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How to Search for Online Movies

June 8, 2009
Watching Online Movies gets Easier

Watching Online Movies gets Easier

Remember when you used to get to Grandma’s house without the use of a GPS?  How about the days when a meal used to take more than 30 seconds in the microwave?  Oh!  And remember how we used to have to drive to a … STORE to rent a new movie?

Those days are gone.

It was only a few years ago that watching a movie online meant you had to deal with sub-standard quality, player jumps and freezes, and terrible selection.  No more!  Now companies like Netflix and Amazon have joined the party and made a significant jump in movies that are available for instant viewing.  In fact, a large number of movies are actually available online as soon as they’re available on DVD (or Blu-ray).

Quality has gone up significantly as well.  Now movies are available in quality that rivals DVD or better in some cases.  Given the advancements in technologies like H.264 and VC-1, videos can now achieve higher quality at lower data rates.  Where DVD once used MPEG-2, now video streams are often using the higher-quality codecs that you’ll also find in Blu-ray Disc recordings.

The problem, however, is that different movies are available from different sources.  This ain’t your grandma’s Hollywood Video.  Obtaining rights to publish movies online is still undergoing some growing pains.  Videos are often available from some studios, but not others.  In the end, you won’t find all available movies from any one provider.

Enter DVDCorral.

I started getting frustrated browsing different sites looking for a movie to watch on any given night.  We decided to solve the problem by adding all those movies into the DVDCorral database.  Now you can search through just the available online movies using one simple interface.  Currently we support Netflix and Amazon, but we’re looking to add others in the future.  We’re working hard to keep our title lists up-to-date and make sure DVDCorral remains the best place online to search for online movies.

Our search interface currently allows you to search by several different parameters.  On the left side, you will see several text boxes (which will change slightly depending on which set of movies you are searching).  In “Enter keywords…” you may enter a partial title of a movie to search for.  Once you’ve finished searching by keyword, you can always clear it to search through all movies again (and hit <Enter> or click Search to begin search again).

Filter Online Movies

Filter Online Movies

To limit your search to a particular genre, click “All genres” and select a genre from the drop-down.  On some databases, you may also limit your search by rating.  This is the MPAA Rating in the case of movies.  Just leave it set to “All ratings” if you don’t want to limit to a particular rating, say PG-13, for example.

Finally, on the right side you will see a sort option.  Here you can sort movies by Popularity (based on # of collections on DVDCorral.com), Title (of the movie), Genre (primary Genre, sorted alphabetically), Members’ Rating (Voted rating on DVDCorral.com) and Rating (for Netflix, the Netflix Users’ Rating).

Click on any movie in the list to view a quick pop-up of the details.  If you’d like more information, you can follow one of the links in the pop-up or click the movie image itself.  Note that on Amazon Video on Demand titles, when you click the Buy or Rent price, it will actually take you to Amazon to view the preview first.  So, click away, the prices are just for informational purposes so you know what the movies will cost when you later choose to Rent or Buy it.

As always, we’re proud to offer you what we think is a great new feature — but we’re also sure we haven’t thought of everything.  We love to hear your feedback, e-mail us with feature suggestions and comments at webmaster@dvdcorral.com.  Someone will always read your e-mail, check out your ideas, and respond whenever possible.  We’re fortunate to have such a great user-base.  Thanks for helping make DVDCorral.com the best place online to search for online movies!

Will Chuck be renewed for Season 3?

June 2, 2009
Chuck back for Season 3

Chuck back for Season 3

<drum roll please> Yes!  As of May 22nd, NBC has renewed Chuck for a 3rd season.  Today really is the day for “sort of”.  It’s been renewed for 13 episodes starting after the 2010 olympics (probably making the start date March 1st).  It will still air in the normal Monday 9pm (8CST) time slot.  Apparently enough boxes of “Nerds” candy made their way into NBC studios.

NBC made it clear that the reason Chuck was renewed was the overwhelming response by the fans.  There are several popular users on Twitter that have been promoting “Save Chuck!” and a website or two as well.  There’s a podcast. There’s even a blog promoting donations to the American Heart Association in the name of Chuck Bartowski.  The fan response for this show was pretty impressive.

Subway has apparently taken notice of this fan-love and has decided to step up as an even more prominent sponsor for Season 3.  I recently read a blog that was complaining about a reference to “5 dollar footlong” in the middle of a Chuck episode.  Really?  That bothered you?  I’ve never been to a “Buy More” store, but I have been to Best Buy.  It wouldn’t bother me if they worked at a Best Buy.  Turns out, Subway felt the same way.  I’ll go ahead and propigate the rumor that Sara will be working at a Subway as her cover for season 3.

Typically when a show is renewed for 13 episodes the network will have the option of extending the show for another 9 episodes to complete the season.  Since Chuck will be starting in the spring, that probably won’t be happening.  Next year will be a short season for Chuck, but it’s an opportunity for the show to increase its ratings for a shot at a 4th season.

In the meanwhile, time to catch up and Watch  Chuck Season 1 and Watch Chuck Season 2.  They’re even available for instant download!

Conan O’Brien Tonight Show Review

Jay Leno is out.  Well, sort of.  Conan O’Brien is in.  Now come the questions.

Can Conan hold the late night crown?

Can Conan stay #1?

Can Conan hold the late night crown?  Will Conan be able to adjust his humor to fit the earlier time slot?  How funny can Conan be without Triumph the Insult Dog?  (You know you were asking that one.)  One show down, was it funny?

The show opens with the old NBC logo and the formerly ubiquitous “Brought to you in living color” slogan.  Conan has a new set, a new desk, and a new theme song.  The song is a nice update to Conan’s original Late Night theme.  The questions continue to roll in.

Will Conan continue the nipple-pulling, puppet-pantomime, spin-jump-point intro?  Mostly no.  It was definitely strange to watch Conan walk out without antics, jumping, swaggering, or adding bathroom-spackle to the hair.  The show in general can really be summed up by what happened next.  Conan turned the n-p,p-p,s-j-p (see above) into jump-point.  The show in general was definitely toned down from the previous Late Night drunk test humor into a Tonight Show version that contains less slapstick elements.

Conan really got his start in Hollywood as a writer for the Simpsons.  To be a successful writer on a show that has been that funny and well-known for so long has got to be a credit to his sense of humor.  It showed in his performance last night.  He altered his humor — not to make it less funny, but to make it more relevant to an earlier crowd.

The show was grandiose and it was funny.  If — for one minute — you’re led to believe that the first night had to be funny because NBC wouldn’t let it not be funny… well, just watch Jimmy Fallon’s first show on Late Night.  That was certainly not funny.  Not even a little bit.  The fact that Conan was able to come out big and have an entertaining and relevant first show is a good sign.

To watch, see Conan’s First Show on Hulu.com.

Fireproof Review

June 1, 2009
Fireproof the Movie

Fireproof the Movie

This movie sat atop the Amazon best seller’s list for quite some time and I was curious to find out why. I have watched several of the “Left Behind” series and they were fine, but certainly not outstanding.  So, what made this movie so different that it was a best-seller.  In fact, it was produced on a budget of $500k and yet yielded over $33 Million at the box office.  Interested?  I was.

Since Sunday night is my time to stop working and watch a movie, I figured out what Online Movie to Watch with our browsing interface.  I found Fireproof and a few minutes later was watching it on my XBox / Home theatre gig.  As I kind of expected, the acting was a bit shoddy.  What I was really surpised by is how bad the directing was.  Finally, the script was sometimes tedious (to act/read), sometimes bulky and clunky, and sometimes so unnatural that it felt like the Anakin / Padme “Love Scene” in StarWars Episode II.  Despite all of that, I really enjoyed the movie.

I know, I know.  You’re not supposed to enjoy a movie with bad acting — especially for a former actor myself (nothing noteworthy).  Same goes for directing.  So what gives?  Honestly, the storyline in this movie was strong enough to carry it.  There have been a lot of plot-less movies coming out lately, and it was nice to finally watch something with a storyline that held my attention.

The movie centers around Caleb (Kirk Cameron) who is a firefighter in a failing marriage.  Cameron actually did a decent job in the movie, as did his character’s wife Catherine (Erin Bethea).  As you may have gathered from the press material, Fireproof draws a lot of similarities out of the firefighting career of Caleb and his marriage.  The process he takes to get there is what really draws you into the storyline.  Especially if you’re married, this movie has a good chance of hitting close to home.

While it wasn’t Ladder 49, it was definitely a movie that the whole family could safely enjoy.  Once you get past some of the finer points of producing a movie, the story line is enough to carry this one home.

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