Movie Review Notes & Preparation

Today we did some compare/contrast work with our movie reviews. Overall, here are my “most important” thoughts on the subject–and we’ll talk about these on Monday, briefly.

Then, we took some time in class to look at the “real” movie reviews you found. These are VERY useful things to incorporate into your review.

In terms of plot summary, here’s what we noticed:

  1. They don’t “summarize” in a “summary” way–they often describe scenes
  2. They give an aesthetic feel for the plot
  3. They cover the basic details
  4. They weave it into the whole review, they don’t just dump it in one paragraph–kind of like an explication.

In terms of how they give their opinions, we noticed:

  1. They sneak in words or adjectives in how they talk about what they’re doing.
  2. They often end with a clear “overall” opinion giving their spin on the movie.

In terms of overall things, we noticed:

  1. They usually highlight a specific performance/actor/voice.
  2. They usually highlight the director and what the director is trying to accomplish.
  3. They *may* include comparison to similar films.
  4. They often address technical issues (camera, costume, set, animation, etc.).
  5. The tone of the review often matches the movie. A funny film will probably get shorter sentences and a less serious tone than a more serious film.
  6. Generally reviewers use more evidence in the positive reviews than they do in the negative reviews.

In terms of leads, we noticed:

  1. They usually set the tone, and give an overall impression of the film.
  2. They usually describe a central scene from the film.

In terms of conclusions, we noticed:

  1. They usually make a statement about the main message of the film.
  2. If you can’t tell before the conclusion, you can tell now-there is a snapshot of the reviewer’s overall opinion.
  3. They may offer counter-evidence to the rest of the review (i.e. while the film was excellent overall, the x, y, or z left a lot to be desired”).
  4. Like the intro, they sometimes include a description of a scene.
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