I totally agree with being suspicious above the movie reviewing and rating industry.
The article you pointed out about the reviews for Collateral Beauty stands as a good argument for that.
And last year Fandango acquired Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster.
But I think you shouldn’t abandon altogether checking movie ratings or reviews. From personal experience, and from reading other peoples reactions here and on Reddit, ratings and reviews can still be useful.
Imagine you are very busy, and you only have time to watch 1 movie every two weeks or so. But in this interval you saw a lot of movies advertised. You might even already have a “to-watch” / “must-see” list.
You must find a way to delimit between these movies and choose only one. A rating or a review might suffice, or at least it might help in the decision process.
I agree that once you saw a movie, and you formed an opinion, others’ opinions are pretty much irrelevant for you. After all, assessing a movie honestly results from a subjective experience. If you have enjoyed the movie, I don’t see why you should care that it has a 4/10 on IMDB. It happened to me a few times.
But before watching a movie, there’s no way you can have an opinion about it. So reviews and/or ratings can contribute at forming one that will help you decide whether to watch a movie or not.
P.S. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think!