Since it’s release in June 2012, TodoMovies has been a choice app for managing a queue of movies you want to watch. The app didn’t feature many bells and whistles, but instead focused on performing one task well. Originally, I enjoyed the concept and execution of TodoMovies, but at the time was maintaining a list of movies in the IMDb app. I decided to stick with IMDb instead of making a permanent switch, since I already used the app for so many things.
However, with the recent release of TodoMovies 2.0, which includes an impressive list of updates, it may be time to seriously reconsider making the switch after all. Join me after the jump as I detail these new features, and ultimately decide if TodoMovies lands itself a permanent spot on my iPhone.
Discover New & Old Movies
Before version 2.0, you had to open up TodoMovies with a movie in mind, which you’d enter into the search field after tapping the + button in the upper-right corner. However, when you tap the + button now, you’ll enter into the Discover area. Separated into three sections — Genres, In Theaters and Upcoming — this spot allows you to browse for movies you can add to your Watch List.
As their titles might imply, the In Theaters and Upcoming section displays a grid of poster icons for movies that a currently playing or will be playing in the future, prospectively. The Genres section showcases banners for several genres (e.g. action, comedy, horror). When you tap a genre, a grid of older and new movies is displayed. I admit to be taken aback by seeing movies like The Matrix or The Lion King, but I can appreciate TodoMovies’ attempt at helping someone discover great films from the past.
Ratings, Photos & Store
When you tap a movie’s icon, you’ll find a few additions. While you can still add the movie to your Watch List, share the movie’s info and watch a trailer, you now have the ability to view a gallery of high-resolution photos and access related content from iTunes. The gallery isn’t an integral feature by any means, but I like the ability to view promotional photos of new movies, which allow me to get a feel for what I’ll see eventually.
The Store feature searches the iTunes Store and offers up related items that you can purchase and/or download. For movies in theaters or yet to be released, you’ll often find the option to purchase the soundtrack, as well as games, apps or books pertaining to the movie. For older movies, or movies recently released for digital sale, you’ll typically be provided with an option to purchase the movie itself. The Store feature isn’t perfect by any means, as searches can sometimes yield unrelated results simply because the app uses the movie’s title as the search term, but at least related items are almost always displayed at the top.
A feature that can make TodoMovies a go-to movie resource for some is ratings. There are a number of rating resources available, such as Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, IMDb and so forth, but TodoMovies takes a different approach by aggregating scores to create their unique rating (sort of like Moviegram). For comparison’s sake, scores from Rotten Tomatoes and The Movie Database (TMDb) are displayed when available.
Personally, I find ratings to be a tricky ordeal because they don’t always tell the whole story (unless they’re ratings from me, of course), so I don’t have a great deal of use for this new ratings system. I’d love to see a developer take the Netflix approach, and allow me to rate movies I’ve seen and then make suggestions for movies have recently or are soon to be released.
When you add a yet to be released movie to your Watch List, you’re prompted with an option to set a reminder (a staple feature since TodoMovies’ release). When doing so, you can now alter the default time (10 AM) and date (on day of release) options, and add a personalized note that will display with the notification. It’s great to see notifications getting a hearty revamp, but I’d really enjoy an option that pushes the information to my calendar; that way I can send out invites to my friends for a group outing.
Additional Features & Improvements
There are a few other updates that are definitely worth mention, such as iCloud integration. Now, all your movie lists are backed up and can be accessed if you needed to delete the app for any reason. The developer touts that you can sync your lists across multiple devices. Since the app isn’t iPad optimized, syncing is only useful if multiple people use devices — and the app — on the same iCloud account. If you want to make use of iCloud, it’s an opt-in feature that must be turned on in the settings.
Additional improvements/updates include a setting for choosing HD/SD quality for trailer playback while using cellular data (great for those limited by a low data cap), and the ability to toggle unreleased movies as “watched” for individuals that are lucky enough to get an early screening. While a minor navigation improvement, but arguably my favorite update, you can now tap and hold on a movie’s icon to access a list of quick actions (Add to Watch List, Marked as Watched,and Watch Trailer).
The Bottom Line
The lover of all things minimalistic living inside of me is a teeny bit saddened by the vast amount of new features and updates found in TodoMovies 2.0, but then the lover of great features and rich apps is doing jumping jacks. TodoMovies is a rare app that’s gone from providing a useful and simple service, to expanding on that idea with great success. Adding a laundry list of changes doesn’t automatically make an app better, as it can often make the app complicated or stuffed to the brim with unnecessary clutter.
With that said, it’s difficult to compare an app like TodoMovies against IMDb, Flixster or Fandango. At its core, TodoMovies is still a tool used to keep a list of movies you want to watch, but now includes some handy new features to discover movies, buy related content in iTunes and get movie ratings. Do all of these great new features mean I’ll make a switch from IMDb? I’ve already transferred my movie list to TodoMovies, but the app will be used in harmony with IMDb for those tasks it’s not yet suited for.