Choosing Awesome Movies

Movies are artworks that put together visuals and audio that are bound together by a script. A good script and an equally great presentation of the script onscreen leads to creation of an awesome movie. Some of the best action, comedy and animated movies are listed below.

Awesome Movies of All Time

A movie that appeals to your aesthetic sense, becomes popular among masses, and which also passes the critics’ acid-test is generally considered a good artwork. There are few such movies which fulfill expectations of the audience from a wide spectrum of the society. An attempt to list down some of the best movies of all time is made in this article.

The Godfather
‘The Godfather’, which was released in 1972, is based on a novel with the same name by Mario Puzo. The film is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and portrays the life of a fictional Italian-American crime family. This film bagged three Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Titanic
Directed by James Cameron, this 1997 movie won a record 11 Academy Awards and was nominated in 14 categories. The ‘Titanic’, which stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio is based on a true story of a sinking ship, ‘R.M.S. Titanic’; the Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912 after sliding against an iceberg. The cost incurred in making the movie was over $200 million.

Forrest Gump
The Forrest Gump (based on a novel with the same name), directed by Robert Zemeckis, was released in 1994. It is a story of an autistic man from Alabama. His life takes a sudden twist after which he witnesses a series of unexpected events. He meets several historical figures during this strange phase of life. The story portrayed in the film is however, not exactly the same as presented in the book.

Gladiator
An epic film released in 2000, Gladiator won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Directed by Ridley Scott and featuring Russell Crowe as the protagonist, Gladiator depicts the story of a Roman General, Maximus Decimus Meridius. Maximus comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge of the murder of his wife and son. Maximus achieves his objective however, in the process loses his life.

Requiem for a Dream
Based on a 1978 novel of the same name, Requiem for a Dream was released in 2000. The film was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award. Requiem for a Dream is a story of a woman who suffers from different kinds of delusions that are finally broken and overtaken by reality.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Three epic films released in 2000, 2001 and 2002 are together called The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Based on a novel called The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) written by J.R.R. Tolkien, an Oxford University professor, the film depicts events that take place in a fictional world called ‘Middle-Earth’.

The Shawshank Redemption
Written and directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994. Tim Robbins plays the protagonist, Andy. This film depicts the life of a person who is imprisoned on false charges and spends two decades of his life in Shawshank State Prison. In the end, Andy manages to escape from prison without having to serve the full term.

The Matrix Trilogy
The Matrix Trilogy consists of ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘The Matrix Revolutions’. Written and directed by Wachowski brothers, the first of the 3 films was released in 1999. The last 2 films were released in 2003. Story of The Matrix is set in a time at the turn of the 21st century. Human civilization of these times lives in a virtual world dominated by sentient machines. Humans are connected to the Matrix (artificial reality) by means of cybernetic implants.

Star Wars
The first film of the Star Wars trilogy was released in 1977. The Star Wars movies depict events taking place in a fictional galaxy. The revenue generated by these films is over 4.3 billion; it makes them the 3rd highest grossing movies after ‘James Bond’ and ‘Harry Potter’ series.

Fight Club
Based on a 1996 novel (written by Chuck Palahniuk) with the same name, ‘Fight Club’ was directed by David Fincher. Edward Norton plays the protagonist – who forms the fight club. The discontentment resulting from white-collar jobs urges him to take the drastic step of forming a fight club.

Casablanca
This movie is set in times of the World War II. Casablanca is a story of a man torn between love and virtue. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), and American expat runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco. He finds his lost love after many years, after which Rick’s life takes an unexpected turn. Casablanca ranks amongst top Hollywood movies of all time.

Cast Away
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Cast Away is a story of a FedEx executive stranded on an island after crash landing. Tom Hanks played the character of the FedEx employee. The transformation that the character played by him undergoes is the highlight of this film. For this role, Tom Hanks won the Best Actor award at the 73rd Academy Awards, 58th Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards.

Inception
This sci-fi movie is basically a heist film directed by Christopher Nolan. Released in 2010, Inception has a large cast with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the protagonist. The idea of ‘inception’ used in this movie is about planting an idea into the subconscious of a person. Dom Cobb (character played by DiCaprio), a thief is assigned with the task of inception.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight was directed by Christopher Nolan. Released in 2008, this movie is a sequel to Batman Begins, the first part of the Batman Series movies. ‘The Killing Joke’ a novel from 1988 inspired Christopher Nolan to make this movie. Health Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor posthumously. This movie also won the award for Best Sound Editing.

Blood Diamond
Released in 2006, Blood Diamond is a political thriller directed by Edward Zwick. Story of the film revolves around the lives of a South African, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a Mende local, Solomon Vandy (played by Djimon Gaston Hounsou). The dangerous journey they embark on in their quest to find a pink diamond is the central theme of this movie. The movie is set in times of the Sierra Leone Civil War.

Avatar
The Avatar is one of the most expensive movies with a budget of $237 million. Directed by James Cameron, Avatar was shot with the ‘Fusion 3D Camera system’ which was specially developed for shooting this film. The camera system was developed by the joint efforts of director James Cameron and Vince Pace. The movie is about a paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who is assigned a task to do reconnaissance for a company on a distant planet called Pandora. In the course of time Jake sides with the natives (Na’vis) of the planet and wages war against humans.

Mission Impossible
Directed by Brian De Palma, Mission Impossible was released in 1996. Story of the film revolves around a secret agent who has been falsely implicated in a crime. He fights his way to clear himself of the false charges. Tom Cruise plays the role of the protagonist, Ethan Hunt.

Ways to Advertise for Your Garage Sale

download-22One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This idiom perfectly describes the joy that is a garage sale. While you may consider an old heart-shaped coffee mug one too many for your pantry, it may be just what another is looking for to complete their quirky collection. A garage sale is the perfect way to get rid of old, unwanted stuff and make some money out of it. But how do you get people to actually come and help take all this stuff off your hands? You advertise. You advertise big time! You let everyone know that you’re coming up with this to-die-for garage sale that no one in their right mind would want to miss. You make it out to be the ‘garage sale of the century’ and we tell you how.

Use the Internet

The Internet is and will probably remain the most hassle-free way of advertising, be it your garage sale or a corporate giant’s next big product. There are scores of websites that offer listings for garage sales. Craigslist and eBay are two prominent websites that offer this service. You can also Google your town or city and check for local, community-based websites that will let you post a classified.

Yard Sale Search is another great website that offers listings for yard and garage sales throughout the country. In addition to dedicated portals, you can also use your Facebook account to spread the word about your forthcoming event. Create a page, an event, a group, or even an ad that lets people on your friends’ list know that you will be organizing this huge garage sale. When you use these portals, ensure that you describe at least a few of the items you intend to sell. Keep the descriptions short, but attractive. Get them hooked, and you’ll see them flocking!

List in Newspaper Classifieds

Another tried, tested, and quite successful way of advertising a garage sale is in a newspaper classified section. Contact your local newspaper, and check how much they charge. The tricky part here is adhering to the word limit according to your budget. Every word you use will count. So, use them wisely. Say as much as you can in as little as you can. It’s much easier than it sounds.

Make Awesome Posters

While there are other easier ways to advertise, nothing beats the charm of a good ol’ neon poster beckoning passersby to this grand garage sale where they might find the bargain of their dreams. To ensure that your sale attracts hordes of people, pay attention to the following points while making posters.

✦ Use bright-colored paper. If people cannot see the poster, they won’t bother reading it.
✦ Avoid using multiple colors. A single color will help people identify with your sale.
✦ All your posters should look alike. So, if you’re not sure if your 8-year-old kid or the neighbor’s teenage daughter will get it right, do it yourself. Printing is an option, but it’s just more expensive.
✦ Use a good quality, permanent marker to write on the poster. Ensure that the writing is neat, tidy, and legible, even from a distance.
✦ Include all and only the necessary details on the poster. The date, address (with landmarks if required), and your name and contact number are the most important pieces of information that should go on it. Anything else is supplementary and shouldn’t crowd the poster.
✦ Put them up on busy streets that lead to and away from your house. This way, the posters will be visible to people traveling both ways.
✦ Make sure there are big arrows guiding people in the direction towards your garage sale. You can also try something humorous like putting up posters that say ‘If you’re looking for ABC’s garage sale, you’re going the wrong way’ on roads that are away from your house. You never know; it might just interest someone.
✦ After you put your posters up, drive past them and see if you can read them clearly. If you can’t, chances are no one else will be able to either.

Make Fliers
Fliers are also one of the best ways to advertise the garage sale. They could be just down-sized versions of the awesome posters that you’re putting up, so follow all the pointers listed above for them as well. If you’re getting your posters printed, then getting them in a smaller size shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it will be more convenient to do so. If you’re making your posters by hand, you can try something different with the fliers. Maybe a different color or a different tone. You could even offer a free drink or snack for everyone who visits the sale. Put these fliers up on notice boards in convenience stores, cafés, community centers, schools, and any other place that sees a regular flow of visitors. Trees and electric poles (if permitted) are also great spots to put up fliers. Make sure you paste them on the poles. Using staples might pose a hazard for linemen.

Plan the sale well in advance so that you can clearly allot enough time to devising a good advertising strategy. On the day of the sale, make sure you have a big sign right in front of your house welcoming people to the best garage sale ever! Apart from advertising, make sure that the area you use for the sale is clean and tidy. If you’re using your lawn, make sure the grass is cut and the soil isn’t too wet. As a source of entertainment, you can play some soft music in the background. This will set the mood as you mingle with everyone helping them out with their purchases.
The advertising strategies mentioned above will be most effective if at least two or more are combined. Just remember to take all the signs, posters, fliers, and listings down after the big day, unless you want people calling at unearthly hours to inquire if the sale is still on.

How to Deal Plasma TV Problems

download-21Despite the evolving nature of technology, we can never have too few problems with anything, plasma TVs included. Pixelation, image retention (burn-in), and rainbow effect (when watching fast-moving images) are some problems one is likely to face with plasma TVs. Appearance of a sunburst pattern on the display is another issue with these TVs. Users also complain of excessive power consumption (reducing brightness and contrast levels can help) and over-heating (ensuring proper ventilation is the solution). Also, these TVs do not function well at high altitudes.

That said, plasma TVs still remain the prime choice for many consumers because of their brilliant display and ability to have larger screens at affordable prices.

Most Common Plasma Television Problems

Pixelation

Pixelation is a common plasma TV problem that many owners face. This is basically when you start seeing squarish spots on your TV. Before you jump to conclusions, do a simple check to confirm that it is, in fact, your TV that is the problem. Try using inputs from multiple devices (cable, gaming console, computer). Chances are, it’s the input that’s the problem. If the problem still persists, try changing the screen resolution, like watching a 4:3 format video in a non-stretched mode. If you still see the problem, you don’t really have much of a choice than to call the seller.

Sunburst Pattern on Display

Another plasma TV problem is a sunburst pattern on the display, similar to ones observed on laptop screens. What happens is you may see a ring or a burst of color. The main reason for this is a screen that isn’t completely flat. This can be caused by something like pressing the plasma television screen too hard. You may cover the television with a glass case, but this will only increase the screen’s reflectivity.

Burn-In

This is a common plasma TV problem that causes a static image to be faintly visible even after the image on the screen changes. This is called image retention or image burn-in, and the pattern remains visible when you are watching something else. This problem is now almost undetectable in newer plasma screens that have better technology. Manufacturers now include built-in technology like ‘pixel wobbling’ to tackle this problem. This technology subtly shifts the image to surrounding pixels and keeps the images moving. Quite frankly, the only places where burn-ins are common are in plasma TVs used to show airline timings in airports. Apart from that, a slight ghost image that lasts for a short time before fading off is all that users see.

Over-Heating

Plasma TVs basically work by heating up gases inside the panel. While this does not directly imply that plasma TVs tend to overheat, leaving them on for a long duration (upwards of 18 hours) can cause them to get slightly hotter than their usual temperature. Still, this is not a problem to get worried about, and poses no harm to you, your room, or your TV. Just make sure there’s enough space for ventilation between the TV and the wall behind it.

Fan Noise

This is, again, a problem prevalent mostly in older plasma TVs. New TVs from popular brands rarely pose this issue, and in the case that they do, it is usually a manufacturing defect. Exercise caution when you’re buying second-hand plasma TVs though, this can be one of the more common problems with them.

Reflection

Reflections on the TV screen from surrounding light sources is a very distracting and annoying problem as the focus keeps shifting from the images on the screen to the images reflected. To overcome this problem with plasma TVs, you can either pull up the blinds, or cut down on the light intensity in the room while watching TV. Another solution is to buy plasma TV’s that have a built-in anti-reflective coating on the screen. This will help reduce the reflection on the screen, but you still need to adjust the room lighting.

Increased Power Usage

Plasma TVs tend to consume more power than most other display units, therefore you may observe a hike in your power bill. Reducing the brightness and contrast to medium levels will help the issue, but reducing picture quality after buying a TV that features it is not really an option that one would go for. All in all, the bills that you rack up due to owning a plasma TV aren’t too huge when compared to LCD and LED TVs. You also have to consider that primitive plasma TVs used crude display methods. New technology has made it possible to produce increasingly power-efficient plasma TVs. They’re still not as efficient as LED/LCD TVs though, so it is prudent to consider a plasma TV as a long-term expense.

Phosphor Trails, Rainbow Effect, and Posterization

Another plasma television problem is a phosphor trail or phosphor tag. You will observe this problem when viewing fast-moving, graphics-intensive computer games or movie scenes, especially in case of black and white movies. This problem is due to the instant change from light to dark in an area of the screen. You may observe green trails or flashes in such cases. Very few people observe this effect and even if they do, it is small enough to be ignored. If you are troubled by this green trail, just lower the contrast or have more ambient light sources to dull the effect. Other related effects are usually a visible rainbow-like formation when the display includes high-contrast images, and getting a poster-like effect when the image contains rather small points of bright light (like the Sun behind the mountains). All these issues were recorded mostly in older plasma TVs (2010 and before); new technology has done a lot to minimize them to negligible limits.

High Altitude Issues

If you’re living somewhere above 6,500 feet, you need to take care of which model you’re buying. There is a reason why flight TVs are always LCD. That’s because plasma TVs do not function properly at high altitudes. The TV starts making a buzzing sound after a while, mostly due to the fact that the atmospheric pressure is too low to keep a consistent level of gases inside the panel. All plasma TVs come with a maximum altitude limit. Most of them have it at 6,000 – 6,500 feet above sea-level. However, certain brands from LG work till about 8,500 feet. So if you think the altitude might be a problem, check the TVs maximum altitude limit before buying it.

People commonly have questions about whether any special care needs to be taken while shipping a plasma TV and if one needs to wait before setting it up for use. A common concern among plasma TV buyers is about how safe it is to transport the TV set with its screen laid down. The issue here is with the glass breakage. If the screen, in the laid down position, is cushioned (covered in a soft and thick material) during transport, cracking of the glass can be avoided. The other question is whether or not to wait before you start using the television set. Unless, it has been moved from some cold location to room temperature (this may lead to condensation on the glass), there is no reason to wait for any specific duration before you start using it.

There are other myths and rumors about plasma TVs that contribute to lower their sales. When all is said and done, plasma TVs still offer the best picture quality, and will probably continue to do so for at least a while longer. Still, if you intend to buy one, make sure you take all the above points into consideration and hopefully get the one that suits your needs.

Ways to Choose an LCD TV

download-20If one is planning on purchasing an LCD TV, he has to gather detailed information about many things such as the price, brand, size, etc. There are many manufacturers who are trying to make their products as good as possible to increase their sales. The price of an LCD TV would differ depending on the screen size, display quality, screen resolution, make, features, and many other factors.

Due to tough competition between the manufacturers, prices have significantly dropped in recent times. Moreover, consumers are offered heavy discounts on different types of purchase. If budget is not a constraint, there are various high-end models available, with a display as big as which would cover up the whole wall, and could even cost you over $10,000. Majority of the consumers prefer to choose TVs whose screen size is 23-40 inches, as such a choice won’t cost them too much.

The first step is the price, as it totally depends upon the individual’s budget. After one decides on the price range, he needs to take note of the place or room where he is going to place his LCD TV. If the room is big and wide, he can opt for a bigger sized TV. Similarly, it’s no point buying a huge TV for a small room, as viewing won’t be very pleasurable.

Check out the distance between the TV and the place where it is to be watched from. Also measure the angle from where it is going to be watched, and how it is going to be mounted. It shouldn’t be something similar to a person sitting in the first row of a movie theater and watching a film. If watched from a close distance or from an inappropriate angle, the picture may look distorted and unclear. Also ensure that the TV you choose is available within the price range you have decided on. Mostly, LCD TVs with screen sizes of 32, 42, and 46 inches are more in demand.

Apart from all the physical features, there are some technical features as well that are to be considered before going in for an LCD TV.

The resolution is an important factor when it comes to choosing the best one, and is related to the number of horizontal pixels on the display. More the number of pixels, higher is the clarity. The most common resolution is 720p; those with 1080p resolutions can be much more costly. A 1080p LCD TV certainly has the best picture quality, but it would only be noticeable on screen sizes above 40 inches. Some may not even notice the difference in the picture quality between a 1080p and 720p on any screen size. If one is to watch High-definition Television (HDTV) via cable TV, TVs with 1080p are not appropriate. HDTV signals need a lot of data, which is not available through cable television, as cable providers send out compressed signals. This may lead to a severe loss of image quality. But if a satellite receiver is going to be used, the image quality will definitely be the best. If one is too specific on choosing an LCD which has the latest technology, he needs to check out for at least two High-definition Multimedia Input (HDMI) ports, which are connections that transfer huge amounts of video and audio data through a single bundled cable.

There are many more features and functions that need to be checked out manually before deciding on buying the best LCD TV. But remember, latest features and more functions will always make you pay accordingly.