iPad Apps: Best App for Movie Lovers

Q: I'm an iPad owner that is overwhelmed by the number of applications available. Where should I start if I am, first and foremost, a movie lover?

IMDB-App-Logo.jpgIMDb

Free | Version: 2.0 | IMDB.com

The granddaddy of movie info sites, IMDb's app also deserves top billing in Why Apps Often Best Websites. In a phrase: less is more. In the web version, you're assaulted with blinking ads and a confusing mass of options (it is the Internet Movie Database, after all). In the more streamlined app, movie fans can flick more easily through what's fun, including, of course, movie trailers, showtimes, and detailed cast and crew info. But it's the minor morsels -- all just an easy tap away -- that keep you dipping into this app like a big bucket of popcorn: trivia (who knew Dolph Lundgren was a chemical engineering whiz?), actor quotes, and all-time best and worst movie lists.

BROWSING BASICS: The lower-left Browse button is your ticket to everything that's playing in this app. Each category in the left-side pop-up menu offers browse-inducing ways to flesh out your what-to-see-next list. The MOVIE-and STARmeters, for example, put you face to face with a gallery of what and who's most popular on the IMDb website.

DID YOU KNOW?: Each movie gets its own dedicated page, where you'll find the good stuff: goofs (continuity gaffs, geography errors, visible crew), plot summary and a synopsis (including -- you've been warned! -- spoilers), Oscar winners, "born today" calendar for your favorite stars, and a parental guide with specific examples for different categories.

TV TIME: Serious cinephiles know that TV is not a diversion from what they love but a healthy palate cleanser between all those Fassbender retrospectives. That means the tube gets the full IMDb treatment.

WHAT'S ON: If you need to catch up on missed episodes dial up the spoiler-flagging synopses. Other TV treats: a profile of what's on tonight (US TV Tonight, in the Browse button) and Series Fun Stuff (trivia, transcripts of amusing exchanges from the script).

HONORABLE MENTION: MOVIES

Free | Version: 4.2.2 | Flixster

Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster are two websites especially popular with the no-time-for-papers and share-everything sets. The first compiles a collection of popular mainstream critics' reviews and from that issues a thumbs up (fresh tomato icon) or down (same fruit, spoiled). The second is a heavily trafficked movie discussion site. Both team up in this app, and while its info well doesn't run as deep as IMDB's Rotten Tomato lovers might favor this app for its well-integrated mix of that rating service (owned by the same parent company as Flixster). Other nifty touches: each critic's key quote gets good-for-scanning marquee treatment; a built-in Yelp tool shows restaurants near your theater of choice; links to iTunes purchasing options; and -- in the "coming soon" department -- the ability to manage your Netflix queue.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Excerpted from Peter Meyers' Best iPad Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders. Copyright 2010 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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