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View Full Version : Movie Reviews in Hand: Leonard Maltin Movie Guide 1.0 Review

Jordan Rosenwald
03-15-2005, 07:00 PM
<img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-1.gif" /><br /><br /><b>Product Category:</b> Software<br /><b>Manufacturer:</b> <a href="http://www.landware.com">LandWare</a><br /><b>Where to Buy:</b> <a href="http://www.pocketgear.com/software_detail.asp?id=15054">PocketGear</a> [Affiliate]<br /><b>Price:</b> $19.95 USD<br /><b>System Requirements:</b> Pocket PC 2002 or later and 3.6MB RAM<br /><br /><b>Pros:</b><li>Great organization;<br /><li>Many predefined lists/filters;<br /><li>Lots of additional, film related information.<b>Cons:</b><li>Mostly limited to US Films;<br /><li>Short reviews.<br /><b>Summary:</b><br />At the movie store and canít decide what to get? At a party and discussing who was in what movie? Want to keep a handy list of your movie collection? Leonard Maltinís Movie Guide can help in all these situations and more.<br /><br />Read on for the full review!<!><br /><PAGEBREAK><br /><span><b>What Makes Ya Think You're So Funky?</b></span><br />The short answer is features and lots of them. Hereís a quick and dirty list of all the features. Weíll go more in depth below.<li>21349 film entries, 5201 director entries and 30595 cast entries;<br /><li>Highly searchable movie finder;<br /><li>Concise movie reviews;<br /><li>Ability to pull up the filmography for actors or directors;<br /><li>Personal movie manager for keeping track of your movie collection/wish list;<br /><li>Constantly updated list of movie events;<br /><li>Just about everything kept up to date through ActiveSync.<span><b>Shhh. The Movie Is About To Start.</b></span><br />The main interface lists all of the movies in alphabetical order and has a look up area that searches the movie database as you type the title. Thereís also a button for the Film Finder as well as one for the Movie Manager and Movie Events, all of which weíll visit later.<br /><br />By clicking on a movie, youíre taken to a screen that gives the title, director, year of release, production country, running time, MPAA rating, an indicator that tells you if the movie is black and white or color, an indicator telling you what formats the movie has been released in, a star rating assigned by Leonard Maltin and his abridged review, as well as a separate tab which lists the stars of the film.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-1.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 1: The main interface.</i><br /><br />At first, the movie screen seems pretty plain and boring. However, thereís a lot to click on, which might not be immediately evident. Clicking on the directorís name gives you the ability to bring up the directorís entire filmography. Clicking on the line that contains the year released, country of production and running time, lets you bring up a filmography of the country. Clicking on the MPAA rating gives an explanation of the rating system. In the middle of the screen may, or may not, be several icons which reveal screen format, color or black and white, the medium the movie has been released in and what awards the movie won, including the year. Clicking on the star rating on the right explains the star rating system. Finally, and most impressively, clicking on the actors/actresses brings up a list, by selecting one of them, a filmography of that actor or actress is brought up. The down side of this is that the filmographies are limited to the movies in the database, which in turn is limited to only the movies that Leonard Maltin reviewed.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-2.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 2: Viewing filmographies.</i><br /><br /><span><b>Finding What Youíre Looking For</b></span><br />With over 20,000 movies in the database, finding exactly what you want is a daunting task. To help with that, the Guide has an incredibly flexible search function. Every aspect of a filmís detail can be queried. It offers such flexibility as being able to search for movies with a certain star rating or higher (or lower for that matter). Genre selections are checkboxes so you can search for any movies that are fantasy and/or crime, for example. Every actor, actress and director is listed much like the built-in Contacts application for you to select any and all that you want to search for. You can search for movies by their MPAA rating, media format, awards the movie won. The list goes on and on. A fantastic feature for not only finding the movie you want, but also fantastic for finding movies you might not know existed.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-3.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 3: Incredible search possibilities.</i><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><span><b>Keeping Your Movies Organized</b></span><br />Now I donít know about you, but I try to keep my movie collection organized and up to date. On top of that, I really enjoy carrying a list of my collection on my PDA. I donít know why, but the topic certainly comes up frequently enough. I also find it invaluable to have a list of movies I want to buy or rent on hand. The Movie Guide certainly took this into account.<br /><br />You have two options for entering movie information. The first is to search through the movie guide for your movie. If itís found, you can simply select the movie, then from the bottom of the screen you can select Record and Add to My Movies. From there, you can set the category, how many DVDs the movie is on, whether you own it and if youíve seen it. <br /><br />The second option is to manually enter the movie, which takes some time since thereís no desktop interface or way to pull the movies information from a secondary source, like IMDB. The end result, in either case, is a rather complete entry. The biggest limitation here is that a single movie canít be in multiple categories. This was a bit disappointing since the program comes with categories like ďFavorites,Ē ďMy Top 20,Ē and ďRecorded.Ē So what do you do if you want to setup a category for movies you own, but you recorded it off TV and itís one of your top 20 movies? Answer: You have to pick one category or you can duplicate the entry and categorize each one separately. Any way you slice it, itís not ideal. <br /><br />Two other short comings Iíve come across are that it doesnít keep a total of your movie titles anywhere, and if you own a movie collection, you have to enter each movie separately. Meaning, for a DVD collection like the Alien Quadrilogy I have to either add the set as one entry, which means a lot of general data, or enter each movie as separate items. <br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-4.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 4: Keeping your collection organized.</i><br /><br /><span><b>Keeping Up On Whatís Coming Up</b></span><br />The last button on the bottom of the main screen takes you to a worthy feature of this application: Movie Events. On this screen you can view upcoming DVD releases, movie releases and film festivals.<br /><br />This calendar of events is constantly updated as you sync your PDA to your computer. Itís also possible to customize the period you want information from. The only limitations here are that any upcoming event has no information associated with it other than its name and date. If you want to know what features are coming on an upcoming DVD, youíll need to hop out to a website.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/web/2003/jordan-jan05-movieguide-5.gif" /><br /><i>Figure 5: Upcoming releases and events.</i><br /> <PAGEBREAK> <br /><span><b>Conclusions</b></span><br />I am so very torn by this program. It really is well executed with only a few minor hang-ups that I think could be easily remedied with an update. Iíd like to see the ability to assign an owned movie to multiple categories and a means to input from your desktop or import data would also be fantastic. Iíd also like to see a little more information when I select an upcoming movie or DVD release.<br /><br />But what leaves me with reservations is the fundamental nature of the program. Itís a movie guide. It does not pretend to be a comprehensive list of movies. But there are a couple ways to get a comprehensive list of movies on your PDA, so I fear that despite this program's incredible capabilities, many will overlook this solution in favor of some of the others that are available.<br /><br />Overall, as a complete package (movie reviews, inventory application, and a way to keep your To Buy and To Rent lists) this program is a worthwhile investment.<br /><br /><i>Jordan Rosenwald is an information protection analyst in the Philadelphia area.</i>

Jason Dunn
03-16-2005, 04:50 AM
I like the app quite a bit, but I wish it had the ability to add custom movies so I could add my TV boxed sets to the list. I also wish the process of indicating that you own the movie and loaning it out were a bit faster. But it's a nice app for movie buffs! :mrgreen:

Jordan Rosenwald
03-16-2005, 08:27 PM
Well, you can add custom movies, but it's not the finest I've seen. Basically, the entire structure around the database is for movies, so for anything that isn't a straight-forward (boxed movie sets, TV shows, etc) you have to make it fit.

03-17-2005, 04:37 AM
It definitly impresses the friends when I pull out the old PDA and sudel an argument about movie trivia.