So, it’s Friday night and you and your significant other want to go see a movie. As soon as this decision is made, there’s almost always the follow-up question: “What should we go see?” There are a lot of resources at your disposal to help make this decision, including Movies by Flixster, Fandango, IMDb, Metacritic, iTunes Movie Trailers or Wigglehop (a personal favorite).
Most of these apps provide some type of rating aggregator that gives you a snapshot of what movie critics and fans think about a flick, which is extremely useful information when deciding whether or not to see a movie. While these services are great, wouldn’t it be better if you took the three major movie score aggregators (i.e. Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb) and combined their scores to make one “master” rating? Well, with Moviegram, you can.
When you fire up Moviegram you’re greeted with a wonderfully minimal splash screen that fades in the app’s home page, which is called Box Office. Box Office displays a grid of movie posters for twelve movies currently playing in theaters (you select from four box office countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Australia, which can be changed in the settings menu). From a design aesthetic, I really like the use of the grid design in Box Office (and throughout other areas of the app), but from a usability standpoint it would be nice to have the movie’s title below the poster, especially for posters that don’t have the title displayed in the poster (or text that is hard to read).
While Moviegram is focused on movies that are currently playing in theaters, it also includes a pretty impressive database of older films (movie information is provided by themoviedb.org). If you want to search for a movie, tap the search bar and type in your movie of choice. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t bother searching for TV shows, as that information is not available in Moviegram.
In the top left corner there’s a icon that when tapped, takes you to a list of recently viewed movies and/or people. This certainly is a nice feature to have after you’ve performed a manual search for a movie or actor. If you wish to do so, you can easily clear your history by tapping the trashcan icon in the top right corner.
When you’re ready to check out info about a movie, tap the poster on the Box Office page (or your search listing). The app will transition to the Movie page, which provides a small, but detailed, list of information, including genre, synopsis, runtime, release date and rating. In some cases the synopsis may be longer than what can shown on the Movie page, which is indicated by the use of an ellipsis; if this occurs, you can tap on the synopsis and it will flip to a new page with the full body of text.
If you’re interested, you can view a trailer of the film, but the trailers (provided by YouTube) stream in low resolution, which makes for a sub-par performance compared to most iPhone movie apps. Below the trailer (and other information) you’ll find the Director and Writer credits in the form a text boxes; below that is a grid of cast member images, which includes their name and their character’s name.
By tapping on an actor’s image or a director’s/writer’s name, you’ll transition into a new page that provides you with the person’s background (again, tappable if the text exceeds its space), some photos and filmography (represented by movie posters). Depending on how many times you’ve tapped and been taken to a new page, you may be four, five or more pages away from the Box Office page. Unfortunately, when you want to get back to the Box Office page you’ll have to hammer away at the back arrow in the top left corner (I seriously don’t understand why this type of navigation scheme is still in use in modern apps).
The most useful bit of information on the Movies page, and in the app, is the score aggregator. If available, Moviegram will display the scores for IMDb, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes (all in their other uniquely designed squares that stay true to the source). To the left of these scores (or top if you’re holding your phone in landscape mode) is Moviegram’s aggregate score that takes all three ratings and creates a combined aggregate rating (out of a score of 100). If you’re curious as how the math works, it’s actually really simple. Moviegram adds the three number together (moving the decimal number in IMDb’s rating one spot to the right) and divides by three.
Moviegram certainly has a niche in the land of iPhone movie apps, providing the easiest way to view aggregated movie scores and basic information; however, with the lack of full movie/television database, local showtimes and high definition trailers, I won’t be removing IMDb and Wigglehop from my iPhone anytime soon.
I’m sure some of you will prefer an all-in-one app (i.e. Fandango and Movies by Flixter) that provide movie information, showtimes, trailers, news and the ability to buy tickets, and that’s totally cool. But for those of you that rely on Rotten Tomato, Metacritic and/or IMDb scores when picking a movie, Moviegram provides those scores, and an aggregate total, quickly and conveniently all for the price of free (or $0.99 to remove ads).
Moviegram conveniently provides aggregate movie ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to help you decide which movie to see.7