Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My 10 favorite movie news and info websites

For news and opinion on movies and the movie industry, there are many websites for which to turn.
Here are my 10 favorite websites dedicated to movies:

1. Internet Movie Database

IMDb is the granddaddy of movie information sites. It’s been around for 19 years and even predates the first Web browsers.
IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham says the service started on Oct. 17, 1990, as a series of Unix shell scripts to let users search the Usenet bulletin board rec.arts.movies. It wasn’t called Internet Movie Database until four years later.
You can read a history of IMDb here.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com bought the site in 1998.

2. Box Office Mojo

Box Office Mojo is the top website for finding out how well movies are doing in the theaters. It’s got tons of interesting data (per screen average, % change in box office receipts from the previous week, estimated budgets, etc.)
Movie analyst Brandon Gray founded Box Office Mojo in 1999.
Amazon’s IMDb bought Box Office Mojo in July 2008.

3. Box Office Guru

For another perspective on the weekend’s box office returns, I turn to Box Office Guru. The website is edited by Gitesh Pandya of New York City.

4. Rotten Tomatoes

There are two big online aggregators of movie reviews – Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. But Rotten Tomatoes focuses only on movies. Metacritic aggregates reviews of movies, TV shows, video games and music.
I like the way Rotten Tomatoes is organized and the quality of the information it presents. It also provides an interesting mix of news and features along with the reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Flixster, which bought the website from IGN Entertainment earlier this month.

5. Netflix

A subscription to online movie rental service Netflix is a must for movie fans.
But in addition to delivering movies via DVDs by mail or streaming online, the Netflix website has a good movie recommendation engine.
I also like Netflix’s Friends section, which it keeps hiding. I guess Netflix’s efforts at social networking among movie fans have been a bust. Otherwise, why hide this section? I especially like the members’ top 10 lists.

6. At the Movies

The revitalized “At the Movies” is one of the best shows on TV right now. The half-hour syndicated movie review program is informative and entertaining. The repartee between the two critics – Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and A.O. Scott of the New York Times – is a hoot.
The website offers exclusive video shorts where the critics answer viewer questions and discuss actors, directors and films in greater depth.
“At the Movies” is owned by the Walt Disney Co.

7. Apple iTunes Movie Trailers

It’s rare that a good movie has a bad trailer. A bad trailer generally means a bad movie.
So Apple iTunes Movie Trailers is a good place to decide what upcoming theatrical films are worth paying attention to. Of course, some bad movies have good trailers. So moviegoers beware.

8. I Watch Stuff

I Watch Stuff is a snarky movie news website from the folks that do my favorite celebrity news website, The Superficial.
I Watch Stuff is owned by Anticlown Media.

9. Hollywood Bitchslap

Hollywood Bitchslap is a good website for finding out about interesting independent movies, especially those on the film festival circuit.
Hollywood Bitchslap also has a fun feature called Criticwatch, where the editors track hack movie critics who crank out positive blurbs used in movie advertisements. The top quote “whores” for 2009 were Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers (77 blurbs), Pete Hammond of Maxim (49) and Jeffrey Lyons of “Reel Talk” (27).

10. Geek Tyrant

A recent addition to my favorites list is Geek Tyrant. It focuses mostly on movies for guys – superhero, horror, action adventure and comedy movies.
The subject matter is fun and the writing has a lot of attitude.

Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series on Tech-media-tainment’s favorite Web sites.

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