’s going to be another year of Hollywood churning out sequels and reboots.
People complain about the lack of originality and repetitive nature of Hollywood movies, but some films demand sequels. Sequels can be great–think of The Godfather Part Two, The Wrath of Khan, or The Empire Strikes Back? Those series wouldn’t be nearly as rich without their sequels.
Some great movie sequels are set to appear in 2010. Here’s the sequels to look out for at your local box office.
- Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too – Yes, another Tyler Perry movie. I’d say the world was sick of these things if they’d just quit making money at the box office.
- Scream 4
- Spy Kids IV
- Sex and the City 2 – Surprised that another one is coming out? You shouldn’t be. The first was a huge hit in its demographic. The original was a real critical flop, so don’t expect too much from the sequel.
- Little Fockers
- Tron: Legacy
- The Descent: Part 2
- Iron Man 2 -
Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Robert Downey Jr. hit the silver screen for this superhero sequel. Expect lots of flash and little substance, typical of comic book sequels.
- Wanted 2
- Mortal Kombat: Devastation
- The Haunting in Georgia
- Toy Story 3
- Austin Powers 4
- Shrek Forever After – I’m looking forward to this sequle mostly because of the plot. Expect Shrek to be cast into a “dark world” where Rumpelstiltskin is King, and Ogres are the prime target of huntsmen.
- XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
- Super Troopers 2 – Nine years after the original appeared, Super Troopers 2 has a lot to live up to. The original is a cult classic, and comedy sequels are not known for their awesomeness.
- Hairspray 2
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
- Kung Fu Hustle 2
- Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming
- Step Up 3-D
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
- Resident Evil: Afterlife 3-D
- Rambo V: The Savage Hunt – The verdict is split on when this film will actually premiere — let’s be optimistic and say this film about Sly Stone’s most famous character busting up a prostitution ring will make it out this year.
- Untitled Tintin Sequel Project
- The Thomas Crown Affair 2
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- Beverly Hills Cop IV
- Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps – The plot sounds like the new Wall Street will be an action movie. Gordon Gekko, fresh from prison, helps a young investor find the killer of his mentor.
- Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
- Hostel: Part III
- Naked Gun 4
You might also be interested in some of the following:
This post is part of a series of posts we’re making about 2010 movies. Other posts in the series include:
What movies are coming out in 2010?
Looking at the year ahead, 2010 should be an excellent year for films.
Fans of fantasy have The Sorceror’s Apprentice as well as the new Harry Potter film to look forward to, while those of you who love 3-D movies can get excited for Step Up, Alpha and Omega, and Piranha.
If you like reboots, 2010 will be right up your alley. Look for new versions of classics like Wall Street, Robin Hood, Tron, Rapunzel, and Alice in Wonderland, as well as new takes on Repo Man, The A-Team, and Red Dawn.
Here’s a breakdown of the most anticipated films of the year listed by the month they’re scheduled to appear.
Remember that films often change their release schedule, and every movie on this list is subject to the whims of the production company.
It is going to be an awesome year.
Fri, Jan. 8 Youth in Revolt
Fri, Jan. 15 The Spy Next Door
Fri, Jan. 22 Tooth Fairy
Fri, Jan. 29 When in Rome
Fri, Feb. 5 Dear John
Fri, Feb. 12 The Butchering Ghost
Fri, Feb. 19 Shutter Island
Fri, Feb. 26 The Crazies
Fri, Mar. 5 Alice in Wonderland
Fri, Mar. 12 Green Zone
Tue, Mar. 16 The Back-Up Plan
Fri, Mar. 19 Season of the Witch
Fri, Mar. 26 How to Train Your Dragon
Fri, Apr. 2 Repo Men
Fri, Apr. 9 The Losers
Fri, Apr. 16 Piranha 3-D
Thu, Apr. 22 Oceans
Fri, Apr. 23 Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
Fri, Apr. 30 A Nightmare On Elm Street
Fri, May. 7 Iron Man 2
Fri, May. 14 Robin Hood
Fri, May. 21 Shrek Forever After
Fri, May. 28 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Fri, Jun. 4 Killers
Fri, Jun. 11 The A-Team
Fri, Jun. 18 Toy Story 3
Fri, Jun. 25 Grown Ups
Wed, Jun. 30 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Fri, Jul. 2 The Last Airbender
Fri, Jul. 9 Despicable Me
Fri, Jul. 16 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Fri, Jul. 23 Salt
Fri, Jul. 30 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Fri, Aug. 6 Step Up 3-D
Fri, Aug. 13 Ramona and Beezus
Fri, Aug. 20 Priest
Fri, Aug. 27 The Lottery Ticket
Fri, Sep. 3 Born to Be a Star
Fri, Sep. 10 The Town
Fri, Sep. 17 Warrior
Fri, Sep. 24 Guardians of Ga’Hoole
Fri, Oct. 1 Alpha and Omega 3-D
Fri, Oct. 8 The Zookeeper
Fri, Oct. 15 The Social Network
Fri, Oct. 22 Red
Fri, Nov. 5 Megamind
Fri, Nov. 12 Rapunzel
Fri, Nov. 19 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Wed, Nov. 24 Red Dawn
Fri, Dec. 10 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Fri, Dec. 17 Tron: Legacy
Wed, Dec. 22 The Green Hornet
Visit the following pages for more information about 2010 blockbuster movies.
What Is Bluray Disc Storage?
“Blue Ray” is what people often called Blue-Ray disc storage, which is simply an optical disc storage technology meant to supercede DVD.
Though the Blu-Ray disc is exactly the same size as CD and DVD discs, Blue Ray stores more information and displays it better. Blue Ray technology is used with high-definition televisions and with the Playstation 3 game system.
Blu-Ray storage is an upgrade from the existing technology, because it allows the disc to store roughly six times the information a standard DVD could store. Data retrieval requires a shorter wavelength ray compared to the DVD laser retrieval. Since the DVD wavelength uses a 650 nanometer red laser and the Bluray wavelength uses a 405 nanometer blue-violet laser to retrieve date, the name “blue ray” was used early on to define the optical disc storage device. This was shortened to Blu-Ray for marketing purposes by Sony.
Blue Ray technology was made possible by the invention of the blue laser diode by Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Blue-Ray marketing was delayed for six years due to a dispute over the blue laser diode’s patent.
Blue Ray or HD?
Eventually, Sony began marketing “blue-ray players” and Toshiba began marketing a competing technology, called High-Definition or “HD DVD Players”. This was similar to the marketing war between Betamax and VHS in the early days of the VCR. Like the battle that VHS won, the two competing systems would not be viable indefinitely, so the Blue-Ray War became a marketing battle for the life of the systems.
Eventually, Toshiba took its DVD HD players off the market, admitting that Blu-Ray Disc Players would be the next stage in storage disc technology development. Toshiba now markets its own version of the Blue-Ray disc player.
The high definition optical disc format war, as it came to be called, appeared to be a format war among equals at first. On the HD DVD side, three of the Big 6 movie studios gave support, along with Microsoft, several big PC firms (including Toshiba) and Wal-Mart. On the Blu-Ray side, 3 major Hollywood studios joined Hitachi, Panasonic, Sharp, Pioneer, Samsung and a number of other companies on the Blu-Ray Disc Foundation.
Blu-Ray sales started strongest, but many predicted the participation of Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. would tip the balance in HD DVD’s favor. Attempts were made to come to an agreement, but the Blu-Ray firms had lost billions on royalty rights on DVD, and they refused to change their technology to suit the compability desires of Microsoft and their personal computer allies.
Many movie production firms and studios adopted both technologies when selling their movies to the public, while Netflix and Blockbuster rented both Blue Ray and HD DVD discs. HD DVD had a cheaper price, though Blue-Ray was considered a better system with one or two add-ons its competitor did not have.
Warner Bros Blue Ray Decision
Eventually, Warner Bros., which has the largest share of the American movie market, decided to discontinue its use of HD DVD discs. This began a wave of defections to the Blu-Ray camp, as Best Buy, Netflix and Blockbuster announced they would use Blu-Ray exclusively. The Warner Brothers decision is seen as the pivotal decision in the format war.
The final strike against HD DVD was the decision by Sony to include a Blu-Ray player in its Playstation 3 console. Microsoft’s XBox game console did not have the ability to play HD DVD discs. This was a major advantage, because PS3 users bought millions of blu-ray discs, while video game rental companies and video rental companies also ordered blue-ray discs by the millions. HD DVD could not compete, and Toshiba announced in 2008 it would take its HD DVD players off the market.
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Top 10 Movies for Back to School
With school in most parts of the country up and running, I figure its time to gather a list of my favorite movies for “back to school” time. Yes, kids are supposed to be concentrating on their studies, finding dates for the big dance, and learning new ways to cut class and get away with it — but trust me, having a few good movies around will really help when your kids get bored.
Here are my favorite fifteen movies from my own childhood — movies that could distract me from a bad day or keep my friends and I entertained for a couple of hours during a sleepover.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004) —
We’ll start off with a silly movie. This cult classic features tons of nerdy characters just trying to get by during the toughest time of their lives — high school. Come for the silly dialogue and cheeky pop culture references, stay for the dance moves at the end that will have your kids in stitches.
Stand By Me (1986) —
Besides launching the careers of Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell (and featuring an amazing cameo by Kiefer Sutherland) this film is an important moment in the lives of those of us raised during the late 70s and 80s. This was one of the only movies that used a few dirty words and showed a dead body that my mother would ever allow me to see before the age of 12. I suppose what my mother valued in the movie was the overall lesson, something about the innocence of childhood, the upside of telling the truth, and the true bond formed between young friends. But don’t worry — your kids won’t be hit over the head with the lesson.
The Breakfast Club (1985) —
You can’t have a “Back to School” movie list without this great one from the 80s. The Breakfast Club set off a million teenager’s inner moodiness. Something about the story, or maybe how the entire movie is shot in the empty library and halls of a high school, gets me nostalgic for the simpler times of high school. Considered by many to be the finest film that John Hughes ever made, The Breakfast Club is still as on point about high school life today as when it was made over twenty years ago.
Pretty in Pink (1986) —
Another film involving John Hughes (this time as writer), Pretty in Pink is a classic 80s teenage angst movie. To many people, Pretty in Pink is a bit too dark and much too close to reality to be a good choice for a movie night. If the story is too twisted for you, concentrate on the great soundtrack, the oh-too-cute relationship between Andie (played by the unsinkable Molly Ringwald) and Duckie (Jon Cryer). In this movie, two very different worlds collide, just like what your kids may be going through in a typical American high school.
Grease (1978) —
Alright, alright, I know — it’s a musical. But for those of us who’ve been exposed time and again to High School Musical, catching this classic musical of American teenage life in the 50s will be a sweet distraction. This is what American movie-musicals should be like. From John Travolta’s hilarious portrayal of the clueless Danny and the love story between he and Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy, you and your family will be distracted from the troubles of the day. Get ready for some ultra cheesy songs to be broken into at the beach, on the bleachers, in the school’s garage, at sleepover parties, or just about anywhere you can imagine. It’s a musical. Your kids may complain at first, but they’ll be begging you for the soundtrack within a week.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) —
This may not strike you as the best choice for a Back to School movie. After all, the plot revolves around a young guy (Matthew Broderick’s Ferris) skipping a day of school and getting in all kinds of trouble with his friends. This is a tongue in cheek nod to suburban teenage ennui (hang in there with me for a second) — after all, Ferris has no real troubles to run away from. He’s a popular student at an upper-middle-class high school. He has the pretty girlfriends, the toys, and the bright future. So he fakes an illness, steals his girlfriend from the school, and runs off with her and his best friend ti explore the big city of Chicago. Consider it a moral about appreciating what you have — if you must.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) —
Expose your kids to some culture. Rebel Without a Cause is considered one of the great works of cinema in the 20th century — and it is the perfect back to school movie. When John Stark (played by the incomparable James Dean) shows up in a new town and starts at a new high school, things get tough for him and for the new community he’s a part of. This is classic cinema, with spot on 1950s slang and style throughout. Natalie Wood and Dennis Hopper make appearances. Your kids will be in awe of Dean’s performance, and they may learn a lesson along the way. God forbid.
Footloose (1984) —
Another film about moving from one town to another — Footloose is a kind of 80s update of Rebel Without a Cause. Substitute Kevin Bacon for James Dean playing the hip and streetwise Ren McCormack. Between Bacon’s Walkman and all his fancy dancing, a city with no music and “no dancing” turns into a hotbelt of fancy free teenagers. Bacon’s character struggles with all the typical high school stuff — being the “new kid in town”, learning the ins and outs of a new culture, and trying to become part of the “in crowd”. Your kids may laugh at the ridiculous 1980s soundtrack and fashion, but you’ll be transported back to a simpler time.
Back to School (1986) —
So this movie has the “back to school” feature right in the name. Probably the “funniest” movie on the list, Rodney Dangerfield provides lots of one liners (some on the blue side) while he plays a rich guy who goes back to college at the same school as his young son. Lots of laughs, another cheekily 80s soundtrack, and some unbelievable attraction between the hideous Dangerfield and his stunning female lead.
Lean on Me (1989) —
One of the only “serious” additions to this list. An urban school, full to the brim with violence and crime, is turned around by the mayor and superintendent as well as teacher Joe Clark who steps in as the new principal. Morgan Freeman is brilliant as Clark, who makes the point to his rowdy student body that their future is in their own hands. A great “message” movie for kids, and one they’ll actually enjoy, “Lean on Me” is a staple of high school movie time.
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What is the iTablet?
The iTablet is Apple’s next attempt to shake up the entertainment industry — this time with a kind of revamp of some older Mac technology.
Apple’s cult hit Newton was a kind of early PDA. It was hugely popular among a percentage of the population, but is a well known flop in the computing industry. This time around, Apple is introducing a device, known for now as the iTablet, that is portable and lets its users download movies, play games, and read digital books. According to insiders, more and more pieces of entertainment are being marketed with multimedia trappings — think of CDs released with digital booklets, or movies that come with trivia games, etc.
This new iTablet device will likely be hitting stores sooner than you think. Tech analysts have been discussing an Apple tablet device since a reference at an Apple conference in 2004 sparked rumors about a return to the Newton. Many of these bloggers are now suggesting that the iTablet could see a launch in the early part of 2010.
The iTablet will be a touch screen internet ready gadget that aims to do what Microsoft failed — compete with Amazon’s Kindle, SOny’s Reader and another device that Barnes & Noble is set to release. The iTablet, which will be similar to an iPod Touch device according to insiders, is expected to have a 10 inch screen. Some writers have suggested that the new iTablet product would be just another extension of Apple’s massive iPod line — a holding that owns more than 70 percent of the American digital music market — due to the iPod’s recent loss of market share. In fact, just last week, Apple announced that iPod sales were sagging between 7 percent and 8 percent. Tech writers say that the iTablet product could breathe new life into the iPod line or fill a specific niche in Apple’s product line.
So why is Apple pouncing on an even more modern way of delivering content? Besides expected losses from the still widespread online piracy of music, the recording and film industries have taken a huge hit in the bankbook from the standard behavior changes found in all consumers — this iteration of entertainment consumers are moving away from traditional means of ownership. In layman’s terms, no one’s really buying albums and movies anymore, at least not from the usual places. In 2007, sales of download singles rose 27 percent while sales of physical CDs and albums dropped a massive 25 percent this according to the RIAA. One potential bright spot for musicians interested in making more than just singles — downloaded albums rose 34 percent.
In an effort to push back against this trend, record industry types and film studios are hunting desperately for new ways to get people to buy their products. Part of what they’re doing is revamping the product — the most recent album I bought (digitally) came with a beautiful digital “booklet” and a video of an interview with the band. This kind of material not only generates the all important industry “buzz”, but it also creates a need for different kinds of devices to enjoy them. For instance, I can’t enjoy the digital video that came with the album unless I’m using a music player that plays video, and even then I can’t leaf through the digital booklet unless I have a device that can read that sort of file, and on and on.
Expect Apple’s new iTablet device to be polarizing — remember, when the iPod came out there were plenty of people willing to line up against it, for whatever reason. If Apple can build on the parts of the Newton that were succesful, while drawing in some new customers to the world of PDAs and portable display units, the iTablet is a sure winner.
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What is Food Inc.?
“Food Inc.” is an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Robert Kenner, probably best known for his film The American Experience, which won an Emmy in 2006.
One of the best reviewed films this year (a quick Google search of the film’s reviews revealed only one negative review, posted by an anonymous blogger), “Food Inc.” promises to be an eye opening experience for Americans, who probably don’t give a second though to exactly what it is they’re eating. Kenner’s goal with “Food Inc.” is to change, or at least slightly alter, that behavior.
You may remember a documentary called “King Corn” a few years back, in which a couple of recent college graduates head to Iowa to raise an acre of corn in an attempt to track where exactly that corn goes. As the two amateur farmers eventually found out, their corn was going, well, everywhere. The two corn producers found corn in just about every item in the grocery store, and learned that the majority of their corn would be used as artificial sweeteners in soft drinks. In fact, the corn they grew wasn’t even edible, it was a product designed to be used in other products, as sweetener, filler, or animal feed. This fact led documentary participant Michael Pollan (also a participant in “Food Inc.”) to state a very scary fact — “The modern farmer can’t even feed himself.”
“Food Inc.” is hoping for a larger appeal, and is enjoying a more massive release, than the under the radar activity of “King Corn”. The new film by Robert Kenner will enjoy a Hollywood-style premiere in New York City, LA, and San Francisco on June 12th before being released in thousands of theatres across the country later in June. While “King Corn” was an arthouse indie film, “Food Inc.” will be available to more Americans, and hopefully, make a larger impact.
According to Kenner, the problem with American eaters (and eaters in other parts of the world) is that we crave the unhealthiest elements in fast food — fatty and practically devoid of real nutrition, this convenient food source quenches our desire for three basic needs: sugar, fat and protein. According to one documentary participant, Polyface Farm owner Joel Salatin, ” . . . we want it faster, fatter, bigger and cheaper.” Salatin is upheld as a successful model of proper and nutritious farming in the film. Salatin raises his livestock without the use of pesticides, growth hormones, or fertilizers. His biggest product is known as “salad bar beef” — cattle that graze on grasses and native forage rather than the corn that most cattle producers use. The problem with corn? Its not meant to be part of cow’s diet, resulting in diseases (like E. coli) which require large amounts of antibiotics. You can see where this is going.
Why don’t more cattle producers use Salatin’s method? This is the big question of “Food Inc.” Our national farming system is set up so that farmers of industrial corn and soy earn subsidies, allowing them to produce cheaper goods for the mass market. This means that cattle producers like Salatin have to charge higher prices. Most Americans will go for the cheaper product every time. This is a fact of life, especially when economic times are hard.
Throughout the film, viewers will learn scary statistics about the state of our national health, which are directly related to our massive consumption of cheaper foods.
Besides statistics and interviews, there are disturbing images throughout “Food, Inc.” The idea, says Kenner, is to “lead viewers to a conclusion that’s hard to swallow”. That conclusion? In plain English, our food and our food choices are making us sick. Our country’s healthcare system is plagued by diabetes and obesity, and this method of farming is harming both the environment and our basic human rights.
There is good news. Unlike many of the scare tactic documnetaries produced in the past (including “King Corn”), “Food, Inc.” offers viewers simple solutions to the problem. Not only is there information in the film to help Americans make better choices, by the distributor of the film, Participant Media, has put out a book to accompany the information found in the film. This book, also titled “Food, Inc.,” will serves as a kind of “field guide” for how to take part in the necessary transition to a sustainable food system.
Did David Carradine commit suicide?
Kung fu movie legend David Carradine, who recently revamped his career in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ movies, has died at the age of 72.
While there has not yet been confirmation of the reported suicide, reports made by Thai police and officials from the hotel where Carradine was staying during a movie shoot seem to insist that Carradine’s death was anything but natural.
Carradine was found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok, where he was set to shoot a new movie called “Stretch”. The Nation newspaper, citing Thai police sources, is reporting that Carradine was found hanged in his hotel closet and that “it may have been a suicide”. There’s been no other confirmation of that report so far, and Carradine’s agent told The Nation that he believed the actor died of natural causes. This conflicts directly with reports by those at the scene of Carradine’s death. Thai police told the BBC that Carradine was found by a hotel maid “with a rope around his neck and body.”
The Nation report claims that a preliminary police investigation found that Carradine hanged himself with a curtain cord, and that he was dead for at least 12 hours before he was found by hotel staff. The report also states that there were no signs of assault or foul play.
Carradine’s manager, Chuck Binder, is calling the news “shocking.” He reports that Carradine “was full of life, always wanting to work,” and that he was ” . . . a great person.”
Sources at the hotel where the 72-year-old actor was found dead told journalists “We are currently cooperating with the Thai Police who are still investigating the matter. As investigations are presently in progress, we are not in a position neither to discuss this case nor reveal any details pertaining to the case, moreover out of respect for the family members.”
Meanwhile, an employee at The Nation — the Bangkok paper that broke the story of Carradine’s death and potential suicide — spoke with journalists about their reporting, saying that Carradine had been invited to dinner with the film crew on June 3 and did not show up, causing alarm. The film crew was unable to contact him, but believed he was resting “because of his age.”
Carradine’s career is a long and rich one, with over 200 movies and TV shows under his belt, including his most famous roles on the hit ’70s show ‘Kung Fu’ and years later, more than 80 episodes of ‘Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.’ His breakout film role came in 1976, when he played Woody Guthrie in the biopic ‘Bound for Glory.’
Younger movie fans will likely only know him as the title character ‘Bill’ in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003-04 ‘Kill Bill’ movies, in which Carradine played the leader of a group of assassins who was eventually killed by one of his own disciples. Carradine also tried his hand at production and direction, and had roles in many television commercials.
The Carradine family name has a long history in Hollywood besides David. David’s father John Carradine and his brother Keith have also had showbusiness success, with John’s most famous role in the movie Stagecoach, and Keith Carradine is a Tony and Academy award winning actor and songwriter, who appeared more than once with his brother David, including a role in “Kung Fu”.
David Carradine, born John Arthur Carradine in December of 1936, was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards.