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When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Movies and Prefer to Stream Something at Home Instead
I feel I may have been deceiving you a bit over the last few months. In my capacity as a movie critic I’ve reviewed A Quiet Place II , The Last Duel , Don’t Look Up , The Matrix Resurrections and, more recently, The Batman , The Lost City and Top Gun: Maverick . Yet I haven’t set foot in a theater during a regular movie session since March of 2020. I’ve watched all of those movies, and a few other titles, at private limited-capacity screenings, specifically organized for the press. For other movies, I’ve simply streamed them at home.
Let me be clear: advanced press screenings and digital movie screeners aren’t a pandemic novelty. I was already watching movies for reviews that way before COVID-19 upended our lives. The difference is that in the before times I didn’t care that much if someone else was sitting next to me at the theater. If I couldn’t make it to a press screening, I would go to a regular movie session at my local Landmark or AMC theater once the movie was out.
Right now — especially since the drop of the indoor masking mandate and with coronavirus cases on the rise once again — it’s either press screenings with limited capacity or I’ll just wait until the movie is available on streaming. Yet again, my reluctance to go to the theater has increased due to the pandemic. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever return to my pre-COVID routine of going to the movies at least once a week. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching movies. It’s just that not all of them require the big screen.
I’ve written about the theaters vs. streaming dichotomy I’ve been having for more than two years . The idea of watching a movie at home is not exactly a new concept. We had VHS tapes, DVDs and iTunes rentals. But we’re at a point now where streaming technology, paired with bigger and higher-quality TV sets , allows us to have a quasi-moviegoing experience at home for certain titles that don’t offer that much spectacle.
Streaming services have been vying to provide that cinematic experience for a while. Think about Netflix’s Oscar-baiting efforts with Beasts of No Nation (2015), Roma (2018), Marriage Story (2019), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) or Mank (2020). But also think about their popular movies like Red Notice (2021), The Adam Project (2022) or Bird Box (2018) — or something like Don’t Look Up (2021), which managed to enrage some critics, get four Oscar nominations and make it to number two on Netflix’s ranking of their Most Popular Films in English .
Streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+ are releasing movies — wannabe awards contenders also get a limited release in movie theaters — that end up becoming not only big trophy nominees but also winners (think about The Power of the Dog and CODA ’s spotlight during awards season this year). CODA would make history by becoming the first streaming film to win the top Oscar prize: Best Motion Picture of the Year. The intimate coming-of-age story about a teenager who’s the only hearing person in a family of deaf people makes for the perfect at-home consumption. It’s one of the types of movies that I don’t necessarily see myself seeking out at a movie theater in the future. It makes for a great date night in.
Even though it’s getting harder for me to tell people to go to the cinema — and a big part of that is the risk the pandemic poses — I still think there are movie experiences that are better served up in a theater. I saw Top Gun: Maverick last month — sitting in the front of the theater just to avoid being too close to unmasked people — and it makes for the perfect moviegoing outing. Because of the way it was shot — with actors actually flying inside of F-18 jets and relying on practical effects instead of an abundance of CGI — it’s undeniably one of the movies that justifies the extra expense, bother and risk factor of the big screen. It won’t be the same to experience it at home, which is probably why the movie opened exclusively in theaters on May 27.
If you take a look at this year’s numbers , Top Gun: Maverick , The Batman , Jurassic World Dominion , Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home — which was released in December of last year and was actually 2021’s highest-grossing movie — lead the domestic box office so far. So don’t expect to see a shortage of action and comic book movies at the cineplex in the future. There’s clearly an audience for that.
But there’s also room for Sandra Bullock’s latest rom-com The Lost City , sitting at number eight right now in terms of the domestic yearly box office gross. Since its release on March 25, the action-adventure movie has grossed $105 million. It’s now finding a second life after being released on Paramount Plus on May 10. (Long gone are the days of the 90-day window between the date a movie opened in theaters and its release for home entertainment.) The Lost City was the most-streamed movie during the weekend of May 13–15, according to Whip Media, the data analysis company for the entertainment market.
As much as I thought The Lost City made for the perfect date movie, I also think date nights that revolve around film-watching can be perfectly enjoyed at home if you’re as risk-averse as I am. I didn’t feel Bullock’s antics in the movie — as brilliant and hilarious as she is here — required the complete cinematic experience.
Especially when the complete cinematic experience means getting out of the house, dealing with parking and risking not only possible COVID-19 exposure, but also a chatty theater-seat neighbor who doesn’t shut up or texts during the film. Somehow, during the pandemic, I developed an intolerance for inconvenient situations.
I should also mention the arthouse film that has beaten all odds: Everything Everywhere All at Once . The film has grossed more than $66 million. Variety brands the box office performance as “impressive” for an arthouse flick , adding that “those ticket sales are a positive indication that adult audiences will return to the big screen for the right movie.” The trade publication adds that older audiences have been slower to return to movie theaters compared to younger ones, which explains the box office popularity of titles like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman . You could also argue that Michelle Yeoh’s movie taps into the zeitgeisty multiverse during its trendiest moment .
While big studios like Disney or Warner Bros. have returned to the model of releasing their big titles exclusively in cinemas, arthouse studios and streaming services are betting on different strategies. A24 has found success with their exclusivity in theaters with the release of Everything Everywhere All at Once but also, to a lesser degree, X , and they released Alex Garland’s ( Ex Machina ) Men that way on May 20. Searchlight Pictures is taking a different approach. They’ll be releasing their three summer films — Fire Island , Good Luck to You, Leo Grande and Not Okay — directly on Hulu. Netflix will keep its weekly release of movies during the summer months, too. In the case of the star-studded The Gray Man , it’ll premiere in select theaters on July 15 and will then be available on Netflix a week after that. And Apple TV+ will try to replicate its CODA success with a new Sundance film: Dakota Johnson’s Cha Cha Real Smooth , which premiered simultaneously in select theaters and on the streamer on June 17.
If you’re feeling like watching a movie after all this cinema talk, take a look at our 2022 Summer Movie Preview . We include everything from genre tentpoles to arthouse indie titles. And we tell you whether you’ll be able to watch them in cinemas, at home, or both. One thing is clear: there are options for everything these days. But perhaps not every single movie demands to be watched on the big screen, at least for the time being.
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Critical Review Help: How to Write a Movie Critique
First and foremost, watch the movie that is to be critiqued, make an effort to write an unbiased review, identify your audience, maintain the desirable length, throw enough light on the actors in the movie and their performances, discuss the storyline and structure in detail, make sure you include your opinion on the important aspects of the movie such as direction, screenplay and music, below are few basic questions, finding answers to which might help one in writing a good movie critique..
- Is the film based on a true story, a book or an original idea? If the story is adapted from a true story or a book/novel, has the story maintained the sync with the original throughout the movie?
- Is the casting appropriate?
- What is the basic theme of the movie?
- Do the characters, story line and screenplay impart the theme of the movie?
- Are the locations appropriate?
- Is the music and background music appropriate as per the moods of the scenes?
- Are there any special characters?
- What are the highlights of the technology used in making the film?
- How effective or ineffective is the cinematography?
- How is the action sequence placed?
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How to Write a Movie Review: 9 Essential Tips
Whether you are an actor, a filmmaker, or a film geek through and through, writing film reviews can help hone your ability to think critically. With experience writing reviews, cinephiles can watch movies with a more thoughtful and intentional perspective. This skill enables viewers to have a response that goes deeper than “That movie was awesome!” And for you future film reviewers out there, it’s never too soon to start.
How to Write a Movie Review
While there’s no perfect approach to writing a movie review, there are definitely best practices that every aspiring reviewer can consider. Here are nine tips on writing a compelling piece.
1. Watch the film at least once.
When writing a film review, once is necessary, but twice is preferable. It’s impossible to capture every detail and thought only after one viewing. Throughout watching the film, taking detailed notes is also a good idea. This will help the writing process and make it easy to refer to your in-the-moment thoughts and reactions.
2. Express your opinions and support your criticism.
Professional reviewers do not shy away from telling their readers whether they thought a movie was good, bad, or indifferent. In fact, readers rely on those reviewers whose tastes reflect their own. Be sure to back up these thoughts with specifics–a disappointing performance, a ridiculous plot, beautiful cinematography, difficult material that leaves you thinking, and so on. Professional reviewers can express why and how they came to their criticism.
3. Consider your audience.
Are you writing for a fan site or a news outlet? Who will read your pieces, and what are their interests? Knowing who your readers are can help you decide what elements of the movie to highlight. You can also adjust your writing style to fit the target audience and the tone they’re used to reading.
4. Talk about the acting.
Many casual filmgoers will be inspired to see a movie if a favorite actor is in it, so you should probably spend a little space talking about the performances. Does the film feature a seasoned actor in a new kind of role or a brilliant performance from a rising star? How was the acting? Feedback about how well the actors handled the script, the dynamics in an ensemble, and so much more can help describe how the actors did in any given film.
5. Call out directors, cinematographers, and special effects.
This is where your film geek can really shine. Tell your readers about the highlights or missteps of directors, cinematographers, costume designers, and CGI. What worked, what surprised you, and what fell short of expectations are all great questions to address in the body of your review. It helps to have some knowledge of filmmaking , as well. That’s why film students with writing experience can actually make great reviewers. At NYFA, for instance, many film students study a range of topics relating to film that can include screenwriting, producing, and much more.
6. No spoilers!
Give your readers some idea of the plot, but be careful not to include any spoilers. Remember, the point of a good review is to get people interested in going to the movie. Don’t get over-excited and ruin it for them!
7. Study the professionals.
As with all writing endeavors, the more you read, the better. And when you read film reviews that you like (or don’t like), think about why. Use your critical eye to consider why one reviewer has a hundred thousand followers and another only has two. Be sure to read the publications where you’d like your writing to appear as a template for your reviews, and don’t forget to read the submission guidelines. A few examples of film review professionals include Rotten Tomatoes , Roger Ebert , and Film Comment .
8. Reread, rewrite, and edit.
Edit your work. Your opinions will not be taken seriously if you misspell the director’s name or can’t put together a grammatically correct sentence. Take the time to check your spelling and edit your piece for organizational flow.
9. Find your voice.
The best reviewers have a distinct personality that comes across in their writing. This does not happen overnight, so take every opportunity to write as an opportunity to develop your own style and voice that will grab the reader’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
Learn More About Filmmaking at NYFA
Writing film reviews is a great way to pursue your passion for film. Ready to build even more skills in filmmaking? Request more information about New York Film Academy’s filmmaking programs and workshops today!
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While the terms "review" and "criticism" are often used interchangeably, there are differences between them. Note how motion pictures are often referred to as "films" when discussing criticism, and "movies" when discussing reviews.
Film criticism is the study, interpretation, and evaluation of a film and its place in cinema history. Film criticism usually offers interpretation of its meaning, analysis of its structure and style, judgement of its worth by comparison with other films, and an estimation of its likely effect on viewers. Film theory (e.g. feminist, postmodernist, etc.) often informs the critical analysis of a film. Criticism may examine a particular film, or may look at a group of films in the same genre, or a director's or actor's body of work.
Film criticism differs from movie reviews in several ways: it entails both analysis and judgement; it may be published many years after a film is released; it is usually longer and more complex than a movie review. A movie review documents the critical reception of a film at its time of theatrical or dvd release. It is more "consumer-oriented," placing more emphasis on recommendation than analysis.
Reviews of feature films or mainstream films may be found in online databases, newspapers, and general interest magazines (e.g. New York Times , Village Voice , Cineaste ).
In-depth criticism and analyses of some feature films or mainstream films, foreign films, independent films, documentaries, etc. may be found in more scholarly or academic publications (e.g. Film Quarterly , Cinema Journal , Film International ).
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Quick Guide on How to Write a Movie Review Essay
What Is a Movie Review
The internet has revolutionized the realm of film criticism. No matter a movie's level of quality, it is always worth analyzing. Despite the growing number of individuals attempting to write about movies, few are successful. Most people do not provide insightful analysis, instead simply state how much they liked or disliked the film.
A movie criticism, usually composed by a professional in film studies, takes a comprehensive look at the film from a historical, social, political, or theoretical standpoint. This is unlike the opinion or suggestion given in a movie review, which is shorter and more concise.
A remarkable aspect of a good film review is that it doesn't just rate the movie but provides explicit views that form the critique's basis. This form of writing, like crafting essays, research papers, and term papers, should be insightful and draw the reader in quickly. It's important to discuss the reputation of the lead actors and directors and to write about what you expected and if they were met. The reviewer must explain a story's development without recalling major plot points and endings. The review must be concise, engaging, and should involve metaphors, specific words, analogies, etc.
Movie Review Purpose
Most film reviews are intended to guide readers in deciding whether to view, rent, or purchase the film. They should provide the necessary information to aid readers in deciding without divulging any fundamental details, such as the storyline or any surprises. This paper is common in schools because the lecturer wants to evaluate the student's ability to think critically and report the event easily for others to understand.
Movie reviews typically present a brief summary of the film's storyline. They provide readers with an overview of the characters, relationships, and scenarios but do not convey the complete narrative. Perusing the review should be different from seeing the movie. Nonetheless, feel free to highlight the essential moments or pivotal points that make the film worthwhile viewing.
Our college essay writing service has put together some advice on composing a movie review essay like a real critic, so let's explore the article further!
How to Write a Movie Review: Movie Review Outline
The structure is key when it comes to the quality of your paper. Don't neglect the power of a good outline, no matter what paper you're writing. Outlines help you stay on track and make sure your paper flows well.
Taking the time to arrange your ideas before starting to write is an effective way to save time further down the line. With a well-structured plan already in place, you won't have to worry about other elements. This will also make the writing process less stressful. Here is a guide on how to organize your movie review outline:
How Do You Start a Movie Review Essay: Introduction
The introductory paragraph is the first obvious step in crafting a movie review essay outline. Here, you want to quickly captivate the reader. Deliver your viewpoint instantly and make it unambiguous. Don't leave the audience wondering whether you enjoyed the film. Tell them right off the bat so you have time to justify your assessment throughout the remainder of the process.
In the introduction movie review should also describe your thesis. Develop the main concept for your essay that you can support using your perceptions of the movie's various aspects. The reader should be able to tell from this statement if you thought the film was fantastic, awful, or simply alright. By including a thesis statement, you may move your analysis beyond the plot synopsis phase into the movie critique category, which is considered a separate creative process.
Crafting Your Essay Movie Review Analysis
According to our research paper service , film analysis is similar to building a case. You're attempting to influence the reader to follow your recommendation to watch or disregard the film. So, you must ensure your essay movie review will be convincing. Giving instances that demonstrate the validity of your personal opinion is the only method to do this. If you find any dialogue in the movie that you think best exemplifies whether the work is strong or not, utilize quotes. This also applies to all of the movie's artistic decisions. But, just because a movie's narrative isn't strong or engaging doesn't indicate the rest of the film is worthless. Carefully highlight how some factors might undermine the movie in your explanation.
The movie's plot is only one component and shouldn't dominate the overall piece. The following are the important aspects to include in your movie review structure:
Cinematography - Cinematography covers much more than simply camera angles. It includes how the picture is lit, how it moves, appears, and what lenses are used. Here you can try the following analysis: 'Warm, gentle colors are used throughout the film, combined with soothing whites and grays, to simultaneously create and gradually tear away the characters' romantic sentiments for one another. There is a painting-like quality to each image.'
Editing - The editing is arguably the absolute star of what creates a good movie review example. It affects both the duration and the flow of a movie. Without effective editing, there would be uncomfortable gaps between pictures and many errors.
Costuming - The clothing the characters wear is called a costume, but there are a number of things to consider while evaluating movie costumes. You should be able to decide if the outfits suit the characters and the movie's atmosphere.
Casting and Acting - Finding the ideal performers to bring characters to life is the goal of casting. This sometimes entails seeing performers portray both familiar personas and figures who are entirely at odds with who they are. Casting, therefore, involves more than just finding talented performers. You can assess the acting in the following way: 'Even though he excels while on the go, his stoic behaviorism causes him to fall short of his co-star during calm scenes where he keeps a blank look on his face.'
Once you have finished analyzing the acting, directing, cinematography, setting, etc., wrap up with concise, stimulating wording to sustain readers' attention. Don't forget to provide a few examples to support your statements about the film.
Concluding Your Essay Movie Review
Finalize your review by coming full circle. Close the review by returning to your introductory fact or thesis. Give your readers a refresher on the movie's most intriguing aspects. It's important to remember that before choosing a movie, viewers check reviews. Finish with a statement indicating whether it is worthwhile for them to view. Be specific about who this movie will be more fascinating to and why in your suggestions. Remember that your ending is your last shot at influencing your audience, so use it wisely.
No matter the kind of movie review you have to complete, our professional specialists are willing to help you. Directly forward your needs to our research paper service and get it done quickly.
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Short Movie Review Form
If you are currently working on a new or old movie review, reading our suggestions should be sufficient to help you earn an A. So what if you'll be writing many reviews in the future? In this situation, we advise you to develop a uniform movie review template, which will enable you to save time and complete your upcoming projects successfully.
So, how to write a movie review template, you may ask? Well, our essay helper prepared a simple yet great movie review template you may use as a foundation for your own writing if you need some help getting started:
Once you know how to review a movie and learn the most valuable tips to handle this assignment, it is time to look at some movie review examples to get you on the right track.
Check out the following pieces to see which of these movie review essay examples you might want to keep at hand when working on your own assignment:
FAQs on Writing an Essay Movie Review
Here are the most frequently asked questions on how to write a movie review. We provided extra details on movie analysis to simplify writing film reviews.
What are the 6 Important Things to Include in a Film Review?
The following six elements should be present in any film review:
- A plot summary - Here, you should provide the movie title, its release date, the key members of the cast, the filmmaker or producer, and its subject matter.
- Your original impression - Here, you should discuss your initial impressions before seeing the movie and contrast them with how you felt afterward.
- Commentary on the acting - As was previously said, you can evaluate the actors' onscreen performance in the specific movie here. You can also talk about how it stacks up against the movies the actors have appeared in.
- Analysis of technical elements - You can describe camera methods, lighting, color, editing, sound, and audio, among other things.
- An evaluation of the film's overall success -Here, you should evaluate if the movie accomplished its goals, whether the messages it was intended to convey were clearly understood, or whether they were lost in translation.
- Your final recommendation - This summarizes both the critic's last observation and the film's overall message or what we may learn from it. Finally, you should inform the reader if they should watch the movie and what aspects they may or may not enjoy.
How Long Should a Movie Review Be?
Generally, film reviews range from 600 to 1200 words, though there is no particular format that must be followed. Yet, usually, a movie review format includes the following:
- Plot Summary
Before starting your movie review writing, do a lot of research. You might want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the director's, writer's, or actor's body of work before watching the movie, which will take you longer than creating the narrative.
What are the 5 C's in Film?
One may argue that the five C's of cinematography, as described by Joseph V. Mascelli, are fundamental ideas necessary to create a movie. To guarantee the finest possible quality, every idea must be carefully taken into account when creating, filming, and editing a movie.
- Camera Angles - A scene may be set up for viewers to follow by strategically placing the camera and using visual clues to show how actors relate to one another, their surroundings, and the actions on the screen.
- Continuity - A realistic visual experience is made possible by fluid internal logic. On the other hand, viewers will struggle to follow the plot if scenes are inconsistent graphically. Moreover, continuity errors can destroy a scene's emotional resonance.
- Cutting - Sensible trimming may advance the story when it is meticulously planned, with insight and forethought. It is important to connect each shot in a scene and the scenes themselves so that their overall impact, rather than just their separate elements, elicits the intended emotions from the spectator.
- Close-ups - The addition of close-ups may significantly alter a scenario. Viewers can be encouraged to feel intense feelings together with the characters on screen, even without language.
- Composition - Lighting, color, space, mood, and tone are some of the components that make up a cinematic scene. This is particularly intriguing because the composition may draw attention to a movie's topic and represent the cinematography style of both the filmmaker and the cinematographer.
Helpful Tips on Writing Movie Reviews
Here are some extra helpful tips to keep in mind when unsure how to write a movie review essay:
- Add Your Own Personal Feel to Your Movie Critique - You might not have much spare time for your pastime of reviewing. You won't be able to write a movie review, though, if you just wing it without reading what others have said. Make a note of the things that intrigued you, alarmed you, made you uncomfortable, or caused you to pause and consider something, and then use that list as the basis for your research.
- Develop a Distinctive Writing Style - Have an idol—it's good for you. You must be careful not to just paraphrase and duplicate what they say without adding your own original viewpoint. Instead, in order to stand out from the throng, you must discover your own voice. When writing movie reviews, you should also have a distinct writing style.
- Include Extensive Information -Mention the film's photographer, special effects designer, and director. Your review might be significantly impacted by this. Then you may list all the memorable movie moments that also stuck with you.
- Voice Your Views and Back Up Your Criticism - Give your own assessment of the film. Make sure you have evidence to support your criticisms. Use the movie's details that most shocked or humiliated you. Review genuine information rather than merely expressing your opinions without supporting details.
Composing a good movie review essay sample is easy if you follow this article's main steps and techniques. Furthermore, we strongly believe that this guide will assist you in achieving remarkable outcomes and ease your writing process. The staff at EssayPro is always available to provide a helping hand if you need a little additional push with movie review examples or even if it's simply coming up with a catchy essay title .
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The following sources will help you locate film reviews and criticism. In order to find a film review, you need to know the film title and film release date. If you do not have this information, consult either Halliwell's Film Guide , the Oxford Companion to Film , the International Directory of Films and Filmmakers (Vol. 1) or the Motion Picture Guide .
What are the differences between film reviews and film criticism?
Film reviews are written for the general public by usually journalists or other non-academics and appear in newspapers, magazines or online around the time the film is released in theatres. Their purpose is to describe the plot, characters, director, etc in order to help determine whether or not a film should be seen.
Film criticism is the study, interpretation and evaluation of a film with regard to issues such as historical context, theory or technical analysis. Film criticism is written by academics and is published in books or scholarly journals. It may sometimes address a specific apsect of a ilm or focus on the work of a particul director or genre. Critical reviews may be published many years after a film is released.
Databases for Finding Reviews & Criticism
Film and Television Literature Index Comprehensive bibliographic database to film and television literature
Additional Review Resources Online
Movie Review Query Engine (MRQE)
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Magill's Survey of Cinema: First and Second Series
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- Subjects: Film and Media
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How to Write a Movie Review
Last Updated: October 13, 2023 Fact Checked
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 177 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,431,325 times. Learn more...
Whether a movie is a rotten tomato or a brilliant work of art, if people are watching it, it's worth critiquing. A decent movie review should entertain, persuade and inform, providing an original opinion without giving away too much of the plot. A great movie review can be a work of art in its own right. Read on to learn how to analyze a movie like a professional film critic, come up with an interesting thesis, and write a review as entertaining as your source material.
Sample Movie Reviews
Writing an Intro for a Movie Review
- Comparison to Relevant Event or Movie: "Every day, our leaders, politicians, and pundits call for "revenge"– against terrorist groups, against international rivals, against other political parties. But few of them understand the cold, destructive, and ultimately hollow thrill of revenge as well as the characters of Blue Ruin. "
- Review in a nutshell: "Despite a compelling lead performance by Tom Hanks and a great soundtrack, Forrest Gump never gets out of the shadow of its weak plot and questionable premise."
- Context or Background Information: " Boyhood might be the first movie made where knowing how it was produced–slowly, over 12 years, with the same actors–is just as crucial as the movie itself."
- Using stars, a score out of 10 or 100, or the simple thumbs-up and thumbs-down is a quick way to give your thoughts. You then write about why you chose that rating.
- Great Movie: ABC is the rare movie that succeeds on almost every level, where each character, scene, costume, and joke firing on all cylinders to make a film worth repeated viewings."
- Bad Movie: "It doesn't matter how much you enjoy kung-fu and karate films: with 47 Ronin, you're better off saving your money, your popcorn, and time."
- Okay Movie: "I loved the wildly uneven Interstellar far more than I should have, but that doesn't mean it is perfect. Ultimately, the utter awe and spectacle of space swept me through the admittedly heavy-handed plotting and dialogue."
- Great: "Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer's chemistry would carry Fruitvale Station even if the script wasn't as good. The mid-movie prison scene in particular, where the camera never leaves their faces, shows how much they can convey with nothing but their eyelids, the flashing tension of neck muscles, and a barely cracking voice."
- Bad: " Jurassic World's biggest flaw, a complete lack of relatable female characters, is only further underscored by a laughably unrealistic shot of our heroine running away from a dinosaur – in heels."
- Okay: "At the end of the day, Snowpiercer can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. The attention to detail in fight scenes, where every weapon, lightbulb, and slick patch of ground is accounted for, doesn't translate to an ending that seems powerful but ultimately says little of substance."
- Does the film reflect on a current event or contemporary issue? It could be the director's way of engaging in a bigger conversation. Look for ways to relate the content of the film to the "real" world.
- Does the film seem to have a message, or does it attempt to elicit a specific response or emotion from the audience? You could discuss whether or not it achieves its own goals.
- Does the film connect with you on a personal level? You could write a review stemming from your own feelings and weave in some personal stories to make it interesting for your readers.
Composing Your Review
- When you name characters in your plot summary, list the actors' names directly afterward in parenthesis.
- Find a place to mention the director's name and the full movie title.
- If you feel you must discuss information that might "spoil" things for readers, warn them first.
- Cinematography: " Her is a world drenched in color, using bright, soft reds and oranges alongside calming whites and grays that both build, and slowly strip away, the feelings of love between the protagonists. Every frame feels like a painting worth sitting in."
- Tone: "Despite the insane loneliness and high stakes of being stuck alone on Mars, The Martian's witty script keeps humor and excitement alive in every scene. Space may be dangerous and scary, but the joy of scientific discovery is intoxicating."
- Music and Sound: " No Country For Old Men's bold decision to skip music entirely pays off in spades. The eerie silence of the desert, punctuated by the brief spells of violent, up-close-and-personal sound effects of hunter and hunted, keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat."
- Acting: "While he's fantastic whenever he's on the move, using his cool stoicism to counteract the rampaging bus, Keanu Reeves can't quite match his costar in the quiet moments of Speed, which falter under his expressionless gaze."
- Keep your writing clear and easy to understand. Don't use too much technical filmmaking jargon, and make your language crisp and accessible.
- Present both the facts and your opinion. For example, you might state something such as, "The Baroque background music was a jarring contrast to the 20th century setting." This is a lot more informative then simply saying, "The music was a strange choice for the movie."
- Great: "In the end, even the characters of Blue Ruin know how pointless their feud is. But revenge, much like every taut minute of this thriller, is far too addictive to give up until the bitter end.""
- Bad: "Much like the oft-mentioned "box of chocolates", Forest Gump has a couple of good little morsels. But most of the scenes, too sweet by half, should have been in the trash long before this movie was put out."
- Okay: "Without the novel, even revolutionary concept, Boyhood may not be a great movie. It might not even be "good.” But the power the film finds in the beauty of passing time and little, inconsequential moments – moments that could only be captured over 12 years of shooting – make Linklater's latest an essential film for anyone interested in the art of film."
Polishing Your Piece
- Ask yourself whether your review stayed true to your thesis. Did your conclusion tie back in with the initial ideas you proposed?
- Decide whether your review contains enough details about the movie. You may need to go back and add more description here and there to give readers a better sense of what the movie's about.
- Decide whether your review is interesting enough as a stand-alone piece of writing. Did you contribute something original to this discussion? What will readers gain from reading your review that they couldn't from simply watching the movie?
Studying Your Source Material
- The title of the film, and the year it came out.
- The director's name.
- The names of the lead actors.
- Make a note every time something sticks out to you, whether it's good or bad. This could be costuming, makeup, set design, music, etc. Think about how this detail relates to the rest of the movie and what it means in the context of your review.
- Take note of patterns you begin to notice as the movie unfolds.
- Use the pause button frequently so you make sure not to miss anything, and rewind as necessary.
- Direction: Consider the director and how he or she choose to portray/explain the events in the story. If the movie was slow, or didn't include things you thought were necessary, you can attribute this to the director. If you've seen other movies directed by the same person, compare them and determine which you like the most.
- Cinematography: What techniques were used to film the movie? What setting and background elements helped to create a certain tone?
- Writing: Evaluate the script, including dialogue and characterization. Did you feel like the plot was inventive and unpredictable or boring and weak? Did the characters' words seem credible to you?
- Editing: Was the movie choppy or did it flow smoothly from scene to scene? Did they incorporate a montage to help build the story? And was this obstructive to the narrative or did it help it? Did they use long cuts to help accentuate an actor's acting ability or many reaction shots to show a group's reaction to an event or dialogue? If visual effects were used were the plates well-chosen and were the composited effects part of a seamless experience? (Whether the effects looked realistic or not is not the jurisdiction of an editor, however, they do choose the footage to be sent off to the compositors, so this could still affect the film.)
- Costume design: Did the clothing choices fit the style of the movie? Did they contribute to the overall tone, rather than digressing from it?
- Set design: Consider how the setting of the film influenced its other elements. Did it add or subtract from the experience for you? If the movie was filmed in a real place, was this location well-chosen?
- Score or soundtrack: Did it work with the scenes? Was it over/under-used? Was it suspenseful? Amusing? Irritating? A soundtrack can make or break a movie, especially if the songs have a particular message or meaning to them.
- If you don't like the movie, don't be abusive and mean. If possible, avoid watching the movies that you would surely hate. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Understand that just because the movie isn't to your taste, that doesn't mean you should give it a bad review. A good reviewer helps people find movie's they will like. Since you don't have the same taste in movies as everyone else, you need to be able to tell people if they will enjoy the movie, even if you didn't. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Structure is very important; try categorizing the different parts of the film and commenting on each of those individually. Deciding how good each thing is will help you come to a more accurate conclusion. For example, things like acting, special effects, cinematography, think about how good each of those are. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/terminology_and_starting_prompts.html
- ↑ https://www.spiritofbaraka.com/how-write-a-movie-review
- ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/9-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
- ↑ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/writing-help/top-tips-for-writing-a-review
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/summary-using-it-wisely/
- ↑ https://twp.duke.edu/sites/twp.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/film-review-1.original.pdf
- ↑ https://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/film_writing_sample_analysis.html
- ↑ https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/onnyx.bei/dual-credit/movie-review-writing-guide
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-movie-review/
- ↑ https://gustavus.edu/writingcenter/handoutdocs/editing_proofreading.php
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://edusson.com/blog/how-to-write-movie-review
About This Article
To write a movie review, start with a compelling fact or opinion to hook your readers, like "Despite a great performance by Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump never overcomes its weak plot." Then, elaborate on your opinion of the movie right off the bat so readers know where you stand. Once your opinion is clear, provide examples from the movie that prove your point, like specific scenes, dialogue, songs, or camera shots. To learn how to study a film closely before you write a review, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Film: Movie Reviews and Film Criticism
- Movie Reviews and Film Criticism
- Articles & Databases
- DVDs, Videos, & Streaming Media
- Web Resources
Finding Movie Reviews and Film Criticism
Film criticism provides evidence for Film & Digital Arts criticism assignments. This research guide distinguishes movie reviews from film criticism and pr ovides resources that will help you find criticism and reviews. See the Articles & Databases and Web Resources sections of this research guide for a list of search tools.
The purpose of a movie review is consumer in nature. The reviewer is making a judgment about the quality of the movie with the intention of telling the reader whether or not it is worth the time, effort, and money to watch. The reviewer assumes that the reader has not seen the movie and therefore is careful to reveal no spoilers. Reviews tend to be written when the movie is released into theaters, on video or DVD, or in streaming. The quality of reviews varies greatly, ranging from a simple plot summary with a thumbs up or thumbs down to an in-depth examination informed by expertise from film schools and years of film analysis and reviews. Regardless, the purpose of a review is to make a viewing recom mendation.
Examples of movie reviews of Pulp Fiction include:
- James Berardinelli
- Roger Ebert
- Andrew Wickliffe
The purpose of film criticism is scholarly in nature. The film scholar is also making a judgment of the quality, but is doing so with the intention of making an argument about the meaning of the film or films by providing reasoned consideration and evidence. The scholar assumes that the reader has seen the film in order to better engage the argument – spoilers are irrelevant.
Film scholars have a distinct lens that they use in interpreting films. Their arguments might be based on filmmaker intent with an auteur lens, a formalist analysis of style and aesthetics or visual narrative, or an examination of the biographical or historical context. Their arguments might disconnect and dismantle the meaning of the film from its author’s intent by making a poststructuralist, semiotic, psychoanalytic, or literary analysis from the perspective of the viewer and of society. Their arguments might be a means to social justice intending to challenge the dominant power structures and the status quo by applying ideological Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, or queer approaches. Regardless, the purpose of criticism is to make a scholarly argument.
Examples of film criticism of Pulp Fiction include (you will need to be on campus or logged in to view):
- Davis, Todd F., and Kenneth Womack. “Shepherding the Weak: The Ethics of Redemption in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction.’” Literature Film Quarterly , vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 1998, p. 60-66. EBSCOhost permalink .
- Jewers, Caroline. “Heroes and Heroin: From ‘True Romance’ to ‘Pulp Fiction.’” Journal of Popular Culture , vol. 33, 2000, pp. 39-61. Link
- Kimball, A.Samuel. “‘Bad-Ass Dudes’ in Pulp Fiction: Homophobia and the Counterphobic Idealization of Women.” Quarterly Review of Film & Video , vol. 16, no. 2, Sept. 1997, pp. 171-192. Link
Criticism as Evidence
As in criticism, the purpose of film assignments tends to be making your own argument about a film or films using reasoned consideration and evidence. The nature of the evidence that will best serve your needs is criticism, not reviews. This research guide shows how to find both criticism and reviews, because the simple fact is that not all films receive critical treatment, but virtually all are reviewed. In those cases where there is no criticism available, you may use reviews as a starting point, especially if they are the more in-depth examinations informed by expertise. However, you will most likely end up making your own reasoned consideration a centerpiece of the study without providing the evidence a film criticism provides.
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