Gone are the days when the entire family would pile into the car on a Friday night, travel to their nearest video rental palace, and borrow a handful of new releases only to bring them back a couple days later or risk paying a late fee. No wonder places like Jumbo Video and Blockbuster have bitten the bullet and died a quick death when there are so many more convenient alternatives currently available to film and TV aficionados. The entertainment streaming app has risen like a phoenix and taken over everyone's Friday nights, boasting unbelievably diverse content and easy access. Here are our top five picks for the best movie apps currently on the market. Whether they're free or subscription-based, you'd be hard-pressed to find any that are better.
Crackle is a relatively new app that allows users to watch both movies and television shows on their mobile device. So, for something so new, what made us bump this entertainment app to the top of our list? It's absolutely free and requires no monthly subscription! With its sleek interface and easy-to-use search capabilities, Crackle sets itself apart from some of the other, less user-friendly entertainment apps on the market. Once users have created their own account, they can create customized watch lists by adding content to the queue.
The only issue we have with this streaming app is its somewhat limited content library. Sony Pictures Entertainment owns the app, so the only films and TV shows that are available to stream are the ones the entertainment juggernaut owns. Having said that, though, there's still a lot to see on this app. Don't be fooled. Once uploaded to your mobile device, you'll wonder where all your free time has gone!
This one is considered more of an educational app than anything else. Yes, you can watch movies on it, but you can also treat the app as a study forum where you can record your own film notes and screenshots and then email them to yourself as genuine documents. You can also use or create your own tags to describe the films you watch and store them to the app's database. This will prove especially useful if you're a student enrolled in a film course who would like to catch up on course material and share your notes with your fellow pupils. The app's large database of films consists entirely of public domain features from all different film genres — classic and modern — as well as a collection of cartoons. One of the app's coolest features is the ability to allow users to upload their own mp4 files from their computer to the app via iTunes.
"One of the film courses I'm taking right now has a lot of obscure, hard-to-find films on its syllabus, so I use the Film Study app to watch most of them,"
says Kellee, an online university student.
"There's no subscription fee, so this app is really the most convenient place for me to find the movies that I need to watch. I always use the note-taking feature too because I like comparing them to other students' notes in my class afterwards."
Netflix is the world's leading subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies on your mobile device — and for very good reason. It's one of the only entertainment apps that supports a "video out" mode. Just connect your device to any television and watch content on a big screen! Though the download is free, users must pay a subscription fee of $7.99 a month to be able to access Netflix's huge database of films and TV shows. The app's seamless interface allows for a very smooth user experience, with convenient controls and flexible settings you can customize based on your own personal preferences.
When Netflix first came to Canada a few years ago, people were a bit wary of whether or not it was a service worth paying for when they could easily rely on their own cable provider's rental and on-demand services. Fortunately for Netflix and its millions of customers worldwide, the price was right and many families flocked to sign up.
"It's much cheaper than renting a movie through Rogers or Bell,"
reveals Marisa, a married mother of two.
"For less than $10 a month, we get to stream all the TV shows and movies we want. The usage is unlimited! Who would want to pay $8 for just one movie anymore?"
Fans of classic film will absolutely adore this app because there are many obscure classic titles listed within the app's entertainment database. Viewster's head office is located in Switzerland, where the app was first developed and created, so you can find many European films in its feature listings. This is also a great place for streaming international documentaries that are rare and hard to find in the North American sector of the entertainment industry. Along with feature films and docs, Viewster has a great selection of classic cartoons, including Looney Tunes, Popeye the Sailor, and Bosko! Users can also watch trailers for upcoming movie releases.
If there's a classic film that Kellee, our film student, can't find within the Film Study app, she searches the Viewster database for it.
"Chances are I'll find what I'm looking for here. My favourite films to watch on Viewster are the Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton silents. I haven't been able to find these kinds of films on the more mainstream apps like Netflix because, unfortunately, there is not much demand for them there. This is what makes Viewster so great — especially for people like me who love old movies so much."
Like the Film Study app, this is more of an educational offering than an entertainment one. IMDb is an incredibly useful tool for obtaining all kinds of information to do with film production and movie crew filmographies (including actors, actresses, directors, et cetera). The app works much the same way as the industry-endorsed IMDb website. Users can search for movie titles, actors, actresses, and crew and production information using the app's vast library of stored content. It almost acts as an entertainment industry encyclopaedia!
Users can watch trailers, look up local theatre showtimes, browse photos, and create custom watch lists for both television shows and films. Unlike other apps, you can also search for local TV listings according to your time zone, essentially using it as a TV Guide. The only thing we wish we could do with this app is watch actual full-length films and TV episodes. For now, we're perfectly content using this app as a source of information alone since it's so incredibly detailed and all-encompassing.
Right, now that you've familiarized yourself with the best movie apps currently available, it's time to download one or two of them (or all five) and spend the rest of your evening watching some really awesome content! If you've used these apps before, let us know what you think about them in the comments section down below. If you'd like to recommend a few other entertainment apps that weren't on our list, please tell us about them below and let us know which is your favourite!