Art & Entertaiment

Magicians in Movies Always Keep Us Interested

Magicians in Movies Always Keep Us Interested

In the magic movie Excalibur, the king was mortally wounded because he lost his grip to the sword. The sword was what the knights wanted to take. Before he dies the king drives Excalibur into a stone. Try as they might the knights cannot extract the sword from the stone. Years later, the boy taken by Merlin the Magician, now a teenager, tries his hand and removing the sword. He does so and is proclaimed the chosen one, he who is destined to be king of Britain. Arthur grows up as King of Britain with Merlin the Magician by his side.

His kingdom reaches a pinnacle and then betrayal, jealousy, and doubt infiltrate and almost destroy Arthur and his rule. But end the end Merlin with his magic helps restore Arthur to a place of renown. There have been many who argue that King Arthur actually existed. There are many who say he was but a myth, a legend like Paul Bunyan.

But movies about magic are real in the sense that they entertain and help us leave our reality behind if only for a few hours at a time. I am not a proponent of magic. But when I can see it in a movie and it is part of the plot, then I can suspend my opinion for a few hours at least and allow myself to be carried away by the fantasy, by movies about magic. This is what drives us to live the world of surreal for about two hours and just enjoy the moment. Movies about magicians like Merlin are so intriguing as kids but then when you become an adult you look forward to them even more because the kid inside us all never dies.…


Learn How To Market Movies Online To Attract Viewers & Increase Film Sales

Learn How To Market Movies Online To Attract Viewers & Increase Film Sales

As an independent movie producer I have recently changed my entire belief system on how to market movies. It has been a radical shakeup from how I used to think. In the past I would hire a web designer to create a movie site that had a synopsis, movie poster, key cast and crew bios with photos, and trailer. Until recently I had no idea how to get traffic to the site to attract viewers and increase online movie sales. I had a site out there and was hoping visitors would stumble upon it. Not the best online marketing strategy to follow, but at that point in time I did not know any better.

There was no way an indie film marketing budget could afford to pay for a public relations firm to ignite a buzz, radio ads, or run a trailer on television spots. The studio method to marketing big budget movies does not work for independently produced movies. Friend Tim Beachum aka The SEO Bully has been online marketing for 10 years strong. He looked at what I was doing with my site and asked if I wanted to learn how to market movies online using search engine optimization, specifically SEO tactics and online tools to enhance a movie site.

The crash course I received from The SEO Bully on how to market movies online was awesome and changed how I thought as a producer. The most powerful thing I learned was that a website without aggressive SEO marketing will go undiscovered by online viewers. The biggest mistake I was making was focusing on only the visual design of a creating a site. No matter how great a site looks it still needs to be marketed online. Here are a few useful tips I learned during my crash course on learning how to market movies online:

• Keep your movie site domain name short, simple, and easy to type into a search engine browser.

• Do keyword research on what words or phrases people are typing into search engines to find certain types of movies like yours.

• Use meta tags, targeted keywords, and short descriptions for each page on your movie site to increase search engine visibility.

• Provide visitors with an opt-in list to build a movie fanbase.

• Build quality backlinks to your movie site to increase search engine ranking.

I will never market any future Slice Of Americana Films titles like I have in the past. I love the creative side of writing, producing, and directing movies, but now realize the only way to attract viewers across the globe is by using SEO methods. When SEO marketers talk about products and customers I mentally flip the switch to movies and viewers. The same Internet marketing strategies apply and work. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE OUT:…


This is It – Starring Michael Jackson

“This is It” – Starring Michael Jackson

“This Is It” is an unforgettable documentary showing Michael Jackson in rehearsal for the show he was planning on taking on tour before his untimely death. Whether you are a fan of Michael’s or not, you will get to see the talent, genius, and dedication he had for his fans, his staff, and the talented young people who were chosen to appear with him on stage for a World tour of 50 shows entitled “This Is It”! Their devotion to him as well truly comes across in this film.

I was truly mesmerized by seeing Jackson on stage after a ten year “retirement”. He was absolutely amazing in this filming of the rehearsals leading up to his death. He looked great and based on what I saw, all that talk about him not being ready or prepared for this tour were completely untrue. The film was expertly edited and the sound and effects were very professional and of award winning quality given the circumstances of this event. The numbers were truly creative and if you were expecting his old stuff, you will be greatly surprised. He did some of his classic songs such as “Smooth Criminal” and “Billie Jean” and a fantastic new meant-to- be 3-D version of “Thriller”. I thought the highlight was his tribute to the environment which illustrated his message of love and humanity for this planet.

The movie is being shown for just two weeks in cities around the world. It opened last weekend which means it will only run for one more week. It is worth seeing. It has Academy Award written all over it and it will leave you feeling how much we lost in this very talented and loving individual who had problems with addictions which he was never able to overcome, but left this world too soon for his fans, family, and children. I can’t wait for the DVD.…


Online Movie Rental Reviews – How Does Blockbuster Compare to Netflix?

Online Movie Rental Reviews – How Does Blockbuster Compare to Netflix?

As Blockbuster tries to catch up with it’s main competition, Netflix. It is making it even easier to rent movies online.

In 2004, Blockbuster started offering customers its own service for online movie rentals. Before that, to rent movies online could only be done through Netflix who was doing much better than bricks and mortar type rental stores.

For example, Hollywood Video, which was once considered a leader in the industry, has seen it’s business go down since online movie rentals came along.

Lucky for Blockbuster, they were able to adapt to the changing landscape of the online movie rental business fast enough to stay in business.

What does Blockbuster offer that the others don’t? Today, it’s Netflix that has to do some catching up to Blockbuster. Blockbuster customers can rent on Blu-Ray at no extra cost. Netflix charges extra for this benefit.

The other major advantage Blockbuster has over Netflix is its brick-and-mortar stores. While traditional retail outlets seemed at first to be an old-fashioned handicap for people looking for movies to rent, today Blockbuster markets their stores as an added perk that Netflix doesn’t have.

And it’s true: with 7,000 stores in 21 countries, Blockbuster makes it easy to return movies locally.

So if a customer feels like renting a movie for the weekend but doesn’t want to venture out to the store, they can rent online from Blockbuster, then drop it by the store on their way to work on Monday morning.

Blockbuster also offers one more benefit over Netflix: game rentals. Netflix offers its customers only movies and television shows, and although it has a wide variety of these, it still doesn’t offer video games.

Blockbuster’s inventory has long included video games, so it was a natural choice to include game rentals when Blockbuster started offering online movie rentals.

To rent 1, 2 or 3 movies at one time costs the same. The fixed monthly charges are $8.99, $13.99 and $16.99.

Do these benefits make Blockbuster a better choice than Netflix? That depends upon your perspective. If you’re a Blu-ray owner, then yes, it’s better to rent movies online from Blockbuster.

If you’re a gamer, then yes, it’s better to rent movies online from Blockbuster.

If all you’re looking for a good selection of movies and don’t mind mailing DVDs back to Netflix, then the two services are basically equal.…


Paint Color – Part One

Paint Color – Part One

The color of a room can and does influence our mood and our thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways depending on age, gender, ethnic background, or the geographical area we happen to live. When choosing colors for your home, it is important to ignore trends and choose colors that reflect your likes and dislikes. Trends come and go, but likes and dislikes remain much longer. If you don’t like the color, don’t use the color. The challenge faced by most people is to blend colors you like into pleasing combinations. This can be intimidating. Color is one of the least expensive design elements yet it causes the most dramatic changes in a space. It changes the look and feel of the space as well as how the people who enter the space feel.

Selecting colors for beginners can be nerve-racking. But, if you equip yourself with some basic information or a talented decorator, it can be easy and rewarding. After deciding your likes and dislikes, knowing what colors evoke certain moods is important when choosing a room color. Think about how the color makes you feel. Ask yourself, What mood do I want to create in the particular space? Which colors will help me achieve that mood?

Once you have chosen the colors you like and the colors that will provide the mood you want, limit your choices to 3 or 4 colors per room (this includes accent colors but do not include neutrals). Too many colors (even the ones you like) will make a room look crowded, cluttered, and busy. The next step is to proceed with confidence and trust that the end result will be your desired result.

In part two of this article I will describe in detail what emotions and feelings some very popular colors cause.…


Dogtooth Review

Dogtooth Review

Stars: Christos Stergioglou, Michele ValleyDirector: Giorgos LanthimosRelease Date: January 25, 2011MPAA Rating: Unrated

Let’s play a game, yeah? Let’s turn on the hot water faucet and all stick our fingers underneath the stream of scalding hot water. The person to leave their finger in the longest is the winner. It’ll be a game of endurance. Does that sound like fun? Or would you rather see who can hold their breath underwater the longest? These are the games the children play in the Greek film Dogtooth.

What am I saying- “children?” They are in their late teens to early twenties. They have no names and are simply known throughout the film as brother, older sister and younger sister. They live in a house that has a tall fence surrounding it. They live with their mother and father who have taught their children everything they know. Not all of what they have been taught is on the level. Did you know that zombies are little yellow flowers? Yeah, me neither.

Their children have been taught that they are not to enter the outside world until their “dogtooth” comes out of their mouths. That will be a sign of maturity and they will be ready to leave the confines of their home. Until then, however, they are forced to spend their days being obedient, subservient children. They are forced by their parents to play games and the winners are rewarded with stickers. These children are being taught to fear the outside world as much as possible so that they won’t be corrupted by it.

The only visitor allowed into the home is Christina, a security guard who works with the father. The mother and father have deemed her trustworthy enough to come into the home for the sole purpose of keeping their son company (wink wink, nudge nudge). Christina offers the older sister a gift, but only if the older sister reciprocates with a gift of her own. This action sets off a course of events that will disturb this family’s seemingly idyllic life.

Some movies just make you feel dirty after watching them. The Human Centipede and Antichrist are perfect examples of this and I would surely add Dogtooth to this list. It’s really exciting in the sense that I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next. By the same token, it was also almost painful to watch. I literally thought to myself, “What the shuck is going on?” several times during this film. You don’t think it can get any weirder or worse, but it does. There are so many rules in this particular family setting, but the film itself has no rules. It does what it wants without caring how it looks or what the consequences might be. There are scenes when you wish the camera would turn away because it’s all so disturbing, but you’re forced to watch everything play out.

Despite, or maybe because, of the fact that Dogtooth is as brave as it is with its brutal look at a protective family gone wrong, it was nominated this year for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. If you’re looking for an escape from your everyday, ordinary movies, I highly recommend Dogtooth.…


Christopher Nolan’s Greatest Films Thus Far In His Career

Christopher Nolan’s Greatest Films Thus Far In His Career

Christopher Nolan has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the greatest directors in the game. Honestly, at this point, it seems that he is only second to James Cameron when it comes to the best directors out there. He is truly brilliant and all of his movies are great.

But which have been Christopher Nolan’s best films? These are my top five favorites.

Memento was Nolan’s second full length feature movie, and to this day, remains one of the best movies to be released from 2000 to 2010. This movie stars Guy Pearce as a detective hunting down his wife’s killer. The only problem is he has short term amnesia.

The Prestige is another movie that absolutely makes the cut for me. One of my favorite movies in recent memory, The Prestige is a film that you can watch several times and learn something new each and every time. A fantastic film that didn’t get enough love.

It goes without saying that Insomnia makes the list for me. This movie stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank in a peculiar story about a murder in a town where it is always daylight. If you like murder mysteries, this is a great one.

Inception is by far and away Nolan’s most impressive movie yet. I cannot believe how incredible this movie was. This movie is impossible to explain the plotline of, but basically involves stealing ideas from people’s dreams and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Cilian Murphy, and Michael Caine.

There is one other film of Nolan’s that I feel is worth mentionng. Of course, I am talking about The Dark Knight. This is a truly amazing film and it is so much more than just another comic book movie. Everything about this film is incredible.

Until the third Batman movie comes out, this is my list of the best Christopher Nolan movies.…


Audrey Hepburn – Timeless Appeal

Audrey Hepburn – Timeless Appeal

“After so many drive-in waitresses in movies, here is class, somebody who went to school, can spell and possibly play the girl single-handed may make bozooms a thing of the past.”

Billy Wilder

The appeal of actress Audrey Hepburn has more than survived the test of time and has, in fact, become timeless. Appearing on the outside, indistinct, innocent, and somewhat fragile with large, deep,and dark eyes, Audrey Hepburn was a distinctive personality that has successfully charmed generation after generation.

This young Englishwoman started with a stage debut in the non-musical version of Gigi and rose meteorically to stardom with her performance opposite Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. She won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for this picture and her popularity, along with her career, never looked back. During her film career she would receive four additional Best Actress nominations.

Hepburn proved to be perfect for romantic comedy starring in the classics Sabrina, Funnyface, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She was the every woman, beautiful, but not necessarily glamorous, sensual, but not overtly sexual, a woman whose naturalness appealed to both men and women.

Audrey Hepburn was certainly not limited to romantic comedy and could also shine in dramatic roles as she did in The Nun’s Story, Wait Until Dark, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Charade opposite Cary Grant. She imparted a freshness to her characters that audiences loved.

Her talent was also reflected on Broadway and she received a Tony Award in 1954 for her role in Ondine. Audrey Hepburn was as beautiful a person off-screen and she was on. During World War II she helped nurse soldiers at her father’s hospital and in 1993 was posthumously awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

In all, Audrey Hepburn would receive twenty-seven awards and be nominated for an additional twenty-four. She was recognized by everyone, the Oscars, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the New York Film Critics, the Screen Actors Guild, the list goes on and on.

But, perhaps most personally satisfying to Audrey was her signing on as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in 1988. Her own difficult childhood provided a commitment within her to help starving children around the world. To quote Ms. Hepburn…”Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand – the first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”

Her elegant beauty became her trademark and the world took notice. The next time you are in a shop or store, of any kind, that sells posters or wall hangings, take a will undoubtedly find a picture of Audrey Hepburn as her appeal is timeless.…


Today in History – What Happened on the 6th of June?

Today in History – What Happened on the 6th of June?

Today is 6 June 2006. On This Day in…

1727 – In the middle of a performance of Bononcini’s opera “Astianatte” in front of the Princess of Wales in London, the two greatest sopranos of the day, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni, came to blows. After calling each “B….” and “W….” the two women fell upon each other with “hair-pulling and fisticuffs”. The opera season for the year closed early immediately after the performance.

1816 – In “the year without a summer” between 10 and 20 inches (25 to 50 cm) of snow fell in New England in what should have been summer in the United States. That year snow or frost continued to arrive every month through the summer across the United States. The unusual weather is thought to have been a result of the eruption of Tambora (in Indonesia) the year before, the most explosive eruption of the last 10,000 years when between 37 to 100 cubic miles of dust, ash and cinders were blown into the atmosphere causing a globe-encircling curtain of dust which took some 3 years to finally settle.

1844 – The YMCA, the Young Men’s Christian Association, was founded in London by George Williams, a draper’s assistant who lived with 140 other young men in lodgings provided by their employer. Starting with prayer meetings in his room, it quickly drew in other lonely Christians who had left home to work in London in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

1907 – The first self-acting washing powder in the world went on sale when an advertisement appeared in the “Dusseldorfer Zeitung” for Persil.

1933 – The first drive-in movie theatre opened by Richard Hollingshead off Wilson Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey on a 10 acre lot which had room for 500 cars. The movie was “Wife Beware” and admission was 25 cents per car plus 25 cents per person.

1944 – D-day. Allied forces invaded Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion in history. 150,000 troops, 5,000 ships and 10,000 aircraft took part.

1949 – George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was published. Begun in 1945, he was going to call it “The Last Man in Europe” but decided to reverse the last two digits of the year he finished writing it – 1948 – and call it “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (not “1984” as is often used).

1988 – Three giant snapping turtles were found inside a Bronx sewage treatment plant in New York. Each weighed about 23 kgs and were thought to have been unwanted pets which were flushed down a toilet at some stage.…