May 8 2011
Theaterex, which sounds like a nerdy cartoon dinosaur, is no longer with us. Given a lack of details of their absence, we’re going to assume that they went to an all weekend party of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and never were the same since.
A long standing joke amongst my friends used to be that I didn’t watch a lot of movies. For whatever reason they just weren’t my thing. For years I was content to busy myself with other interests rather than follow what was on the silver screen. Eventually this avoidant stance on films took sharp turn when I became friends with a film archivist. Her life revolved around movies both past and present. As a result, gradually I began to watch them as well.
But where does someone like me go to catch up on years of lost time of not watching movies? It’s not like I can drop everything and start watching the best films from the past couple decades. When people begin referring to films or actors I usually don’t have much to contribute.
Now there’s a new way to research movies, with Theaterex. It’s a unique movie review site that auto generates a profile and then reads it back to you. It uses a text to speech tool that gives you an audible rendition of the written review. It’s kind of look books on tape, except it reads movie reviews.
Using Theaterex is easy. Search on the movie you’re interested in and click on the results page. See the Tron page pictured below for an example. On the left is the review, and on the right is the text to speech display. This is actually in a movie player that displays pictures from the movie in the background. The voice is admittedly a bit robotic, but Theaterex is new. Perhaps in a later edition they’ll give you the option to select different voices.
The other sections include links to the movie’s Wikipedia article, IMDb page, and the Rotten Tomatoes page. Also included are related wiki links and related videos. Then there’s the original trailer for the movie, and finally the latest Twitter Buzz. It really gives you all the information you could hope to find in one easy to access location.
So, let’s imagine you’re at a party and people start talking about a recent flick. If you’re like me you’ll quickly find yourself lost and not having much to say. What you can do is excuse yourself for a few minutes and look up the movie on Theaterex. Within minutes you’ll be able to get the gist of it and have something to offer to the conversation. People will be amazed at how cool you seem by knowing everything about movies. At least, that’s what my friend the film archivist thought anyway.
Theaterex is a fun kind of start-up. It’s brought to us by a classic two person team know as ThoughtNirvana. ThoughtNirvana, which roughly translates to, “We are our own bosses and can do whatever we want,” produces a small but growing collection of web applications. It’s always neat to see what small teams can build, devoid of the encumbrance of larger corporate influences. Based upon our impressions of Theatrex, things are looking good so far. I could surmise that this is a website that might not have existed were a larger oversight committee involved. It’s a useful tool, but may or may not be a huge boon financially. Building it however gave them a nice platform to work on their text to voice API. It’s these types of creative detours that help pave the stepping stones to the next big thing.
Theaterex is a great site that does one thing and does it well. It provides you an overview for movies. It’s a quick and easy way to brush up on your favorite films. Whether you’re a movie guru brushing up on a film, or like me and missed at least a decade’s worth of movies, Theaterex gives you all the information you need about movies.