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Fun With Searches: Internet Movie Databases

It’s funny how we all focus on different things. You see a movie and you might focus on the settings or the plot. Someone else might focus on the technology used. I might focus on how the dialogue makes my ears bleed. We all take our own context out of everything we review.

Because of that I’m not surprised that there are so many subsets of the famous Internet Movie Database. Sure, it’s a great site, but why stop there? There are many, many more ways that movies can be delineated.

I did a little poking around, therefore, and present for your amusement a list of Internet Movie databases. Please note: these are all real. I am not The Onion.

Internet Movie Firearms Database — Over 15,000 articles on guns, movies, television, video games, actors, and anime. From A-91 to Ċ½eljko Ivanek. Some of the articles are suprisingly in-depth with plenty of screen captures. How many other sites have written so much about Highlander II? (But I kid Highlander II.)

Internet Movie Knives Database — This is a Wikia production and very small, with only 40 pages. Looks like this one has only been around for a couple of years.

Internet Movie Motorcycles Database — Another small one, with 63 pages. Hasn’t been updated in a couple of years? 28 movies are listed here and there are some good pictures. Someone needs to bring this poor database back to life.

Internet Movie Planes Database — Snakes on a plane, planes in a movie, database on the Internet. It all fits. This site has information on over 3,000 movies and over 950 kinds of aircraft. Video games are covered too. Yes, someone on the Internet has gone to the trouble of identifying Marcie’s helicopter in Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron. Apparently the jury is still out on what Pig Pen and Lucy were flying.

Internet Movie Cars Database — I’ve mentioned this one before. Covering movies, television, and even music vehicles, this site has information on over 3600 makes of vehicle. Even things like The Babysitter’s Club! Even things like a 1993 Toyota Corolla!

Internet Movie Scripts Database — Movie scripts. LOTS of movie scripts. In HTML so you can read them on screen. Some TV scripts are available as well (including Futurama and Seinfeld.) Some of the reviews/comments provide a lot of insights into the scripts.

The Internet Movie Poster Database — We’re getting a little meta. Don’t let the domain name fool you – the site copyright notice gives this site name as “The Internet Movie Poster Database”. Not only is there information on movie posters, but artists and design companies as well.

The Internet Movie Pool Table Database — I’ll be honest. This is less a database and more a blog post. But I was very impressed that this guy managed to come up with so many movies containing pool tables and broke them out into “Tables with Starring Roles,” “Featured Artists,” and “Walk-Ons and Extras.”

The Internet Music Video Database — Well, they’re sort of movies. Very small movies. Generally less than 5 minutes long. And there are over 31,000 of them covered on ths site! Don’t miss the social statistics for each video – Facebook likes and shares, Twitter, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc. There’s a data API you can mess around with, too.

The Internet Movie Tactical Gear Database — It’s supposed to be tactical gear in movies and video games, but alas, it’s dead as vaudeville and has only one page.

Google, Twitter, Old Newspapers, Movies, More: Morning Buzz, July 15, 2012

Another local newspaper is getting digitized. This time it’s the Randolph Herald (MA).

Today’s hack: BILLABONG! In plaintext again too. What kind of giant companies store passwords in plaintext? I mean besides stupid ones….

Google Operating System has some handy hints for finding public Google Docs files.

A search engine for really old tweets. “That means tweet IDs 1 to 20,000,000, to be exact, which occurred during parts of 2006 and 2007.” I think 20 million tweets would cover about — what? 90 minutes nowadays? #TwittergotBIG

GenealogyBank has added a bunch of Baltimore, Maryland newspapers to its archives. This is right after adding a bunch of Minnesota newspapers.

Google Translate is adding example sentences. “To try out the feature, simply type a few words in the left-hand text box of Google Translate, and then click on the example sentence icon…”

Interesting Web app for friends to help each other to find movies to watch. Sounds intriguing but I’d wreck it for you; I like Hollywood movies pre-1950 and Kung Fu movies. And the exceptions to those two extremes are usually movies like I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK. If your movie tastes are less weird than mine, check it out, and good morning, Internet…

Movie Theaters in North Carolina 1896-1930: The Digital Archive

UNC Libraries had a blog post earlier this month about a new exhibit. “Going to the Show” covers information on moviegoing in over 1300 North Carolina venues from 1896 to about 1930. It’s available at http://docsouth.unc.edu/gtts/.

You can do a keyword search, but I found browsing the maps to be more interesting. You can look at a list of cities or browse an interactive map.

There isn’t a Mayberry in North Carolina to look up, so I took a look at Charlotte, which had six overlay maps available, from 1885 to 1911. I chose the 1911 map. You can specify what kind of information you want to see on the map, including locations of theaters and whether or not they were active in the year you’re viewing. In this case I chose to look at theaters active in 1911 and found over a dozen active in Charlotte.

Click on a ticket icon and you’ll get the basic information about the theater (name and address) and if you click on the More Information link, you’ll get a page of data, including who the theater served (African-Americans, Caucasians), performance type (all I saw were movies) and associated people. Sometimes there are additional notes about the operation of the theater.

There are additional pointers to more theater information — sometimes city directories are listed but most of the information comes from newspapers. The newspapers are presented in full-page format with the relevant theater part highlighted. I like that the whole paper is left as one page but keep getting distracted by the other advertisements — ooh look! A sale on straw hats!

As our consumption of media changes almost, it seems, day by day, it’s fascinating to go back and look at the very early days of movies and movie theaters. I am old enough to remember newspapers with pages and pages of large movie ads. It makes me wonder if in 100 years those will look as quaint as — hey! Allan’s Magnetic Cough Syrup!

PS — Interested in the music from Runaway June? Check this out.

Wolfram|Alpha Adds Movie Data

Wolfram|Alpha announced on September 17th that it has added movie box office data to its data engine. You can check it out at http://www.wolframalpha.com/.

Whenever I hear about a new data set on WA I always check to see if you can access it randomly. And in this case you can: the query random movie got me the result New Wave Hookers (I am not kidding) with basic information as well as a brief cast listing. A few random searches later I found Cabaret, and this is where the box office data started coming in.

Cabaret, according to WA, was released in 1972. There was a brief mention of total box office receipts but clicking on “More History” brought me to … nothing. Total receipts was all the information this movie had. I went to look at something more recent, and picked Dead Again, which was released in 1991. For that movie, WA had statistics about its highest rank at the box office, highest receipts for the weekend, highest number of screens it played on at one time, and highest average receipts per screen for a single weekend. There were also graphs that showed the performance of the movie over time. It looks like most of the recent movies have a good amount of data, though one that I looked at (the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie that came out a few years ago) had no box office data at all.

If you want to do some comparisons, you can search for several movies at once and get the box office data presented in a table. See the screenshot for a comparison of super hero movie sequels, pitting Iron Man 2 against X2 and the Fantastic Four sequel.

I discovered to my delight that you can also use movie release dates as a time unit, making the query minutes since iron man release date — well, let’s not get nuts and say useful, but how about viable. Just so you know, at this writing it’s been 21024 hours since the release of Iron Man. You can also calculate time between movies, as in minutes between iron man release date and iron man 2 release date.

Movie Reviews Via Tweets

Getcher crowdsourced movie reviews via fflick, a Web site that analyzes tweets to figure out what the masses think of the latest movies. The site’s available at http://fflick.com/.

When you first get to the site it’ll invite you to sign in via your Twitter account. You don’t have to do that if you’re not comfortable; all the features I saw worked except one (more about that in a moment.)

The front page of the site is filled with movie poster thumbnails with percentages for each one; you can choose a movie that way or search for it. I looked at The Last Exorcism because it was rated at only 15 percent. (The lower the percentage, the less positive the feedback for the movies, natch.)

Each movie has its own page with a list of tweets about it divided into several tabs: Interesting (mostly famous tweeters, this is the default), Latest, Positive, Negative,
and Friends. Friends will not appear, of course, if you’re not signed in with Twitter (and that’s the only feature I saw that didn’t work as I wasn’t signed in.) The tabs contain content that you’d about expect; negative tweets included “The Last Exorcism looks so terrible! Possibly the worst movie of the year!” (it took me a minute to find one I could include; many of the negative reviews were much more profane.) Positive tweets included “Just got out of the Last Exorcism premiere, a very intense creepy flick. Loved it.” I did notice that the positive tweets tended to be more about the trailer or looking forward to the movie, while the negative ones were from people who had just left the movie.

In addition to the tweets, movie pages also have links to showtimes and ticket data, a link to add the movie to one’s Netflix queue, etc. I also saw embedded movie trailers.

If you’re someone who likes those really in-depth reviews of movies where every nuance is dissected, this site will do you no good. Ditto for if you’re considering watching an old movie; what I saw seemed limited to current, near-current, or upcoming stuff. But if you’re thinking about going to a movie and you’re just wondering what the general consensus is, this site works fine. And some of the comments are pretty funny.

Movie Scene Search Launches at SxSW

I noticed an article in Silicon Alley Insider about a new movie search engine that lets you look up clips. I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately, so I wasn’t surprised to see another one. I was wondering what would make this one stand out. Though it doesn’t have an overwhelming number of movies in its database (2,000, the SAI article says, with expectations to have another 3,000 up by the end of next quarter) I was impressed about the search options.

When you go to the front page you’ll have the options to search for topics within movies, or when actors said certain things, or for scenes that have something in particular in them. This is a heck of a lot more than just looking for a quote. I did a search for Barbara Stanwyck saying anything, since other clip engines I’ve looked at have not had a good selection of old movies. I got about 40 results. Results showed the name of the movie, a brief line of dialogue, and the actors involved. I was very impressed by the filters on the left side of the results page that let me narrow down the results by movie, by actor, and by director.

You will not get these filters when you do a search for something that gives you only a few results. I did a search for Rosalind Russell saying “Sold”, looking for the scene in His Girl Friday when she yammers back at Cary Grant and finishes with “Sold American!” Anyclip found it.

Search results vary depending on whether or not there’s a video available. In the case of this Russell clip, a window pops up with tabs to show both the video and the dialogue. If you’re registered with the site you can save the clip or rename it. Sometimes you’ll do a search and you’ll get a result that doesn’t have video yet. If you do a search for “raw beets and carrots” you’ll find that a) AnyClip doesn’t seem to like phrase searches — it ignores the quotes, and b) the result that has the quote, Ninotchka, will show a window with the correct line of dialogue, but a note that video isn’t available yet. Of course, Melvyn Douglas has some terrific lines in that movie, but he doesn’t appear in the filters for the search result. Doing just a search for his name does give a filter for that movie, so if you like you can look at that and see half-a-dozen exchanges or so and see the ones that AnyClip considered worth putting in for Melvyn Douglas.

If you don’t have anything to search for and you’d rather explore, try one of AnyClip’s themes, like “Spring Weather”, or speeches. I was impressed with the extent of the materials that were available on AnyClip, and I’m looking forward to the 5,000-movie version. One note: the SAI article noted bugginess and slow access speed for this site. I didn’t experience any of that.

Large Site for Canadian Documentaries and Other Content, Viewable Free

CBC News has noted a new site from Hot Docs, which it describes as “the largest documentary festival in North America.” The new Hot Docs site has well over 150 documentaries from Canadian filmmakers (along with some other content) and it’s all available online for free. The site is available at http://hotdocslibrary.ca/en/ (that’s the English, non-Flash version.)

The front page has several sets of films you can go through — films by young filmmakers, films for educators, the most popular films — but I went straight to the browse tab and started poking around. The browse page is at http://hotdocslibrary.ca/en/browse.cfm. The documentaries are listed by title though they’re also sortable by year and by director. (The oldest dated documentary in the database was from 1951.)

The first doc in alphabetical order is $4 Haircut, a 6-minute short (with a groovy oompa tuba soundtrack) about a guy who, well, gets $4 haircuts. It shows his methodology and experience and while you might not expect a short featuring mostly a guy sitting around waiting to get a haircut to be interesting, it was. The documentary is embedded in the page with the usual volume control, pop-out to full screen, etc. The page also contains a summary of information about the documentary (director, producer, editor, etc.) In this case, the documentary also had extras, specifically transcripts in English and French.

I browsed through the shorts and found a number of topics — one film was about ginsing. Another featured Geddy Lee. A third was about Thomas Edison and sound reproduction in technology. They ranged from under ten minutes to around fifteen to 32 minutes in the case of the Edison documentary.

The videos loaded really quickly, there was a wide range of content, and it was all free. If you’re at all interested in documentaries check out this site.

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