If you’re going to use the holiday weekend to catch up on some movies (i.e. free air conditioning), there’s a new family movie guide that’s definitely worth checking before you spend $140 on two tickets. (That’s close to the actual price, right?)
The pros: This is a great way to see what real people think without polling everyone on Facebook. It’s got an extensive database of films, lets you sort by ratings and whether it’s in theaters or on DVD, and even suggests movie theater listings geotargeted to your area–or if you’re a home watcher, find what’s new at Redbox, Amazon, and Netflix Instant too. Nice touch.
I am really happy that, taking a cue from Amazon, reviewers must register, meaning you can click on their profile to get a sense of their taste in other films to see where they’re coming from. That definitely helps with reviews for a movie like Mirror, Mirror in which some say it’s for 6+, some say for 13+, and one woman would ban it entirely.
The semi-pros: For better or for worse, some of the reviews are fed in from professional (USA today) movie critics, and not-so-professional (blog you’ve never heard of) movie critics; however, you can toggle your view between critics, users, and those you are following. If you have everything checked, then every review is weighted equally, so Michael Medveg’s tome on the latest Pixar flick counts just as much towards the percentage of positive recos as the person who took the time to scribble down a “Loved it!” two-word review.
This may also explain why only 83% of people say that Brave is worth your time. Because…are you kidding me? I say 100%. Period.
The cons: The obvious caveat is that this is a newish site. And any review site is only as reliable as the number of reviews, provided they’re all authentic and not from some studio flak in disguise, raving about the genius that is Hangover 2. The nav on the homepage could also use a little work–maybe a scroll bar so we could see more than a small handful of new releases.
I also wish that there were more biographical info about the reviewers; is the guy tanking your kids’ favorite movie even a parent? Because that goatee and his suggestion that a 3 year-old can sit through Mr. Smith Goes to Washington makes me think probably not.
(Also, how the heck does School of Rock get a 12+ rating? To me, that’s one of the best “teaching moment” movies I ever watched with my girls, and my second-grader loved it to pieces. Then again, there is only one review on OK.com for it from a user.)
Overall: To put the site to another test, I took a look to see how the Monsters U review on OK.com stacked up to our recently featured Monsters University review for Cool Mom Picks. I have to say, it’s pretty close. Though I’m surprised that more people didn’t explain that young kids will not understand even a single college reference of the sort that basically make up the entire film, the overall gist of the recos was spot on.
I’m definitely keeping my eye on this site. I think it’s a really smart idea and if it catches on, it could be a nice cross-check with Common Sense Media. Essential these days when movies cost what they do. -Liz
Visit OK.com for family friendly movie reviews from users and critics, and add your own.