These are the driving questions that led to the invention of “The Auteurs”, now known as Mubi. They’re good questions, too. I tend to think it’s best to watch movies online for free when you’ve got a few hours to spare and nothing better to do. Once you realise this is the situation you’re in, the process of getting a good movie to watch online shouldn’t need to take too long. This site mixes a social network with on-demand movies in a way which will keep you entertained for quite a while.
For starters, lets look at the social networking aspect of Mubi. This is a place for cinephiles to connect and share thoughts on the very best movies. Use your profile to show off your favourite movies, make your own curated lists, pontificate at length on the forum about the latest releases at Cannes. Whatever suits you. Mubi is designed to be the online coffee-shop for dissecting your favourite movies.
This brings us to another defining aspect of Mubi. What makes a good movie? As they say, popular doesn’t always mean good. Mubi is partnered with the Word Cinema Foundation, Celluloid Dreams, The Criterion Collection, Costa Films and supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. The plan here is to be able to provide viewers with a wide selection of quality independent and classic movies on-demand. I think they’re on to something here.
The social aspect makes finding movies to watch a real treat; you can explore movies by browsing the forums, looking at people’s lists or viewing a person’s favourites. But mix that in with a few curated and best-of options and we have an incredible amount of ways to find new movies in the system.
Then either review the movie, save it for consideration later or watch it straight away. Some movies are free, while others cost money. Mubi can also be linked to Twitter or Facebook if you’re keen to share your activities.
The Films/Watch/New tabs provide easy access to new movies to watch. They’re basically three different ways of accessing the movie list: Top films, films available to be watched in your area (yes, distributors still have some control), and the films “most wanted” to be watched by Mubi members.
Mubi’s movie list page allows users to be curators of movies and of other people’s movie lists. It’s a gold mine for exploration.
The curated areas are even more interesting. The festival section lists a handful of top film festivals and features movies playing at those festivals. Watch films currently playing at Cannes or the most recent Sundance festival. These festival pages also collect and display related forum posts, so you can easily join the conversation.
The Notebook tab provides a blog of professional movie reviews and cinematic news. It’s yet another great way to find new movies and to generally keep up with film releases.
A new feature of Mubi (which doesn’t yet seem to have an easy-to-find tab) that is truly fantastic is the cinema. Through partnerships, Mubi is sometimes able to offer specific movies for a month or so of screening. They’ve collected these as a sort of online film festival and made them available through their cinema page. Again, sometimes they’re free and sometimes they’re not. It’s worth having a look all the same.
June 2010 has a cinema collection curated by Martin Scorsese showing free movies from the World Cinema Foundation. And how’s this for a vote of confidence? Martin Scorsese is actually a member of Mubi.
Another hidden gold nugget is a best of the decade list, with best posters, best movie lists and sub-lists by genre. Not to be missed if you’re hunting for movies.
Mubi has also put a lot of work into the quality of their streaming, which is available through any browser so that you don’t need to download specific programs. My experience with the player so far has been great.
Oh yeah, why Mubi? I have a scary suspicion it’s something to do with Clerks II (kidding!). There seems to be a lot of controversy over the new name, but it seems it’s here to stay.
What do you think of Mubi (a.k.a. The Auteurs)? Is an independent cinema social network something you have dreamed of for years? What do you think of the name change? Let us know what you think.