People of a common interest always form a group or a community to keep their interests alive. Name an interest and there’s a network for it. And when it comes to movies, there are quite a few platforms that help decide which movie is worth watching. Here’s a platform for movie buffs called ‘The Review Monk’, the brainchild of Los Angeles based husband wife duo - Rohith Ravindranath and Ruhi Sinha. It aggregates film critic reviews for Indian movies and also serves as a platform for discovery, reviews, and sharing for fans of Indian cinema.
Currently in beta, The Review Monk is in the process of importing film data from a number of sources, the primary ones being Wikipedia and TheMovieDb. Having reviewed similar movie platforms like Rinema and FlixStreet of late, I was curious to know what The Review Monk had to offer.
What you can do at The Review Monk (TRM)
Getting started on TRM is a breeze. You can either login with your Facebook or Google account or you can fill a short form and signup through email. Signing up through Facebook has an added advantage – TRM automatically connects your Facebook friends who are also registered on TRM to your ‘follower’ list to make it easier for you to view their favorite movies and rating. I logged in through Google and continued to the movies section.
The home page welcomes you with a large slider image of classic movies, right from Awaara, Sholay to Tezaab, Devdas and Barfi. Quite a visual treat to the eyes of a movie buff! Movies categorized as ‘Now playing’, ‘Top rated’, genres and Independent films, have been displayed below in a card-layout with the critic rating for each of them. What is this critic rating? It is a single score on a 10-point scale where 10 is the highest rated and 0 is the lowest rated, obtained by aggregating critic review scores from experts of Indian cinema.
You can quickly add a movie to your watchlist or favourite it. But, to rate it or write a review for it, you need to visit the said movies page. Clicking on a particular movie page displays information about the movie and a spider web like visual rating graph. The critic reviews for the movie are displayed below all in one shot, followed by audience reviews. The page also pulls up tweets about the movie.
I checked out the Kareena-Imran starrer romantic comedy ‘Gori tere pyaar mein‘ and wasn’t disappointed to see the film get 4.5 out of 10 and generally unfavourable reviews! Here’s the movie page for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s thriller ‘Bullett Raja’:
I then proceeded to discover movies based on genre. It was refreshing to discover independent films like Kumare, Peddlers and Shuttlecock boys. You can always search for movies or celebrities through the search feature.
Your profile is being built with every activity on the platform like adding reviews or ratings, adding to watchlist or to favourites. You start off as a member and gradually with the number of reviews you add, you grow to reviewer, senior reviewer and top reviewer. In terms of social, you can follow your friends from Facebook, follow other users and check their favorites, reviews and ratings.
Can The Review Monk be better?
Although it is now in beta and has a long way to go, TRM does have an attractive design and simple layout structure. Besides, it takes away the hassle of reading through all the critic reviews for a movie you’re interested in watching by bringing all into one place. The single score critic rating along with their reviews combined with user reviews and social buzz for the movie can help one quickly decide if it is worth their while.
However, the platform could do better in terms of discovery through a social layer. Finding other users of TRM based on similar movie interests isn’t there yet; probably this would come with time, as users will have more definitive profiles. TRM could then suggest users with similar movie interests, as the ‘Taste Buddies’ suggested by Rinema. Adding features like creating lists, collections and offering tangible incentives could appeal to the movie buffs.
These are early days for TRM and the movie platform has to fill some big shoes with other dedicated players like Rinema and Flixstreet around. Nevertheless, it has set up a good foundation in the space and will get better as more users join in. Hope you give it a shot for what to watch this weekend!