Apple’s iPhone can be a movie fan's dream come true, giving you a convenient way to catch films from wherever you happen to be, as well as to quickly look up information or discover what other people are saying about a movie.
You can use you iPhone to find films at nearby theaters, learn about favorite stars, check out reviews from professional critics and fellow movie buffs, and share your movie-going adventures with your social media friends and followers. Here are nine of the best available apps for movie fans, including a few for watching feature-length flicks on your phone.
IMDb Movies & TV
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is one of the oldest and most reliable sites on the Internet for locating encyclopedic information on movies, TV series, cast and crew members. IMDb’s iPhone app makes it all portable.
When you tap on the app, you first see a screen where you can read the top news story -- which is most likely about an upcoming movie -- along with links to the show times for movies in your area.
You can also personalize the IMDb app by setting up an account, plus a watch list of movies to see. You can provide your own ratings and reviews of movies, as well as create and share lists with other users. If you want to get social, the app will let you sign in with your Facebook account.
IMDb’s app gives you access to celebrity news, photo galleries, and birthdays for today or any other day of the calendar. See if you share a birthday with any other stars. IMDb's STARmeter shows the top 50 most-viewed celebs on the site. Similarly, the MOVIEmeter displays the most-viewed movie titles.
Movie fans can look up the top box office winners for the week. For fun, take a peak at a list of the bottom 100 films -- as rated by IMDb users for sheer awfulness -- and the top 250 picks. (At this writing, “The Shawshank Redemption” is listed at number 1.)
If you're a TV fan, too, you might want to look up which shows are playing that day and check out episode recaps in case you forgot to set your DVR before leaving the house. The TV section also gives you often fascinating trivia, fun quotes, and most entertainingly of all, examples of where the writers, actors or crew goofed up somehow and made glaring mistakes.
Hopefully, the ads in this and some other free movie apps won't bother you too much.
Fandango Movies - Times & Tickets
One of the handiest iPhone apps for finding nearby movie theater listings comes from Fandango. You can set up this app to save your favorite local theaters for quick access. Alternatively, if you're traveling around, the app will display movies playing nearby (based on your GPS location), along with the remaining show times for the day. If you want to make sure that a movie isn't sold out by the time you get to the movie house, you can buy tix in advance through the app. It will even store your credit card info, if you want.
To get a little taste in advance of the new scary thriller that’s set to debut next weekend, watch a movie trailer. Read reviews from other Fandango users to find out what they think of a movie that just opened, or write your own review.
Each movie listing on Fandango also includes information on the cast and a synopsis of the film. By clicking on a cast member, you see a biography. The app connects to Facebook, and it keeps track of all your purchases and reviews.
Movies by Flixster, With Rotten Tomatoes
Beyond providing access to Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best sites on the Internet for comparing movie reviews from professional movie critics, Flixster's app also gives you news about the latest video releases.
Getting bored waiting for a movie to start? Play around with Flixster's movie quizzes. How many Walt Disney classics can you correcty identify? How well can you do at distinguishing photos of famous actors from pictures of their wax figure likenesses?
You can connect with friends via Facebook and build a collection of movies for you and your friends to view. The app also includes a link to Netflix, allowing you to view and manage your Netflix queue. If you decide that a film isn't worth the price of admission at a movie theater, you can just opt to add it to your Netflix queue and maybe watch it when it comes out on DVD.
Flixster also includes links to DVD reviews, with similar cast and crew listings and reviews as in the movie theater part of the app. Here, you're able to see whether the app is available for download or rental from iTunes.
Personally, though, I'd like Flixster add reviews from some other sources aside from Rotten Tomatoes, for an even better variety of perspectives.
Free but with Monthly Service Fee
Netflix has been steadily moving away from its DVD-by-mail subscription service in recent years while emphasizing its Internet streaming service. One of the many devices that can now access Netflix content is the iPhone.
When you open up the iPhone app, Netflix displays the top recommendations from the company’s vast library of movies and TV shows. If you're particularly interested in, say, comedies or documentaries, you can also search for a movie to watch by genre.
You can search by specific move title, too, and you're able to access the instant queue of movies you have already set up on your Netflix subscription.
Pause, rewind and fast forward movies at any time. The video quality is good, and if you watch movies over a WiFi connection, you don’t need to worry about your mobile carrier penalizing you for going over your megabyte limit.
Although the app itself is free, but you need a paid subscription to Netflix in order to use it.
Free to HBO Subscribers
This iPhone app gives paying HBO subscribers mobile access to movies and TV series from the Time Warner-owned cable TV network. In fact, the app provides you with a far larger selection of movies and TV series than the ones currently playing that month on cable TV or through the HBO on Demand service.
So if you've somehow missed a movie or show that you wanted to catch on cable, there’s a good chance you can see it instead via the app.
There are also different collections available, like a Classic Musicals Collection (currently showing “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “The Rose”), an Awesome 80s Collection (including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Cocoon,” and “Big Top Pee Wee”), a Spike Lee Collection and a RoboCop Collection.
A search function lets you type in the name of a particular movie or show you want to watch. And of course you can catch up on HBO series like “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones,” or watch your favorite old episodes of “The Sopranos.”
It's also possible to set up a watch list of different movies and shows that you want to view later.
Some iPhone users have complained on iTunes about frequent system crashes, but I'm happy to say that I haven't experienced any of those.
Part 2of this round-up covers four more movie-related iPhone apps.
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