This movie-centric site invites users to create their movie checklist, keep track of the ones they've watched, and then lets them to brag about it to their friends.
The main premise of 'I Check Movies', is to encourage it's users to watch as many films as they can and to then log what they've seen and 'brag' about it with fellow users. This is achieved by checking (clicking) specific films from an array of themed lists, the main coming from IMDB's vast database of films. Alternatively, a film title can simply be added by typing it's name into the ever apparent search field located at the sites header.
I like the simple and effective idea of creating a list of films I've viewed. Assuming that the website still exists in ten years time, for example, it will serve to be a great point of reference. Regarding the idea of discussing and/or commenting on films I've viewed, this also has appeal. Do you remember the last time you watched a film that really got you excited? There's nothing better than sharing your views and opinions about it with others. And likewise, when you've seen a film that you hated, sometimes it's great just to let off some steam by having a good old fashioned moan!
Once you have created your 'I Check Movies' account, there are various options available to give your profile an instant boost. For example, if you already have an account with IMDB, there is an option within your 'Profile Settings' to import your IMDB votes list by simply copying and pasting your IMDB URL.
The site also features an awards section for its users. Based on their film viewing activity from the various lists on offer, they are automatically given awards that include 'Platinum', 'Gold', 'Silver' and 'Bronze'. So in other words, the higher the percentage of films watched from a specific list, the better the award presented.
Generally, this is a relatively simple site to navigate around. Each user has their own 'Dashboard' page that begins by displaying an overview of where they are in the websites charts, their 'awards', 'favourites', 'dislikes' and 'friends'. It then goes on to show their 5 most recent 'checks' and 'awards', as well as displaying their top 5 'favourites'. It then progress's into the various film lists that are on offer for the user to peruse. The main categories are 'Personal', IMDB, 'Critics', 'Prizes', 'Websites', 'Institute', 'Miscellaneous', all of which are intuitive and easy to understand. I especially like the inclusion of the 'Prizes' category. There has been various occasions in the past where I have found myself ploughing the internet looking for lists of films that won particular prizes such as the prestigious 'Palme d'Or' from the Cannes film festival. So it's great to have a selcection of such lists available under one umbrella. Unfortunately, the site only displays the film that won on a specific year; It would have been nice to have seen a list of all the nominees for each year as well.
When it comes to viewing an individual film page, we are given some basic credentials about the film in question such as 'Year' of release. There is also an option to learn a lot more about the film such as full cast and crew details, by clicking the accompanying 'IMDB' link that takes one straight to the relevant page on their website. This affiliation proves to be an invaluable linkup for the user. There is also an the option at this stage to click and purchase the film (where available) via a link to the Amazon site; another great attention to detail.
The overall appearance of 'I Check Movies' is very nice. There are some cool bespoke illustrations used throughout that greatly fuel the appeal of the site. The designers could have easily fallen into the trap of making the general layout cluttered by using such a variety of illustration but instead they have used them to great effect, juxtaposing them perfectly with the cool greys and greens of the background and text. My only criticism here is the logo. Although it has been designed to a professional standard, I feel that the pink tick makes it look overly corporate and has tinges of a marketing based company. Perhaps if the tick was removed and the logo was tweaked slightly, it would serve the excellent layout and feel of the rest of the site much better.
As a massive advocate of foreign language films, it's very rare that I can remember the title of a film in it's native language which ultimately leaves me feeling somewhat ignorant. So it's great to see that the guys have decided to keep the original titles leaving the English translation in smaller text underneath giving us the best of both worlds.
The way 'I Check Movies' draws from the vast labyrinth of film related data held by IMDB, bringing a much more social side to it's users, is great.
Although I like the instantaneous of 'checking' films from the site, I do feel that the user experience could be smoother than it is at present. For example, currently, it isn't possible to search for films by the names of directors, producers or actors. I'm sure the inclusion of a filtering system of this nature would be a valuable addition to the site.
Personally, I don't get very excited over the concept of receiving 'awards' for the amount of films I've viewed from specific lists. However, I'm sure there are many users of the site who enjoy having this competitive element. Ultimately, this part of the site could encourage users to watch specific genres of film they've never considered before. For example, I often come across individuals who refuse to watch certain films just because they have subtitles, which is such a shame because, in my opinion, most of the best films come from places detached from the big juggernaut that is Hollywood. So if receiving a fictitious award for watching films from areas that otherwise could have been neglected, creates more of a buzz for the 'I Check Movies' users, who am I to stand in their way?