A nice website/tool to use for movie buffs: cin-o-matic provides a variety of web services on films. Film lists are available in theater and on video/dvd. The movie info is presented elegantly.
The list of films has a neat hover-button which shows a brief synopsis and pic of the film. besides presenting a number of attributes about the film. The detailed info on a film includes critics’ reviews, ratings, reader comments and the ability to add the film to a watch list. Offsite links to trailers, IMDB and the official site are also provided. You can customize the list of critics, theaters, et al. What is really cool is that if you are a Netflix subscriber (who isn’t?), you can choose to display an ‘Add to Netflix Queue’ button on the movie pages – nice.
I like their comment on Critics’ ratings and Grade Inflation from their FAQ:
Why are 4-star ratings only given a 9?
Due to critics’ grade inflation a 4-star rating just doesn’t mean what it used to. To our way of thinking, a 4-star review should be reserved for the very best of film, with just a handful doled out each year. But when you’re Roger Ebert and give out 135 4-star ratings in 2003, how do you identify a truly great movie? While some critics have maintained the integrity of the 4-star score, such as Rolling Stone and Slant Magazine, most do not. Rather than adjust scores based on a critic’s scoring style, and to maintain the integrity of our own numerical score, we’ve rounded down to 9.
The site contents are also available through RSS, which means neat synergistic web services that combine this site and Netflix/Amazon RSS feeds can be written. Lots of scope for creative engineering there.
This is a good example of web services done right and easy.