October 25, 2001

On The Wire

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Awarded an ‘A’ by Entertainment Weekly for its on-line game “Invisibles,” www.filmwise.com, created in 1999 by two brothers who call themselves “The Boyz,” can be rated in its entirety as the ultimate site for the avid movie guru. Including information about both DVDs and films on tape, this site primarily features film-related activities and DVD-related information for the digitally minded entertainment fan. Enhanced with visual quizzes, text quizzes, on-line contests, links to buy both DVDs and taped movies, and the critically acclaimed cyber-based “Invisibles” game, this site can be considered anything but invisible on a comprehensive list of the best sites for interactive appreciation.

Although its recent information on new releases and upcoming rental debuts are constantly updated through discussion forums and best-seller lists to provide a reliable site for its visitors, the more interactive features of this site are what distinguish it from other, more mundane sources for movie purchase and rental information. For instance, the visual games allow visitors to observe several still-life scenes from various movies to answer a question that pertains to each, such as “where are these helicopters taken from?” and “stars and stripes forever” (aka: where are these flags from?).

Other text games include Movie Anagrams (which is FilmWise’s version of the classic jumbled puzzle), Cover Story #2 (in which the player must name the movies that display the named descriptions on their DVD covers), and Trial Run (which provides the player with various courtroom scenes to identify with corresponding movies). The latest textual game, Movie Chains, requests the player to fill in the blanks with missing words that will complete one title and start the next.

In the heralded online quiz, Invisibles, the faces of the actors in each scene have been digitally erased, leaving behind only the bodies of each individual and the remaining background of the film still. The participant’s goal is to guess the name of the movie and, if he or she chooses, to submit his or her answers to be considered for top-score status.

If one is an actively participating member on the site, it is possible to register for updates and monthly contests in which prizes, such as free DVDs, are awarded. Discussion forums are inherent in any interactive site as such, and on this site discussions are the primary source of movie reviews and information, and include “movies you are ashamed to admit you like,” “movies to watch while you’re playing hooky,” and “great performances that didn’t get an Oscar.”

As previously mentioned, one is able to shop on this site and purchase movies in either DVD or VHS form. Of the national best sellers for the week of 10/21/01 are DVDs like Forrest Gump, Blow, Memento, Exit Wounds, and The Simpsons (Set 1). In addition, links to other sites like RentMyDVD.com, a computer-based DVD rental service, are embedded in the Web page and provide additional contest information and opinions on top DVD rentals. With Halloween approaching, this site recommends a list of Halloween thrillers to rent including Scream, Single White Female, The Limey, Double Jeopardy, The Sixth Sense, Sleepy Hollow, and What Lies Beneath.

On a more personal note, I wonder why Beetlejuice isn’t on this list of Halloween thrillers. Yes, maybe I shouldn’t be revealing this to a mass audience, but this movie is perhaps one of the most frightening of those that I have ever seen. In fact, at age 21, it still gives me nightmares.

On other top rental lists on RentMyDVD is 15 Minutes, starring Robert DeNiro and Edward Burns, an action thriller in which two Eastern European criminals pursue their fifteen minutes of fame by terrorizing New York City. Although the characters are different, the plot is scarily reminiscent of reality. If the DVD, with its enhanced portion of previously deleted scenes and an added crime documentary, is as realistically portrayed as the big-screen version, the effects are chilling.

Returning to FilmWise.com, this Web site has been applauded by various sources in the entertainment industry. “The Boyz” create their own phrases of enthusiasm that they envision could have very realistically been spoken by the following celebrities both within and outside of the industry itself. Of the funnier, and more appropriate, ones are Jenna and Barbara Bush saying, “FilmWise is really neat! We’ve been there like a lot of times and stuff and they haven’t carded us once!” and Haley Joel Osmont saying, “I see FilmWise. Okay, okay, I see dead people. Are you happy?! I see f**king dead people already! Geez, I’m sick of that line!”

With everything movie-related, this site is a haven for the Hollywood fan, one that can maintain a viewer’s attention for as long as the DVDs that it covers. But, if you don’t have time to peruse the site, the following are a few examples from the most recent Movie Chain game:


Pretty_____in_____ _____of the_____Man_____Tall

(Answers can be found on the Web or in next week’s On the Wire)

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