How to Find New Movies With Influences Similar to Your Favorite Movies

If you’ve ever finished watching a movie and would like to have something like this but aren’t quite sure what it is, there is a website that can help you. It’s called Cinetrii , and it does more than the usual ‘what to watch next’ feature in streaming services. We found it, like many of our favorites, through the Recomendo newsletter . Here’s what Cinetrii does and how it works.

What does Cinetrii do?

The streaming service’s recommendations for what they think you might look at next may be wrong, to put it mildly. For example, Amazon Prime Video displays a list below a movie or TV show, letting you know which customers who viewed the item also watched. This can be especially useful if you like lesser-known cult documentaries and want to find a few more. And then there are Netflix recommendations. If, for example, you’ve just finished Legally Blonde , Netflix can create a category for you that features films starring strong blondes, with the first being Sophie’s Choice .

But that’s not how Cinetrii works, which focuses more on the influence and inspiration of films. According to the Cinetrii website , it is “intended for movie lovers who want to understand the context of their favorite films.” But how does it work? Here are some details on their methodology, according to Cenetrii :

Directors and screenwriters can draw inspiration from previously written works – Cinetrii tries to trace this pedigree. The algorithm analyzes the written reviews of film critics, looks for links to other works, and tries to rank the links by relevance. Critics tend to speculate on possible sources of inspiration for the film. They will refer to, name, compare and contrast other works. Using large-scale text analysis, one can crowd-sourced knowledge from life experiences in cinematography and art appreciation, and give credit to reviewers.

Mainstream blockbuster films are largely overlooked and, as Tsentrius notes, rarely receive critical reviews that determine their impact (unless it’s some kind of franchise).

Think of Chinetria as a much less annoying version of your college boyfriend who constantly told everyone he was “really into movies” and took pride in recommendations that invariably included A Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, and of course , Citizen Kane .

How to use Cinetrii

With a very minimal home page, Cinetrii makes the search process much easier. Just enter the movie you like in the search bar and wait for the magic. The first thing that appears on the screen is a diagram of movies that came out before and after the movie you entered, which have similar influences and inspirations. You can also filter the results to show only movies that came out before or after the one you like.

To test this, I entered “The Sound of Music” :

This is the first of three pages of results with films that came out both before and after Julie Andrews’ classic 1965 game. When you click on one of the other movies, a pop-up text will appear identifying the movie, as well as an annotation from the link in the review.

The results represent an interesting assortment of genres. Unsurprisingly, the list includes other musicals from the studio system era, such as State Fair, Oklahoma, and South Pacific , as well as contemporary film musicals such as Chicago, Frozen, and Moulin Rouge . And then there are films with a less obvious connection to The Sound of Music. These include Source Code, Pacifier (with Vin Diesel), Postman (with Kevin Costner), and Inglourious Basterds. Clicking on each option will explain their inclusion.

In case you’re wondering, Postman and Pacifier are both there because they include Sound of Music as part of the plot. The source code is present because of its opening scene (which the critic compares to the opening of The Sound of Music) and Inglourious Basterds are clearly Nazi- related , and also because of the review comparing Christoph Waltz’s performance to Christopher Plummer’s performance in The Sound of Music “.


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