IMDb Has Launched Its Own Free Movie Streaming Service

iStock.com/dusanpetkovic
iStock.com/dusanpetkovic

Following on the heels of YouTube's Free to Watch section, which debuted last October, the Amazon-owned IMDb website is the latest company to offer a free streaming service. As Tech Crunch reports, IMDb's newly launched Freedive platform offers U.S. viewers a mix of ad-supported TV shows and blockbuster movies—no subscription necessary.

The selection is fairly small at the moment, but there are some recognizable (and highly rated) titles on offer, including Memento, The Last Samurai, The Illusionist, Drive, Les Misérables, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. As for the TV selection, they run the gamut from classic to fairly recent: Fringe, Quantum Leap, Heroes, Without A Trace, Gilligan's Island, and Dallas are all available for streaming.

IMDb has also moved its original, film-themed content—including The IMDb Show and Casting Calls—to the IMDb Originals section on Freedive. Viewers can watch Freedive on their phone, laptop, or any device that's also capable of pairing with Prime Video. A new icon will also appear in the "Your Apps & Channels" row on Fire TVs. "We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb's leading mobile apps," IMDb's CEO, Col Needham, said in a statement.

While no subscription is needed, users will need to register with IMDb or Amazon, with the exception of Fire TV owners. As The Verge reports, IMDb will face stiff competition from similar free streaming platforms, including Tubi, Vudu's Movies On Us, and YouTube's Free to Watch section.

Meanwhile, the number of paid streaming services also continues to grow. If you're having trouble choosing between them, an analysis from September 2018 revealed that Hulu Plus and Prime Video offer the most bang for your buck (best selection for the price). And if you just want to figure out where to watch your favorite movie or TV show without flitting from Netflix to Hulu to Prime, there's a handy app for that.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

Virginia’s University of Lynchburg is Adding a Harry Potter Class to Its Fall Curriculum

Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

While it’s not exactly an invitation to Hogwarts, students at Virginia’s University of Lynchburg are getting just about the next best thing. This fall, the campus is adding a Harry Potter-themed class to its curriculum as a general education course.

The university is in the process of changing some of its course offerings and streamlining classes in recognition of its modern students. According to WSET ABC 13, Dr. Sharon Foreman, director of general education, said of the new curriculum: "It is very targeted towards 21st century students who are going out into a global society and so we want faculty, staff, and administrators to know what that means, what it looks like, and [to] experience it first hand.”

Faculty have decided providing an education for a global society includes offering courses like the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Good Life," which will ask students to read J.K. Rowling’s books alongside the works of philosophers to create connections between the past and present.

University of Lynchburg coordinator of integrated seminars Amy Merrill Willis told WSLS 10 News that the course's instructor, Devin Brickhouse Bryson, is "going to be introducing philosophical concepts from [Plato], Socrates, and Aristotle, and asking students to think about the Harry Potter series in depth.”

Although there may not be a sorting hat or Butterbeer involved, the class sounds like a creative way to engage students in philosophy and critical issues, all while focused on the beloved Harry Potter series.

[h/t WSET ABC 13]

Wizarding World Orlando’s New Roller Coaster Is Full of Harry Potter Easter Eggs

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

While Universal Studios Orlando is already home to some incredible attractions in its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, such as its very own Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express, and even a Hogwarts Castle, the newest roller coaster seems to be bringing out the most dedicated of Potterheads. The ride, called Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, saw whopping 10-hour waits in its opening days, and for those lucky enough to have experienced the brand-new attraction already, it looks like many have deemed it worth the line.

GameSpot got to take a ride on the Motorbike Adventure, and writer Meg Downey noted all the great details riders will encounter as they soar through the Forbidden Forest—which included a load of Easter eggs.

In particular, Downey calls out the many Harry Potter nods on the walls of the castle ruins. The graffiti, which resembles cave drawings, includes a joke about a Hippogriff attempting to catch Draco Malfoy (likely in reference to the Prisoner of Azkaban scene where the cocky wizard encounters Buckbeak), a drawing of a Phoenix that looks just like Fawkes, and even some sweet writings from Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter.

A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a reference to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Universal Orlando

Additionally, the ride includes a reference to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, according to Downey, who reports that Hagrid has a poster of Nifflers in his main workshop.

The new ride seems to be a must-do experience for diehard Harry Potter fans, exploring some of the most mysterious parts of Hogwarts and the fun style of Hagrid and his creatures.

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