This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Every Movie Finder + Trailer App, Reviewed. Additional details may be found in the original article.
As one of the two most impressively developed movie finder applications for the iPhone OS, Movies (Free) by Flixster is pretty close to a “do it all” application for movie lovers. There’s a sortable list of movies that lets you know concisely what’s opening this week, what’s already open, and what’s doing well at the box office. The listings include each film’s title, a mini-poster, rating, a Flixster-generated review score, release date, run time, and key actors, plus a click-through page for showtimes at local theaters, a nearly full-screen movie poster, and web links to Flixster, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb. Trailers are intermittently available for the movies in Movies’ database; you can see which ones are included by little triangular play icons on the movie posters. They’re viewable on EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi data networks.
Using either zip code information or the GPS location finder feature, a separate theaters button provides a list of local theaters automatically sorted by distance—including less than 3, 5, 10, 15, or 20 miles, as well as more than 20 miles—or by name, each with links to the map address and phone number. You can pick and save favorites to be displayed first. In short, the movie and theater listing features are in some ways as good as Now Playing’s, in some ways not, but they’re pretty well-implemented overall.
Two other interesting features aren’t found in any of the other applications we tested. “Upcoming” lets you see upcoming movie data pages for at least four months from the current date—currently through the end of the year—plus details and showtimes if they’re already available. Another button, DVD, provides a nicely laid-out list of new DVD releases, plus a search engine for all past DVD releases, with links to the Flixster website for much more info, photos, and even iTunes downloading if available. The latter option’s currently not useful on the iPod touch or iPhone device itself, but you can e-mail yourself a link to that Flixster page if you want to make a purchase later.
There are only a few omissions in Movies—features that could make it the best of this collection of programs without any question. The trailers and movies database isn’t as comprehensive as it could be; though you’ll find everything currently in theaters listed here, you’ll find even more future films, and trailer links, in other apps such as Trailers below. Additionally, there’s no purchasing option for movie theater tickets, which makes Now Playing more convenient once you’ve located a movie you want to see; Movies tells you to contact your local theater for purchasing options, which is an unfortunate gap. And Movies’ inclusion of a DVD release feature would similarly be even better if it provided direct ordering functionality and a comparison search engine. But if you can put these issues aside, there’s no doubt that Movies does a really solid job of making it easy to find information, reviews, and trailers for currently available movies in different formats. It might not beat Now Playing for the limited tasks that application focuses upon, but it tries to do more, and largely succeeds. It’s a very cool free app. iLounge Rating: B+.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches