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SKILLS: Talking about the movies in English

In this lesson you will learn how to talk about going to the movies. NOTE: ‘movies’ is American English – in British English, they are called ‘films’.

Asking about the movie you want to see

at-the-moviesHere are some phrases you can use to ask about a movie you want to see:

  • What happens in it?/ What’s it about? (what’s the story)
  • Who’s in it? (who are the actors)
  • Where’s it set? (where does it take place)
  • Is it worth seeing?
  • Is it as good as people say? / Is it as good as the hype? (‘the hype’ is the media about something before it is seen or heard by the public)

Discussing the movie before you see it

  • I’ve heard (a lot) about it.
  • It’s supposed to be.. excellent/very good/pretty good.
  • I’ve heard it’s / It sounds….

Planning to see a movie

  • What’s on (at the cinema)?/What’s showing?
  • Do we have to book? (reserve seats)
  • How much for the tickets?/admission?
  • What rating is it? (for example R18 means you have to be over 18 to watch it: ‘R’=Restricted to)
  • Can I use my complimentary ticket? (a complimentary ticket is usually a free or discounted ticket, but it often can’t be used for a newly-released movie).
  • Are there any concessions? (a concession is reduced price for certain groups of people, such as students or people over 65).

Now practice!

DIALOGUE 1: Find the most suitable vocabulary from the three sections above to complete the conversation.

A: Hey, any idea at the Metro cinema tonight?
B: Well, there’s Mission Impossible 5 with Tom Cruise. I’ve heard that it’s got lots of action. We could see that if you like.
A: Yeah OK, that’s good. I’ve about it from John…it’s excellent. By the way, I’ve got a couple of tickets for the Metro – I won them in a radio competition. Do you think we can use these tickets tonight?
B: No, I doubt it. Mission Impossible is a new release and those free tickets are often for older films.
A: Oh yeah, I see. Will it be busy? ?
B: Yeah, maybe we should – we don’t  want to get there and then not be able to get in!

Show the answers

what’s on?/what’s showing?
heard (a lot)
supposed to be
complimentary
Do we have to book?

 

DIALOGUE 2: Try the same again.

A: I went to see The Hangover 4 last night.
B: Oh yes? So, is it ?
A: Actually I thought it was rather disappointing.
B: Oh, that’s a shame. So where ?
A: It’s mostly set in New York, although they go the UK too.
B: And who ?
A: Bradley Cooper and Kirsten Dunst.

Show the answers

worth seeing?/as good as people say?
is it set?/does it take place?
is in it?

 

DIALOGUE 3: And again.

A: Have you heard anything about that new Ben Stiller comedy? I think he’s a good actor but I don’t know anything about the film.
B: Yeah, I’ve heard about it.
A: What ?
B: I think he has to look after 20 dogs or something. I don’t know much about the story.
A: Do you want to go? It might give us a few laughs.
B: Yeah, why not? How much are tickets?
A: Well, we can use our student cards to get the price
B: Ok then, let’s go!

Show the answers
is it about?/happens in it?
concession

Here is some language you can use for talking about movies (also called ‘films’ in British English).

Talking about movies in general – positive

  • The acting was amazing!
  • The sets were very impressive (the ‘set’ is the background to the filming)

Talking about movies in general – negative

  • a bit slow-moving (it takes a long time to get to the main part/action)
  • hard to follow in parts (it’s sometimes a bit confusing)
  • a bit of a let-down (quite disappointing)
  • a waste of time (stupid/ridiculous/poorly-made)

Talking about action movies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Action’ movies

Normally involves: car chases, guns, fighting.

Common examples: Die Hard, Mad Max: Fury Road

Language you can use:

  • full-on (there’s a lot of action)
  • a bit slow-moving (it takes a long time to get to the main part/action)
  • over the top (too much to be believable – a small car accident causing a car to completely explode, for example)

 

Talking about romantic movies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Romantic’ movies (also informally called ‘chick flicks’)

Normally involves: people falling in love, first dates – can also include negative events like someone dying or being really sick.

Common examples: Titanic, The Fault in our Stars

Language you can use:

  • a tear-jerker (it’s sad)
  • a chick flick (romantic movies are often watched by females – ‘chick’ in an informal word for females. NOTE: referring to a woman as a ‘chick’ can be considered rude)

Talking about thrillers

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Thrilers’

Normally involves: detectives, murders or intrigues, a more complicated plot than an action movie

Common examples: Se7en, Silence of the Lambs

Language you can use:

  • gripping
  • suspenseful
  • intriguing

Talking about comedies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Comedies’

Normally involves: misunderstandings, funny events (generally positive overall)

Common examples: Dumb and Dumber Too

Language you can use:

  • hilarious (very funny)
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