or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk




Online Movie and TV Resources

   March 27th, 2008 Brian Herzog

Tele-puterSomething I've been seeing a lot of lately are websites with free television shows and movies. I mentioned hulu.com on a previous post, and it's also been talked about elsewhere.

(I tried it out this weekend, and watched quite a few shows and a couple feature movies - all for free, with no problems, and very minimal commercial interruptions. This is the first time I've watched television or movies online, so I guess this is something for my Tech-YES list. But it did occur to me that, come Feb 17th, 2009, instead of buying a new set or digital cable box, I might just get rid of my television entirely and rely on the internet for shows and movies [then I could add "no television set" to my Tech-NO list])

Another free source, reported on Boing Boing, is the South Park Studios website. They just announced they are making all South Park episodes available free (but I noticed a few are not, due to contractual issues). According to creator Matt Stone, they're doing this because "we just got really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time. So we gave ourselves a legal alternative."

A slightly different approach is AnyTV, discussed by LibrarianInBlack. I haven't tried this, but it looks like you download and install their AnyTVplayer on your computer, and then can stream a large number television channels, radio stations and video clips - free. Sarah also bring up the idea of installing this software on public library computers, to allow people to use their internet time to watch television. Hmm.

Finally, LifeHacker offers a long list of free online resources for online videos. I checked out a couple, but none seemed as easy to use as Hulu.com. http://tv-video.net did seem to have more episodes of certain shows, but that might just be because Hulu.com is still new.

Of course, this is all in addition to what the networks themselves off on their websites: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS. These, like the South Park guys, have the edge because they are the source. If all information is free and legal, the only reason to go to the middlemen aggregators (like Hulu.com, et. al.) is ease of use of the interface.



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Tim Burton to make Alice in Wonderland Movie

   January 8th, 2008 Brian Herzog

Engraving of AliceLewis Carroll's Alice stories are among my all-time favorite books. And Tim Burton has made some movies that I have really enjoyed. So I should be happy that he's going to direct a film adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, right?

Well... Alice is one of those stories that I like so much that I get nervous any time I hear someone meddling with it. I'm sure Burton will produce a highly watchable movie, but how true it will be to Carroll's tale has yet to be seen.

Burton, if you recall, took some liberties with another favorite story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He got the name right, which has also plagued the Alice books, but the movie over all was about as close to Roald Dahl's book as was the Gene Wilder version of the story. Both good movies, yes, but neither entirely faithful to the original book.

So, I guess we'll see. It could be great, or, well, or it could be another Alice flop. But either way, it won't be as bad as Whoopi Goldberg playing the Cheshire Cat.

via BoingBoing

alice in wonderland, alice's adventures in wonderland, film, lewis carroll, movie, tim burton



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Reference Question of the Week – 9/23/07

   September 29th, 2007 Brian Herzog
The Simpsons Movie cover The Brink's Job cover

A patron called in with this question:

Can you tell me the box office grosses for two movies? I need to know how much The Simpsons Movie and The Brink's Job each made.

While he was talking, I quickly went to the Internet Movie Database and searched for The Simpsons Movie. I had never looked up box office figures there before, but it sounded like something they would have.

And they did - clicking on the Box Office/Business link under "Other Info" on the left side shows an extensive breakdown of box office grosses.

Unfortunately, The Brink's Job did not have this link, so I told the patron I'd keep looking and call him when I found it.

I next went to the general internet, trying various searches like "the brinks job +gross," "movie grosses," etc., but didn't have much luck. I did find a few useful websites to remember (some with pop-up ads):

But none of them had The Brink's Job - either it was too old (it came out in 1978), or it didn't gross enough to be noteworthy. I also tried all of our print film encyclopedias, but couldn't find this figure anywhere.

I called the patron back to let him know, and he said it was okay. It turns out these movies are his daughter's and mother's favorite movies, and he was just curious to compare their grosses.

But still - it bothers me not to be able to find an answer. Bleh. I'm going to be looking for this all week.



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