Harry Potter fever has swept over the nation like a magic broom sweeping up its audience, with the young wizard and his friends from school to high adventure.
And the Lord of the Rings is set to do the same when it is released later this month. The internet is helping to fuel this fever, as websites promoting the movies become more sophisticated, with trailers, trivia and teasers adding to the anticipation of a new release.
Already, the site for the next Star Wars episode, Attack of the Clones, is generating a huge amount of traffic as kids and adults alike look for previews and trailers before the film’s official release next year.
The movie studios are investing a good deal of time and money into their websites, realising just how effective they can be in promoting their product. But obviously you won’t get an independent take on the films, so where else can you go on the web for unbiased views and news on the movies?
An excellent starting point is the Internet Movies Database, found at www.imdb.com. It’s a US site, so make sure you click on the union jack at the bottom of the screen to get a UK slant. It is a movie buff’s dream.
Here you can find out virtually everything about almost every movie in existence, and link through to official websites and unofficial discussion groups. You can even see if you share a birthday with a movie star.
It comes close to disappearing into a puff of movie trivia, but if you want sound information about the flicks, this is the one.
Empire magazine’s website, www.empireonline.co.uk, is as good, although it doesn’t manage to cram as much information onto its pages – perhaps no bad thing. The news section is very good, reviews influential and discussion groups are informative.
And you can buy tickets online, providing you are happy to go to an Odeon cinema.
It is a good example of how a monthly magazine can transfer to a daily website.
On the other side of the pond, Hollywood Reporter, at www.hollywoodreporter.com, is bang up-to-date with breaking news, not just in the movies but on TV as well.
The site looks at the business side as well as straight entertainment. There is the inevitable American feel to it, but it is certainly worth a look if you want to know who’s doing what in Tinsel Town.
Even PwC gets in on the act by sponsoring the site’s media analyst corner.
But for an oddball, though highly rated, look at the movie world, go to www.aintitcoolnews.com. This is a real movie fans’ site, written by true movie geeks, mostly in the US.
It won’t win any awards for design, but content is superb. And if you want an excellent deconstruction of the Harry Potter movie, including virtually unheard of criticism, then this is the place.
The studios are pushing back the bounds of websites, with limitations only set by slow internet connections. Once we become a broadband nation, these sites will go from strength to strength.
THE BEST OF TINSEL TOWN: SITES THAT CUT THROUGH THE HYPE
For everything you ever wanted to know about the movies. Comes very close to being nerdy, but is still packed with all sorts of trivia.
Online version of the successful monthly film mag. Has good reviews, news and discussion groups, and you can order Odeon tickets online.
Bang up-to-date news and gossip from Tinsel Town, obviously US in style, but good for the business news as well.
Wonderful site written for movie fans by movie fans. Very oddball, but the reviews are as detailed as you can find anywhere else.
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