Review: Film Closet
Right then, you've all heard of IMDB, the definitive movie database for all platforms, with facts, links, quotes, trivia, the works? What room is there in the market for another movie-centric application for Windows Phone? The answer is to turn to the graphical nature of films and concentrate on the visual side of things more than facts and figures (though you get a few of those too). Film Closet is not only sumptuous, it's also perfectly optimised for Windows Phone and it's also free.
I've never seen an application so beautifully optimised for Windows Phone - Film Closet's panes swoop into each other and enable seamless exploration, with the backdrop intelligently changing to always reflect the flavour of what you're looking at. Film Closet ties into The Movie Database and leverages its full quota of posters, backdrops and other official artwork.
Before diving into a search, here's a flavour of the initial pre-populated lists from TMDB's databases. You'll recognise most of these movies and thumbnails, of course: 'recent' remembers the last movies you looked at in the application, 'now playing' reflects what's currently in the cinemas around you, 'upcoming' is (of course) what's about to hit in the next few months, 'top rated' is taken from TMDB's users, while 'popular' is also from TMDB but based on page views.
These lists are also available from the only textual menu in Film Closet, along with a breakdown of genres, of which there are a few dozen and great to use as a starting point.
As with IMDB, the secret here is to follow your nose. Use the supplied search icon to find a favourite movie, for example. Let's pick the inspirational sci-fi flick, Contact:
As with IMDB, you then follow a trail through resources, information and links. Note how the backdrop changes to one from the movie as soon as Film Closet spots which film I'm now interested in.
Only one trailer for Contact? Some movies have more... You'll be familiar with the idea of browsing case bios, but you also get 'crew' here, delving into a few of the unsung heroes for each movie, all in vertically scrolling panes. 'Similar', as you'd expect, leads into other movies in a similar vein that would be excellent to try next.
In this case the 1970s Bowie classic..... But let's not get distracted. I described Film Closet as 'sumptuous' above - the backdrops behind the application's panes are just the tip of the iceberg, in that TMDB has full (fairly) high resolution graphics in terms of resources from each movie. Film Closet's trump card is that it lets you browse these.
Even better, opt to save one and you get a choice of resolutions to download to your smartphone's local storage. OK, so 1000 pixels isn't super high-res by modern standards, but it's still wonderfully clear on a desktop or (as here) on a phone screen, for enjoying.
Movie posters are something of a film-geek thing ("Hey, have you seen the Argentinian version of the poster with the extra shooting star in the background", etc.), but the variants are all here to admire and get all geeky about. And, as with the backdrops, you can save them in a variety of resolutions to your phone's local storage - they work well with the typical portrait aspect ratio of Windows Phone.
Given that all the information presented by Film Closet actually comes from an external (and free) web site, it would be a bit cheeky if it wasn't also freeware and there are no worries on this score, thankfully. Grab it here. And go support The Movie Database too, and get involved in its efforts.
Highly recommended and a great advert for how a Windows Phone with Metro Modern UI should work.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at