A review is an essay that describes and evaluates something readers may wish to buy, see, or visit: a movie, book, restaurant, concert, CD, or consumer product, for example. Reviews can vary widely in tone or emphasis depending on their intended audience or the publication in which they appear. But all successful reviews establish and apply specific criteria for evaluating their subject. A movie review, for instance, might concentrate on the actors’ performances, the screenplay, and the special effects; a review of a new smartphone might compare the current model to earlier versions of the same product and focus on screen clarity, browser speed, and available apps. Description of the subject (the songs on a CD, say, or the specifications of a car, or the menu items in a restaurant) or, for film and book reviews, summary of the story are important in a review but should not dominate it. Readers of reviews should come away with an understanding of the subject’s significance and particular strengths and weaknesses, as well as an overall estimation of its merit.
The following are a list of helpful resources (both online and print) to help you get started on writing a film,book.
Handouts (From the Writing Studio Webpage)
- http://www.metrostate.edu/msweb/resources/academic_ss/cae/writing_center/clues/book_review.html: Guide to writing book reviews from the Metropolitan State University writing center. Offers guidance on establishing criteria for and organizing book reviews, as well as tips for beginning your evaluation of the book.
- http://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/: Seven tips for writing movie reviews from a former college newspaper reviewer.
- http://www.lib.vt.edu/find/byformat/moviereviews.: Guide to writing movie reviews from the Virginia Tech library.
- http://www.rottentomatoes.com: Rottentomatoes.com compiles published film reviews from many different sources. Readers may search for reviews on almost any movie.
- http://dogma.wordherders.net/archives/001474.html “How to Write a Restaurant Review” from the Cats and Dogma blog.
- http://www.toledoblade.com/Restaurant-Reviews : Restaurant reviews from the Toledo Blade
- http://www.spin.com/album-reviews: Reviews of albums from 1992-present.
- http://www.reviewgist.com/: Compiles published reviews of many consumer products. Search for a product or click on a list of product types for exmaples
The Writer’s Portfolio, Part Four (downloadable from the Writing Studio website); “Movie Reviews,” p. 274; “Consumer Reports,” p. 291