Saturday, 30 January 2010

Ready for CAE p 76. Reviews. Vocabulary

Reviews. Vocabulary
Useful language for reviews

Positive Adjectives

Most of us like to discuss movies and shows that we have seen and books that we have read. This post provides you with a range of adjectives and phrases for describing what you have seen and read in a way that is precise and varied.
We often want to say that we found a movie or a book enjoyable. Two very useful ‘-able’ adjectives here are readable and watchable. Books that are readable are easy and enjoyable to read (sometimes despite being about subjects that might seem difficult or boring): It’s a very readable account of the history of this great city.
Movies and shows that are watchable give you pleasure when you watch them: It’s probably not his best movie but it’s very watchable. An adjective with a similar meaning is entertaining: It’s not a great novel but it’s fairly entertaining.
Meanwhile, a book that is very enjoyable may be described as a good read: I’d really recommend his latest novel – it’s a good read.
A number of adjectives describe movies and books that are very interesting. Absorbing is used for a movie or book that is so interesting, it completely holds your attention: I really liked her last novel – I found it very absorbing.
Engrossing means the same, but is stronger: The movie was completely engrossing from start to finish.
A movie or book that is intriguing, meanwhile, is very interesting in a way that is unusual or mysterious: I found the storyline so intriguing – I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next.
Other adjectives and phrases describe books and movies that are very exciting: Gripping is one such adjective and riveting another:
This is a series with great characters and a gripping storyline.
You’ll love the novel – it’s riveting stuff.
Compulsive is used to describe movies and books that are so exciting, you cannot stop watching or reading them. The adjective is often used in the phrases (for movies, shows, etc) compulsive viewing and (for books) compulsive reading:
His latest book is compulsive reading.
I find hospital documentaries like these compulsive viewing.
The adjective compelling means the same: I found the whole series very compelling.
Meanwhile, a book that is (informal) unputdownable is so exciting, you cannot stop reading it (you cannot ‘put it down’): His last novel was totally unputdownable. I read it over two days.
We hope that you read something unputdownable or watch something riveting this week!

It is hands down (easily and without any doubt) the best movie this year.

Action-packed: full of exciting events and activity: e.g. an action-packed weekend.
Atmospheric: creating an exciting or emotional mood: e.g. atmospheric music
Compelling: that makes you pay attention to it because it is so interesting and exciting: e.g. Her latest book makes compelling reading. A compelling film. She gives a compelling/memorable performance as a village doctor.
Convincing: The acting is very convincing
Enthusiastic and vivid descriptions of the scenery
It's an excellent read. It is both entertaining and educational.
: /ɪɡˈzɪləreɪtɪŋ/ very exciting and enjoyable. Sp. Emocionante: e.g. My first parachute jump was an exhilarating experience.
Provides a fascinating/valuable/revealing insight into: e.g. the novel provides a fascinating insight (understanding,vision) into the customs in Mexico.
Gripping: exciting or interesting in a way that keeps your attention. Sp. Emocionante, fascinante, absorbente.

mesmerizing: /ˈmezməraɪzɪŋ/ having such a strong effect on you that you cannot give your attention to anything else. E.g. Her performance was mesmerizing.
Impressive: making you feel admiration, because they are very large, good, skilful, etc. Sp. Impresionante, imponente, excelente:an impressive performance. One of the most impressive novels of recent years She was very impressive in the interview.
Moving: causing you to have deep feelings of sadness or sympathy. Sp. Conmovedor: e.g. a deeply moving experience.
Outstanding: extremely good; excellent. E.g. Outstanding performance.
Powerful: effective. E.g. Powerful acting
Stunning: impressive: gave a stunning performance.

mesmerizing: /ˈmezməraɪzɪŋ/ having such a strong effect on you that you cannot give your attention to anything else. E.g. Her performance was mesmerizing.


Unputdownable: (of a book) so exciting or interesting that you cannot stop reading it.

capture someone's imagination (or attention): fascinate someone.E.g. the project has captured the imagination of the local public. Not wonder the film has captured the imagination of audiences all over the world.

enlightening: /ɪnˈlaɪtnɪŋ/ giving information so that you can understand something better. It was a very enlightening movie. 

inspiring: exciting and encouraging you to do or feel something. E.g. an inspiring teacher. The book is less than inspiring.

Negative adjectives
Clichéd:/ˈkliːʃeɪd/ used so often that it no longer has much meaning and is not interesting: e.g. a clichéd view of upper-class life.
Excruciating:/ɪkˈskruːʃieɪtɪŋ/ extremely painful or bad.E.g. There are two versions of this excruciating film. Excruciatingly (adv): e.g. excruciatingly boring.
Implausible: Not seeming reasonable or probable; failing to convince; not believable. Sp. Inverosímil. E.g. A rather implausible story.
Overhyped: promoted or publicized to excess exaggerating its good qualities, in order to get a lot of public attention for it: Promoters grossly overhyped the movie.
Sentimental: producing emotions such as pity, romantic love or sadness, which may be too strong or not appropriate; feeling these emotions too much. Sp. Sensiblero: a slushy, sentimental love story
Slushy: stories, films / movies or feelings that are considered to be silly and without value because they are too emotional and romantic. Corny. Sp. Sensiblero: e.g. slushy romantic fiction.

1. not very good or original, and without style, in a way that is embarrassing but amusing. E.g. a cheesy horror movie. That’s the cheesiest chat-up line I’ve ever heard.
2. too emotional or romantic, in a way that is embarrassing. E.g. a cheesy love song a cheesy romance novel.
drippy: boring, stupid and weak or sentimental. E.g. her drippy boyfriend. A drippy love song.
Tedious: lasting or taking too long and not interesting. Boring. E.g. A very long and tedious film.
Unconvincing: not seeming true or real; not making you believe that sth is true: e.g.
I find the characters in the book very unconvincing.
I found the plot rather predictable/disappointing.

Expressions to compare and contrast
Bear a close/a striking/a strong/a slight/little/no resemblance to: e.g. Her latest novel, a tale of unrequited love, bears little resemblance to her earlier, more philosophical work.
There is little to choose between (hardly any difference between) the two CDs in terms of quality of production.
The plot of the novel develops along very different lines from that of the film.
There are several obvious/striking similarities between the two films.
There is a world of difference between the two records, despite their shared flamenco influences.
What sets the film apart from others of the same genre is its ability to make us laugh.
A considerable/huge/marked/slight difference
A close/remarkable/striking/ similarity
Be dissimilar from/to: E.g. Dissimilar from other New York films.
Be very much alike
Be unlike another film

Differ from
One thing compares (un)favourably/ well/badly with another
Develop in a different way from
Have a great deal/little/nothing in common with
Resemble each other

Other expressions
I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the human mind.
One particular strength/ weakness of the film is
The design/production is second to none (the best).
The characterization is not its best feature.
I would strongly advise you (not) to go out and buy/see it.
Do not be put off (to make sb lose interest in or enthusiasm for sth. Sp. Desanimar)by the title/critics/cover.
It will have you roaring with laughter (laugh very loudly).
I would definitely give it a miss (decide not to do sth.)

in the nick of time: at the very last moment; just in time before something bad happens. E.g. They escaped from the smoke-filled house just in the nick of time. An unprecedented catastrophe had been avoided just in the nick of time.

A blockbuster /ˈblɒkbʌstə(r)/ something very successful, especially a very successful book or film/movie. E.g. a Hollywood blockbuster.

An art film: (also art house film) is typically a serious, independent film not aimed at a mass market audience. An art film is intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal.

art house: a movie theater that specializes in films that are artistic or experimental rather than merely entertaining.

Sample sentences
The real-life struggle (a hard fight in which people try to obtain or achieve sth, especially sth that sb else does not want them to have. Sp. Lucha) of brilliant minds with schizophrenia /ˌskɪtsəʊˈfriːniə/ and Alzheimer's /ˈæltshaɪməz/ disease may not sound like the ingredients of an entertaining afternoon's viewing.
Russell Crowe's stunning performance as mathematical genius John Nash and Judi Dench's moving portrayal of novelist Iris Murdoch will have you rushing out to buy the books on which these two films are based.
It is in their thematic content that the two films resemble each other most. Both focus on the withdrawal (the act of moving or taking sth away or back. Sp. Retirada) of the protagonists into their own inner world and the effect this has on their long-suffering but devoted marital partners. Also common to both films is the fact that we witness the two academics in their youth and old age. Hats off here to Crowe's make up team- he is remarkably convincing as the sixty-six-year-old Nash receiving his Nobel Prize.
Iris differs from A Beautiful Mind in this respect, relying instead on other actors to play the vivacious (having a lively, attractive personality) young Iris - a very credible Kate Winslet- and her stuttering (having difficulty speaking because he cannot stop himself from repeating the first sound of some words several times; stammering) companion. In addition, unlike the more linear American film, flashbacks are used to good effect to switch (change from one thing to another) backwards and forwards between the two contrasting stages of Murdoch's life.
The strength of Iris lies in its powerful acting and mundane (ordinary) realism, with the novelist seen in her cluttered (full of a lot of things and untidy) Oxford house. However, if, as I do, you favour something more visually appealing, but no less plausible, then A Beautiful Mind is a definite must-see.

Sample answer 2:
"Now, in the last 12 months the world of music has lost some incredible talent."
"Words like 'icon', 'pioneer' and 'innovator' are often overused, but not when it comes to one man who tragically left us last month. Tonight the Brits honour the remarkable David Bowie. Please welcome Annie Lennox." 
"On the 10th of January this year, the world was stunned and shaken by the news that David Bowie had suddenly passed away.

I suspect that everyone is still trying to process this sadly unexpected event...

Even if they didn't know him personally - many people must feel as if things will never be quite the same again.

He had that special kind of significance.

For me, it's almost impossible to mention Bowie's name in the past tense.

Everything he represented as an artist was and always will be - vital and incredibly present.

As a cutting edge artistic genius, he continues to live on through his music.

David Bowie is deeply embedded in the heart of British culture, as a fixture within our collective inner psyche, influencing every decade from the moment he first appeared on the airwaves with "Space Oddity" in 1969, right up to the present day.

Like the miraculous moon landing that inspired the song, he drew us away from our suburban lives, expanding our horizons - turning everything on its head into gloriously subversive technicolour.

As an innovative writer, performer and Rock star... there was no one and nothing else like him. He was truly unique.

A quintessential visionary, pushing the limits of his shape-shifting persona.

The ultimate iconoclast - gracious, dangerous and legendary…..

The legacy of his extraordinary sound and vision will be loved and revered for as long as the earth still spins.

The BRITs Icon Award is only presented to unparalleled artists - whose writing, recording and performance set them apart as having made a lasting impact on the nation’s culture, recognising the very highest level of British music achievement." 

To accept the award, I'd now like to invite David's dear friend Gary Oldman to the stage.

Thank you. We are all coming to terms with the magnitude of David's passing. The Jones family lost a husband and a father, those closest to David lost a dear friend and the world lost a man and artist of transcendent talent.
As Annie so gracefully said, David's contribution, his influence on popular music, on culture itself, has no equal. He was the very definition, the living embodiment of that singular word "icon" and I am so deeply touched and honoured to be here tonight to accept this award for David and his family. In recent years, David sparingly spoke about music and his process, but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and eloquently expounded,  "Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I have wanted to touch people. It has been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in. Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium. Whether in music or in life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration, and in his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously.
David was funny, hilariously so. And the laughs were many and massive. And I shall miss them.
A related story. A few years ago we were standing on a street corner. And he was approached by this big fellow, rocker type, long hair, you know, leather clad, and he offered up this piece of paper for David's autograph. David signed the piece of paper, and as the fella walked away, he turned to me, and said, "He's gonna be disappointed." I said, "Why?" He said, "Cos I just signed it 'Gary Oldman'". His outlook was always positive and I never once heard him complain. 
I can share with you that David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour. Even in dire circumstances. When he wrote to tell me the bad news that he had cancer, he added 'the good news is I've got my cheekbones back'. He was the sweetest soul ever, with the best cheekbones, until it was done. David, you were mortal but your potential was superhuman and your remarkable music is living on. We love you and we thank you.   
Watch video here 

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