Leonard Maltin Movie Guide packs 24,000 films in your iPhone

I laughed! I cried! I got a little miffed by the pokey search engine. But ultimately, I loved this interactive, Netflix-friendly movie guide, which blows the print version out of the water.


Scan the bookshelves of any serious movie buff and you're almost certain to find a worn, dog-eared copy of "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide."

Of course, just as encyclopedias work far better as interactive, online guides like Wikipedia, so do reference tomes like this benefit from the digital treatment.

Enter Leonard Maltin Movie Guide for iPhone ($4.99), which not only reproduces the full text of the print version, but also delivers some interactive "plot twists."

In addition to 24,000-plus capsule reviews, the guide provides a couple dozen of Maltin's latest reviews (full length), dynamic searching by title, actor, or director, and, best of all, Netflix integration: With a single tap you can add any movie to your rental and/or Watch Now queue.

(A forthcoming update will add iTunes integration so you can rent/purchases movies from there--assuming they're available, of course.)

Each movie listing includes the director's name and a complete cast list, and you can tap any name to pull up a filmography for that person. That's the kind of hyperlinky goodness that makes the iPhone version of this guide so vastly superior to its print counterpart.

You can also share guide listings via e-mail, again with just a single tap. Great stuff.

I have only one complaint with Movie Guide: speed. Searches run very slowly, and not because of Internet issues--the database resides on the iPhone, not online. In my informal tests, movie-title searches took 12-15 seconds on average.

Developer MobileAge says performance would be better on an iPhone 3GS (I have a 3G). Even so, Movie Guide needs a speed boost. If not for that small wrinkle, I'd call it a must-have app for film buffs.

 

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