What is a good movie to watch? I am sure that most of you can rattle off at least a dozen movies off the top of your head. However, the real answer to that question is a bit more complex. It’s often very subjective and greatly influenced by personal preferences. Your judgement might not necessarily align with that of a critic. Now, don’t get me wrong. Reviews are important. They can often save you from a couple of hours of agony. But, just a review or two is often not enough to get a sense of how watchable a movie is. This is where aggregators come in. Services like Rotten Tomatoes, which collect and summarise critic as well as audience ratings, are a great resource for movie buffs.
Rotten Tomatoes features both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. However, it’s obvious that the focus is on western movies, western media, and western audiences. If you are looking for your dope of Indian cinema, Rotten Tomatoes is not the place to be. The good news is that there are quite a few desi versions of the Tomatometer. Here are my top four picks.
Know Your Films
The design of this website is a bit old school, but it does get the job done. The home page shows a selection of entertainment news, upcoming movies, current movies, and some featured movies from the past. For current movies, the box office performance, as well as the latest reviews are displayed. Opening up a movie’s page shows more info including cast, crew, sound track, and various reviews. There is, however, no average rating, or a quick way to see how a movie has been received. There are a few other useful features including the ability to create watchlists (requires registration), and watching popular Bollywood clips and trailers.
This website trims all the fat and puts all the focus on the films and their ratings. The home page is just a collection of recently released movies along with their ratings, and a preview of the upcoming movies. The individual movie page contains average rating, along with information about movie cast, plot, and trailers and preview clips. Filmy Pakoda is simple and useful. But, the lack of even basic features like Search limits its utility.
Sahi Nahi is the new kid in the block, and it’s very obvious what the inspiration for this service is. The design is clean and pleasant with good use of typography. The home page gives you a quick overview of the latest movies along with their ratings, as well as the current top box office performers. You also have featured celebrities, movies, and blog articles. Every movie page features the critic rating along with excerpts of their review, trailer, and cast and crew information. It’s worth noting here that Sahi Nahi follows a Rotten Tomatoes like rating system were each review is classified as either positive and negative. The overall rating is not an average of the scores assigned by each reviewer. The layout is responsive, hence, Sahi Nahi works well on a wide range of devices including phones and tablets.
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The Review Monk
The Review Monk has an unmistakably Indian soul that will endear it to Indian movie fans. The beautiful slider on the home page showcasing some of the most memorable moments in Indian cinema will impress you straight away. The Review Monk, however, doesn’t restrict itself to Indian cinema. Hollywood movies that have been released in India are also featured. The home pages offers a quick look at movies that are currently in the theatres, as well as top rated recent movies. The coming soon section displays the release dates of movies that will hit the theatres soon. There are even monthly reports and occasional blog posts about cinema for the film buffs looking for more. Every movie page has a TRM score, excerpts from reviews, cast and crew information, soundtrack list, trailer, and twitter buzz. There is even a spider chart breaking down the critic’s ratings for you. The Review Monk score is an average, unlike Sahi nahi or Rotten Tomatoes. For mobile users, there’s a free Android app that’s once again simple but elegant and useful. You can register to build your profile by rating and reviewing movies you have watched, and adding movies you want to watch to your watchlist. In addition to Bollywood movies, The Review Monk is currently also tracking Tamil and Telegu movies. The idea behind The Review Monk might not be original, but the execution is really good.