I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9.0, with some help from Wax 2.0 and ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5.
Vegas is very cheap, I got mine for about £25 online and Wax is a useful free tool if you want to use special effects. An image editor might be useful as well.
Windows Movie Maker is generally a beginners' program. It's very limited, especially in the special effects area. I don't blame you for wanting a better program.
I would download a few free trials and check out some free programs 'til you find one that works for you.