WRITING

How to Write a Movie Review

For the B2 FCE Cambridge exam

A movie review is an informal piece of writing that describes and evaluates a movie. Movie reviews are usually written by experts giving their opinion about the movie and published in newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

Parts of a movie review

1. Title

This should include the movie title and an eye-catching heading

2. Introduction

This paragraph should include the name of the movie, the genre, the director, the stars and any prizes they have won. You can also include information about the place and the time the movie is set and filmed. The purpose of this paragraph is that you engage the reader and give them a general idea of the type of movie you are going to review.

3. Summary

This part should include an outline of the main events along with general information about the characters and the plot. Your summary should NOT spoil the film. Therefore, you should not mention anything about the ending of the movie.

4. Analysis

In this section you should share your opinion about the movie. Your review should examine the plot, the actors, the special effects and the soundtrack. You can also compare the movie you are reviewing to a similar film in the same genre. In this section you can also give examples of the good elements and the bad elements in the movie.

5. Conclusion

In this part you should summarize your thoughts on the good and bad elements of the movie. Finally, you should evaluate the movie (give stars ⭐⭐⭐, thumbs up πŸ‘ or thumbs down πŸ‘Ž) and make a recommendation. You should mention why you recommend/ don’t recommend the movie.

Now that you know which parts should be included in a movie review 🎞️🍿, let’s see an example:

Check the movie trailer out to learn more about β€œLittle Boy”

Useful language to describe movies

Movie genre

  • an action movie
  • an animated movie
  • a drama
  • a historical movie
  • a horror movie
  • a musical
  • a romantic comedy
  • a science fiction movie
  • a thriller
  • a war movie
  • a western

People and things in movies

  • audience
  • cast
  • cinematography
  • extra
  • plot
  • review
  • scene
  • script
  • sequel
  • soundtrack
  • special effects
  • star
  • subtitles

Adjectives to describe movies

PositiveNegativeNeutral
funny
hilarious
exciting
interesting
moving
first-rater
original
imaginative
legendary
inspiring
insightful
thought-provoking
flawless
first-rate
suspenseful
riveting
intriguing
heart-warming
stellar
standout
stunning
must-watch
tragic
violent
too boring
too scary
uninteresting
too slow
too long
weak
flawed
second-rate
third-rate
silly
disappointing
bloody
predictable
confusing
ordinary
disgusting
suspenseful
low-budget
big-budget
dramatic
highly-charged
sentimental
romantic
fantasy
slow
romantic
satirical
fast-moving
oddball
picaresque
wacky

Verbs and phrases

  • It was directed by …
  • It was written by…
  • It was dubbed into [languge]
  • The movie explores themes of …
  • The movie shows…
  • [Actor] played the part/role of [character]
  • It is set in…
  • It is based on the book…
  • It was shot on location in [city]
  • It’s about…
  • One of the main storylines is…
  • It stars…
  • In the end…
  • My favourite scene is…
  • I strongly recommend the movie because…

Pro tips for writing a movie review

  • Remember to write the movie’s title.
  • Write an eye-catching heading.
  • Remember to mention the genre of the movie.
  • Don’t forget the audience. Who is the movie for?
  • Don’t forget to include the names of the characters, the year the movie was made and if the movie or the actors have won any awards (For example, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an MTV Movie Award, etc).
  • Never ever mention the ending!!! You don’t want to spoil the movie.
  • Remember to share your personal opinion and your evaluation.

Time to practice

You see this announcement in your English school magazine.

Review wanted!
Write a review about a movie you enjoyed or a film that you didn’t like. It could be a recent film or a movie that you watched a long time ago. Explain that is it about, why the main character is interesting/ boring and if you recommend it or not.

Type your answer in the box below, and I’ll give you personalized feedback.

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GRAMMAR

What grammar topics do I need to study to level up my English?

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Here you can see a list of grammar topics that you need to master in order to level up according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Beginner (A1)

At this level you should be able to:

  • Communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
  • Ask and answer simple questions about daily routines.
  • Recognize letters, numbers, familiar names and basic phrases in most common every day situations.

These are topics you need to study at A1 Level according to Exam English:

Adjectives: common and demonstrative
Adverbs of frequency
Comparatives and superlatives
Going to
How much/how many and very
common uncountable nouns
I’d like
Imperatives (+/-)
Intensifiers – very basic
Modals: can/can’t/could/couldn’t
Past simple of β€œto be”
Past Simple
Possessive adjectives
Possessive s
Prepositions, common
Prepositions of place
Prepositions of time, including in/on/at
Present continuous
Present simple
Pronouns: simple, personal
Questions
There is/are
To be, including question+negatives
Verb + ing: like/hate/love

Elementary (A2)

At this level you will learn how to:

  • Deal with simple information
  • Express your opinion about familiar contexts (daily routines, life experiences and predictable topics)
  • Understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment.
  • Describe in basic terms people, things, places, and feelings.
  • Talk about plans, decisions, arrangements, and promises.
  • Give advice and talk about rules and obligations.

These are topics you need to study at A2 Level according to Exam English:

Adjectives – comparative, – use of than and definite article
Adjectives – superlative – use of definite article
Adverbial phrases of time, place and frequency – including word order
Adverbs of frequency
Articles – with countable and uncountable nouns
Countables and Uncountables: much/many
Gerunds
Going to
Imperatives
Modals – can/could
Modals – have to
Modals – should

Past continuous
Past simple
Phrasal verbs – common
Possessives – use of β€˜s, s’
Prepositional phrases (place, time and movement)
Prepositions of time: on/in/at
Present continuous
Present continuous for future
Present perfect
How Questions
Verb + ing/infinitive: like/
want-would like
Wh-questions in past
Will / won’t
Zero and 1st conditional

In order to pass the KET test you need to master the grammar topics for A1 and A2

If you pass the KET test it means that you can:

  • Understand and use basic phrases and expressions
  • Understand simple written English
  • Introduce yourself and answer basic questions about yourself
  • Interact with English speakers at a basic level

If you can do all these things it is because you have developed your skills to use English to communicate in simple situations

Intermediate (B1)

At this level you will learn how to:

  • Express yourself with clarity about familiar situations and deal with non-routine information.
  • Understand the main points of conversations related to familiar situations encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Deal with most situations while traveling in a place where English is spoken
  • Write about simple topics that are familiar or of personal interest
  • Describe experiences and events in the past, dreams, hopes, ambitions, regret, and hypothetical situations
  • Give reasons and explanations about your opinion

These are topics you need to study at B1 Level according to Exam English

Adverbs
Both, either, neither
Broader range of intensifiers; So, such, too, enough
Comparatives and superlatives
Question tags
Conditionals, 2nd and 3rd
Connecting words expressing
cause and effect, contrast etc.

Embedded questions
Future continuous/ Future Perfect
Modals – must/can’t deduction
Modals – might, may, will, probably
Modals – should have/might have/etc
Modals: must/have to
Past continuous
Past perfect
Past simple
Past tense responses
Phrasal verbs, extended
Prepositions of place
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect/past simple
Reported speech (range of tenses)
Simple passive
Wh- questions in the past
Will and going to, for prediction

Β Practice time

ClickΒ HEREΒ to do some grammar practice for theΒ PET exam

In order to pass the PET test you need to master the grammar topics for A1, A2 and B1.

If you pass the B1 Preliminary (PET) test it means that you can:

  • Comprehend information in textbooks and articles in English
  • Write letters and emails on everyday subjects
  • Take meeting notes
  • Show awareness of opinions and mood in spoken and written English

If you can do all of these things it is because you have mastered the basics of English and now have practical language skills for everyday use.

High-Intermediate (B2)

At this level you will learn how to:

  • Find and analyze the main ideas of complex texts on concrete or abstract topics, including some technical discussions.
  • Express yourself fluently and spontaneously enough to comfortably communicate with other English speakers. 
  • Communicate orally and in written form clearly on many subjects and explain a complex viewpoint on a topic, including expressing advantages and disadvantages.

These are topics you need to study at B1 Level according to Exam English

Adjectives and adverbs
Future continuous
Future perfect
Future perfect continuous
Mixed conditionals
Modals – can’t have, needn’t have
Modals of deduction and speculation
Narrative tenses
Passives

Past perfect
Past perfect continuous
Phrasal verbs, extended
Relative clauses
Reported speech
Will and going to, for prediction
Wish
Would expressing habits, in the past

In order to pass the FCE test you need to master the grammar topics for A1, A2, B1 and B2.

If you pass the B2 First Certificate (FCE) test it means that you can:

  • Write short reports and emails
  • Explain an idea or have a detailed discussion in English
  • Understand general English on TV and in newspapers.

If you can do all of these things it is because you can understand the main ideas of complex texts and conversation, and you can express your opinion with some fluency on a wide range of topics.

GRAMMAR

Third Conditional

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We use third conditional sentences to talk about unreal (imaginary or hypothetical) past situations and their consequences.

We use the past perfect or the past perfect continuous in the if- clause (condition)

We use would have + past participle or could have + past participle or might have + past participle in the other clause (consequence/ result)

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: β­

Put the words in the correct order.

Β Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: β­β­

Student A:

  1. Choose one box
  2. Open the box
  3. Read the sentence out loud

Student B:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Listen to your partner
  3. Make a sentence using the third conditional.

Student C:

Write the sentence on a piece of paper

Switch roles <>

✍️ Writing Practice

Choose a card. Write a comment (reply) below πŸ‘‡ with your opinion.

GRAMMAR

Second Conditional

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We use the second conditional to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations in the present or future.

In the if-clause we use simple past or past continuous.

In the other clause (consequence/result), we can use would, could or might.

For the verb be we usually start our sentence with If + subject + were

For examples:

If I were rich, I’d buy a Ferrari

If he were/ was rich, he’d buy a Porsche.

When we want to give advice, we always use If I were

Examples:

If I were you, I wouldn’t go there.

If I were you, I’d travel to Brazil instead of Australia.

More information about If I was and if I were πŸ‘‡

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language in the link below πŸ‘‡:

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Spanish /  πŸ‡΅πŸ‡Ή Portuguese/ πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ Chinese/  πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί Russian/  πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukrainian/  πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡· Turkish/ πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japanese

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: β­

Put the words in the correct order.

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: β­β­

  1. Spin the wheel
  2. Complete the sentence about your partner.
  3. Read the complete sentence to your partner.
  4. Explain to your partner why?
  5. Were your guesses right or wrong?
  6. Switch roles <>

✍️ Writing Practice

Choose 5 cards.

Write 5 sentences using the second conditional.

Share your sentences below πŸ‘‡ (reply)

GRAMMAR

Conditionals and Future Time Clauses

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We use the zero conditional to talk about something that is always true or always happens as a result of something else.

You can use the simple present, present continuous or present perfect in either clause.

We use the first conditional to talk about something that will probably happen in the future.

You can use any present form in the if – clause ( simple present, present continuous or present perfect) and any future form ( will going to, future perfect, future continuous) or an imperative or a modal verb (might, may or should) in the other clause.

When we have negative if-clauses, we can replace if not with the word unless.

We can replace the word if in the if-clause with a future time expression to give more details about the future.

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language in the link below πŸ‘‡ :

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Spanish / πŸ‡΅πŸ‡Ή Portuguese/ πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ Chinese/ πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί Russian/ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukrainian/ πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡· Turkish/πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japanese

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: β­

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: β­β­

✍️ Writing Practice

Choose a card. Write a comment (reply) below πŸ‘‡ with your sentence.

Give as many details as possible

GRAMMAR

Indirect Questions

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We use indirect questions when we want to ask a question in a more polite way.

Let’s compare direct questions and indirect questions:

  • In indirect questions, the word order is subject + verb.
  • We don’t use do/did in the second part of the question.
  • You can use if or whether in questions without a question word (yes/no questions)

Learn more about

Direct questions

Subject questions

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: β­

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: β­β­

Change the direct question into an indirect one

Discuss the question with your group. Give as many details as possible

VOCABULARY

Verb get

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Get is one of the most common verbs in English. There are more than 280 definitions of the verb get. But don’t worry! You don’t have to memorize all the definitions. You need to learn how to use the most common phrasal verbs and verb phrases.

The most common definitions of the verb get are:

  • arrive
  • become
  • receive
  • buy
  • obtain
  • understand
 Vocabulary Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Part 1

Part 2

Quiz

Level of difficulty: β­β­

Quiz

Level of difficulty: β­β­β­

VOCABULARY

Order of Adjectives

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Adjectives are words that give us details or more information about a noun or a noun phrase. We use them to give an opinion, describe or give information about the size, age, shape, colour, pattern, nationality or origin and material of nouns.

 Vocabulary Practice

Level of difficulty: β­

In English grammar, there is a common order of adjectives that is often used when multiple adjectives are used to describe a noun. The order is generally:

  1. Determiner (such as “a,” “an,” “the”, “some”)
  2. Opinion or observation (such as “beautiful,” “ugly,” “delicious,” “interesting”)
  3. Size (such as “big,” “small,” “tiny,” “large”)
  4. Shape (such as “round,” “square,” “oval,” “rectangular”)
  5. Age (such as “old,” “young,” “ancient,” “new”)
  6. Colour (such as “red,” “blue,” “green,” “yellow”)
  7. Pattern (such as “striped”, “plaid”, “plain:, “dotted”)
  8. Origin or nationality (such as “Italian,” “Mexican,” “Chinese,” “European”)
  9. Material or composition (such as “wooden,” “metallic,” “plastic,” “glass”)
  10. Purpose/ used for or qualifier (such as “wedding,” “working,” “flying,” “exercise”)

For example, in the phrase “a beautiful small round wooden jewelry box,” the word order of adjectives follows this pattern: determiner (“a”), opinion (“beautiful”), size (“small”), shape (“round”), material (“wooden”), purpose/used for (“jewelry”), and box is the noun

Β 

determineropinionsizeageshapecolourpatternoriginmaterialused fornoun
an
some
a
expensive
luxurious
beautiful
big

small
new

old
long

round
purple

red
striped

French
German
silk

wooden
winter
sports
jewelry
scarf
car
s
box

When there are two or more adjectives of the same category (such as two colours or two sizes), they can be arranged in any order without affecting the meaning of the sentence.

For example, “She wore a long red scarf” and “She wore a red long scarf” mean the same thing.

However, if the adjectives are of different categories, then the order should be maintained according to the standard order of adjectives.

For example, “He bought a small old French car” follows the standard order of adjectives: size (small), age (old), origin (French), and noun (car).

Level of difficulty:⭐⭐

Word Order of Adjectives Exercise

Instructions: This exercise contains ten multiple-choice questions about the order of adjectives. Each question consists of a set of adjectives and three different order options. Choose the option that correctly orders the adjectives based on the standard order of adjectives.

1. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a dress?

a) black, long, silk

b) silk, long, black

c) long, black, silk

2. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a cup?

a) glass, small, white

b) white, small, glass

c) small, white, glass

3. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a car?

a) old, red, Italian

b) Italian, red, old

c) red, old, Italian

4. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a cake?

a) chocolate, small, round

b) round, small, chocolate

c) small, round, chocolate

5. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a house?

a) modern, big, wooden

b) wooden, modern, big

c) big, wooden, modern

6. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a book?

a) new, thick, hardcover

b) hardcover, thick, new

c) thick, new, hardcover

7. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a dog?

a) small, fluffy, white

b) small, white, fluffy

c) fluffy, small, white

8. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a painting?

a) famous, Italian, large

b) large, famous, beautiful

c) beautiful, modern, large

9. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a pair of shoes?

a) black, leather, comfortable

b) comfortable, black, leather

c) black, comfortable, leather

10. What is the correct order for the following adjectives to describe a necklace?

a) white, gold, delicate

b) delicate, white, gold

c) gold, delicate, white

ANSWERS

  1. c, 2. c, 3. a, 4. c, 5. a, 6. a, 7. b, 8. c, 9.b, 10. b
GRAMMAR

Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Continuous

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We use the present perfect:

  1. to talk about past experiences when we don’t say when something happened (when the action was finished). Example: I’ve travelled to Brazil many times.
  2. with yet, already, ever, and never. Example: I’ve already finished my homework.
  3. with superlatives and the first, second, the last time, etc. Example: Canada is the most beautiful place I’ve visited.
  4. with non action verbs (= verbs not usually used in the continuous form, for example, be, have, know, like, understand, believe, etc) to say that something started in the past and is still true now. Example: I‘ve known my best friend since we were in high school.
  5. when we say or ask how much/many we have done or how often we have done something up to no (so far). Example: I’ve written 5 essays so far.

We use the present perfect continuous:

  1. with action verbs, to say that an action started in the past and is still happening now. Example: I’ve been writing this article for 2 hours.
  2. this use is common with time expression such as How long …?, for, since, all day/morning/afternoon/evening/ week, etc. Example: I’ve been studying all morning.
  3. for repeated actions especially with the time expression all day, recently. Example: She’s been cleaning her house all day.
  4. for continuous actions that have just finished (but that have present results). Example: I’ve been doing my homework.

Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Student A -> Complete the question

Student B -> Answer the question

Flip the tile to check if your dialogue was correct

Repeat the dialogue and ask follow-up questions to get more details

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐

  1. Choose a picture (scroll the arrows <> to see the whole picture)
  2. Discuss the following questions with your partner. Give as many details as you can.
  • What has happened?
  • What have they been doing recently? Why?