"Your character has a problem that he or she must solve: Alice has to get back to the real world; our spooks have to stop a bomb going off in central London; Vladimir and Estragon have to wait. The story is the journey they go on to sort out the problem presented. On the way they may learn something new about themselves; they'll certainly be faced with a series of obstacles to overcome; there will be a moment near the end where all hope seems lost, and this will almost certainly be followed by a last-minute resurrection of hope, a final battle against the odds, and victory snatched from the jaws of defeat."Additionally I'd also recommend again this short post about Kristin Thompson revelation of the four chunk narrative structure, the adherence to which or otherwise tends to explain why a film doesn't work as a piece of storytelling.
Film Last week, The Guardian published a brilliant piece from John Yorke which encapsulates filmic narrative structure in a fun accessible way filled with examples. As one of the commenters beneath notes, it stands on the shoulders of giants (McKee, Propp and I'd argue Bordwell & Thompson) and contains massive spoilers for a number of things, particularly The Wire and No Country For Old Men. But that's rather the problem with academic film criticism. You have to talk about the whole story in order to talk about the whole story: