x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Get Roger Ebert's reviews on your smartphone

App of the Week The film critic's Great Movie app is the perfect companion for movie lovers who can no longer stand going to the movies.

Whenever someone asks me to name my favourite movie, without hesitation I say it's the 2001 debacle Joe Dirt - arguably one of the worst films of all time.

While it's true I'd rather spend a week trapped in a sewer than watch another second of it again, Joe Dirt still holds a special place in my heart - it was the last cinema experience I can remember where all the idiots were on the silver screen where they belonged, not sitting beside me blathering on their mobile phones.

Some movie houses around the globe are trying to ban the use of such devices, but most concede that trying to beat back the decay of civil society is cost-prohibitive. Plus, there's always the "but what if there's an emergency?" defence.

Define "emergency". If your cat dies, is that an emergency? Must you, and everyone in rows 12 through 16, know about it right away just because your cat-sitter has you on speed dial?

If that sounds insensitive, consider this: cats died in 1959. People cried about it. But it never got in the way of the 7:15pm showing of Some Like It Hot (I asked my mum just to be sure).

"But what about people who need to be reachable 24/7 as a matter of life or death?" you might say. Well, if you're next in line for a donor kidney, maybe you shouldn't be trying to squeeze in a matinee of Cars 2 while you wait for the next one to land at the airport.

The app

One man who would no doubt agree with me on this vital issue is Roger Ebert, the acclaimed film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times whose new Great Movies app (iPhone, iPad, Dh3.67) offers sweet relief for all the film buffs who may have fought the good fight, but now prefer to watch movies at home.

The app offers more than 300 detailed reviews, the complete collection culled from his book series of the same name. It also updates itself with new opinion pieces as Mr Ebert releases them.

The details

Once you download the app, all reviews can be accessed offline, and are searchable by title, cast, director or the film's date of release.

Browsing the app, you'll no doubt find favourites you've forgotten about, or great movies you never saw the first time around. You can then compile lists under "seen it" and "want to see it" categories. Clicking the button on the top right will then send you to a menu where you can share your picks on Twitter, Facebook or even buy the title on amazon.com.

Joe Dirt, however, has yet to make Mr Ebert's cut - nobody said we had to agree on everything.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae