Writing the Film Review: Dissecting Cinema to Improve Your Own Storytelling

Welcome all, below are the out of class prep work/assignments for each of our sessions and general prep/what to expect information. This should prove fun for all.

Please bring pen and paper or something (tablet or laptop) to write on. Also having a copy of the reviews listed below or digital access to them in class would be helpful as well.

The sessions are 6:00 PM-9:00 PM so we’ll take a brief break at at the mid point so people can quickly run out and grab food/coffee (some may opt to bring their own ), but we’ll try to get back together quickly and treat the break/nosh as a brown bag.

Session 1

Image result for titanic movie

Session 2

  • Write a 350-750ish word review of one of your favorite films or a film that intrigued you recently. Bring it into class to share–print/make copies for your classmates and me. Make sure you cover the three essentials (what’s it about, who’s in it/making it and any relevant historical context that helps inform the reader, and of course did it work?) and use Ty Burr’s review below and Traver’s review above as points of reference.
  • see a movie that has opened theatrically in the past week or so and be prepared to take it apart in class.
  • Please read/skim Ty Burr’s review of “The Fighter.”
  • Read my review of “Neon Demon.”
  • Read Wesley Morris’s review of “The Shallows.”
  • Read Owen Gleiberman’s review of “Chappaquiddick.

Image result for the fighter


Session 3

Session 4

  • Write a Personal Essay about how film or “A” film has shaped your life.
  • Last class, share personal essays, discuss. Make merry, next steps.


Books and Resources:

  • “Writers at the Movies: 26 Contemporary Authors Celebrate 26 Memorable Movies” (edited by Jim Shepard).
  • “Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert” by Roger Ebert
  • “Sleeping with Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire”
    by David Thomson
  • “Agee on Film” by James Agee
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