5th May 2020
Watching films and TV is a great way to practise your listening skills. In this blog, Helen shares some useful vocabulary and expressions to talk about films and TV series.
Are you watching a lot of films at the moment? Are you staying up all night and binge-watching (=watching a lot of) a whole TV series? We thought this would be a great time to look at some words and phrases about TV and film so you can talk to your friends and ask for and give some recommendations.
One of the most popular TV series is Game of Thrones. This is a fantasy drama so it is fiction. Each week the story continues with the same characters. Game of Thrones finished in 2019 after 8 series – in the USA they would say 8 seasons.
Another popular series is Blue Planet. This is a factual wildlife (animal) documentary which is about real life and is not fictional. In each episode (each week) you can watch life in the seas and oceans around the world. One episode might be about the freezing ocean of the Antarctic and the next week’s episode could be set in the warm seas around India.
My favourite genres are horror and thriller. Horror films have lots of monsters and make me scared. Thrillers are exciting and full of suspense so you don’t know what will happen next. The best thriller has a twist in the tail which is an unexpected ending.
Do you like Disney animated films or are you mad about science fiction (Sci-Fi) like Star Wars? Are you an avid fan of romantic comedy (rom-com) ? The big-budget blockbusters like Star Wars that cost $$$$ to make are great; but why not try an independent or low-budget film sometimes for a change.
As well as documentary and drama series, there are lots of other popular shows on TV. Of course there are news and current affairs programmes but sometimes you want some light entertainment. Quiz shows with money prizes are fun or maybe you like chat shows with celebrities like famous actors talking about their lives. What about reality TV? I can’t stand Keeping up with the Kardashians as I don’t think it is real-life at all.
The plot is the story (storyline) or what happens in a film or TV drama. For example the main plot of Titanic centres around the characters of Jack and Rose and the ship sinking. The sub-plot is about the search for the diamond. As well as a well-written story and believable characters, many films also use a lot of special effects or CGI. At the moment the most popular kinds of films are with superheroes like Ironman or The Avengers. Obviously in real-life people can’t fly or move a building with their mind! These action-packed films use computer generated imaging (CGI) which looks amazing and makes the films really thrilling.
So who’s your favourite actor? Maybe you like films that star well-known people like Tom Cruise or perhaps you prefer an unknown actor playing the lead role, which is the main character. Do you choose the series for the plot or for the genre? Sometimes I choose a series because the cast is so good and full of actors I really like. Sometimes it might be the director you like or even the screenwriter. Films that star award-winning actors like Meryl Streep are another reason to stream a film or series on Netflix.
Here are some more words and phrases to help you say how you feel about the films and series you’ve been watching.
Positive Neutral Negative I like … I don’t mind … I don’t like … I absolutely love … …is ok / not bad / all right / so-so I hate ….. I really enjoy … I can’t stand …. I’m an (avid) fan of … I’m not that keen on … I’m mad about …. I’m not really mad about … It’s great/terrific/fantastic It’s awful/terrible/rubbish/dreadful It’s exciting/funny/action-packed/scary It’s overlong / slow-paced / boring / confusing It’s heart-warming/memorable/magical It’s forgettable/unbelievable/nonsense
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