writing reviews

1) Film review

Exercise1  - We recommend you to watch films,documentaries or TV series in foreign languages with subtitles. This will train your ear to vocabulary, expressions, real voices and increase non verbal skills - you can watch people as they underline their words with gestures. Talking about the film will also improve conversation skills.

Exercise2 - In order to write a short or a long film review, you need to give the film title in the language that you are learning as well as the original title in brakets. You need the name of the country which released and the year of release. Sometimes, the locations used in the film are important. You need to write a synopsis of the story - and you need to know whether you can tell the whole story or just part of it. You also need to write something about the cast - director, screenwriter, photographer and actors - you can proceed selectively - choosing whom you want to concentrate on.

The same rules as essay apply - write in short sentences and write in paragraphs.

Here are some tips on how to write a movie review by

1) watch the movie
2) Become familiar with the movie context. What have the actors/director done before, when and where was the film made and distributed, is the film based on a historic event, a work of fiction, was the screenplay written especially for the film? Is it a remake, a sequel, a prequel?
3) You need to give your opinion on the film. You can either choose to give it a mark (3 stars out of five), or you can write a sentence in your paragraph that expresses your opinion. You need to back up your opinion with an explanation.
4) Recap the story briefly but do not give away the ending - you don't want to spoil it for others. You can tell what the film is about, describe a scene that you particularly liked  and even quote from the film but do not tell the whole story.
5) You need to judge a film according to its category. Is it a comedy, a thriller, a romantic comedy, a drama, a horror film, a detective story? How does it compare against other films of in the same genre?

http://www.lib.washington.edu/media/new/images/dvd/sept/third_man.jpgThe Third Man, review by DKav
(UK 1949)

Review by DKav : Shot on location in 1948 by Carol Reed and based on a screenplay by Graham Greene, this thriller is set in Vienna and features dialogues in English and German.

The US actor Joseph Cotten plays Holly Martins, a writer of dime novels, who travels to the city to meet his friend Harry Lime who has offered him a job. On his arrival he hears from the porter that Harry is dead and  he subsequently meets Harry's friends and Harry's girlfriend. Holly discovers unsettling things which seem to be confirmed by the chief of police. Orson Welles wrote some of his own parts in what has become a classic of 20th Century cinema. It captures the immediate post-war atmosphere with conviction as we watch the police from the occupation forces investigate the case.

In my opinion, The Third Man is still relevant in our days because it is also a classic story of friendship, loyalty and betrayal. The atmosphere is further underlined by the score entirely performed on a zither by Anton Karas and the startling black and white photography by Robert Krasker.

4) book review

author's name, title of book, year of creation, publisher, number of pages,  format, genre. Find out about the author and the context of the book but focus on reviewing the book in front of you. You can use the three paragraph plus introduction and conclusion, with illustration- format. It is very important that you inform your reader about the genre of the book. You need to give a brief synopsis without giving the whole story or concept away. You can describe a scene, if it is a story, mention some of the characters. Give your sincere opinion and give an explanation to why you think so,
genres of book: art, aphorisms, atlas, biography and memoirs, business, children's books, classic, manual, cookbook, current events, DIY, essay, fantasy, flash-fiction, fiction, film, science, health and fitness, historical novel, history, horror, humour, illustrated book, literature, magazine, medical, mystery, new age, novel, philosophy, photography,  picture book,  poetry, politics, psychology, relationships, religion, romance, science fiction, self-help, short stories, teens, travel, true crime, woman's issue, young adult, zoology, digital book, printed book
2) Music review

Exercise1 : choose a CD by an artist whom you like, visit a concert. Writing about music will help you observe what you see on a stage, and prick your ears at the sounds you hear on a CD and become familiar with the way CD booklets are edited. A lot of your information will come from the CD booklets and concert programmes. It is an exercise of concentration and paying attention.

Exercise2: write a review.  Title, author, format, publisher, year, (concert: venue, date). You can choose the classic option with three paragraphs preceded by an introduction and followed by a conclusion.  We also like to illustrate the review either with a concert picture or a picture of the sleeve art. You need to find out a bit about the musicians and the instruments they are playing. Where was the album recorded, how long did it take. Pick about three songs (perhaps the single) and describe them to the reader. You need to give an opinion backed by explanations but the review is not about yourself. Find a context for the concert (other concerts at the same venue, or talk about the artist's tour) or the CD (previous works by the artist or similar artists), but do not make the context more important than the piece you are reviewing. You need of course to be familiar with terms related to music genres, even if your artist does not want to be put in a category,  you can nevertheless explain the music with some of these terms, most musicians are influenced by music-genres or particular songs.

genres of music: popular, jazz, rock, rap, blues, pop, radio friendly, 60ies, contemporary, punk, easy listening, Latin, fusion, Celtic, Hawaian, experimental, pentatonic, dub, groove, disco, electronic, acoustic, electric, digital, traditional, Medieval, Classical, Baroque, Romantic, atonal, instrument, choral, opera, song, spoken vocal, polyphonic, rhythmic, melodic, group, singer-songwriter, performer, band, trio, duo, quartet, orchestra, backing vocals, backing singers.

3) art critique
we adapted the next paragraph from:

artist name, title of the artwork, year of creation, dimensions. Describe what you see in front of you. What objects do you see, what are they made of?  What shapes do you see. What about the colours? Keep your review concise and stay focused on the artwork. Again, you can use the three paragraph structure with introduction and conclusion, and illustration. Find out about the context of the artwork and you can quote from your sources if they mention this artwork. If you want to be informative with your review, Be sincere when writing it. You need to express your opinion but you also need to explain why.
We can obviously not teach art history on this page and we invite our readers to look up the context of your artwork in specialised books and watch programmes. If you like visual works, you may enjoy writing about art.

types of artwork: landscape, photography, portrait, painting, sculpture, engraving, print, figurative, abstract, monochrome, black and white, watercolour, futuristic, modern, arts and crafts, fine arts, naive, academic, gouache, pastel, pencil drawing, sketch, ink, sumi-e, impressionists, cubists, expressionists, postmodern, installation, conceptual, oil painting, embroidery, coloured photography, digital, collage,