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Movie information online

November 2000

One of the best sites for information about movies is Movies.Com. You get everything you now expect from a movie site: reviews, trailers, box office stats, DVD/video, trivia, showtimes, and more. But somehow Movies.Com makes it all fit together better in a site that is easy to navigate and uses impressive technology.

First off, the main thing you want from a movie site is to answer the big question: will I like the movie that I'm thinking of seeing? Movies.Com organizes the reviews better than any site I've seen. For each movie, the site offers a handy table that summarizes all the reviews. The first column gives the publication name, the second column that reviewer's rating, and the third column a telling sentence from the review. The table groups the positive reviews, negative reviews, and mixed reviews.

Another popular site is Film.Com, which offers movie reviews by dozens of professional critics. You can read the reviews for current releases or search their archives for earlier films. The review has links to the trailer and to clips, which you can view using the free Real Player. They also offer stats on box office performance, as well as industry news. The link titled Coming Soon offers a calendar of upcoming movies.

The most comprehensive database that I'm familiar with is the Internet Movie Database. It covers just about every movie ever made. For most movies it offers a summary, user comments and ratings, and information about the cast. It also makes recommendations of similar movies.

There is an active message board for many of the movies so that you can chat about it with other viewers. And for each movie there is extensive additional information, as well as links to other sites. You can read about the plot and get quotes from the movie, read trivia, learn about alternate versions, and read reviews. There are promotional links to items such as trailers, posters, and official sites. If the movie is being shown on TV, you can find out when and what channel.

Also available is information on actors and actresses, all cross-referenced with the movies they appear in. For each there is a filmography that includes appearances on TV, as well as the usual biography and photo gallery. Links include news articles and video clips. In every case, there is also seamless integration with Amazon.Com, making it easy to order videos that may interest you.

The site has a wide range of additional features that are a lot of fun. You can find out the top movies, current or all-time, for both the U.S. and international. You can also find lists for videos such as the top 100 sellers for both VHS and DVD. Type in your ZIP code, and it will list the showtimes for movies currently playing in theaters. The site includes message boards, movie/TV news, and a personalization feature.

The sites that sell videos are often a good source of information and for helping you find other movies you might like. Amazon and Reel.Com are very effective in this regard. The latter is also an extremely rich general resource, offering low-priced video sales and rentals, reviews, credits, DVD details, and information about current theatrical releases.

TNT's Rough Cut offers reviews, chats, and forums. You can find a directory of movie clips and trailers at Ultimate Movie Clips.

Other sites include a few with attitude. Ain't It Cool News offers inside information and reviews, sometimes even before reviews are available from the mainstream critics. Countingdown offers information and trailers for upcoming films. Find Hollywood gossip and interviews at the Hollywood Network.

You can buy low-cost movies at 999Central.Com, where everything is $9.99. There is also a $5 shipping charge. Their movies include both VHS and DVD, and they also carry software for both Mac and PC. You can order multiple titles and still just pay $5 for shipping. They have a Bargain Basement that has a small selection of software for $4.99, VHS movies for $6.99, and DVDs for $7.99.

The site offers some special deals. If you buy seven items you get the eighth one for free. When you order, if you list e-mail addresses of family and friends, 999Central will send them a $5 gift certificate. All of their products are new merchandise, and they have a 14-day return policy for anything that's defective. They guarantee that they will ship your order the same day--or shipping is free.

It all tempts me to order a few movies. After all, I have a DVD player right here in my laptop and a speaker system connected. Just a minute, while I go place my order. . . .

© 2000 by Jim Karpen, Ph.D.

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