Despite a suffering economy, or perhaps because of it, the entertainment industry is booming. One area in particular that continues to get better and better is film, with new releases every week and scores of excellent movies shown every year. Going to the theater is one of the last cheap options for a date or get-together with friends, and the only question after you decide to go to a theater is which movie you should see.
Apple has released their own movie app, called iTunes Movie Trailers, that will help you decide on every aspect of the movie experience, from which trailers to watch to which theater is showing the movie you’re dying to see. Is this app a red-carpet masterpiece, or a B-movie at best? Read on to find out.
The premiere feature of the app is watching movie trailers (as the name implies). There are trailers for many movies, and the app does a good job of presenting them to you from first launch. You can also search for a specific movie if you have an idea of which movie you want to see. Once you’ve selected a movie, you can view the specific trailers available, get details on the movie, and view whatever photos iTunes can show you.
Playback was smooth, for the most part, and it was easy to look through the trailers available. In some cases movies will come out with trailers exclusive to iTunes, making this the best place to catch previews of upcoming films.
One of the coolest features is the ability to share a movie, either via email or tweet. Sharing is accessed through the default Share icon in the top-right corner, and sending out a film is as easy as a few taps. You can also add a movie to your favorites, if you’d like to keep track of it and see when other trailers become available.
In all, this portion of the app does what it’s supposed to well without adding unncessary clutter.
Where the app might really shine for some people is with its calendar. Here you’re presented with a beautiful grid view of upcoming movies organized by date, with a fully scrollable view for the days that have a lot of releases. It’s a real pleasure to explore the calendar, and in my experience everything was incredibly smooth.
As with the main screen, tapping on a movie in the calendar will take you to its own page and allow you to view available trailers, as well as its category, rating, and release date. This is useful if you’re trying to find out what movie you would like to see on a specific date, or if you just like playing with a bunch of gorgeous icons on your iPad.
Things get interesting here. While you might think that the pane is referring to a singular ‘Top 25’ curated by Apple, there are actually a few different categories that you can check out.
First is the required Most Popular Trailers, showing you what other users of the app are viewing. There isn’t anything exciting here, but it does give you a fair amount of movies to look through. This is about the same as the Weekend Box Office, letting you view movies by the amount of money they managed to rake in.
My favorite row is the Top Reviewed from Rotten Tomatoes, which breaks from the others (which only show the title of the movie) and displays the rating right next to the title. This is handy if you want to watch some critically acclaimed movies, and it’s nice to be able to find out which movies not only have great trailers, but are great films as well.
Of course, the final row is iTunes Top Movies, where Apple gets a chance to show off their selection in the iTunes Store. As more and more people get their content digitally I believe this row will continue to get more useful, as it shows you what other people are enjoying and are willing to spend their money on. Interestingly enough, tapping on a movie in this row will take you directly to the iTunes Store instead of showing you a trailer in-app, making purchases easy (which is a good thing for both you and Apple). This breaks from each of the other rows, which take you to the default Trailers screen for the movie.
The In Theaters pane is where the app solidified itself onto my home screen. Whereas I used to use Movies from Flixster as my main ‘hey, what’s showing on Thursday?’ app, I now use the iTunes Movie Trailers app as I’ve found it to be a much more enjoyable service.
You get all of the same features as the Movies app from this app (albeit in different places) but the IMT app is much more beautiful. Interacting with the showtimes is a snap, allowing you to drag your finger left and right in order to change a sliding view of the showtimes for each movie. Matinees and feature times are even different colors, showing you which prices will be discounted (at most movie theaters) and which will charge full price.
You can view showtimes based on the theater that you would like to see (which the app utilizes GPS data to gather information for you) or by the movie, so if you really want to watch Moneyball you can browse over to that movie and see which theaters are showing it, and at what time.
In all, this is easily my favorite feature of the app, making it easy to see what theater I should go to for date night, and offering multiple views and accurate GPS coordinates. The Movies app from Flixter was excellent with its information, but IMT beats it with its best-in-class interface and its direct integration with Apple’s iTunes store and access to exclusive trailers.
This app is a must-have for movie buffs. Aside from allowing you to view trailers, as the name implies, the app is a fully-featured movies application that will show you when movies are coming out, the Top 25 movies based on different criteria, and where you can view movies that are already out.
For the price of ‘free’, I can’t overstate enough how important it is that you get this app. Apple has blown away the competition, and made a truly best-in-class application with excellent content and a fantastic user experience. Download it today.
Unfortunately, iTunes Movie Trailers is currently only available in the US