Looking for an alternative to paying $10 for a box of popcorn and a soda at the movies, or trying to beat out other movie lovers at the video rental store? Several Websites let you bring Hollywood to the comfort of your home and straight to your computer at no cost. Three you can screen:
Public Domain Torrents (www.publicdomaintorrents.com) Films in which the copyrights have expired are available gratis at this site. While many of the movies are B movies, meaning they likely weren’t up for an Oscar, the site contains offerings such as Black Americana 1 and Black Americana 2, which feature early African American musical shorts. There’s even an extensive list of family films, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Gulliver’s Travels. In addition, iPod versions of movies are also available for those who want their entertainment on the go. Users of the site can post reviews of some of the offerings.
MovieFlix.com (www.movieflix.com) This site offers an extensive collection of free movies. To view movies here, all you need is the Real Player audio and video player and a 56K modem or higher, though a broadband connection is recommended. Most of the movies are not from this era, so don’t expect to see the latest Tyler Perry flick, but there is a black culture category that features comedies and dramas from the years 1932 to 1974. If commercial films aren’t your cup of tea, check out the film festival and foreign categories. Although there are ample free films to hold your attention for a while, movies are also available for a monthly $7.95 subscription fee.
NetBroadcaster.com (www.netbroadcaster.com) If you’re a budding filmmaker or you enjoy watching independent films, this site is worth a look. Many of the films, as well as movie shorts and music videos, were sent in by fellow NetBroadcaster.com users. Some of the films include contact information, allowing you to get in touch with these aspiring artists. While these amateur movies aren’t likely to show up at a theater near you, you may discover the next Antoine Fuqua or Spike Lee. Likewise, if you’ve ever considered making a film of your own, the site provides a built-in audience for you to test the waters.