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The Most Useful Movie Websites 2.0

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This is a list of useful movie websites to help guide you to the best film content on the web.

Back in August 2006 I created a list of what I thought were the 10 most useful movie websites but I felt a fresher and more comprehensive one was needed (which is why it is the 2.0 version).

So, the following is a collection of sites related to the world of film broken down into these categories: essential sites, news, blogs, critics, DVDs and podcasts.

If you look on the sidebar to the right you’ll see links to a lot of these sites but I thought I’d expand it and explain why they are worth bookmarking.

Part of the aim here is also to spread the word about quality film sites, so if you want to post this to Digg or another social news site then just use the buttons at the bottom of this post.

I’m sure there are more links out there worthy of inclusion in a future list, so if you have any suggestions email me or leave a comment below.

ESSENTIALS

These are sites that I would consider essential bookmarks. They range from some of the most popular film sites on the web to the more obscure, but all are useful at helping you find the movie information you want.


NEWS

The following section is a little broad but it centres on more general sites that cover the world of film.

Some are established news organisations whilst others are purely online, but all are useful sources of information on the latest film stories.

  • Aint It Cool News: One of the first movie websites to get worldwide attention in the late 90s after creator Harry Knowles spilled the beans on how bad Batman and Robin was, AICN remains an important place for checking out the latest news, rumours and fan reaction even though the design hasn’t changed much during the years.
  • AP News / Entertainment: The famous US news agency is always worth checking for stories related to the film industry.
  • AV Club: The entertainment branch of The Onion features a lot of interesting reviews and features on films and directors outside the mainstream, plus Scott Tobias and Nathan Rabin are critics always worth reading.
  • BBC News / Entertainment: One of the British taxpayer’s (or to be more accurate licence fee payer’s) gift to the world is the web’s best and most comprehensive news site. As such, the entertainment section is essential.
  • Bloody-Disgusting: For horror fans this a very useful place to get the latest news and views on the genre.
  • C.H.U.D.: Cinematic Happenings Under Development plays in the same ballpark as AICN with a slant towards genre side of things but is worth checking out for the news, features and interviews.
  • Coming Soon: Another site that can be useful for news and previews of mainstream releases.
  • Dark Horizons: An Australian based site that started out specialising in sci-fi but now is a valuable resource for all kinds of mainstream films.
  • Devil Ducky: A useful hub for checking out the latest viral videos.
  • Empire: The UK’s bestselling film magazine has had a healthy online presence for years now and does a good job of juggling the demands of the print and digital worlds. Their (relatively) new blog is definitely worth subscribing to and they have a good range of writers working for them like Kim Newman, Angie Errigo, Chris Hewitt and Helen O’Hara. Coincidentally, the question I get asked the most – apart from ‘what is your favourite film?’ – is ‘why don’t you write for Empire?’, so if anyone there is reading this, I’m open to offers ;-)
  • Entertainment Weekly: The magazine founded by Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine back in 1990 became famous for issuing grades to movies and still remains a useful site for mainstream Hollywood films with people like Steven Spielberg giving them exclusive interviews and writers like Stephen King and Diablo Cody writing articles for them.
  • Film Comment: The bimonthly film journal published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center has a website that is worth reading for those interested in the more highbrow films. Although only a selection of articles are posted online their intelligence and rigour is always a pleasure to read.
  • Filmmaker Magazine: A quarterly publication covering the indie world is useful for a different perspective and those hidden films with smaller budgets but greater ambitions. It even features articles from the likes of director David Gordon Green, so is always worth a look.
  • Four Word Film Review: One of those curious sites that sounds crazy but proves strangely addictive. Every film is reviewed by users using 4 words or less and some of the results range from the hilarious to the profound. A recent review of Iron Man reads ‘Robot Downey Jr.’
  • Guardian Film: The UK newspaper that probably best understands the dynamics of print and online has an excellent film section filled with solid features whilst critics like Philip French, Mark Kermode and John Patterson are always worth reading. The comments sections on their blog can be illuminating, especially when film companies and PRs are caught out planting positive reviews of terrible British films.
  • Hollywood Wiretap: The look and feel of this news site make it appear like a film version of the Drudge Report but it is a handy gauge of film news from a variety of sources.
  • Film4: The UK’s best film channel has a comprehensive website filled with reviews, interviews and features. Pus, if you live here then check out their listings as they have a great mix of mainstream and cult movies showing throughout the week.
  • indieWIRE: An excellent hub for news on the independent film world with excellent coverage of festivals like Sundance and interviews with established and up and coming filmmakers.
  • JoBlo’s Movie Emporium: Another website that’s been around quite a while with a nice mixtures of news, reviews and thoughts on films across the board – even Steven Spielberg is a fan.
  • Little White Lies: A classy UK based film magazine that also has a presence on the web.
  • New York Times / Movies: The pre-eminent US newspaper maybe cutting jobs but lets hope that doesn’t affect their first rate movies section. The features may sometimes be a day or two behind the best movie blogs, but generally speaking the reporting and writing is of the high standards you would expect of the Grey Lady. Critics such as Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott are part of any discerning film fans’ required reading.
  • Premiere: Although the magazine may no longer exist, the online version survived with Glenn Kenny providing the news and insight. Well, that was until a couple of days ago when Glenn was let go. He has a new blog called Some Came Running.
  • Sight and Sound: The UK’s best highbrow film magazine is frustrating in what it chooses to put up on the web (it saves some of the juicier features for the print edition) but there is no doubting the quality of the contributors whose reviews and features are usually in-depth and rich food for the cinephile mind.
  • Slant Magazine / Film: This is a well written, intelligent site and in critic Ed Gonzalez they have a writer who is always worth reading even though his views tend towards the arch and contrarian. Their end of year lists are required reading.
  • Telegraph / Film: Although it suffers in comparison to The Guardian (its UK newspaper rival) the film section of the Telegraph is worth a look now and then for interviews, profiles and features.
  • The Times / Film: Another UK newspaper that often has some good features, especially around the London Film Festival (which it sponsors) and reviews from the likes of James Christopher, Cosmo Landesman and Wendy Ide.
  • Cinematheque: A useful hub for finding out more about individual filmmakers like Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman or Michelangelo Antonioni.
  • The Hollywood Reporter: Although it doesn’t have the influence or prestige of its rival Variety, this trade paper often contains stories of interest, whether it is the announcement of a new production or recent box office grosses.
  • The New Yorker / The Film File: The New York magazine has a deserved reputation for quality writing and that comes across in many of the movie features or profiles it does. The review section was made famous by Pauline Kael and now Anthony Lane and David Denby carry her critical torch with witty (and often snooty) putdowns of the latest cinema amidst the few things they enjoy.
  • They Shoot Pictures Don’t They?: A superb gateway to some enlightening movie content be it a 1000 great movies you should see or posts from other sites like GreenCine.
  • Variety: The trade bible is sometimes accused of be a little too close to the industry it covers (see the WGA strike coverage or that infamous Charlie’s Angel’s 2 review) and editor Peter Bart may have doubts about blogs, but it is still essential reading for anyone with the slightest interest in Hollywood. Almost every aspect of the entertainment business is covered in depth and after they sensibly abolished their pay wall last year, it has become an invaluable resource.
  • Yahoo News / Movies: With all their recent troubles evading the clutches of Microsoft, Yahoo’s movie section resembles the rest of the company – i.e. stuck in 1998. But new trailers (like Indy 4) often show first here and the photos of premieres are quite good if you are into that kind of thing.

BLOGS

Blogs have grown rapidly in the last four years, allowing professional journalists and keen movie lovers to publish their thoughts online in a structured format.

Some of these belong to established news organisations, others are independent – but all are worth reading if you want regular doses of movie opinion and insight.

CRITICS

The role of the film critic is one that has come under some scrutiny in recent times with many getting laid off and some questioning their role in an age of blogs and sites like Rotten Tomatoes.

What follows here are the film critics whose opinion and insight is valuable to anyone who cares about the medium.

DVD

For those interested in finding films on DVD and what the latest releases are like then I would suggest the following.

  • Amazon UK / US: The giant online retailer is still the place to search for and buy (or even sell) DVDs. They own the IMDb, so when you are browsing entries there look on the top right hand corner and you will see links to the film on DVD or the soundtrack. The user reviews can also be handy.
  • DVD Beaver: An excellent place to check out the specs of the latest DVD releases – check out these screenshots of the Criterion release of Days of Heaven to see how useful the site can be.
  • DVD File: A very solid and comprehensive site featuring news, reviews and technical explanations of the format.
  • DVD Price Check: A good place to get price comparisons on the latest DVDs from the various regions.
  • DVD Spin Doctor: Glen Abel‘s blog about the latest DVD news and releases is a very useful source of news and opinion.
  • DVD Times: Posssibly my favourite DVD site, with a comprehensive list of release dates, news, reviews and images.
  • The Easter Egg Archive: Useful site for finding hidden bonus features (also known as Easter Eggs) on DVDs.
  • Ebay US / UK: If you can’t find a DVD at a retail outlet, have a browse on the auction giant to see if a user is selling an old copy.
  • Play: A consistently excellent place for good deals on DVDs, as well as CDs and other products. Very useful for getting a bargain on a DVD box set.

PODCASTS

A number of fine film related podcasts are now available for free and you can subscribe to them via iTunes, RSS feed or via direct MP3 download.

Here are my pick of the best:

So that wraps this list up.

As I said before, if you have any good sites worthy of inclusion then leave them in the comments below or email me.

UPDATE: Jim Emerson’s Scanners blog has now been included (an oversight by me but thanks to Denis at SLIFR for reminding me!)

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Written by Ambrose Heron

May 12th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Posted in Useful Links

Tagged with ,

  • http://www.chatterboxmarketing.com Ken

    Nice list, very comprehensive.

  • GT

    Excellent job. I have no idea how long you took to put this very impressive list together, but please consider the effort highly appreciated.

  • http://triggerstreet.com Dana Brunetti

    Thanks for the inclusion of the TriggerStreet TV Podcast!

  • http://www.filmdetail.com Ambrose Heron

    No problem Dana – keep up the good work!

  • http://filmlinker.com Rick

    You should also check out filmlinker.com

  • http://www.obensonreport.com the obenson report

    Excellent! Solid list which will come in extremely useful for fledgling bloggers like myself! Thanks! Maybe in a few years, I’ll be on this list :o)

  • http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com Dennis Cozzalio

    Ambrose: Thank you very much for your inclusion of my blog on this impressive list! And for incorporating the header amongst all that fine company in the picture too. Your words and support are much appreciated, as is the effort you took to produce this list, which is extremely valuable to me. May I suggest the inclusion of Jim Emerson’s Scanners in any updated versions?

    Thanks!
    Dennis

  • rahul

    hi,this is really a nice list ,for useful for movie buffs like me,but i dont think u guys are much aware of bollywood,i dont c any site or blogs dedicated to the bollywood (indian mumbai based film industry)

  • http://www.filmdetail.com Ambrose Heron

    I’m planning on doing something Bollywood related in the near future, so keep a look out for that.

  • http://simplemoviereview.com/serendipity/ Jill

    Check out the Best Movie Websites blog too…http://www.simplemoviereview.com

    Nice list. Thanks.

  • http://www.i-see-tv.com/ ares

    check out http://www.i-see-tv.com/ recently released site, see if it’s worth the added :P

  • http://www.i-see-tv.com/ ares

    *worth being :)

  • http://blog.gilly.ws Gilly

    I’m missing criticker.com

  • http://www.pantone801.com Ross

    Hiya- this is a great list, you should also check out Criticker.com great for discovering movies and comparing your move taste with others. The move movies you rank the better it works.

    Ross

  • Ren

    Hey, I would just like to add a critic that I think you’ve overlooked. Eric Armstrong is the head critic for The Moving Arts Film Journal (http://themovingarts.com) and is easily the best critic I’ve ever read. Very insightful, creative and usually dead on.

  • Justin Michaels

    Great list. Another one to check out if you like fun movie battles where two films are pitted against each other is Ross v Ross – http://www.rossvross.com – two guys called Ross argue which one is best and readers vote based on their rantings – is good fun.