"Come on, Flixster. We know you can do better than that."
Those are the words I wrote on Friday to sum up a review of Flixster's movie app for BlackBerry phones. The trouble is, I goofed. I was apparently a day early, reviewing the previous Flixster for BlackBerry, which did deserve the critiques I dished out, and not the Flixster update that was set to release on Saturday (we still don't see it in the BlackBerry App World as of Sunday, but keep checking the store and this post for an update). A re-review--or rather, a preview of the forthcoming Movies app, version 1.1.6--is only fair.
Flixster's free Movies 1.1.6 for BlackBerry is a pronounced improvement over version 1.0, which served more as a shortcut to Flixster's mobile-optimized Web site than it did a native application. The movie app's navigation looks similar to the previous version, but is now stylized and fixed in place, with only the content refreshing as you move from tab to tab, not the entire screen as before.
As with many mobile apps that sync content from a master Web site, the application's speed is still contingent on the quality of your data connection. If you have a slow connection, the showtimes and theater lists will load slowly. This is especially true when it comes to launching previews. It appears that movie previews call on the browser to initiate a download, and then play on the BlackBerry's built-in media player--at least in the case of my test phone, the BlackBerry Bold 9700. An error message that the wireless connection broke appeared after each trailer finished playing. Pressing the phone's "back" arrow key twice restored Flixster's app.
While the guts of the Flixster app are identical to the previous version, and mostly still linked to the main Web site itself, the updated visual wrapper transforms the user experience from basic Web browsing to a cohesive launchpad where you can read reviews, scour showtimes, and buy tickets by way of Movietickets.com. Flixster's Movies app is one I'd now readily, not reluctantly, use on BlackBerry when that urge to stare at the silver screen sets in.