Reviews Appendix F: Film Critic’s Checklist

Appendix description or content:

Collect the following information, and add comments where useful, during your visit to the movies. Useful tip:  Bring a pen light if you’re not comfortable writing in the dark – but don’t let the ushers catch you!



ü     Name of film

ü     Genre

ü     Running time

ü     Rating (G, PG, PG-13, PG-17, etc.)?

ü     When did it open?

ü     Playing where?

ü     How much longer will it by playing?

ü     Timed to coincide with events of note? (summer blockbuster season? Oscar nominations)



❍ What’s your mood like as you enter the film?  Are you feeling grumpy? Overly hungry? These things can make a difference.

❍ Do you have any biases against the kind of actors or characters you’re about to encounter? Against the film?  You’ll want to control these or come back another time.



❍ Summarize it 3-5 sentences (The trick to great film criticism is to get away from plot summary so you can evaluate the work done by the various artists in bringing the story to life.)



❍ Name of producer

❍ Other recent work?

❍ Anything noteworthy about the story of getting the film produced? Budget? Accidents?



❍ Name of director

❍ Other recent work? Is this work a departure or in the same vein as previous work?

❍ Notes on film’s style (pacing, camera angles, transitions)



❍ Names of lead and supporting actors

❍ Other recent work

❍ Are they convincing?  What makes them convincing or unconvincing?

❍ Interesting cameos?


Set designer, videographer, script writer, costume designer, make-up artist, musical director, animator, and so on

❍ Note achievements by each in this category — Anything especially impressive or unimpressive? (Snappy/strained dialogue? Choppy/smooth editing? Great/lousy music?)


Summary judgment

❍ What is your overall impression of the film as a work of art? Does it achieve what it sets out to do? Regardless, is it worth watching? Why or why not?

❍ How might you have edited the film differently? To make it longer? Shorter? What worked and what didn’t? Any especially good scenes, sounds or visual effects?

❍ Give special attention to opening and closing scenes. Do they do a good job of foreshadowing or providing comment on the rest of the story? Any symbolism worth mentioning?