Everyone's a Movie Critic

SAN FRANCISCO (02/04/2000) - The movie reviews you find most places will give the opinion of a professional. But if you want to find out the opinions of people just like yourself -- the ones who actually have to pay admission -- you may be out of luck.

Now there's a new destination for movie reviews written by real people:

MovieComments.com. The site lets you rate and review movies yourself, and find out what other people have to say about them. You can even filter what you read to find out what people like you -- or at least of your age and gender -- think.

When you first visit MovieComments.com, you'll find films listed by release date. Next to each film, you'll see how others have rated it on a scale of 0 to 10. (The site only lists new films; if you want to review Casablanca, you're out of luck.) You can also search for reviews, filtering them by score (the 0-10 scale, not the musical kind), review date, and simple demographic information about the reviewer.

Click on a film and you'll get basic info (a synopsis, its rating, and so on), plus the picture's average score by gender, so you can see, for instance, whether men liked it better than women did. And, of course, you'll get the reviews.

Being Roger Ebert

Before you can post your own opinions of a movie, you must sign up as a MovieComments.com user, filling in a form that requires your e-mail address, age, and so on. Once signed on, you're free to rate and review films as you see fit. The site won't let you post a review unless you've also given the movie a score. An optional spell checker can ensure that your review won't make you look too much like an idiot.

To encourage contributions, MovieComments.com holds a weekly drawing. Only those who have contributed reviews are eligible. The prize is a US$20 gift certificate good at any movie theater.

MovieComments.com is the first Internet site created by a group called eComments. The group is planning future sites for user reviews of books, video games, and wines.

Come to think of it, wine reviews may be safer than movie reviews written by amateurs. I found at least one review that gave away Magnolia's ending.

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