Where do I find movie review recommendations to help me find the best films to fit my taste and mood?

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Answered by: Craig, An Expert in the Movie Reviews Category
Where do I find movie review recommendations that will help me find the best films to fit my taste and mood?

There are a lot of ways to use the Internet to get help on your quest to find the best, unheralded films for both theatrical and home viewing. I'd first suggest starting with a movie review aggregator site, which is a type of portal where you can get a list of many different film reviews for each movie and get a sense of recommendations based on critical consensus.

Two of the most frequented, and superior, movie review recommendations portals are Metacritic, which has a really nice, easy to use interface, and Rotten Tomatoes. The latter site includes a lot more film bloggers in its critic database, though it selects "featured" or "top" critics to highlight first. These are critics from major publications like the New York Times and Village Voice. Then you can also scroll through quotes and links to the full review for all of their reviewers, both famous and not so famous, to get a really detailed, complex breakdown of how the critical world received each film.

But what is nice about Metacritic is its design, which is a bit less busy than Rotten Tomatoes. Metacritic also links to book, TV and video game reviews as well, so it is a great place to go if you're seeking critical consensus on other media as well. Both RT and Metacritic use a number scale to represent overall consensus on a given film; RT uses percentage from 0-100% (films getting 50% or less in the way of praise are considered "rotten" - get it?), while Metacritic simply uses a 0-100 scale, with the highest end called "universal acclaim."

RottenTomatoes seems to have more films listed than Metacritic, which doesn't go as far back in time for the films it lists. So I recommend using a combination of both when searching for reviews.

Another idea is to go to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which pretty much lists every film ever made with very few exceptions, and when available will link to various reviews under the "external reviews" link. There you will get a mix of famous critics and not so famous. Sometimes an obscure blogger will be about the only review for a barely seen film, but you'll be surprised at how useful even some of those can be. This is a good way to discover unknown film writers. Of course, quality of these vary, and you'll quickly get a sense as to whether a reviewer suits your taste.

Of course, you can always use Google to search for recommendations. If you're looking for a list of "best vampire movies" type that in the Google search and you'll get some useful hits. Sites like Amazon.com, epinions and IMDB will give you user lists in the mix, which isn't always so helpful given these are people who sometimes know less than you do and/or don't have the most critical mindset. But you can also turn up good lists on horror specialty sites, for example, or articles in respected web sites, magazines and newspapers, like Salon.com and Entertainment Weekly. As with any good search, the more specific you can be the better; i.e., "best vampire films germany" if you're looking for German films only. You can also use Google to search a specific site by using advanced search and then typing in both search phrase and the name of the preferred site (i.e., EW.com).

Searching social media sites for movie tips is also fun and useful. You can use lists of film reviewers on Twitter, for instance, and follow their feeds to get tips on what they're watching and reviewing. And become a fan of, or even friends with, reviewers and film bloggers to further keep up with their insight. In short, these days there's no excuse for any of us to miss out on the movies we need to be watching, whether at home or in the theater, with so much information at our fingertips.

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