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Media Arts & Culture

Film Reviews / Film Criticism

Film reviews are written by journalists, with the intention of communicating the review to the general public, describing the plot, characters, cast, and director. The goal of a film review is to help the reader assess whether or not they want to watch the movie. Film reviews are published around the weeks and months when the film is released.  A film review is a primary source that tells you what thoughts were around the time that the film was released. 

Scholarly criticism of a film analyzes the plot, characters, and cinematic techniques. Criticism compares the film with other films in the genre, or might apply a specific theory to the film. Criticism often considers the historical and cultural significance of the film with the goal of advancing scholarly communication. While reviews are published around the time of release, scholarly criticism could be published years or decades after the release of the film. 

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Avenues to Finding Film and Video

The College's collection of Film and Video Materials are listed in OASys. One way to search for these items is the Advanced Keyword Search, an option from the main keyword search tab.

  • In order to limit your search to screenplays, add a subject search for Motion Picture Plays.
  • In order to limit your search to video recordings, under Location, select Library Video Room, OR
    • try adding as a keyword search "[videorecording]".
  • In order to limit your search to specific formats of video recordings, choose from the Material Type list.

Media Arts and Culture students also may have access to items in the cage collection. Please contact Diana Keeler ( for more info.

You can also search WorldCat for videos and screenplays in our library and others:

  • Try using a keyword search for Motion Picture Plays or Motion Picture Screenplays, OR
  • Execute a search for the title of the film you are interested in, and then select book from the Format limiters on the left.
  • In order to limit your search to video recordings, under Format select the appropriate format, or use the filters on the left to narrow your current search.

Search with Subject Headings

Keyword searches often retrieve too many results, including materials that are irrelevant to your topic. If you don't have a title in mind, Subject Headings searches can produce better results. Subject headings are terms (topics, proper names, method/format, concepts, etc.) that indicate the scope of a book or other resource. 

Try it yourself with these examples:

Documentary Films
Feature Films China
Film 1941
Motion pictures, French
Motion picture plays

Wander the Bookshelves

Motion pictures are classified the same as books so scholarship, adaptations, screenplays and other printed material are in the main literature stacks. Videorecordings, even though they share the same call numbers, are stored behind the checkout desk on the main floor.

PL 2250-3208  Chinese literature Library Circulation Desk/3rd floor
PN 1993-1999  Motion pictures (video recordings) Library Circulation Desk
PN 1993-1999  Motion pictures (literature and screenplays) 3rd floor, Old Wing
PR 6000-6049 English literature 1900-1960
Library Circulation Desk/3rd floor