Film Review Bibliography

Birminham Mail, (2012)Review: The WM Introducing Stage at ArtsFest by Birmingham Mail [newspaper and online]

Seagrave, Luke (2009) Coventry Godiva 2009 Review by Luke Seagrave [online]
Hewitt, Chris (2006) The Pursuit of Happyness. Will Smith Delivers A Moving Performance In This Inspiring Biopic By Chris Hewitt, Empire [online and magazine]

Dargis, Manhola (2006) The Pursuit of Happyness. Climbing Out Of A Gutter With A Five Year Old In Tow by Manhola Dargis. New York Times [online and newspaper]

Matt (2006) The Pursuit of Happyness by Matt [online]

Andrew, Brian (2007) The Pursuit of Happyness (Movie Review) by Brian Andrew [online]

pbworks (?) Features Of A Film Review [Online PDF]

Michelle (2012) Top 31 Tear Jerker Films by Michelle for The World of Film Craft [online]



Roots Garden Party Review

To help advertise the musical ability of so many local musicians, this year Ben Drummond also a local musician held his first Acoustic Roots Festival for free at The Boat House pub. Hidden away in the one far corner of the park in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield. The event was based around the idea of a friendly relaxed day out for family and friends to get together with the music at the for-front to help make it a joust occasion.IMG_0020

With the line up being based on the diversity of styles from Jazz and Country to the usual popularity of Pop and Rock from up and coming artists being spaced over the day from 2pm till late. Sequenced in with a mix of covers performed in the artist’s own eclectic ways and floor fillers to help bring in the audience.

The only problem that I had with the event was the location, being based in the far corner of Sutton Park, approximately 3000 yards away from the main entrance by the shopping center. Meant for people without cars you had to walk the distance into the woods to the dam, down one muddy embankment, past the cows that are free to roam about walk along the path located in front of a railway bridge and up another muddy embankment.  Luckily a map and directions were available at the main reception on first arrival although when walking the route you soon realized the direction had some inconsistencies that easily sent you off track. So you had to rely on asking passers by and hope they know the park better.

Once arriving at the location though, you found the place hidden behind high bushes as a floral wall and entrance. Which gave the feel of an escape that took you into the grounds the event was being held at. While the far side had a fence for safety from the embankment, that looked out onto a picturesque lake.

Inside the grounds the feeling was inviting and relaxed yet busy so there was not much room for people to pass through (bearing in mind it had not long started) but with in minutes the people wanting seats were seated which helped reduce the packed feel significantly. The sound of the music added to the comfort and the artists were strong acts, which worked well alongside each other even with their different styles. While the change over intervals was quickly sorted so the live music was close to consistent. This was added to by the friendliness of the regulars, owner, staff and audience who spent time talking to each other and getting to know people who they had never met before.

Ben Drummond

Although as the organizer and presenter Ben spent his time making sure everything was running smoothly. He also took time in which to play along some of the artists so that they had instrumental backing if the bands they usually played with wasn’t available. This he did exceptionally well being that he was playing music by other artist’s known and unknown as well as playing his own music. Meaning that he switched from one different style to another. As for his own music this was not known but gave an upbeat sound alongside catchy tunes.

Steve Marks

The most popular act on the list was Steve Marks here he did cover versions by artists such as Bon Jovi. These songs were played in an energetic style which got people up on their feet and all joining together dancing and sing along to the songs they knew which was all of them as the set list was based on popular classics. Formed in the style of a poppy dance along but with Steve’s own rocky style added to help make the song his own.


Raven Vandelle

Raven Vandelle’s act was set out as the vocalist Dave Taylor and the guitarist Nick Crutchley performing a range of their songs to the audience. These went down well for the act as being a relaxer although not known to many; they were the most relaxing part to the event that was enforced through the sun setting. This was a surprising look at their performance due to the band usually being a dark rocky sound with strong guitar riffs and sharp vocals. Forming a relaxing tone to the ear.

This evening was all topped off when it turned dusk as you got to view the mist gradually cover the water, the vibe was calming and you did feel relaxed while listening to music that you may of never heard before. A great ending to the day!

Over all I feel it was an amazing idea, brilliantly planned out and I’m happy the event happened as it was a lovely experience as compared to the usual musical set-up for the masses with great intentions at the forefront. The only thing to bear in mind if travelling to the location on foot in future, wear suitable foot ware and take a drink along the route as you’ll need one. On the other hand it was an adventure of a route and there was entertainment like the cows along the way. The acts were a treat to be introduced to of those that I did not know and Steve’s set gave it an eventful lively aspect compared to being this is a new act for you to hear. The only way I feel the set-up could be made better is if there was more advertising of the event. Plus introducing the people invited to the music previously as a taster through showing a line-up of the acts performing before the event takes place.

The Pursuit of Happyness (Film) Review

Having your dreams become reality is something everyone hopes to have happen but how far will you go for it to happen? This is the basis of “The Pursuit of Happyness” a film based around a family from San Francisco.

Here Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith risks his families’ life savings on some bone density machines that calls the end to his marriage. After words with his wife, he is soon reunited with his 5 year-old son, (Will Smith real life son) Jayden Picket Smith. However, the happiness is only short lived as not long after Chris and his son are soon left homeless but he sticks to his unpaid apprenticeship. With a bit of misleading to help him out and resorting to sleeping in the underground toilets when they weren’t able to stay in the shelter. It finally pays off and Chris Gardner is now a billionaire who wrote the book about his life that this film is the adaptation of.

This film is based on the strength of the love between the farther and son and how this is shown on the reel. The way in which it pulls on the heart strings from the strength of the acting and the storyline. Even with the misspelling of “Happyness” in the title something that would annoy anyone in the grammer police or form a stigma over the film. Instead you become warmed to it from it being named after the graffiti on the wall of the little boy’s nursery. Most of all though it enforces the idea of never giving up on your dreams and no matter how bad it gets you can still achieve what your heart desires. The basis of what could be an amazing film!

However, there is still something to let the side down with this it is plainly obvious with the inconsistences that run throughout. The way in which the wife is portrayed as a bad person when she leaves for finding out that her husband has squandered their life savings although she is already working two jobs to keep a roof over their heads. Chris Gardner is able to walk into a financial job because he makes the interviewers laugh even though he has walked into the interview wearing paint stained clothes after spending the night in the police station. Most of all though the audience is led to believe that a guy who can’t afford to give his son a stable home, who races his son to a shelter each night in the hope of him having a bed is able to afford to buy a new pair of shoes to go with his freshly pressed suit within 24 hours of losing a shoe after being run over.

No matter how much this film had the chance of working, with Will Smith an actor whose names calls respect from his acting.  With the love between farther and son already there and the documentary truth from it’s context. This film seemed as if it had everything going for it. Instead it is let down by the reliance of the context, acting and emotion to pull the story into the realms of the “Shawshank Redemption” with fighting for more. It seems to me as if the creators became lazy and missed out the obvious of reality. Don’t get me wrong the film is good for it’s main focus and worth the watch thanks to the Smith’ family but some of the scenes could have been thought out more to give it credibility.

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.


How To Write A Film Review

For the film review I feel it will be different to write as this is based on something you watch. A insight into the one side of the story, the characters point of view. So I though a good place to start would be to look to see if there are any guide’s on how to create a review. After spending time looking through pieces which were not helpful or I felt did not give me any information at all I found this piece. A guide if you must on how to write a review.


To narrow it down this guide insight was:

  • Title – catches the reader’s attention
  • Opening Paragraph – Hook that is usually a comment that reflects the reviewers overall opinion.
  • Brief synopsis of the film.
  • Development – Positive review – Usually starts with a brief analysis of the weaker points. Negative reviews start with the strong points first.
  • Analysis and critique aspects of the films

(Director’s concept, design, style of shots/editing, music/sound, special effects, screenplay, place, pacing/development)

  • Reference past films by the director, similar films (good and bad)
  • Specific examples of good and bad moments
  • Conclusion – Sums up the overall opinion
  • Advice to the viewer


This gave me an idea of how to go about writing my review as it meant I had all basis’s covered for what I needed to include the reflection of it would be clear and not all mixed up from one point to another. Plus with these key points it would be easier to read as it will help me get to the point more with expressing my opinion.


Think about the use of language in each and what each approach can offer the reader.

Task 2 Music Event Review Research

Music Event Reviews
After visiting and watching the events I looked to find some reviews based on them. These were both formal for the press and informal for a blog. For the music review I found these examples. However, as the music event I was looking at wasn’t highly advertised I couldn’t find any reviews for it. Due to this I thought of other events that are like it where there would be reviews available.

Formal Press
For the formal press I’ve looked at this piece based on “The West Midlands Introducing stage at the ArtsFest” from the Birmingham Mail.

Here the reviewer has wrote short burst sentences and paragraphs based on a selection of the acts and how the event was ran so to give a sense of an over view of the event explaining what was happening. This gave a sense of who were their preferred acts but did not give much detail about the events logistics so to say for anyone who decides to go to future events.


For A Blog
While in this informal review of the “Godiva Festival”, the reviewer Luke Seagrave has wrote about their experience of the day there was more detail and it was based on the thoughts of what the person had to deal with. In turn meaning it focused more on the fault that had taken over their mood of the event. While also showing a larger look at the different features instead of just one select aspect that had happened. Due to this also being based on a personal response the reviewer also wrote it so to be based more on their understanding through using more expressive words such as meandered and armed to give a dramatic response compared to just focusing on the facts.


From reading these I decided that the two reviews were useful to read but were more informative together. This was due to the review of the Godiva Festival speaking about the whole event, not just the one certain area. Also it gave you the logistics of the event meaning the reader found out the festival had taken place for years and would probably take place the year after. Giving an advertised aspect for the reader if they decided to go in future. As compared to the Birmingham Mail which only focused on the one aspect and told you the location. While the Birmingham Mail gave a more honest outlook due to it being about the event happening and not focused on the downfall of one problem. Although the problem did inform you that there were glitches. This intern means from looking at these reviews not only do I know how to put across my expression of the event but also what I feel should be including in the review as key pieces so that it covers the aspects.



For another task for my research I have to

“visit and review 2 cultural arts events. This can be an exhibition, a play, review a book, a performance or any other event, which is of cultural interest”. As well as reflecting on your experience of the event, your review should be informed by reading other peoples reviews of the same event and should not be purely descriptive”.

From this I have looked at what events are happening locally, where I found a music event. I decided to choose this event as I knew some acts who was performing at it so decided to go along to support them as well as having a relaxed friendly day out.

While my second event was something that I watched, a big interest of mine being films. For this I watched a film that I had wanted to see for a long time, that I knew was based on a large portion of society being shown through a cultural activity.