Critiquing A Movie Essay Citation

In the midst of writing an essay, paper, or article, you may need to throw in a direct quote here and there; to add emphasis, authority, or clarity to your work. A quote can often accomplish things that a paraphrase or summary simply cannot . A clear and direct voice can easily drive a point home better than the best group of sentences you can come up with.

And along with this, in the process of sorting out your notes and research data, you may find that the quotes you'd like to include in your paper are not all from books and journal articles. Considering that your information can come from many sources, whether they be print, online, or audiovisual, its a good chance that you can have sources ranging from books and government documents to mp3s and Youtube videos. All of which need to be properly cited a formatted.

Formatting style and citation overview

A prerequisite to citing anything is a format and guideline to follow. And this usually comes about from the three basic styling guides, APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style (the Turabian styling guide is also popular but closely resembles the Chicago manual in many respects; so often times the two are categorized together). A professor or publisher will generally request one of the three types of formatting styles, for both in-text and bibliographic listings.

These are the two main types of citations; one that appears in the text of a work and one that appears at the end. The in-text is how you indicate the source of your quote in the lines of the text of your paper and the work cited, bibliography or reference pages are where your source will show up at the end of your document. It may be helpful to become familiar with all the styling guides to make things easier for you in the long run, but typically you'll just need to know the details of the one being requested of you, when preparing your paper or essay for publication.

*This article will focus on audiovisual citations only.

Audiovisual citations

In most cases, since the written word is often used in research (whether online or in print) the chances of you actually using audiovisual material for research may be minimal. So this type of citing is usually not as common as the rest; but nonetheless still needs to be addressed to avoid plagiarism in any fashion.

*The following list is categorized by medium and provides details of both in-text citations and also ones that appear in a list at the end of the document.

APA (American Psychological Association)

1. Audio Recording

In-text citation:
(Krasdale, 2010)

Reference Listing:
Krasdale, S. (Speaker). (2010). The way money works (Cassette Recording No. 17). New York, NY: Education Plus Inc.

2. Film/Motion Picture

In-text citation:
(Dunhoo & Titun, 1985)

Reference listing:
Dunhoo, A. (Producer), & Titun, K. (Director). (1985). Inside the aerospace industry [Motion Picture]. United States: Lakeview Films

3. Radio broadcast

In-text citation:
(Lopez, 2013)

Reference listing:
Lopez, P. (Narrator). (2013, March 1). The harms of secondhand smoke amongst children [Radio broadcast episode]. In E. McDonnell (Producer), Morning Edition. Washington, DC: National Public Radio.

MLA (Modern Language Association)

1. Audio Recording

In-text citation:
(Kent)

Work cited listing:
Kent, Abdullah. The diseases of the heart. 1995. True Audio, 1999. Audiocassette.

2. Film/Motion Picture

In-text citation:
(The Politics of Money)

Work cited listing:
The Politics of Money. Dir. Larry Smith. New Studios, 2000. Film.

3. Radio Broadcast

In-text citation:
("Fun with marriage")

Work cited listing:
"Fun with marriage". Morning Digest. Philadelphia-Delaware Radio . WXKF, Philadelphia. 12 June 2002. Radio.

*MLA basic rule of thumb:* When providing in-text citations for MLA you may notice that the in-text citation matches the beginning of the work cited listing. This is the basic setup for MLA referencing. To make finding a source relatively easy, the in-text citation will simply mirror the beginning of the listing that is found at the end of the paper.

Chicago Manual of Style

1. Audio Recording

First foot/endnote:
Randolph Klein, Understanding French, Knowledge Productions 1678-CD, 2012, Compact disc.

Subsequent notes:
Klein, Understanding French.

Bibliography:
Klein, Randolph. Understanding French. Knowledge Productions 11678-CD. 2012. Compact disc.

2. Film/Motion Picture:

First foot/endnote:
The Life of the Ruler, DVD, directed by Tod Lewis (1982; New Orleans, LA: Castle Light Productions, 2000).

Subsequent notes:
The Life of the Ruler.

Bibliography:
The Life of the Ruler. DVD. Directed by Tod Lewis. 1982; New Orleans, LA: Castle Light Productions, 2000.

3. Radio Broadcast:

First foot/endnote:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami," Morning Digest, WXKF Philadelphia-Delaware Radio (Philadelphia, PA: WPKT, January 10, 2005).

Subsequent notes:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami"

Bibliography:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami." Morning Digest. WXKF Philadelphia-Delaware Radio . Philadelphia, PA: WPKT, January 10, 2005.

Citing tip

Citing using any manual of style can be a tedious process. When obtaining a movie or film quote save some time by not watching anything at all. Many, many video recording, films, and motion pictures have transcripts available for them (as well as audio recordings). This is a tremendous help when providing direct quotations. Instead of struggling to decipher and record an exact statement, a keyword search in the work's transcript can just as easily provide the same results.

Special notes

Please note that for some citation guidelines (such as MLA film/video recording citations) there is no a one-size-fits-all method of citing. There are actually a few different methods citing based on what you would like to emphasize in your referencing (for example, maybe you'd like to emphasize the director or the people involved, then your citation would be changed because of that).

Also your citation may be altered based on whether or not you provide a signal phrase or include the full reference in the text of your paper as oppose to using parenthetical citations. The default method for all the in-text citations above are parenthetical, with no signal phrases. And finally there is no in-text citation format for the Chicago manual of style because footnotes and endnotes are utilized with this guide instead.

What is a critique?

A critique is a genre of academic writing that briefly summarises and critically evaluates a work or concept. Critiques can be used to carefully analyse a variety of works such as:

  • Creative works – novels, exhibits, film, images, poetry
  • Research – monographs, journal articles, systematic reviews, theories
  • Media –  news reports, feature articles

Like an essay, a critique uses a formal, academic writing style and has a clear structure, that is, an introduction, body and conclusion.   However, the body of a critique includes a summary of the work and a detailed evaluation.  The purpose of an  evaluation is to gauge the usefulness or impact of a work in a particular field. 

Why do we write critiques?

Writing a critique on a work helps us to develop:

  • A  knowledge of the work’s subject area or related works.
  • An understanding of the work’s purpose, intended audience, development of argument, structure of evidence or creative style.
  • A recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

How to write a critique

Before you start writing, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the work that will be critiqued.

  • Study the work under discussion.
  • Make notes on key parts of the work.
  • Develop an understanding of the main argument or purpose being expressed in the work. 
  • Consider how the work relates to a broader issue or context.

There are a variety of ways to structure a critique. You should always check your unit materials or blackboard site for guidance from your lecturer.  The following template, which showcases the main features of a critique, is provided as one example.

Introduction

Typically, the introduction is short (less than 10% of the word length) and you should:

  • Name the work being reviewed as well as the date it was created and the name of the author/creator.  
  • Describe the main argument or purpose of the work.
  • Explain the context in which the work was created.  This could include the social or political context, the place of the work in a creative or academic tradition, or the relationship between the work and the creator’s life experience. 
  • Have a concluding sentence that signposts what your evaluation of the work will be. For instance, it may indicate whether it is a positive, negative, or mixed evaluation.

Summary

Briefly summarise the main points and objectively describe how the creator portrays these  by using  techniques, styles, media, characters or symbols.  This summary should not be the focus of the critique and is usually shorter than the critical evaluation.

Critical evaluation

This section should give a systematic and detailed assessment of the different elements of the work, evaluating how well the creator was able to achieve the purpose through these.  For example: you would assess the plot structure, characterisation and setting of a novel; an assessment of a painting would look at composition, brush strokes, colour and light; a critique of a research project would look at subject selection, design of the experiment, analysis of data and conclusions.    

A critical evaluation does not simply highlight negative impressions. It should deconstruct the work and identify both strengths and weaknesses. It should examine the work and evaluate its success, in light of its purpose.

Examples of key critical questions that could help your assessment include:

  • Who is the creator? Is the work presented objectively or subjectively?
  • What are the aims of the work? Were the aims achieved?
  • What techniques, styles, media were used in the work?  Are they effective in portraying the purpose? 
  • What assumptions underlie the work? Do they affect its validity?
  • What types of evidence or persuasion are used? Has evidence been interpreted fairly?
  • How is the work structured?  Does it favour a particular interpretation or point of view? Is it effective?
  • Does the work enhance understanding of key ideas or theories? Does the work engage (or fail to engage) with key concepts or other works in its discipline?

This evaluation is written in formal academic style and logically presented. Group and order your ideas into paragraphs. Start with the broad impressions first and then move into the details of the technical elements.   For shorter critiques, you may discuss the strengths of the works, and then the weaknesses. In longer critiques, you may wish to discuss the positive and negative of each key critical question in individual paragraphs.

To support the evaluation, provide evidence from the work itself, such as a quote or example, and you should also cite evidence from related sources. Explain how this evidence supports your evaluation of the work.

Conclusion

This is usually a very brief paragraph, which includes:

  • A statement indicating the overall evaluation of the work
  • A summary of the key reasons, identified during the critical evaluation, why this evaluation was formed.
  • In some circumstances, recommendations for improvement on the work may be appropriate.    

Reference list

Include all resources cited in your critique. Check with your lecturer/tutor for which referencing style to use.

 

Checklist for a critique

Have I:

  • Mentioned the name of the work, the date of its creation and the name of the creator?
  • Accurately summarised the work being critiqued?
  • Mainly focused on the critical evaluation of the work?
  • Systematically outlined an evaluation of each element of the work to achieve the overall purpose?
  • used evidence, from the work itself as well as other sources, to back and illustrate my assessment of elements of of the work?
  • formed an overall evaluation of the work, based on critical reading?
  • used a well structured introduction, body and conclusion?
  • used correct grammar, spelling and punctuation; clear presentation; and appropriate referencing style?

Further information

University of New South Wales - some general criteria for evaluating works

University of Toronto - The book review or article critique

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