Writing A Film Criticism Essays

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Current Film Reviews: Online Indexes

As a rule, the best places to start for reviews of current (within the last 10 years) feature films or television programs are the Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), ProQuest, and Lexis/Nexis Academic.

Academic Search Complete includes coverage of such popular and general interest publications as Newsweek, Time, The Nation, New Republic, and The New Yorker--all of which have regular movie review features. The index also covers major film-related journals, such as Journal of Film and Video, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Literature/Film Quarterly, and Cineaste. [For a complete listing of film journals covered, see Film Reviews and Film Criticism Resources

ProQuest and Lexis/Nexis Academic can help you locate current reviews and movie industry information appearing in national newspapers such as The New York Timesand The Washington Post, as well as national and trade magazines.

Current Film Reviews on the Web

The web offers an amazing abundance of film review sources, but in entering this cyber-territory, the searcher must beware. In surfing for reviews, it's particularly important to consider the source of the review. A large portion of web reviews are basically film industry promotional pieces, the opinions of fans, or too short to be of any real academic use. The best all-around engine for locating full-text reviews on the web is The Movie Review Query Engine. The MRQ is more useful in finding reviews for more recent films than for older ones, but with 28,000+ reviews on board, it's always worth a try. The engine turns up reviews in national and regional newspapers and magazines, newsletters and e-zines, use groups, and sundry other weird venues (Mutant Reviewers From Hell...really!)

Other web-based review resources are listed on a separate page

Older Film Reviews

An extensive listing on resources for finding historical reviews and criticism is provided on a separate page.

For reviews of films in magazines older than 15 years, it's best to start with The Readers Guide to Periodical Literature Retrospective Index . The Readers Guide goes back to the turn of the 19th Century and covers many of the same journals as are indexed in Expanded Academic Index (note that Readers Guide does not provide full-text).

For reviews of films older than 10 years in newspapers, it's best to start with Historical Newspapers (Proquest), which indexes and provides some full-text of articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times & Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times Film reviews from the Times from 1913-1970 are also indexed in a separate print publication, The New York Times Film Reviews (located in the Doe Library reference room: PN1995 .N4).

Film Review Index, a print source in the Media Resources Center, is a good bet for locating reviews of older films (1882-1985). It indexes publications ranging from popular periodicals, to the New York Times and The Village Voice, to relevant chapters in selected film books.

Other printed indexes to older reviews and criticism are discussed on a separate page.

Focused/In-depth Critical Analysis

As discussed above, the Academic Search Complete indexes a solid core of serious film journals and publications related to the study of popular culture--not a bad place to start a search for more scholarly or focused film literature.

The International Index to Film/TV Periodicals is currently perhaps the most comprehensive online index devoted exclusively film and television. Articles in international film journals are indexed from 1972 to present, and television journals from 1979 to present.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) Bibliography would be a good second place to look. The MLA Bibliography indexes an exceptionally wide range of journals which are broadly concerned with literature, folklore, theatre, and other performing arts--including film. This source also has the benefit of indexing relevant chapters in books, doctoral dissertations, conference proceedings, and other resources useful to the study of film.

International Index to the Performing Arts is another excellent source for film analysis and criticism. Content of the index is drawn from more than 210 scholarly and popular performing arts periodicals; and also indexes a variety of documents such as biographical profiles; conference papers; obituaries; interviews; discographies; reviews and events. Full-text is provided for 34 of the titles indexed.

An excellent resource to consult for articles related to film and American culture and history is the online index America History and Life. AHL indexes both important film journals (most of which are indexed in other sources discussed above and below) and a broad range of international journals devoted to American history, politics, and culture.

One of the best sources for tracking down criticism and analysis in international film journals is the Film Literature Index, a print resource which covers 153 film and TV-related publications from 1973 to present (the index is located in the Media Resources Center and the Main Library Information Center). One caution in using this index is the fact that UCB Library does not own a fair number of the smaller journals indexed.

The publications discussed above represent only a portion of the print and online resources available to assist the researcher in tracking down film literature. A more comprehensive listing of resources in the UCB Library is provided at http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/filmstudies/reviewslist.html

Writing an evaluation essay on a movie is way more enjoyable experience than a regular essay, because everyone likes watching movies. Moreover, it is easy to write about something you like. You can choose to write a favorite movie essay or a classification essay about movies, if you are a real devotee of cinematographic art. However, when you write a movie analysis essay you should remember that it is more than just a review of the film. While a review expresses only your opinion and summarizes the plot of the movie, a movie evaluation essay involves deeper analysis of different layers of the film, such as symbolism, settings, theme, and so on. If you are not a stranger to these cinematic devices and can identify them when watching a movie, then such paper shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, if you are not sure you can dig deeper than just a basic story line, you can order a custom written movie critique essay from Star-Writers. You can be sure to receive an original unique paper from a professional author and for a very moderate price.

Writing Movie Essay Step by Step

Writing an essay many seem like an overwhelming task. But it is only so when you work without a precise plan. After you learn these steps to writing a perfect movie analysis essay, you will be able to compose your paper with no effort. It will take even less of your time and energy, if you use our professional rewriting services after composing a first draft of your essay.

Step 1: Watch the movie. Obviously, to analyze a movie, you must watch it beforehand. Moreover, you have to watch it actively, not like an ordinary viewer. Have a notebook with you, so you could pause at some moments and take notes. Write down everything that catches your attention. There is no ultimate rule about what you must write about, it is your essay and it reflects the way you perceive things. So be confident, and note everything you like or dislike, any piece of dialog that got your attention or the way some character is dressed.

Step 2: Define the main elements. It is crucial for the success of your essay to identify the theme of the movie as soon as possible. Theme is so important, because it is like prism through which events of the story are perceived. For example the film may revolve around such theme, as unrequited love, revenge, survival, loneliness. Ultimately, there is no limit to the theme, it can be anything. Also it is important to define the genre of the movie, figure out the setting and the point of view. Analyzing a movie is very similar to analyzing a book. You will be able to read about writing a book critique essay if you visit our blog.

Step 3: Look at the characters. While watching a movie, jot down in your notebook some notes about characters. Try to understand the purpose of each character in the story. Define the protagonist, antagonist and the supporting cast; what aspect of human nature each character represents. You should also consider the settings as an important element. Sometimes, for example in movies, such as man vs. wild nature, the setting can be represented as a leading character, too. If all this seems confusing, you can read some of the movie essay samples on our blog to get an idea, how to write one.

Step 4: The role of actors and director. When analyzing a movie, you must certainly take into account the people who created it. These are not only actors, directors and producers, but also music orchestra, camera-men, engineers, visual artists, etc. You don’t need to write about all of them, you just need to choose one angle to look at. Your focus would depend on the type of the movie and the elements you want to emphasize. For example, you can write how music gave a rich emotional tone to the movie. If it is a film with fantastic creatures, you can write about the amazing job make-up artists did in creating the greasepaint.

Step 5: Story short outline. Briefly write about the main story line. Don’t go too deep into all nuances and twists of the plot. The purpose of the movie critique essay is not to summarize the whole story, but to analyze it. So don’t spend much time on this step. All you need is to give your readers a close enough idea what the movie is about. Read this article if you want to learn more about writing short, but concise story outlines.

Step 6: Write your essay.  After you have analyzed all the above elements of the movie and took short notes of them, it is finally time for you to start writing your essay. It will be easier and faster if you outline your essay beforehand. Just make a list of things you are going to mention in each paragraph. You can follow this classic five paragraph essay template, which would make the process of outlining clearer and more visual.  Otherwise, remember that you can always rely on Star-Writers to compose an exceptional movie critique essay for you. Here is the template you can use:

  • Paragraph 1: State the movie title, director, the main idea of the movie, your thesis statement;
  • Paragraph 2: Brief outline of the story.
  • Paragraph 3: Settings, structure, style and point of view;
  • Paragraph 4: Analysis of deeper meaning, symbolism and cinematic devices;
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion, restate your thesis and summarize.

Step 7: Edit. You cannot submit your essay without making sure it is free of structural, grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. If you have strong grammar skills and good attention to details, you can try to edit your essay by yourself. There are many online guides that would teach you how to do it. However, written language is such a tricky thing and there are many aspects that you can overlook. Thus, it is better to trust this important task to professionals. Star-Writers can help you with your movie analysis essay in any way you like — to revise, rewrite, edit or proofread it.

Writing Perfect Movie Analysis Essay

Writing about movies can be a lot of fun, especially if you know what you must focus on. If you use these 7 steps, you can be sure to compose a winning movie analysis essay. And Star-Writers are always available online to help you out at any moment of that writing journey. In addition, if you submit your email address right now, you will be able to receive a generous 20% discount on your first order. Contact Star-Writers and don’t lose your chance to get a perfect movie analysis essay. 

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