Is it just me or is everybody getting else also getting a little bit sick of the same old, same old from the usual premium streaming services? Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, or even the newer services like Peacock – it is beginning to feel like so much of the content is either the same or so similar that I often can’t tell which premium streaming site I am using without checking. There is way too much overlap these days (save for each service’s original content, of course).
The other big issue that I have with many of the most popular premium streaming services is the fact that concerning quality, especially when it comes to their original content, so much of it is hit or miss. This is particularly noticeable on Netflix. It seems like they either put out mind-blowing Emmy or Oscar-worthy works of film or utter trash that isn’t even worth the money put into making the trailer. More often than not, too, it seems to be vapid garbage that Netflix releases.
There is a tendency to lower the bar, to cater to the lowest common denominator on many of these premium streaming services (again, especially Netflix). It seems as if it is becoming increasingly common to see more and more mainstream, insubstantial, bubble gum pop TV shows and movies that aren’t about anything but garnering as many views as possible. For every Queen’s Gambit there are like 5 Turn Up Charlies (if you have never seen this show, don’t waste your time … do, however, watch Queen’s Gambit immediately if you have not already done so).
This chasm in the quality film has created a unique opening for a newer, underdog streaming service to rise up and garner some attention. I am talking, of course, about Mubi, the streaming service for only the most serious cinephiles around the world. If you’ve never heard of Mubi before, prepare to make some room in your monthly streaming budget for what just might be the best movie streaming site of them all – so long as we can use the term “best” to mean a streaming site that specializes in providing only the best movies.
Mubi prides themselves on their curation team, a squad of film buffs and movie experts that scour international film festivals, competitions, and inside buzz of the most ingenious filmmakers all around the world. This team then hand picks only the best movies from legendary and up and coming filmmakers alike.
In some ways, I think that Mubi can be called the Anti-Netflix. The name of Netflix’s strategy is quantity; Mubi’s only concern is quality. That is not to say, however, that they have a slim collection of movies in their library, though. In addition to offering some of the best cult classics, masterpieces, and contemporary magnum opuses, Mubi also produces their own original content as well, hiring only the most revered names in cinema today.
With a new handpicked movie added to the service every day, you will never run out of high-quality content to watch on Mubi. Actually, let’s not use the word “content.” Netflix puts out “content,” Mubi produces capital-F Films. If you are sick of the subpar, maybe it’s about time you subscribed to a premium streaming service that makes genius its M.O.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when weighing your options of new streaming services. Nowadays, there are just so many out there, you really do have to be picky before signing up for all of them (unless you want to go broke). So, let’s give Mubi its fair shake and take a closer look at everything that it has to offer in order to figure out whether it is the best movie streaming service for you.
Mubi used to go by the name, The Auteurs (this should tell you everything you need to know about this movie streaming site). The company was founded in 2007 by Efe Cakarel. He started working on Mubi after being disappointed that he was unable to watch In the Mood for Love one day while in a café in Tokyo.
In addition to offering a curated movie viewing experience, Mubi is credited as a distributor and producer. Production credits to Mubi can be seen in Port Authority, Farewell Armor, Tickled, and Our Men. Mubi is focused on offering a unique and elevated film streaming experience, which can be seen in its addition of one new staff curated movie per day.
Mubi has an interface that is every bit as sleek, dynamic, and user-friendly as the biggest streaming services on the block. With a black, white, and gray theme, film thumbnails pop. You’ll find a search bar, navigational menu, and an overflow menu that contains plenty of settings and features should you require them. The main menu, however, offers 5 choices: Now Showing, Library, Feed, Notebook, and your profile. Every once in a while, there may be a Live tab as well (for the occasions during which Mubi hosts live streamed events).
At the top of Now Showing, you will find the film of the day. Below that, there are several sections of side-scrolling movie thumbnails to choose from, separated by category (as is the custom with premium streaming site design).
I like the Mubi design – it is intuitive, user-friendly, and it looks good. It does everything that good design should do: it makes it easy to access the site’s many features.
Content and Features
Speaking of, Mubi does have a good number of unique features to enjoy. For one thing, as I just mentioned, Mubi hosts its own live-streamed events. As a member, you will get a heads up of when these events will occur. Generally, these events include awards ceremonies, film festival footage, and more.
Mubi also has some social features that are unrivaled in the movie streaming space. Two such novel features include The Notebook and the Feed. The Feed, as you would find on any old social media site, is a live feed of social media posts and user reviews of Mubi movies. Although this doesn’t prove to be the most useful feature in terms of discovering new content, it is fun and adds a certain level of community to Mubi that I have longed for in other movie streaming services.
The Notebook is a built-in film blog. With reviews and editorial content written by the film buffs who work at Mubi, this adds a nice additional layer to the Mubi experience, providing expert insight into what and how to watch.
As far as social features go, though, perhaps your profile will be the most practical and powerful. On your profile, you can access your Watch List, ratings, reviews, a favorites list, and your friends list. This is excellent for content discovery. If you aren’t so excited to have your movie opinions out in the open like that, understandably, Mubi does allow you to make your profile private as well.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Mubi is available on just about any and every device imaginable. From your desktop computer to your smartphone to your smart TV, you will never have to be without access to your favorite Mubi classics. With apps on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, and Samsung Smart TV, Mubi is an excellent choice for just about anyone, no matter where you happen to be.
What’s more, the apps are incredible. Take the iOS mobile app, for instance, it is smooth, intuitive, high speed, and virtually flawless … which is probably why it was able to earn an average user rating of 4.8 (out of 5) on the Apple App Store. Oh, and did I mention that you can download films to your phone as well and watch them when you are without WIFI or cell service?
Pricing and Plans
Good news for those of you who might still be on the fence when it comes to Mubi: there is a free 7-day trial. If you decide it’s not for you, no big deal, just cancel within that first week – no harm, no foul. However, if you fall in love with Mubi (as I have), it will cost you $10.99/month. Alternately, committing to 1 year gets you a 36% discount, coming to $83.88/year.
Students can subscribe to Mubi for just $6.99/month, offering the full scope of the service at this discounted rate.