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Reading and Writing Portfolio 4

Reading a film review

Writing describing a film
A great film Review Present Simple for telling a story;
Past Simple; Present Perfect for
1 Read about the Four-Word Film Review website and match experiences; types of film
reviews a–d with four films from 1 on page 20.
The Four-Word Film Review (www.fwfr.com) is a website with
film reviews. All the reviews are sent by readers of the website.
All the reviews use only four words.

Here are some examples.:

a Station romance doesn’t move. Brief Encounter
b Adventure in flying house.

c Band on final tour.

d Hitchcock’s famous hotel horror.

2 Read the review about The Ladykillers and choose the best
four-word film review.

1 Old lady robs bank.

2 Nice musicians help woman.
3 Professor doesn’t tell truth.

3 Read the review again and complete column A in the table.

a classic British film

the year of the film 1

I didn’t think I’d like The Ladykillers. It’s a British
film, made in 1955, and I don’t really like old
the location of films. But what a surprise! I haven’t seen a
2 London
the film better film this year.
names of main The plot is simple. An old lady, Mrs Wilberforce,
characters lives alone in a house in London. A man
called Professor Marcus rents a room in Mrs
name of main actor 4 Alec Guinness Wilberforce’s house. He says he is a classical
musician, but in fact Marcus and his ‘band’ are
other films made by
the main actor
5 bank robbers*.
The Professor and his friends get the money,
name of the director 6 but then Mrs Wilberforce finds out. She wants
them to give it back so they decide to kill her.
the story 7 But this is more difficult than they think!
The acting is brilliant. Katie Johnson plays
the music 8 no information
kind Mrs Wilberforce. And you should know
Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) from many
films. Over 20 years later he was in Star Wars!
4 Another four-word film review of The Ladykillers is ‘Old The director is Alexander Mackendrick.
woman gets rich’. What do you think happens at the end?
I watched The Ladykillers with a few friends. We
all loved it. It’s a classic film with classic actors
and is suitable for the whole family.

bb = someone who
h steals
t l

HELP WITH WRITING 7 Read Jen’s email to her friend, Sally. Fill in the gaps with the correct form of
Describing a film; verb the verbs in brackets.
forms; film vocabulary
5 a Which of these sentences
talk about the story and which
talk about the reviewer’s Sally James
reactions to the film? Write
S (story) or R (reactions).
Jen Potter
1 An old lady, Mrs
Film recommendation
Wilberforce, lives alone
in a house in London. Dear Sally,
2 I haven’t seen a better Do you remember we were talking about the actor Ewan McGregor? Well,
film this year. last night Michael and I watched a film called Big Fish on TV and he was
in it. It isn’t a recent film but it’s the best thing I 1 (see) for a
3 In fact, Marcus and his
long time!
‘band’ are bank robbers.
It was about a man called Will Bloom. He 2 (come) back to his
4 We all loved it. parents’ house when he 3 (hear) his father, Ed, is dying. Ed is
b Answer the questions. famous in his town for telling stories about his amazing life. Will
4 (not believe) the stories, but he 5 (listen) to them
1 Which verb form does the
one last time.
reviewer use to talk about the
Ewan McGregor 6 (play) the young Ed. He rescues his town, fights
in a war, works in a circus and, of course, 7 (meet) Will’s mother.
2 Which verb forms does the We really 8 (enjoy) the film. The music was excellent, too – a mix
reviewer use to talk about of rock ’n’ roll and classical music. There 9 (be) some great actors
her feelings and reactions to in it, including Jessica Lange and Danny DeVito. And yes, of course I
10 (cry) at the end!
the film? and
Well that’s enough from me. Hope Rob is well.

6 Notice how the reviewer uses Love, Jen

film vocabulary to describe PS The director is Tim Burton. Have you seen Alice in Wonderland yet?
The Ladykillers. Tick the topics
If not, I’ll lend you the DVD.
which the reviewer talks about.

the acting
the music 8 Think about a film you have seen recently. Fill in column B in the table in 3.
the director
9 Write an email to a friend. Tell him/her about a film you saw recently.
the place where the
● Use your notes from 8.
film happens
● Use the Present Simple to describe the story and the Past Simple or Present
the photography Perfect to describe your reactions to the film.
the story ● Include the topics from 6.
● Read and check for mistakes.
the price
● Give your email to your teacher in the next class.
other films by the actor
or director Tick the things you can do in English in the
Reading and Writing Progress Portfolio, p88.


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