Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Film review assignment

I detailed this cursorily in class. Here's the skinny:

The idea is for you to interact with the reviews of others. I often read movie reviews of films I haven't seen and may not ever see; I enjoy the act of critical examination, even if ultimately it's not a movie I'll see or that even interests me. (I also like reading book reviews, of course, but additionally I get a kick out of critical reviews of new buildings or painting exhibitions. I have no ability to paint or design architecture, but the kind of craft that goes into any of these forms is analogous to the craft that goes into writing, which is my own specialty.)

I want you to "interact with" two reviews by professional reviewers. Pick something you've seen recently (in the past few days) or go see something in the next week or so. I want to hear your thoughts on the movie, but I want to read them as a kind of argument or discussion you're having with these other reviewers. (It is to be written in essay form, however—not in dialogue form or some sort of free form.) Ebert does this in some of his essays, mentioning other reviewers and how they perceive something. Use proper form when quoting or paraphrasing the other reviewers.

On the lower right of this page is a link to the Internet Movie Database ( Any movie may be found there; from any movie's site, you can, lower down on the page, link to "External reviews." You should be reading reviews from major newspapers (San Francisco ChronicleLos Angeles TimesChicago Sun-Times [those are available at]) or magazines (SalonRolling Stone, the New Yorker (available at, not from unaffiliated reviewers or from someone's amateur blog.

This assignment, of 500-750 words, is due on Thursday, February 28. 

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