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AS2.4 Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing. FILM REVIEWS. What is a film review?. A film review both informs and entertains. It gives the reader enough information to know whether they should see the film or not without giving away too much in terms of the plot.

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As2 4 produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

AS2.4 Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing


Film reviews

FILM REVIEWS


What is a film review

What is a film review?

A film review both informs and entertains. It gives the reader enough information to know whether they should see the film or not without giving away too much in terms of the plot.

What you could comment on:

Setting

Previous work by the director

Films it is similar to (Hitchcock-esque)

The acting of main actors

Music in the film

What you need to cover:

Casting

Brief plot – no spoilers

Your opinion

The title, director, rating and running time


Who is anthony mingella

Anthony Minghella, CBE (6 January 1954 – 18 March 2008) was a Britishfilm director, playwright and screenwriter. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007.

Minghella was born in Ryde, Isle of Wight, the son of Gloria (née Arcari) and Edward Minghella, ice cream factory owners.[1] His father was an Italian immigrant and his mother was born in Leeds to an Italian family;[2] her ancestors originally came from Valvori, a small village in the Lazio region of central Italy.

Who is Anthony Mingella?


Awards

Awards

A number of Minghella’s films were very well received critically and won multiple awards.


Film deets

Film deets

Based on a Patricia Highsmith 1955 novel of the same name, which was previously filmed as Plein Soleil in 1960.

Filmed in multiple locations across Italy and New York.

Stars Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The film fits into the genres of crime, thriller and drama and is said to be “Hitchcockian” in style.


Setting

The twisted plot and violence in the film is “juxtaposed” with the gorgeous Italian backdrop.

Tom and Dickie visit a number of Italian cities together.

Tom first meets Dickie in the fictitious resort of ‘Mongibello’. The movie uses two separate locations: the beautiful island of Ischia, largest of the three volcanic islands in the Bay of Naples; and its tiny neighbour, Procida.

They also visit Rome, San Remo and Venice.

Minghella used a number of different locations to film it including Sicily, Rome, Venice, Naples, Ischia. He didn’t worry about the factual aspect of the setting and instead films multiple locations for one “City” in order to get the romantic and gorgeous image of Italy.

Setting


The cast

The cast

Jude Law

Perfect casting. It’s no accident People magazine’s “Sexiest man alive” was cast as a womaniser and all round play boy.

He embarked on a romance with Sienna Miller shortly after splitting from wife Sadie Frost. His engagement to Sienna was called off amid allegations he had cheated on her with his children's nanny . He can't understand why he has been branded a "womaniser".

His role in Talented could almost be said to be “art imitating life”.

Previous well known roles: Jerome Morrow in Gattaca.


As2 4 produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

Matt Damon

Matt Damon’s break through role was in Goodwill Hunting which he co wrote and starred in with Ben Affleck.

The Talented Mr. Ripley came 2 years later in 1999 and shows Damon in a very different light.

Minghella may have picked Matt because of his classic all-American good looks and trustworthy face.

Your task:

Think, pair, share.

Why would Minghella have wanted to cast Matt… what would he bring to the role of Tom?


Style

Style

  • Some critics have compared the film to the works of Alfred Hitchcock, a renowned director of psychological thrillers. It is said to have a “Hitchcockian” style. He is best known for his films Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo.

  • Features of the film that mirror a class Hitchcock include:

  • The cool platinum blond (Marge and Meredith)

  • Characters who switch sides or who cannot be trusted.

  • Tension building through suspense to the point where the audience enjoys seeing the character in a life-threatening situation.

  • Bumbling or incompetent authority figures, particularly police officers.

  • Use of darkness to symbolise impending doom (dark clothing, shadows, smoke, etc.)

  • Strong visual use of famous landmarks.

  • Mistaken identity

  • Voyeurism (Tom watching Dickie when he doesn’t know)

  • A focus on the world of the privileged.

  • Your task: come up with an example of 3 of these stylistic features that the film has.


Vocab and phrasing

Vocab and phrasing

Reviews use different vocab and phrases than regular writing.

Put these words and phrases into categories that you could use them in: e.g. setting, characters, actors and casting, writing and plot, director, film techniques. Find meanings for any words you don’t already know.

Now pick 5 of the words and use them in a sentence about our film.

Captivating

Picturesque

Anti-hero

Pacing

Evocative

Depth

Virtuoso performance

Expertly cast

Romantic view

Edge-of-your-seat

Chillingly portrayed

Sophisticated

Glamorous

Cleverly portrayed

Against type

Playing to his strengths

Dazzling

Twists and turns

Enhances

Suspenseful

Dramatic

Highly-charged

Uneven

Versatile

Dark and thrilling

Stellar

Heart-pounding

Charismatic acting

Complex and enticing

Multi-layered

Deceptive

Cinematography

Expertly crafted

Goes downhill from there

Unnerving

Plot twists

Genre

Engrossed

Sweeping shots

Striking scenery

Engulf the senses

Thought provoking

Confusing

Original

Absorbing

Imaginative

True-to-life

Powerful

Static

Overrated

Spectacular scenes

Narcissistic


Talented trivia

Talented trivia

The opera excerpt is a scene from Eugene Onegin, by Tchaikovsky. The title character in the opera is, like Ripley, an attractive, charismatic, and clever young man, who aspires to be accepted by people of a higher social standing. This is best portrayed at the beginning of the third act when Onegen crashes a dinner party where he is clearly over his head and is quickly spotted as a poseur.

Jude Law learned to play the saxophone and Matt Damon learned to play the piano for this film. Damon's training enabled him to recreate the proper keyboard fingering; however, the music heard in the film is played by Sally Heath (the Bach) and Gabriel Yared (the Vivaldi). 

Is based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. There are an additional four novels which follow "The Talented Mr. Ripley", they are "Ripley Underground", "Ripley's Game", "The Boy Who Followed Ripley", and "Ripley Under Water". 


As2 4 produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

Fausto and Dickie (and Tom, later) sing "TuVuo' Fa' L'Americano," a humorous song about an Italian man in the 50s who wants to imitate the American lifestyle he sees in the movies. But American food doesn't do him any good and in the end, the money he spends comes from his mother's purse.

The second film in as many years in which Jude Law plays an entitled young man impersonated throughout the movie by someone else. The other film is Gattaca. 

Anthony Minghella originally wanted Tom Cruise for the role of Ripley but after seeing Good Will Hunting, he decided to cast Matt Damon. 


As2 4 produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

Option 1: Hot or not

Intro:

What were your expectations going in, what were they based on, eg. Previous roles by cast, previous films by director. What did the poster/trailor lead you to expect? Pretend the film is in theatres right now.

Plot summary:

Keep it brief but give a picture of what it’s about – chance to use language techniques.

Hot or not:

Two good things about the film.

Followed by one or two bad things.

(you need to cover off casting somewhere in here)

Conclusion:

Your recommendation about seeing it, who would like it, where audiences can see it etc.

Could use star ratings, number out of 10 etc.

Option 1: Technique based

Intro:

What were your expectations going in, what were they based on, eg. Previous roles by cast, previous films by director. What did the poster/trailor lead you to expect? Pretend the film is in theatres right now.

Plot summary:

Keep it brief but give a picture of what it’s about – chance to use language techniques.

Techniques:

Evaluate 3 different techniques. One needs to be casting. Others could be symbolism, cinematography, music, setting.

Conclusion:

Your recommendation about seeing it, who would like it, where audiences can see it etc.

Could use star ratings, number out of 10 etc


Beautiful creatures review

Beautiful creatures review

Which format do you think this film review is based on?

How do they introduce each section?


Talented hot or not

Talented – hot or not

Setting, gorgeous shots of Italy amid horrible acts.

Good casting – Jude Law, maximising his playboy persona. Matt Damon – against type.

Pacing – uneven, unbalanced

In pairs or groups, come up with 3 things the film does well, or that you liked, and 3 things the film doesn’t do so well, or you didn’t like.

Not appealing to teens

Good chemistry between characters – Jude and Matt.

Characters sometimes predicatable

Boat scene - dramatic

Good acting

Too heavy on the foreshadowing, makes plot predictable

Twists and turns – edge of your seat

Note: Just saying it was creepy isn’t a good enough “not”. Think about things like pacing, characters, plot line, etc.


Language features

Language features

Reviews allow you to be playful and creative with your language.

You can use a number of language features to do this including:

Rhetorical question – a question that doesn’t need answering.

Puns – a play on words. Usually in this case it’s using a saying from the film.

Metaphors, similes, personification, onomatopoeiaetc

Neologism – made up words, like Hitchcockian or Hitchcockesque.

Listing

Slang – colloquial language, in this case it’s usually particularly appropriate to your film.

References – to other films/styles/characters. Possibly to other films the actors or directors have made.


Silver linings playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

You’ll get 2 different reviews for Silver Linings Playbook.

Your task: read them and identify as many language features as you can. They could be the ones we outlined earlier or you could spot other ones as well.

Underline the language feature and make a note of which feature it is.


The trailor

The trailor


As2 4 produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing

  • Do:

  • Use language features

  • Be playful with your language

  • Use interesting vocab (use the list!)

  • Use the format to guide you

  • Give your opinion

  • Give a plot summary

  • End it by giving a recommendation and a rating

  • Give multiple points, both positive and negative

  • Don’t:

  • Make the whole review just plot

  • Give away the twists and turns (no spoilers!)

  • Use sentence starters like “My opinion is” or “I think this movie…” or “in conclusion” – you don’t need those kinds of connecting sentences, just tell us, don’t have to introduce what you are saying

  • Have a one sided review where you only say negative or positive things


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