Film Review Research

Formal Reviews

Here I started with places like Empire Magazine. Where I thought i’d find the best example of a review for the film as they are known and are one of the most respected places forgetting a review of a film from.

However, when I read it I wasn’t impressed as instead of reading a review of the film it felt more like a review of the main actor Will Smith’s career. Starting off with a brief one line giving an over view of the film. Followed by two paragraphs of his past work and how he had not won an award on his last “serious” film. The upset he felt over it which when first reading seemed confusing to me of what they was even trying to say and even in the review they mentioned that they should explain what they are on about making it more off putting for me read. After a few reads it did seem quite clever of how they had managed to compare the actors role to the basis of the story a sort of “the actor could relate to the felling as he to was down at the time so this is why he took the role” kind of explanation being given.

When the film’s “review” does start to kick in it is quick and to the point explaining how the story is true and is good at what it does of being a tear jerker a look at sympathy for the main character. In comparison to other films it is not as strong though. This I like as it puts it into comparison to notable films of the same style. Another part in this of which I don’t like is how the writer seems to change through the review in how they speak… starting off with “Everybody reacts to disappointment in different ways. Some go out and get shit-faced.” and then turning the review to the formal standard known as if it isn’t even the same piece of text. Making it sound as if it is an informal talk of something talking about going to the pub but then by the next line the format has appeared.

All in all I feel the reviewer shows the technicality of the film and their opinions well but as for the the way in which it is put across it is as if the reviewer is trying to put to much into such a short space so loses my interest quite quickly.

Moving on to the next review I also read this from the New York Times.

Within the title I found it more interesting, more captivating as it created an image in my mind making me want to read on. Then when you do read on it seems as if you are being told the whole events that have happened. So that you get the idea of the whole film without even watching it. This review although seeming to much is wrote as an over view of what happens I do prefer it as it focuses on the film, the acting in the film and how it does has strength. It also works well when comparing it to both the American society, life in general and films such as Ali. It also keeps the speak used simple so t is readable to everyone making it over all much better to focus on.

Informal Review

Along side the formal press I also had to look at reviews from the informal press, here I found a large review based on the failings of the film. This review from a website based on writing film reviews was one that I found interesting. Interesting in that like the words used in the review about the film, the review itself is “a diamond in the rough”. Being that for the first quarter; the reviewer seems annoyed, painting a picture of themselves as being like Scrooge with Christmas using the opening line of “There is no uglier trait in man than a streak of optimism,” and talking of how they become “sour” at the thought of people working to get their dreams to become reality, the way in which America encourage this with their dream. The review at first seems lost like their is no point in reading it as it is just someones rant about life. Someone who put so much effort in that they start off a few sentences with the word “And”. Annoying to any one in the grammar police!

However, it gets better as when it does turn to being about the film the person raises many points of how incorrect the film is. Saying it is “based on a true story” but many occasions are brought up of how it is impossible and even with watching the film before reading a review you still ask how is that even possible? Occasions such as the main character Chris Gardner can’t afford to pay his bills, keep a roof over his and his sons head but when he gets ran over after chasing someone who stole from him he loses a shoe. Although close to penniless and sleeping in a railway toilet he turns up next morning at his unpaid job with a pair of brand new shoes to go with his well ironed suit that he wears. Although the reviewer is quite angry about the film and the review is lengthy I quite like the review as it doesn’t stick to the award nominating scenes or focuses on the good boy character like the formal reviews do. It looks over the whole film in general.

Finally I also looked at the review by Brian Andrew, this was based out like an informal review and was easy to read. Starting off with the main point of the mis-spelling of the title. To then talking about Will Smith’s role in the film and how the film works to even cleverly at the end comparing his opinion of the film to the reviews found in the media and even the nominations for the film. Although with a large portion of the review being based on the fact that the wife in the film is Will Smith’s real life wife when it isn’t! I found this to be the best review to read as it gave the most honest aspect of the film pointing out that the film is good but it isn’t the best. Short, neat and straight to the point, clear of the opinion and explanation of the film. As well as conveying the aspects that the film was based on of the Smith farther-son roll.

From these I found that the best reviews were the ones with comparisons and that although the reviews can be good for what they are I do prefer the layout of what to include so to set it out like a formal review but the informal reviews were the best. This was due to them being most honest and informative, looking at both sides and not ignoring the main facts brought about in the film like the way the bad character (Chris Gardner’s wife) is portrayed.



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