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:

My Favourite Things (from The Sound of Music) to tell the difference between /s/, /z/ and /ɪz/

This activity is aimed at helping students tell the difference between /s/, /z/ (and /ɪz/) in plural endings (the same as in 3rd person singular present simple endings and possessive ‘s). It uses the song “My Favourite Things” from the film The Sound of Music, which makes a long list of plural things the singer allegedly loves.

Students are provided with the phonemic transcription of the singular word. By applying the rule, they can guess what sound(s)/phoneme(s) would be used to pronounce them in the plural. Then, they can check their answers against Julie Andrews’s performance, by paying special attention to the way she pronounces either /s/ or /z/. Can they tell the difference?

  • Exercise- click here
  • Key to answers- click here


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:

Películas para aprender inglés- Films to learn English

This is a completely subjective list of films that may be helpful to improve your level of English: whether because the actors and actresses’ accents are clear and nice (or I especially like them anyway), or because the subject matter of the film and the language involved is easy to understand.

The films selected are arranged in chronological order. The ones with this symbol next to the title are the ones I especially recommend in terms of language level and accent.

The Great Dictator (1940)

Rebecca (1940)

To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Roman Holiday (1953) [*****]

Sabrina (1954)

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Charade (1963)

Mary Poppins (1964)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Take the Money and Run (1969)

Radio Days (1987)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Peter’s Friends (1992)

In the Name of the Father (1993)

The Remains of the Day (1993)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) [*****]

Gattaca (1997)

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

The Full Monty (1997)

Shakespeare in Love (1998) [*****]

Notting Hill (1999)

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Billy Elliot (2000)

Moulin Rouge! (2001) [*****]

The Others (2001) [*****]

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) [*****]

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2002) (and the whole Harry Potter saga) [*****]

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

V for Vendetta (2005)

Match Point (2005) [*****]

The Queen (2006)

The Prestige (2006)

Black Swan (2010)

The King’s Speech (2010) [*****]

(subtitled in English: http://dotsub.com/view/4a4e083a-f6cb-4db5-8554-91d4ffd1ec2b)

The Iron Lady (2011)

The Impossible (2012)

(subtitled in English: http://dotsub.com/view/4a5f5631-6a6a-4990-a103-6855ca346901)

Hitchcock (2012)

The Imitation Game (2014) [*****]

(subtitled in English: http://www.yourlocalcinema.com/imitationgame.html)

Hidden Figures (2015)

Suffragette (2015)


(First published October 2013, last update November 2018)

Películas para aprender francés- Films pour apprendre le français

Les quatre cent coups (1959)

Jules et Jim (1961)

Foutaises (1989): Court-métrage de Jean Pierre Jeunet, réalisateur de Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, dont la première partie s’inspire de Foutaises.


Sous-titrée français ici

Le dîner de cons (1998)

Bande annonce sous-titrée ici

Le fabuleux destin d’ Amélie Poulain (2001)

Les Choristes (2004)

Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (2004)

La môme (2007)

Odette Toulemonde (2007)

Bienvenue chez les ch’tis (2008)

Entre les Murs (2008)

Rien à déclarer (2010)

Le prénom (2012)

Intouchables (2012)

Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu? (2014)

Le Petit Prince (2015)

Plus d’info, et liens pour regarder des films:

(Publicado Abril 2013, última actualización Noviembre 2018)