For your Midterm, you are going to choose one of your favorite movies to watch again for the upteenth time, but THIS time, you are going to watch it with a critical/analytical eye. Ideally, you own your favorite movie!
Your Midterm project will be to write a 2-3 page paper about your favorite film with an eye to the mechanics. You will answer all the questions below in your paper. TITLE your paper with the name of your film. 12 pt. font (NOT CALIBRI) and SINGLE or NORMAL spacing. (I know, I know, I’m literally the only professor who wants it this way.) You can break your paper into bullet points like the ones below in order to give your paper some structure, or you can write it essay style. Worth 120 points.
THIS SHOULD BE FUN! You are talking about your favorite movie – so enjoy the process!
Watch your favorite movie ( I know you probably have more than one, just pick one you want to see again. It must be a feature film – NOT a TV show and NOT an animated film)
Start with a short paragraph of WHY it is one of your favorites. How does it make you feel?
Look for STORYTELLING – Who is the protagonist? What is their objective? What are their obstacles? If you had to break this film down into three sections: Beginning, Middle, and End – what would be the three sentences you would use to tell me what is going on?
How did they use SHOW, DON’T TELL in this film? What was particularly brilliant storytelling using visual cues? Remember, this is NOT about the acting; “Show, don’t tell” is when the camera moves to show YOU, the audience, something that clues you into something significant. For example, the very end of Citizen Kane has a brilliant moment of “show, don’t tell” by the last image of the film, which is a close up of the sled burning in the fire…and we finally see “Rosebud”. There is no acting involved here…it’s ALL camera work.
What 2 brilliant moments of ACTING did you see in this film? How so? What do you think made it brilliant? (Think about emotional availability, movements, gestures, vocal inflection…) How did the actor bring the character to life? What made them believable?
How did they use CINEMATOGRAPHY to tell this story? Choose 3 different shots from the shot list that you learned last week and choose moments in the movie where you can name the shot used (establishing, close up, pan, dolly, etc.) and why they chose that one. How was the story better because of that choice?
What about DESIGN? There are five aspects of design:
Costume: Choose a character – what does the costume design tell you about this character? Think about choice of color, texture of the material, extra bling. Choose 2 outfits and talk about why that choice of costume was perfect for the character.
Props: Choose one thing an actor picked up and handled that told you something about their character? How did they treat it?
Set: Where was this film set? Do you think it was “on location” or they had a Green screen? What makes you think so? What did the set tell you about the world the characters live in? Choose a setting that was perfect – notice a particular detail about the set that you never saw before. How did noticing that add to the story?
Sound: What sort of music was in this film? Think about the instrumentation that you hear. How did it make you feel when the movie started? Was there ever utter silence? How did the music help tell the story? Talk about a moment where you heard music. What about the choice of songs throughout the film? Why did they choose that song? Music, lyrics…both? What about the sound effects?
Lights: Think about the section on lighting, and how it is so important to film. When were there moments of backlight, low light, deep color saturation, washed out colors…how did that make you feel while watching it? Choose 2 moments from the film where you are now really aware of why they made the choice of lighting that they did.
Overall Opinion: What have you learned from doing this analysis? Do you appreciate this film even more? Why or why not? Why should other people watch this film? For more information on Movie Review check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_criticism
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