Arthouse cinema and movie pals cut from same cheap cloth

I had written Bobbol earlier about the lack of full screen and never heard back. They did reply to the review with the following email:

“Thanks for the feedback & glad to hear you are enjoying the Arthouse Cinema & Bollywood Flicks Apps.

I checked out your blog and would like to say thanks for the review – honest user opinion is something we value highly so this is very useful to us.
We are planning an update of all 3 Apps once they have been live for around 6 weeks, and will certainly consider all of your suggestions.

The IMDB link is something we have already been investigating, however, rather than just open the website we wanted to download and show this content within the App itself.
To do this properly does take a little while, but we are investigating for the best solution.

In the meantime, I thought you might like to know that fullscreen playback & landscape rotation support are currently available, however we appreciate that without a help screen (great idea!) this is not obvious.

To play in full screen mode;

– Whilst a movie is playing, touch the area of the movie and the controls will appear.
– In the bottom-right corner touch the 2 arrows, which will take the video full screen.
– Provided your device orientation is not locked, roating the screen in full screen mode will toggle portrait / landscape.

– Finally, whilst browsing movies the App can also be used in either portrait/landscape – just make sure rotation lock is off.”

So evidently, I missed the full screen option when I found the controls. Sorry.

Spoiler alert! Arthouse Cinema, Bollywood Flicks and Movie Club give you instant access to a variety of free films you aren’t likely to find at your local DVD rental store. I stress free because you get what you pay for, which isn’t a bad thing. They will, however, leave you wishing for more.

I love Bollywood movies. They replaced Hong Kong cinema as my late night movie passion. My hopeless crush on Chingmy Yau and Michelle Yeoh transformed into a hopeless crush on Urmila Motandkar and Kojol.

I heard about them on a Teri Gross interview on Fresh Air with an Indian and English actor, whose name I can’t remember, who described exactly why they have so little appeal to American audiences. My favorite part of the interview was his description of the haphazard financing which resulted in films often being shut down for months at a time, only to have filming resume after the actors had shaved their beards or added a few pounds.

The description of movies that would pause after a fight scene with explosions so that the male and female leads could sing and dance their ways across exotic locales with thirty-seven costume changes piqued my interest as well. So I rented three or four from Netflix and have been enchanted ever since.

In addition to the qualities I’ve already described, Bollywood films typically run two and a half to three hours long, take a kitchen sink approach to scripting so that everyone in the audience can take something away, and relish soap opera writing. Forget about literary dialogue and dramatic tension: All you need is a handful of jokes, some explosions and car chases, romance and fist fights and, now that I think about it, this sounds like just about every other generic Hollywood film except for the singing and dancing.

Now that I think about it, if you love the crap churned out of Hollywood you should love Bollywood. And now you can watch a few on your iPad for free to find out for sure. You can also watch art films as well and no one will ever know you looked to see what the attraction is. As far as the world knows, you’re normal.

Bonbol Ltd has released a trio of movie apps for people who want to check out odd movies they’re not likely to find at the local rental house. Arthouse Cinema, Bollywood Flicks and Movie Club team up to stream fringe movies to your iPad. Hopefully they will add Hong Kong Cinemas to the queue because most Americans are only familiar with the slick international productions or the American releases of Jackie Chan films. Trust me, those films barely scratch the surface of Hong Kong for deliciously bad (not to mention surprisingly good) films made on the cheap.

Not all the movies are difficult to find; Charade is on the list and that movie kind of floats around rental houses and download sites with prints that can best be described as mediocre.

Bonbol Ltd has released a trio of film-streaming apps for the iPad. They all work essentially the same, using essentially the same interface, and often with the same movies in their lists.

Click image to see full size

I’m serious when I insist these apps are for checking out new genre films if you’ve never experienced them before. If you’re already a fan, you probably have access to more films with a much higher quality even for your iPad.

The Bonbol movies apps are little more than interfaces built to deliver YouTube videos straight to your iPad. This means that with a little bit of effort you can find them all with your YouTube iPad app. The advantage of these apps is that you don’t have to do the searching.

The Bonbol apps are really a search interface making it easier to find specific YouTube videos. If you want to see the videos, it will speed up your effort. But this is pretty much what you’ll see while you watch, film description as well.

Click image to see full size

That being said, there isn’t much to see in these apps besides the videos. And even the videos aren’t much.
As hard as I looked I couldn’t find a full screen playback mode, which may be for the best because the quality is atrocious on the few I actually looked at.

On top of that, the app really only works in landscape mode. In portrait mode, playback is reduced to a tiny 320 x 240 window.

You also have to watch ads while you load the app and load the movie, and the “skip ad” option sometimes prevents video playback. And the selection is pretty slim currently, just over a hundred movies between the three apps. They were promising additional movies on January 7 and I wrote this review several days later.

Neither does the app provide any movie data beyond the title and plot description. You won’t find cast info or production data. Nor are the descriptions incredibly useful.

As a film fan, I find these apps okay at best. As a reviewer I find the apps lacking a lot. If you want to check out a few films without a lot of effort and expense, I would download the apps. But if you discover you’re a fan, move on to something that will bring you closer to the quality of the theatrical releases.

Jenny Manytoes rates Arthouse Cinema, Bollywood Flicks and Movie Club

Jenny Manytoes would bunch her tail at the set. But she’s watched most of these movies with me already, on DVD, while sitting on my shoulder and purring. She couldn’t read the subtitles—which Carol insisted on so I could turn the sound down after the cats ruined the second set of wireless headphones—but she didn’t care. She liked the petting better.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 2 Stars - Raised Tail, Entertainment and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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