Top 10: The best movie sites of the decade
In the last decade, web coverage of the movie business has expanded like a mushroom cloud, mangling traditional media in its wake and transforming the way millions of us see the industry, for better or worse.
The internet invented the modern movie fan. And if you consider yourself one, you need every one of these in your favourites...
IMDB is the daddy of all movie websites. Nothing else comes close. There probably isn't a movie fan in the world who hasn't used IMDB's incredibly comprehensive listing of film credits to check a name or win an argument. But look beneath the surface and you'll find much more: reams of trivia, page upon page of memorable movie quotes, streaming video, a constantly updated top 250 films of all time and a user review base that froths with pure insanity. If IMDB didn't exist, we would have to invent it.
Once the preserve of professional writers and serious buffs, Rotten Tomatoes has (along with its biggest rival Metacritic) found a niche in the post-newspaper world as a one-stop shop for critical opinion from around the world. Movies today live and die on their "tomatometer" rating - less than 50% percent positive reviews means a film is rotten - and there is more entertaining writing here than you will find in a skyscraper stack of movie magazines. RT is living proof of the "wisdom of crowds" principal: the more reviews a film has, the more likely that the tomatometer is bang on the money.
One of the internet's best kept secrets, Drew's Script'o'Rama is a tremendous resource for original movie scripts, from brand new stuff like Ninja Assassin and The Men Who Stare At Goats to all time classics like The Seventh Seal and The Godfather. Particularly fascinating are the early drafts of famous movies. While you're there, check out George Lucas' first crack at a movie called "The Star Wars", featuring a hero who goes by the name of Annikin Starkiller.
One of the best and most professional movie blog sites on the net, /film (or slashfilm as it is usually known) has won a multitude of awards and enjoys a loyal following. Reviews are quirky and interesting, the news is fast, varied and pleasantly esoteric, but the real attraction of /film is the excellent weekly podcast, which usually features a smart, funny or surprising guest. If you haven't tried it yet, do. It's sure to find a place on your favourites list.
Ain't It Cool News
You can't avoid AICN, no matter how much you might want to. The brainchild of Harry Knowles, the world's biggest movie geek (in every sense), AICN's random capitalisation, extreme grammar and frankly alarming movie nerdery feels like being mugged at a comic convention. But, despite the odd accusation of Hollywood whoring, AICN remains the voice of the American movie obsessive, and their talkboards are thrillingly insane. If you visit the site, look up Neil Cumpston, a genuinely brilliant writer whose note-perfect parodies of the "geekgasm" reviewing style are often mistaken for the real thing.
Bloody Disgusting has been slightly controversial of late for its close association with horror production company Platinum Dunes. That aside, this is a site for people who take horror movies seriously, as their in-depth reviews of even the most obscure slasher pics (rated in skulls, naturally) demonstrate. Reviewers have a knack of seeing the gory stuff before anyone else, and the forum community is, well, lively.
CHUD stands for Cinematic Happenings Under Development, and this site is often the first port of call for movie journalists looking for Hollywood rumours, along with Dark Horizons and Coming Soon. Site content varies from the erudite to the downright weird (site founder Nick Nunziata can still be found on the blog page ranting about anything that takes his fancy, from bad spelling to cinnamon buns), but if the quality is variable, you can't deny the quantity. There's a tonne of stuff to check out here. And the design is, um, colourful...
The British Board of Film Classification
This might sound like an odd inclusion, but in truth there are few sites more fascinating than that of Blighty's very own scissor men. Here you can read exactly why Spider-Man was classified 12 (it was a borderline case), why a second was cut from Attack of The Clones, and how those all important classification decisions are made. You can also, if you are so inclined, spoil yourself silly for just about any forthcoming movie. It's not much to look at, but there's gold in them pages.
Guardian Unlimited Film
The best of the newspaper film websites by a long chalk, Film Unlimited is stuffed with quality content, both from the newspaper and elsewhere, catering for everyone from goateed movie buffs to multiplex popcorn munchers. Erudite and occasionally infuriating reviews, blogs galore, a podcast and more plain old-fashioned features than you can shake a stick at, plus the community on the talkboards is one of the smartest and funniest on the web.
An anti-movie review site that starts from the premise that all movies are terrible and then rates them on a bomb system that ranges from "Almost tolerable" to "Proof that Jesus died in vain". Cranky can find something nasty to say about even the most applauded masterpiece. Here he is, for instance, on Citizen Kane: "What exactly was stopping Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) from doing all the damn sledding his heart desired? For God's sake, he could have bought himself a mountain and slid down it until his ass was as slick as a Teflon-coated frying pan."
If you have a favourite film site we've missed, please let us know below.