"In our day and age, cyberspace remains the most promising outlet for the exercise of the most elemental of all our rights: the right to free expression." -- Sheila Coronel
In my first version of the City of Kik Web site which I created with my friend Vin a few years ago, we had a section for links to our favorite online sites. Looking back at that list now, it's interesting to see which ones have survived and which ones have faded away into the ether of cyberspace.
In a future post, I'll look at my current favorite sites and blogs, but for now let's take a look at past favorites and how they hold up now.
Ain't It Cool News -- Still the granddaddy of fansites. Harry Knowles is an Internet legend, so every movie buff should check his site every once in a while. Some fanboys might criticize Harry’s writing skills or opinions, but he genuinely loves the art of film (both highbrow and lowbrow) and his writing has gotten better. His staff of reviewers is actually quite good, with people like Moriarty offering a fresh alternative perspective to the staid professional critics currently covering movies in the more traditional media. Nowadays, I actually enjoy the site more for its television and comic book news and reviews than for its cinema scoops. And the site definitely could use a fresh redesign after all these years.
Amazon.com -- Still the best way to buy books online. Okay, it’s a shopping site, but it also is a great resource for tracking down hard to find books and movies, and the reviews are great to read. How has it changed? Now it offers much more than books and DVDs. Videogames, electronics, it's all on Amazon. And their e-reader Kindle might revolutionize the way people read and collect written content.
CHUD: Cinematic Happenings Under Development -- These guys offer quality essays, reviews, discussions, and a cornucopia of ideas on movies and the entertainment biz. But the design of their site is still a cluttered, busy mess in my opinion.
Cinefantastique -- Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Here's what I wrote about the old site based on the great magazine which is now more, "It’s 'hipper' and 'edgier' than the iconic magazine we all knew and loved that defined genre journalism for decades, and some naysayers bemoan its new direction of 'style' over 'substance,' but it still has a lot of substance to offer." Now, not only is the magazine gone (first it became CFQ magazine and now it's Geek magazine) but the Web site is gone as a public site, being used now as a private intranet or something. If there is justice in this universe, both the magazine and public Web site will return someday.
Cinescape.com -- Another great magazine gone, but the site is still around, but now it's Mania.com. What I wrote before still holds (at least the Web site part). "It’s a great magazine and it’s also a great Web site, featuring articles, columns, reviews, and lots of info on movies, TV, games, and the world of genre entertainment, including the great 'Development Heck' section presented by Corona’s Coming Attraction (one of the pioneers of online fandom)."
Comics 2 Film -- Now merged with Mania.com, here’s the original site that followed the path of comic books coming to life on the big screen and the boob-tube. It was a goldmine for all diehard fans of the genre, and mania continues that tradition with content from all corners of the world of entertainment.
ComingSoon.net -- Still a great site. Release dates, reviews, message boards are all here, plus a lot more.
Counting Down -- This started out as a gimmicky fanboy obsession, counting down the days until the next big blockbuster movie opened in theaters, with folks waiting in line weeks before a movie’s premiere (and sometimes longer), but now it’s become a broad destination for interviews, articles, reviews, and a whole bunch of other content on the wide world of movies.
Dark Horizons -- This is still an awesome site, updated almost every single day with news on what’s coming up in the world of cinema. There’s also a comprehensive list of release dates, trailers, reviews, and much more.
Entertainment Weekly -- Now the Web site is known simply as EW.com, and it's better than ever. Some still accuse it of being nothing but a tool for its parent company (the Time Warner empire), some ignore it as being nothing more than pop culture fluff, but Entertainment Weekly is an addictive dose of information for media/entertainment junkies like me. Get your online fix here while you wait for the next issue to come out.
Film Threat -- Interviews, reviews, features – it’s all still here, no-holds-barred.
The Force.Net -- Back then I wrote that "this is arguably the greatest resource for Star Wars fans on the Internet," but now the official Star Wars site has caught up and surpassed it. Still, if you like that galaxy a long time ago and far, far away, it still has a ton of neat stuff.
The Hollywood Reporter -- Arguably more interesting than the Tinseltown bible, Variety, this Web site (now known simply as THR.com), is a great resource for East Coasters like me. If you want to know what’s going on inside the world of entertainment, this is the Web site of one of the publications that all the Hollywood insiders are reading, so peak in once in a while.
IGN's Film Force -- Now called IGN's Movies, I wrote before, "Want more news, interviews, reviews, and information on the movie industry? Then this is another quality site for you." That still applies.
Internet Movie Database -- This is the ultimate source for information on movies, actors and actresses, directors – a plethora of data at your fingertips encompassing the entire history of film and television. Still the best.
JoBlo.com -- This site just keeps getting better. I wrote before that "this is a terrific place to find screensavers, trailers, and more." It's worth bookmarking.
Locus Online -- The official website of Locus, the premier science fiction and fantasy literary magazine, is still going strong, despite a need for a design facelift in my humble opinion. This is a well-maintained site that acts as a supplement to the print edition. Some of the most intelligent and insightful reviews and discussions about speculative fiction can be found here.
The Lycos 50 Daily Report -- Gone. Aaron Schatz presented an often-fascinating look at what people were searching for online, and used his research and analytical skills to figure out the latest trends in a wide range of categories. This was actually a great source for predicting sleeper hits.
Movie-List -- “Movie trailers. Period.” A great resource if you’re looking to see some coming attractions of movies coming soon to a theater near you. Better design than the old version but still simple and effective.
Reel.com -- Back then I wrote: "Entertainment articles, info, and shopping – ‘nuff said." That still sums it up.
Rotten Tomatoes -- Better than ever. And they even have their own TV show now! These folks are kind enough to compile all the reviews of movies, DVDs, and games and give the public a rating based on all the thumbs-up/thumbs-down legion of critics out there – the good, the bad, and the damn ugly.
Sci-Fi.com -- This is the official Web site of the Sci-Fi Channel (or whatever it's called now, Scyfy, Skimpy, Skiffy, whatever), and it’s really, really good. There’s a lot here, including the great news summary “Sci-Fi Wire” and it even used to have the terrific online magazine “Science Fiction Weekly” (don't know if it still does anymore).
Superhero Hype -- Who knew that comic book movies would become so popular? This site did. The comic book adaptation genre is here to stay, and this Web site is the place to get the latest scoops on all the superhero projects in development.
Television without Pity -- I like the old design better, but it's still a good site. I love TV just as much as I love movies, so it’s great to know there are a lot of other intelligent fans out there too who can talk ad infinitum about the shows they adore…and abhor. I just wish they'd cover some better shows instead of all that reality junk.
TNMC: The Tuesday Night Movie Club -- Still around. Their motto, “Mapping the fine line between entertainment and crap,” says it all. Check it out.
Zap 2 It -- Yes, this is yet another comprehensive Web site that offers news and reviews and more information than you’ll ever be able to wade through, but it’s worth checking out. Bigger and better than ever, although I miss some of the old columnists who've come and gone.
Zentertainment -- Became MediaSharX, then The Break Room, the original Zentertainment is still greatly missed. Sean Jordan started Zentertainment, a great entertainment newsletter, and this is his Web site. He’s a good guy and Zentertainment still lives.
There were obviously many more that I loved, and now there are a bazillion new sites and blogs that I follow. But it's great to see that some of the oldie-but-goodie sites are still around and still as fun to read as ever.