WAGOLL- Onward review

Some days ago I shared my analysis of a review of the film Marriage Story, as an example of what a good review looks like. Today I am sharing a similar analysis of a review of Onward, the latest Pixar film. This instance is not a perfect one: it is a bit informal at times, and the conclusion is perhaps not as strong as it should be. The reason why I am using it is that it is shorter-and consequently closer in length to what students are expected to write in an exam; and also because it manages to include some useful, relevant vocabulary.

As with previous WAGOLLs (see Mary Poppins Returns and Marriage Story), click on the image below to open a ThingLink. There you will find links to dictionary definitions and tips on how to structure a review as well as voice comments.

You can read the original review here.

Film genres and subgenres- vocabulary

Watch this video to find out more about different film genres and subgenres:

You can download the slides here.

WAGOLL-writing film reviews: Marriage Story (C2)

If you want to see what a good example of what a film review looks like, you can have a look at this review of Marriage Story (2019) by Mark Kermode, a well-known British film critic. If you click on the images you will access ThingLink interactive images, which will help you understand the structure of the review,  and will provide further information on some of the vocabulary. You will also be able to listen to some voice comments. Please click on the images to access all the interactive features:

If you haven’t watched the film, the trailer can help you get a better idea of the main storyline:

WAGOLL- film review: Mary Poppins Returns

To model writing a film review, I wanted to show my students ‘what a good one looks like’ (WAGOLL). I decided to use this review for Mary Poppins Returns.  In this case, it may not have been the best review I could find, but it served the purpose of illustrating the typical structure of a review.

I also wanted to provide students with the same explanations I would give them if I was explaining the positive points of the review in class. Even if I did go through them during classroom instruction, having an online document allowed them to access the information again, or for the first time if they had been unable to attend that particular session.

That is why I decided to create a Pages document on my iPad. First, I annotated it (highlighting relevant keywords, or underlining structural elements); then, I took a screenshot of the document, to get an image file, and uploaded it to Thinglink (open link in new tab here). Thinglink allows you to create interactive, media-rich images and videos, by adding text, audio, video, and/or links to specific parts of the image.

On the left-hand side of the document, headings to the paragraphs were added: that way, students can check the structure of the review. On the right-hand side, audio comments for each of the paragraphs were included, with a view to providing further clarification, or the reasons why some language resources and expressions had been/can be used.

This was the annotated/enhanced review (click on the picture to access all the interactive features):

Writing reviews- examples in real contexts

In this video you can find real examples of positive comments and adjectives to describe theatre plays and musicals. Many of these adjectives could be used as well to describe films or even books.

The pictures of the billboards were taken in London’s West End only some days ago to illustrate the language related to this topic in real use. Bear in mind, however, that these are all examples of rave reviews (extremely positive reviews), as they want to attract potential audiences.

pdf file of the slides here.

Some of the flyers we’ve used:

Remember you can use some of these tips to improve your writing tasks: