How to Write a Film Review ShaoGuangqing
Outline • Warm-up • The Structure of a Film Review • Steps to write a film review • Types of films/genres • Useful vocabulary and language for a film review
Warm-up • What is a film review (for)? • Have you ever read one? • Did your reading of a film review encourage you to see that film?
A Film Review is • a short description of a film, where the writer: • provides details of the movie analyzed, • gives his/her opinion or recommendation of the film. • The register used may be formal or semi-formal depending on the addressees and kind of newspaper or magazine where it will be published. • Present tenses and a variety of adjectives are frequently used.
What is a film review for? • Writing a movie review is a great way of expressing your opinion of a movie. • The purpose of most movie reviews is to help readers in determining whether they want to watch, rent or buy the movie. • The review should give enough details about the movie that the reader can make an informed decision, without giving anyway any essentials such as the plot or any surprises.
What is a film review for? • Similar to the purpose of writing book reviews, movie reviews analyze the effectiveness of the plot, theme, acting, direction, special effects, musical effects, cinematography, and all other elements that created the movie. Cinematography: the art or science of motion picture photography. It is the technique of movie photography, including both the shooting and development of the film. 영화 예술[촬영술]
The Structure of a Film Review • It should consist of 3 different parts: • Introduction • Body • Conclusion
Introduction • Introduction (1st paragraph) • It summarizes all the background information of the film. • It may include references to the title, director, type of film( comedy, adventure, drama, etc.), setting (place and time), characters, etc.
Body • Body: it may contain two paragraphs • 2nd paragraph: it offers a summary of the plot focusing on the main aspects. • 3rd paragraph: it includes general comments on the plot, the development of the main characters, the acting, the direction, etc. • Note: the end should not be revealed to the reader
Conclusion • Conclusion (4th paragraph) • The writer provides a general assessment of the film, and his/her opinion about it. • The writer recommends or does not recommend the movie. He/she should give reasons to support his/her opinion about the film.
Process-1st step • 1. Watch a film with a critical eye. Write down the description of the most significant parts and details which you will include into your work.
Process-2nd step • 2. Take note of information on the director, main characters, historical period used in this film, soundtrack, editing and camera work.
Process-3rd step • 3. Write an outline with the main ideas you want to develop in each paragraph. • Remember to include a topic sentence which summarizes the main idea of each paragraph.
Process-4th step • 4. First draft: start writing the paper considering the structure presented (4 different paragraphs). • Be creative and use quite a lot of cinema-related vocabulary.
Process-5th step • 5. Edit and proofread your final review for mistakes (grammatical, spelling, word-order, etc.) • Avoid vocabulary repetition • Check that you have followed the 4-paragraph structure. • Use an appropriate register (formal or semi-formal). Contractions, abbreviations, colloquial language should be avoided. • Check margins, font type and size, double-spacing, etc. • Ask a partner to read your film review to get some feedback before submitting your work.
Types of films/genres • Science fiction (sci-fi) • Comedy/sit-coms (situation coemedies) • Romance/love story • Horror film (not terror film) • Thriller • Spy film • Erotic/pornographic • Musical
Types of films/genres • Detective story • Mystery film • Adventure/action film • Biography • Animated film/Cartoon • Historical • War film • Gangster film
Useful Words • Soundtrack • Script • Plot/storyline • Stunts (stuntman) • Special effects • Box-office hit • Rehearsal • Masterpiece • Star (verb/noun)
Useful words • Hero/heroine • Opening • End/ending • Episode • Premiere • Climax • Cast of characters • Leading/supporting character • Sequence/scene
Useful adjectives • Positive adjectives • Interesting, good, exciting, funny, fantastic, amusing, moving, excellent, entertaining, realistic • long-running, well-developed, convincing, gripping • Negative adjectives • Boring, sad, bad, poor, dull, terrible, dreadful, thrilling, predictable, unimaginative, weak, frightening, scary, unbelievable
Useful language • 1st paragraph-Background • This film is set in…; the movie tells the story of…; this excellent film is based on… • 2nd paragraph-Summary of the plot • The storyline/plot focuses on …; the film reaches its climax…; the story begins…
Useful language • 3rd paragraph-Comments on the film • This acting/development of the main (leading) character is fascinating/excellent…; The script is bight/dull…The end is surprising / predictable • 4th paragraph-Conclusion • It is worth seeing…; I would/would not recommend it because …; Do not miss it…
Checklist • □ I have included a title for my film review. • □ I have summarized the plot without giving away the ending. • □ I have included a strong lead/introduction. • □ I have discussed significant characters and actors. • □ I have discussed important technical elements. • □ I have evaluated the sound and/or movie soundtrack. • □ I have stated and evaluated the theme. • □ I have included a strong conclusion summarizing my ideas. • □ I have edited my review for spelling and grammatical errors.
Film Review • The Truman Show
The Truman Show Part 1
Part 2 • Truman Burbank has been on television all of his life, the only thing is he doesn't know it yet. Truman Burbank's (Jim Carrey) whole life, unbeknown to him, has been televised. He is the star of the Truman Show the ultimate in reality television shows. He has been raised in the town of Sea haven, which in reality is a giant film set built inside a massive artificial dome (at last a use for the Millennium Dome). His whole environment, including the weather, is control by the shows creator Christof (Ed Harris) and his team.
They introduce characters and plot lines into Truman's life as if it were a soap opera, but things are not going well for them as due to a number of accidents Truman is beginning to suspect that there is something wrong with his life. Despite reassurances from his best fried Marlon (Noah Emmerich), the breakdown of his on screen wife Meryl (Laura Linney) leads him towards the truth. Will he be reunited his true love Lauren (NataschaMcElhone), or will Christof ensure that the whole of his life is televised? There is only one way to find out, and that is to watch the Truman Show.
Part 3 • This is one of the most brilliantly original films to come out of Hollywood in the recent years. It is a damning indictment of the current trends in television (Big Brother style reality television taken to its ultimate conclusion). It is an intelligent and witty piece of drama, but above all of this it is massively entertaining. • Lets take a look at why. Firstly we have the direction of Peter Wier (Witness, Picnic at Hanging Rock) who has used a brilliant selection of techniques that make this film work. Every time that we see Truman we are actually watching the Truman Show. This is achieved by the use of odd camera angles, fish eye lens effects, and shots supposedly from behind one way glass. The overall effect is stunning. It draws the audience in and leaves you in no doubt that we are actually watching a person that is begin unwitting filmed, and that we are really watching the same television show as the viewers in the film. This so easily could have gone very wrong, with the result that we would be just left confused.
Many other neat tricks are used on top of this including the synchronization of extras so that they look like extras. I can't believe that this would have been easy, as filmmakers for the whole of their lives have been trying to achieve the exact opposite. The response of the Truman Show viewers is also used to great effect, as we get to see what a consistent few viewers think about what we ourselves are watching. I really could go on all day extolling the virtues of the direction and scripting techniques used, but its suffice to say that it really is top class. • This leads me to the impressive script written by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca). The dialogue is intelligent and original. The way in which only Truman is allowed to make decisions and the other cast members are appearing to ad-libis well implemented. It questions our love of television and just how far should we go in the name of entertainment. That's not to say it is serious, far from it there are many moments of gentle comedy. What is most impressive is the fact that it never has to result to extremes to get its message across (no violence, no sex, or much swearing for that matter).
ad-lib • Ad-lib is used to describe individual moments during live theatre when an actor speaks through their character using words not found in the play's text. • In film the term ad-lib usually refers to the interpolation （inserting）of unscripted material in an otherwise scripted performance.
Part 4 • A special mention must be made of Burkhart von Dallwitz's (Supernova) music score, which compliments the action perfectly. It is rare that a score is integrated with a script quite so seamlessly. • The biggest surprise of all is Jim Carrey. He is well known for his madcap, zany, comedies, and people either love him or hate him. What he is not known for is subtlety, and here he is a revelation. He is fantastic, delivering a performance of a lifetime, and with a great deal of acting talent (maybe he should try it more often). The supporting cast are also faultless, especially Laura Linney who convincingly falls apart on screen desperately relying on product placement in an attempt to deal with Truman. It is a rare pleasure to say that all of the cast, from main stars, to the extras do a fine job and are faultless.
madcap：an impulsive, reckless, or lively person • zany：one who acts the clown to amuse others
Part 5 • As you can tell I really rate the Truman Show. It is a film that can be enjoyed by anyone, and in repeated viewings many subtleties can be uncovered. If I have any criticism it would be that it is a little lightweight and maybe a little too sweet (although this is intentionally so!), but this a very minor consideration. In an age of remakes, sequels, and special effect movies the Truman Show is head and shoulders above the rest. • Watch the Truman Show, everyone else is. Oh one last thing, in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.