Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

This page is for general questions - if you've got a question about a specific title, please check the title-specific questions page first. Click the button below a question to answer it or click "edit" to correct a spelling mistake. Ask your questions here, and hopefully someone will answer soon. Members get e-mailed when any of their questions are answered.

Question: How long do feature films usually run in theaters before they are released on DVD/VHS?

Cubs Fan Premium member

Chosen answer: They typically vary from film to film. It used to be a period of at least 6-7 months before they released them for rental or sale. These days however many are being released quite soon after their release, in some cases even as quick as 2-3 months (The Ray Charles film "Ray" was a recent one). The time it takes all depends on how the studio wants to distribute the film.

Lummie Premium member

Question: I am trying to find the title to a movie. The main part I remember is an old mafia boss in a wheelchair that jumps out of it to save a baby's life to achieve "pennance" with God. Any ideas? I think Jeff Speakman was in it.

EMTurbo

Chosen answer: The name of the movie is Crackerjack, and the main character is Thomas Ian Griffith, not Jeff Speakman.

EMTurbo

Question: I used to watch a reality show that took place in a castle. Couples competed against each other to win the chance to retrieve gold for a chamber; however, after a certain amount of time had passed, tigers came out. The couple had to get out before the gates closed or they would be trapped with the tiger. What was the show?

Chosen answer: The show is called "Fort Boyard".

Andreas[DK]

Question: How does one define a "blockbuster"?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: The term originated with the premire of "Jaws" because the lines for the theaters were around the corners, hence the term "blockbuster". Now, movies with huge fan followings (such as "Star Wars") or those with extreme media coverage and the potential to gross over $100 million (such as "The War of the Worlds") are immediately considered blockbusters.

weetie21

Question: What is a "Genny Operator" (listed in credits) ?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: It's the nickname for Generator Operator, a specialized area within the Lighting Dept. The Genny operator must be a fully qualified electrician, and operate the electricity generators on location, when an electricity supply is needed for many aspects of production. Their foremost obligation is to load the generator, drive it to the location and ensure that it is fully operational with the necessary specifications for the shoot. They also clean and maintain the generator, as well as some maintenance on the vehicle carrying the generators.

Super Grover Premium member

Question: Some films were shot in areas where there are so-called "right-to-work" laws or not supported by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Why do some productions do not want to be associated with SAG or labor laws?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: Because it is cheaper to use the non-union workers.

pross79

Question: I remember watching a cartoon series on British TV on Saturday mornings when I was a kid (about 15-20 years ago), and I have forgotten its title. The only thing I remember is that it focused on four or five kids who drove giant mechanized lions to defeat whatever evil they were fighting, and when things got too rough, the lions would transform into various parts of a gigantic android warrior. They all lived in this castle-like building, and to get to their respective lions they used transportation tubes a la "Futurama". I also have a vague recollection that their leader was an astronaut from Earth who had arrived on their world through a wormhole, but I'm not sure if I'm confusing this with another cartoon. Anyway, does anyone know the title of this series I'm talking about?

Twotall

Chosen answer: You're thinking of Voltron. There were a couple of different versions of Voltron. One was a large group of vehicles that combined to make the giant warrior Voltron. the other was the one you are thinking of, in which five lions combined to form the warrior. Go to http://www.voltronforce.com/ for lots more info on both shows.

Guy

Question: If both contain 2 rear speakers, 3 front speakers and a sub-woofer, what is the difference between Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 ?

Chimera Premium member

Chosen answer: Compression rate. Dolby Digital 5.1 compresses the digital signal to one twelfth (1/12) of its original size, whilst DTS 5.1 compresses the signal to one quarter (1/4) of its original size. Whilst on the average home theatre there would no detectable difference, its when you start to get into more professional sound equipment that there becomes a noticeable difference.

Question: I remember a TV show (not a movie) about a guy who was stuck in a computer. That is all I remember about the show - what is the name of it? I think it was an educational programme.

Bowling255 Premium member

Chosen answer: Could you be talking about Max Headroom?

Boobra

Question: I remember this film about a family who move to a new house, and there is a factory with girl dolls in it. The dolls come alive and cause mayhem, including a scene where a women is electrocuted in a pool of water in a basement, and a little girl slowly gets more possessed by one of the dolls. What's the film title?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: Dolly Dearest.

Hamster Premium member

Question: Anyone familiar with a film about a man with 8 kids who gets transferred to Australia? Once there, the man is constantly traveling for work and the rest of the family have to adjust to outback life. I think they eventually herd sheep and earn money from wool. The father come back, only to tell the mother that he wants a divorce and will be moving back to America. The mother decides to stay in Australia and sell wool.

Ral0618

Chosen answer: It was a TV movie called 'A Place Called Home' made in 1987 starring Lane Smith (who played the senator in 'Air America').

Question: What is the film with the most sequels/prequels spawned from it?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: My best guess would have to be either the James Bond 007 series (22 films currently with a 23rd on the way) or the Friday the 13th series (11 parts including Freddy vs Jason). In terms of "pure" sequels, Star Trek currently stands at 10 films.

Toolio

Question: I am frustrated because I can't remember the title of a film. I remember very little about the film. I think it was about a train crash in a tunnel. I'm sure there was a scene where someone was either trying to get past or put out a long thick cable which was making sparks or something. Any help?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: Try Daylight. It is a car crashing into a truck illegally carrying toxic waste which blocks the tunnel. Then a bunch of prison inmates were trying to get out of the truck and there was a live wire hanging from the roof. Also A short walk to Daylight. 1972. James Brolin plays a New York cop who lead a group of people to safety after Hippie terrorists blow up the subway tunnels. Just like Daylight, they go through many obstacles to survive.

shortdanzr Premium member

Question: There was this film about a child who wanted to be a spy/detective. There was a scene where the boy was hiding under a bed, and there was a girl with blonde hair dancing around in the room, with ballet shoes on. I think the plot was something like four kids were hiding out/staying in an empty flat/apartment, and were spying on some people. There was also something about diamonds in a teddy bear. Does anyone know the title for this film?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: "A Kid Called Danger" - http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0210786/.

Neil Jones

Question: What is the longest running film ever made?

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: It's a film called "The Longest Most Meaningless Movie in the World", and clocks in at a mighty 48 hours. http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0342707.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Question: I saw a cartoon or similar where a guy needed ivory, so he looked up in a book that ivory comes from elephants. He went up to a live elephant and tried to saw his tusks off, and the elephant threw him off. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Chosen answer: This was from a Bugs Bunny cartoon with the Elmer Fudd. He goes looking for the tusks to cook dinner and this happens.

Question: I remember a black and white film. It was a horror/thriller and it started with a scene of a car driving up the driveway to a spooky house. The excellent thing was the ending of the film was exactly the same with the same scene of a car driving up the driveway?

pierpp

Chosen answer: This could be "Dead of Night" (1945). It's a good spooky British anthology film about a man who has a recurring dream about going to a party at an old mansion. Within the dream framework, there are other stories about a ghost child, a haunted mirror and a ventriloquist.

Question: There was a movie I remember where a person dressed as a mascot killed someone by running them through an industrial dishwasher. The scene was set in a kitchen. Anyone know the name?

moviemogul

Chosen answer: That sounds like the Jean Claude Van Damme film "Sudden Death". In one scene he is fighting the terroist in the mascot costume in a kitchen. After using many instruments to hurt her she gets caught on the dishwasher line and Van Damme turns the machine on and it kills her.

Lummie Premium member

Question: I can't recall the name of the film, and all I recall is a lady stuck in an elevator in her house, while two men and a lady lounged around, teasing her. Any ideas?

Scott Thatcher

Chosen answer: Sounds like "Lady in a Cage" (1964) starring Olivia de Havilland.

Ingabritzen

Question: Why exactly are film ratings in the US voluntary instead of legally required like in many other countries. I know that in countries like England, Australia and NZ they are legally required for any film/video that will be shown, sold or rented in that country. Also why do studios submit their films for ratings if they are voluntary? I find it peculiar especially for controversial films like Showgirls for example, as the NC-17 rating kills any chance the film has at the box office when they could just leave it unrated and avoid all the stigma it attaches to itself?

Lummie Premium member

Chosen answer: For one thing, the US is a place in which the sociopolitical climate has always favored liberty over governmental control. Certain issues - drivers' licensing, for instance - obviously require intervention; movie rating is not seen as one of them. This is probably also compounded by the fact that the MPAA and similar bodies are hugely wealthy and powerful, and can afford a lot of lobbying to prevent any such legislative requirement from coming to pass. As far as actually getting the voluntary ratings - it's nearly suicide to NOT get one. The number of films that have generated any significant financial success without being MPAA rated is effectively zero. It seems as though the bulk of the movie-watching public WANTS to be protected from certain levels of 'indecency.'

Rooster of Doom

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