First Impressions: Lammy Awards 2013 Genre Blogs part 1
I did this last year with the other 5 horror and sci-fi sites I was up against, and this year things are done a little bit differently. The category has been split up into horror and an all-encompassing “genre” category. I was, and still am, in favor of this change because there are so many sites out there that focus on a specific genre of movies that might not work in any other category. There’s also an extra narrowing down of the field of blogs. Now instead of going from the entire Lamb database down to the 5-10 nominees, the field is narrowed down to eligible sites either through their own inclusion, or the inclusion of others. So again, I’ll be checking out all the sites in my category and sharing my first impressions. This will be a little more interesting due to the fact that the genres are so wildly encompassing, but I will try to group them as best as I can. Some of the things that I found myself looking at were: frequency of updates, ease of finding an actual movie review within the genre, overall feel of the site, and as a matter of curiosity: if they include a link back to the Lamb site or not. While linking back to the Lamb isn’t a very big factor in getting my nomination, if it’s a close tie between two sites, linking back to the Lamb could push them over the edge.
Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights #1240
That’s right, I’m starting with myself. I don’t want to get lost in the sea of genre sites. One thing that I pride myself on is that well over 90% of this site is directly related to my narrow genre of superhero and comic book movies. Not only that, but all but a few posts are closely related to my genre. My first year saw reviews of over 100 movies, and while I’ve slowed down a bit lately, I’ve recently picked back up and have a new post to share about every other day. Not only that, but I’m in the midst of my first blogathon. I’m also excited about some upcoming content coming in the next weeks and months, so stay tuned!
Silver Emulsion #994
This is the only other site that was also made the cut for best horror/sci-fi last year alongside myself, and one of the eligible sites I’m most familiar with. Will and Stephen are great guys. One of my few complaints is that their genre is more or less best classified as “genre movies”, that is to say the widely encompassing net of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, martial arts, and anime. They also often veer away from genre films and as they put it, “where everything from Citizen Kane to The Toxic Avenger is given equal footing.” Some of their recent reviews have been for the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary Pumping Iron, a classic Hong Kong martial arts movie The Crimson Charm, the recent home video release Looper, an anime Macross II, and the recent theatrical release Oz: The Great and Powerful. A rather eclectic mix. There is a nice big link to the Lamb right near the top of the sidebar as well.
I like the idea of the site, but glancing through the first couple pages of posts, there hasn’t been a lot of activity over the past few months, it seems like it’s more focused on new releases and while January and February have been a bit of a dead zone for sci-fi movie releases, there was recently Jack the Giant Slayer and Oz released in theaters. I had to go all the way back to November to find a movie review of the remake of Red Dawn. This may just be a slow spot in the site’s timeline, but I’m just not feeling this one, sorry. There is a small text link to the Lamb on the sidebar.
War Movie Blog #1473
Here’s a nice clearly defined genre of war movies, I’m curious if it extends to sci-fi war movies like Star Wars or Starship Troopers, and then immediately see Imperial Walkers on the top rotating image alongside Iron Sky and other more typical war movies. It also has a nice menu at the top where you can search through the war movie reviews by conflict and by film date. I jump to “other war movies” and see a mix of sci-fi movies and other fictional conflicts like once again, the Red Dawn remake. It’s a very active site as well, showing several posts per week and a mix of mostly reviews, articles, and lists. It’s hard to tell exactly how many movies he’s reviewed, but since the site’s been around since 2006, there appears to be a ton of them. It’s a great looking site for sure, and there’s a nice little image link to the Lamb not too far down on the sidebar.
Fist of B-List #1496
This is a fun site that focuses on the bad martial arts movies that can be found in many a clearance bin. It’s pretty neat that he actually got an interview with one of these low-budget actors for the film Psycho Kickboxer. The reviews themselves are interspersed with a lot of mocking humor which is typical when writing about generally bad movies. It’s a little light on updates, with the last several posts being about a month apart. Some interesting stuff here, but not quite for me. There is also a small image link to the Lamb on the sidebar.
This site focuses on cult horror, action, and sci-fi movies, and in the recent reviews there’s a mix of recent movies like Bullet to the Head and A Good Day to Die Hard and classic movies like the Hammer Horror Dracula and the Yakuza. He even managed to do a review for the last Twilight Saga movie. A couple minor design peeves I noticed is that there are no dates on the reviews, but there are timestamps which are not really very useful, there’s also a “this is an example of an HTML caption with a link” stuck in the sidebar. Aside from those minor quibbles, the writing seems solid and considering there are a few 2013 releases in between other older reviews, it appears to update with regular frequency. There’s also a large image link to the Lamb at the bottom of the sidebar.
The Smoking Pen #811
This is another site that I’m actually familiar with, considering it was an earlier Follow Friday. M has a great personality and love for action movies, but once again it’s a site that hasn’t been updated frequently, with the last post being way back in December for Killing Them Softly. There’s a lot of fun stuff here, like the BAMF of the week, but I do have to say that I like my sites to be updated a little bit more often, especially if they want to be the “best”. There is also a nice sized link to the Lamb site on the sidebar, not too far down.
Action Flick Chick #252
This site seems to obviously be focused on action movies. First off, I love the logo for this site, and I love that she has a tagline “This is the Action Flick Chick and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!” At least recently, it appears to have more of a focus on television rather than movies with several posts on upcoming series and episode reviews as well as a couple movie reviews. It’s a nice looking site and it’s updated quite frequently. It’s definitely one to look out for! I also noticed that since it’s been around for a while, it’s developed quite a following, though I did not find any link back to the Lamb site.
A Hero Never Dies #1044
This site’s focus is on Hong Kong films, and I thought it was interesting that the site also seems to go out to find a lot of the older VHSs instead of going the DVD or streaming route. There’s a lot of interesting looking articles on the site, and it looks to be updated fairly frequently, though the majority of recent posts focus on trailers and posters rather than any actual movies. Going back to one that was actually about a movie was a fun read, there is also an occasional vocabulary gap when talking about things specific to Hong Kong films that might not be obvious to a casual reader, like a Category III film, but otherwise it’s an interesting site, though I did not find any link back to the Lamb.
Pinoy Movie Blog #1012
This site’s focus is on Filipino films. The first thing I noticed is that the ads on this site felt more intrusive than most movie blogs I visit, with an ad in the header, the top of the sidebar, the top of the article, and the mouseover tooltip ads strewn throughout each article. The site is updated pretty regularly and seems to be that the main focus is news about Filipino cinema, as I had to go back a full three pages of articles to find the first actual movie review. I also find it’s a lot harder to gauge the quality of a site for a genre of movies I have almost no interest in. There is a text link back to the Lamb within a very small blogroll.
Beth Loves Bollywood #128
Of course, this site’s focus is on Bollywood and Indian movies. There was a couple month’s hiatus in January and February but she seems to be back on track with a couple new posts since returning, and before that seems to have posted fairly frequently. There are some interesting posts aside from the reviews, like tracing some family trees of famous Bollywood personas to see how many of them are connected. There’s definitely a love of Bollywood showing through in the writing as well as a fairly in depth knowledge of it. It’s a neat little site that I’m sure I would enjoy a lot more if I was more interested in Bollywood cinema. And there is a link to the lamb waaaay down towards the bottom of the sidebar.
Bollywood Talk #1550
Surprisingly another site focused on Bollywood cinema. This one has a much stronger focus on actual movie reviews, and amazingly I came across a superhero movie that’s not on my list. There was apparently a 1987 remake of Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie complete with singing and dancing and re-using the American special effects. Crazy. I read through a couple of the reviews here and was quite interested, again there is a lot of love for Bollywood here. It’s a great site for sure. The biggest downside is that while it’s been around since 2004, it’s very rarely updated, with some years in the archives only having a single post in it, though 2013 is relatively more active with 4 posts already this year. There is no Link back to the Lamb however.
This site focuses on Italian movies, past and present, including information on how and where to find the occasional Italian movie in the US. There’s a great post that takes great Hollywood movies that you might like and compares them to similar Italian movies that you will probably like as well, and includes links to streaming sources when available. It’s also updated nearly daily which is always impressive in my book, and it didn’t take me too long to find a review of an Italian movie which was a nice, and quick read. Another pretty great site here, although I couldn’t find any link back to the Lamb.
This site focuses on Asian movies, especially Japanese cinema and Anime. There’s a lot of interesting stuff on this site, although it can be a little hard to browse through since the articles are all quite long and while some of them have cuts, the majority of the article sits right on the main page. It is updated fairly regularly and there is a link on the sidebar to find a list of reviews in alphabetical order, which includes a fair number of US and non-Asian movies alongside all of the Asian ones. It also has a nice little link to the Lamb in the sidebar. It’s a decent site, I enjoyed it.
Wow, I’m only about halfway through these sites and it’s getting pretty late. I’ll have to continue my first impressions tomorrow covering the genre sites focusing on independent cinema as well as the rest whose genres are a little more varied from each other. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.