Everybody has different reasons for looking up movie reviews, and everybody has different interests and levels of passion when it comes to movies. Some moviegoers look up movie reviews before seeing a movie, while other people utilize them to engage in further discussion after seeing a movie. I personally seek out movie reviews for the simple reason of assisting me in finding a worthwhile movie to watch. Taking the time to watch a movie, whether in theaters or at home, takes a good chunk of time, and time is money. Therefore, I want to make sure that whatever movie I am about to watch will be worth my time. In addition, I like to have some idea of what a movie is going to be like before pushing the play button.
That being said, I know that other people seek out movie reviews for completely different reasons. Some people simply want to see a quick rating number (or percentage) for a movie they are about to watch in order to see what critics thought of the movie overall. Other people want to know in-depth information about a movie and all of the questionable content it contains so that they can be prepared and know if it is an appropriate film to watch (especially if they are reviewing a film before allowing their children to watch it). Still other people are complete and total movie buffs who want to get into the production details and hear what other like-minded “nerds” have to say about all kinds of old and obscure movies, not just the new or “popular” ones.
For this reason, we have compiled a list of all of the best places to go for movie reviews, whether you prefer reading a review online or listening to one on a podcast. Every movie lover, whether novice or expert, has a way to fill his or her movie “needs” and become a more educated moviegoer.
Podcast Audio Reviews
This show has three core hosts, but a rotating panel of critics that are all knowledgeable about movies and cinema. They review decades of movies, especially series, and discuss which ones are hits and which ones are misses. It is unique in that the critics not only review a new movie every week, but if that movie so happens to be a sequel, they review every movie in the series leading up to that new release (for example, with the new Jason Bourne movie in 2016, they reviewed all of the Bourne movies collectively). Shows generally run for at least an hour, sometimes two, but the hosts are so entertaining and knowledgeable that they do not drag. (Warning: it does contain detailed plot spoilers!) The website also includes relevant articles written by the staff and discussion forums for movie fans to talk about certain movies and topics.
This show is unique in that each episode is actually a video, not simply a podcast. It features roughly 5 hosts that talk about the latest in everything movie, and the episodes usually run about an hour long. It does not focus on one single movie or movie series, but on many films either coming to theaters, recently released, or old movies somehow related to the conversation. There is a lot of interesting and healthy debate among the hosts, and there are sometimes even interviews with the stars of new movies! In addition, they focus not just on film but on television too. There are sections of the website dedicated to Movie News and TV News, with insightful articles written by the Collider staff.
Published weekly and hosted by three friends, this show follows the same overall format in every episode, which is that these three guys first discuss general movie news, followed by an in-depth discussion on one highlighted, newly-released movie, followed by their weekly recommendations. The length of the episodes varies greatly (~30 min - 2 hrs), but there is a wonderful chemistry among the three hosts, and they are very intellectual and funny. Their frequent “Throwback” podcasts to older movies are a lot of fun as well (such as the throwback to the original Beauty and the Beast before the release of the new, live-action adaptation of the movie). There are also special episodes with amazing interviews, or episodes relating to holidays or current events, such as an Oscars special.
This show has been recording audio movie reviews since 2005 and all episodes have been recorded by the same hosts, Hollywood critics Ann Elder and Les Roberts. Ann and Les have all the experience necessary to give an in-depth and entertaining movie review due to their past as actors, producers, and writers in Hollywood. Originally recorded on radio, their reviews have been adapted into podcasts and they continue to make new podcasts regularly. Each podcast episode discusses the plot (without giving away any major spoilers!), the script, direction, casting, and overall positive and negative elements of the movie. Ann and Les speak in a lively, conversational format, which makes it perfect for both movie buffs and novices alike. Each episode is only 7-12 minutes in length, which makes them easy to digest without having to compromise a lot of time to listen to them. In addition, new episodes are released three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), so you never have to wait long for more! And you can search for old movie reviews on the website by title or genre to find just what you are looking for.
This is everyone’s go-to for the quick rating and low-down on movies coming to theaters, movies in theaters, and movies to rent. Rotten Tomatoes is great if you already trust their ratings and just want a sense of the general consensus about a certain movie. The “Tomatometer” gives you a percentage of their critics who gave the movie a positive review. It offers a little bit of information about the movie, although not a full plot description or review, and it shows the cast of the movie. This is followed by all the critics’ reviews (critics who have to first be approved by Rotten Tomatoes, so there are no Joe-Shmoes off the street).
My personal problem with Rotten Tomatoes is that there is no way to really get to know any of the critics, and I therefore do not feel like I can blindly trust their opinions. While you can click on their names and read a short bio about them, you still do not get a good feeling of who they are and what they like and dislike. In addition, there are simply too many critics to even attempt to get to know them! Then again, Rotten Tomatoes has been a trusted site for almost two decades--and probably for good reason! :)
This is the favorite movie review site for parents who would like to know exactly what kind of movie their child is seeing. It lays out the good, the bad, and the ugly. It gives an overview of the story before going into details on the positive and negative elements of the movie, including violence, language, and sexual content. (And they are not exclusively a movie review website--they also review TV shows, books, music, and games!)
While super helpful and revealing, it also gives a lot of spoilers and it can be a little bit too much information, especially if you are not a parent utilizing it to decide if your children can see the latest movie in theaters. I love this site for its detailed, well-written, thorough reviews. However, due to the many plot giveaways, I do not make use of it often. (Although I have a feeling that this will change after I have children!)
This website is definitely for the more scholarly film buff, not for ordinary people (like myself) who just enjoy watching movies for their own sake. Film Comment puts out print magazines that highlight a handful of movies with scholarly articles about different artistic aspects of these movies. These magazines are also available on their website. New issues are released bi-monthly, and they have been in circulation since 1962, so it has certainly lasted the test of time. While the articles are written on some mainstream movies, the publication seems to aim more at “art-house and avant-garde filmmaking from across the world.” Like I said, this is for the serious movie fan, the one who likes to discover obscure pictures at film festivals and who views the cinema as a kind of art form itself. It is definitely a more academic-based site. It also includes some interviews and a blog.
Even though the famed movie critic died in 2013, his work is still being continued on his website, and this website is still one of the absolute greatest, most complete houses of movie reviews. The movie reviewers are trusted critics, and their reviews are complete and fair and interesting. In addition, each review gets between one and five stars for easy, quick movie-watching decisions, as well as information about the cast and creators of the film and a discussion board that anyone can contribute to. You can search older movies by date, genre, or rating, and there is no shortage of movies to look through on the site. I admire Roger Ebert and I still trust his website, and I especially love his mantra that “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” Again, however, there is still no way to really get to know the new movie critics who have taken over from him other than being assured that they know what they are doing.
And that completes our list of the best movie review websites and podcasts out there! We hope it is helpful and that you find the right movie review location for you!