This unit will give you the opportunity to put on your expert/critic hat as you write a 750-1000 word review of a movie, album, book or video game of your choice (within certain guidelines). Start by reviewing chapter 8, Justifying an Evaluation in The St. Martin’s Guide.
Next, choose a medium to review–film, music, print or digital. Let’s say that you decided to review a film, perhaps a science fiction film. It would be your job to tell your audience whether or not they should see this film, and then the rest of the essay would attempt to earn (justify) your evaluation. Using a science fiction film as an example, here is how you might connect with your audience:
1. Begin by describing the film in no more than a paragraph (no spoilers! don’t ruin the ending).
2. Next, advise your audience whether or not they should see the film. How good is it?
3. Now begin justifying your claim–place your film in context by comparing it to other similar science fiction films that you have seen, good or bad.
4. Touch on the strong points in the film (give a few specific examples, but avoid spoilers).
5. Touch on the weak points in the film (again give some specific examples).
6. Recall that you are playing the role of expert for you audience, so help them by pointing out subtle details that they might miss.
To get a sense of how one Justifies an Evaluation read the late Roger Ebert’s film review of Million Dollar Baby (click here). Notice how Ebert explains that he believes that this film was the best film of 2004. He places it in content with other films. Also notice how he is particularly impressed with Hillary Swank’s acting, so he points out a scene in which he believes she is at her best because she does not “over act.” Also notice how Ebert gives you a good idea of what the film is about, but he does not spend 4 pages summarizing the film and he does not ruin the ending.
Book, video game and album reviews work the same way as the above film review so proceed accordingly. Just remember to think of your audience as you write. If you listen to a great deal of hip hop music, then you might enjoy reviewing a new hip hop album. You’d want to explain how this album compares to some of your favorite albums. Explain what it does well and what needs improvement.
Have fun with this assignment, but be sure to use only your opinion. And be sure to both show and tell (see PowerPoint Showing versus telling lecture under course content: Showing and Telling Slideshow). DO NOT LOOK AT REVIEWS OF YOUR CHOSEN TOPIC BEFORE WRITING YOUR ESSAY. If you take a review from “Rotten Tomatoes”, IMDB or “Rolling Stone” and turn that in as your own work, that would be plagiarism. If you take any words from an already existing review and put those in your essay, that is also plagiarism. I want your ideas for this assignment. The only source you will use is the “thing” that you are evaluating.
Find a direct quote from the film, book, album or video game (if possible) that you can insert in your paper to support your thesis. Be sure to look at section in Rules for Writers to help you insert this quote with the proper in-text citation. We will introduce in-text citation with this paper and we will use it to full effect in the final two essays.
Next, take a look at section Find a model that BEST FITS the item that you are reviewing and write a Works Cited page for your film, book, album or game. Use the handbook to help you format correctly. MLA recently updated how Works Cited are done, so email me me if you get stumped. You can try your luck at EasyBib.com which walks you through the process and generates an entry that you may cut and paste. For more information, click here:https://www.britannica.com/art/science-fiction/SF-cinema-and-TV
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