Sometimes the best movies aren't the ones with enough money for a big promotional tour. Check out these popular movie recommendation services to find great films tailored to your tastes.
Photo by emdot.
Jinni (Web-Based, Free)
Jinni is a popular movie recommendation service that goes well beyond the "Everyone who liked X loved Y, so you will too" formula. For starters, you plug in a movie you like and simply browse for more like it. Unlike many other movie recommendation services, you can also explore movies by mood, plot, genre, time period, place, audience (e.g., kid-friendly, "girl's night out", and more), and by buzz surrounding the movie (such as controversy, critical praise, popularity, award winning, cult status, and more). Sign up for an account and store all your likes and dislikes to further hone the search results. Jinni recommends full length movies, short films, and television shows. Jinni is powered by the Movie Genome Project.
Rotten Tomatoes (Web-Based, Free)
Rotten Tomatoes is a comprehensive film rating tool. Apart from rating movies, you can browse the top rentals, see what's new on DVD, read movie news and critical reviews, watch trailers, and leave feedback on movies for other users. Rotten Tomatoes isn't focused on telling you that if you like Movie A you'll love Movie B, but instead on giving you as much information about the critical reception of a movie as possible so you can make an informed decision. If you're willing to get your hands dirty exploring the site, the mountain of reviews could help you find the perfect movie.
Movielens (Web-Based, Free)
Movielens is a movie recommendation service run by the Grouplens Research team at the University of Minnesota. When you use Movielens, you're not only enjoying movie suggestions based on their massive database of rankings, but you're helping the research team test and development new algorithms for use outside of simply picking movies. Movielens includes an interesting search feature known as Movie Tuner. Using Movie Tuner you can tweak the search results to find, for example, a movie like Pulp Fiction but with more action and more non-linear movement—or any other number of factors related to the movie.
Criticker (Web-Based, Free)
Criticker uses an algorithm called The Probable Score Indicator to pick movies for you. They index the top 1000 users with the most similar tastes to yours out of the millions of Criticker accounts and ratings, then use that to compute the probability of a match. When you browse movies, the PSI score is displayed beside the movie listing. You're not just told that you'd like a movie, you're shown that it's 95% probably that you'd like it. You can click on your PSI score to see how it was generated and even browse the ranking lists of the users who were included the calculation.
An honorable mention goes out to "friends". A significant number of people skip using movie recommendation services altogether and rely on suggestions and movie criticism from their friends to shape their movie choices—a tried and true method you can't argue with.