Monday, January 14, 2002

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Movie Reviews & Previews

"Film fans juiced by mix of fresh, Rotten
By Leslie Miller, USA TODAY

This holiday season, movie fans who want to sort the hits from the hype can use Rotten Tomatoes.

Equal opportunities: Film fans can find a full range of movie criticism on the Rotten Tomatoes site.

Film buff Senh Duong , a 25-year-old Web page designer from the San Francisco Bay Area, has created the site ( to be a sort of Review Central, with links to all the online reviews he can find. Each movie gets its own page, resembling full-page newspaper ads citing glowing comments from dozens of national reviewers.

The difference is that Rotten Tomatoes includes good and "rotten" reviews, and visitors can click to see the complete review.

Besides being a consumer service, the site is fun and attractive. Duong's colorful icons show the critical consensus at a glance. Next to each excerpt, there's either a fresh red tomato (for a good review) or a greenish "splat" (for a bad one).

"Spotting a bad movie is easy," he explains -- the page "will be bombarded with rotten tomatoes!"

Visitors also can look for the "tomatometer," a thermometerlike display charting the consensus for each movie. It specifies the number of critics and shows the ratio of good reviews to bad. For a "fresh" rating, a film must be approved by at least 60% of the critics.

Duong started the site about a year ago because he loves movies -- and opening nights. He usually goes to two or three films a week, he says, but searching for reviews became a lot of work.

The site's usefulness and visual appeal may explain why it's becoming a Web sensation. Over the summer, Duong says, the number of visitors skyrocketed from about 2,000 a day to 30,000 -- and he recently quit his design job to work on the site full time. He had thought about putting it aside and applying to film school, but two friends persuaded him to keep it going. "I wanted to get into movies one way or another," Duong says."


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