DirectFB is an open source project for Linux that provides a more friendly and useful API to the frame buffer.
It provides graphical acceleration for a few video cards, input handling, alpha blending, translucency, and very nice anti-aliased fonts via freetype2.
Currently there are only a handful of programs using DirectFB. Included are MPlayer and DFBsee, giving you two options for watching movies in frame buffer. One of the more interesting and useful pieces of software for DirectFB is the XDirectFB patch for XFree86. With this, one can have true and adjustable transparency in X.
Check out some of the screenshots on their site, http://www.directfb.org/.