A movie review is an article that is published in a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly work that describes and evaluates a movie. Reviews are typically written by journalists giving their opinion of the movie. Some reviews include score (4 out of 5 stars) or recommendations (thumbs up). Since reviews are printed in many different kinds of publications, you may need to search several sources.
A movie criticism is written by a scholar or expert in film studies to discuss the movie within a historical, social, political, or theoretical context. It differs from the opinion or recommendation that a movie review provides in terms of length, content and focus. Criticisms can be found in cinema studies journals as well as discipline-specific sources, depending on the plot or themes of the movie.
Reviews and criticisms are produced after the release of a movie, whether that is its initial release to theatres, or a release in a home video format. Knowing the initial release date(s) will help refine your search. Also note that nationwide release of movies only started in the 1980s; earlier films were released on different dates in different parts of the country. So a movie reviewed in New York City of Los Angeles may not have been reviewed for months or years later in smaller cities. The Internet Movie Database is an excellent source for release dates. Finally, movies can be remade, so you will want to be sure you are finding reviews or criticisms for the correct film; knowing the director or major stars will help refine your search results.
Many sources will only give a citation for the review or criticism. Use that citation to track down the complete text of the article.
Reviews and criticisms can be found in general interest databases. Note the date range covered by each database and select ones that cover the time after the release of your movie. Search the title of the movie (as a phrase when possible) and include the director's last name if more than one film by that title exists.
Since most databases cover only more recent years, finding reviews for older movies may require using a print index. Check the catalog record for each index to see if it covers the dates required. Use the volume corresponding to the year of publication for your book and the year or two after.. (Several of these indexes have been moved to off-campus storage; you'll have to request for them to be brought back to Newman to use them.)
A large number of websites provide access to movie reviews, either the full text of the review, or at least a citation you can use to track down the full text.
© 2017 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University