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Movie Website Reviews for the Weekend of January 16th, 2009

January 17th, 2009

There were a number of wide releases trying to take advantage of the holiday this weekend, and several websites that had what it takes to stand out. The best of these is Hotel for Dogs' Official Site, which is the winner of our Weekly Website Award.

Ballerina - No Official Site
No official site, which is not surprising as the film was originally shown on French TV.

Chandni Chowk to China - Official Site
All the usual features are here (minus an image gallery, but the site is visual enough so its absence is not felt too badly). In addition to the transitions, there are clips from eight songs, as well as seven video clips (including a TV commercial for a drink called Thumbs Up). There's even a game to play where you are Sidhu, the hero of the movie. But instead of fighting bad guys and rescuing the damsel in distress, the object of the game is to run like hell.

Cherry Blossoms - No Official Site
No official site for the North American site, but the original French and German sites are still around.

Hotel for Dogs - Official Site
The widest release of the week also comes with the biggest site. All of the usual features are here (synopsis, production notes, cast & crew bios, image gallery, and trailer). There are also several extras ranging from text based extras like the bio for the dogs, to common extras like the two clips from the movie. There are also two featurettes, the first on the dogs actors and the second on the inventions seen in the movie. Add in two games, interactive features like the dog photo gallery, and more, and this is certainly the biggest site of the week and should draw in its target audience. It is also the winner of the flea-bitten Weekly Website Award.

My Bloody Valentine - Official Site
First of all, the '3D' aspect of the site is a little cheesy, but I appreciate the effort. That said, there's not a whole lot of content on the site, just the basics, and it takes a long time to load. It takes too long to load given the effect.

Notorious - Official Site
Typical Fox Searchlight movie website. There's a lot of content, as usual, including talking about the career of Biggie Smalls, who he was influenced by, who he influenced, etc. This is in additional to the normal movie information (synopsis, bios, images, trailer). If Fox Searchlight would incorporate all of the information presented below the main site into the main site, it would be an award-worthy site. However, style matters when it comes to selling a movie.

Owl and the Sparrow - Official Site
Just the basics (synopsis, cast & crew bios, director's notes, and synopsis) minus the images. There are a lot of links to press coverage the film have received, but overall there's no sense of style.

Paul Blart - Mall Cop - Official Site
All the usual features are here, mostly. (The are no bios, just a cast & crew list.) Extras include four clips and two games (Mall Maze and Mallcop Slalom). Finally, there's plenty of sound and animation. I particularly like all of the mall announcements and radio call-ins that play in the background. It's a goofy site that sells the movie well.

The Village Barbershop - Official Site
This site has all of the basics (you do have to download the images from the press kit). It also has four songs from the soundtrack that you can also download. However, there is no sense of style on the site.


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Filed under: Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Hotel for Dogs, My Bloody Valentine, Notorious