Customer Reviews


39 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Time's the Charm
Mark Kermode has often been accused of dismissing films in a shrill, arrogant manner. His radio show with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 5 Live has drawn an international audience, partly because of the chance to hear a truly 'Kermodian' rant. In his third book, 'Hatchet Job', the good doctor explains why negative reviews are popular and asks a more pertinent question: are the...
Published 1 month ago by English Teacher

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the Kermode faithful
Kermode's latest is full of insight, funny anecdotes and genuine passion for his field, but it definitely feels like a book that has only one point to make; a point which only goes so far.

I've been an avid listener to Kermode and Mayo's podcast for years and I'll listen to/read/watch anything he has to say, but it's undeniably a less engrossing read than The...
Published 9 months ago by Edward Gardiner


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Time's the Charm, 13 Nov 2014
Mark Kermode has often been accused of dismissing films in a shrill, arrogant manner. His radio show with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 5 Live has drawn an international audience, partly because of the chance to hear a truly 'Kermodian' rant. In his third book, 'Hatchet Job', the good doctor explains why negative reviews are popular and asks a more pertinent question: are the days of the professional film critics numbered?

When Kermode started his career as a professional film critic, there were few ways in which one could publish reviews of the latest releases. Beginning at 'Time Out' magazine, Dr. Kermode would find himself writing reviews for 'Sight & Sound' and 'The Guardian'. However, this traditional path might well be closed. Social media and blogging sites might well overtake conventional print media. In many ways, they have already.

Most impressive is that Mark Kermode, a self-confessed digital immigrant, is not keen to dismiss emerging technologies or social media themselves. Rather, he calls for tighter regulation of social media sites for fear of exploitation by the unscrupulous. He cites examples from outside film criticism, using a recent Amazon scandal about authors reviewing their novels to illustrate the potential abuses of free, unsupervised assessment.

In summary, 'Hatchet Job' is a satisfying, scintillant, and substantiated view on the future of film criticism. It comes highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent Book, 21 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I didn't know what to expect of this book albeit I enjoy Mark Kermode's radio work. In fact it proved very thought provoking into what is the art of film review and the precarious life of reviewers. Some interesting twists and turns in his story telling though, at times, I was near speed reading in order to get back on plot from whence a chapter had first headed. Interesting to learn how film endings get changed on the whim of a preview audience and how the Internet has caused a massive shift, not always for the best, in this art of film review. Overall, Mark Kermode has written an intelligent book with real heart and soul.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reads like he speaks, 23 May 2014
By 
R. Darlington "Roger Darlington" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I really rate Mark Kermode as a professional film critic: I read his reviews in the "Observer" newspaper, I watch his reviews on BBC television, I follow him on Twitter, and I attended an event at his beloved Phoenix cinema in East Finchley where he spoke about this book. The work is not about films or even film criticism as such but essentially about the role of film critic and one in particular. He is absurdly self deprecating about his persona ("I have a stupid name and a stupid haircut") and overly defensive about his profession ("these days professional film critics are viewed as being on a par with child-molesters and pension-fund embezzlers in the popularity stakes").

Kermode writes like he speaks - a tendency to long, breathless but perfectly-formed sentences full of wit and eudition, so this is an immensely readable work. The book lacks structure - the chapters could have been in any order - and the text has a habit of meandering (several times, he has to resort to a phrase like "anyway, back to ...") , but eventially we always come back to one central message: even in the age of the online, amateur film critic (like me), there is a role for the professional but all critics should identify themselves, the reviews that readers tend to remember are the bad ones, but in the end reviews make little difference to the box office.

"Hatchet Job" tells us something about the odd life of professional film critics. Twice a week, every week, they sit in a darkened room and watch movies that have not yet been released. Kermode reckons that he has averaged 10-12 films a week for the past 25 years, but laments "if you happen to see a couple of good films in any given week, you're doing pretty well". Nevertheless he believes that "watching movies for a living is an insanely privileged existence".

In the course of the book, we learn some things about Kermode: "As a child, my only real friends were movies", as an adolescent his most memorable films were 'Silent Running' and something called simply 'Jememy', and he is "a former student Trot turned wishy-washy bleeding-heart liberal".

Above all, we learn about the movies he loves and loathes respectively. On the affection side, he declares that "I (still) think 'The Exocist' is the greatest movie ever made", he shares the view that 'Casablanca' is "one of the greatest movies ever made", much more controversially he has declared "'The Devils' to be "one of the greatest films ever made", and he admits to being "an unabashed 'Twilight' movie fan". He insists that the assessments of critics and public are not so far apart and I have seen and admired five of his all-time top ten films including such wonderful work as 'Don't Look Now' and 'Pan's Labryinth'.

On the hate side, he says that 'Heaven's Gate' was "catastrophic" and 'Eyes Wide Shut' "piss poor", he shares the view that 'The Straight Story' was "'Forrest Gump' on a tractor", he was savage about 'Transformers', 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' and 'Sex And The City', and he calls 'Zardoz' "the worst science-fiction movie ever made" and 'The Heretic' "the worst movie ever made" - both directed by John Boorman which leads him to the view that the auteur theory is "utter hooey".

One of the most interesting chapters - which underlines how difficult it is to be right about a movie at first viewing - is the role of focus groups in viewing and commenting upon movies not yet released and possibly not yet finalised. He takes the reader through the evolution of 'Fatal Attraction' which has a very different ending from that intended by the writer or director as a result of audience research. He rightly argues that this kind of approach to film-making would have changed the ending of 'Casablanca' making it an utterly different and inferior film.

In a sense, "Hatchet Job" is a cry of existential angst: "Isn't all criticism - good or bad - just white noise; waffle; static hiss; a distraction from the real business of making films?". He admits: "Whereas once I was stupidly certain about my opinions, age has withered that sense of single-mindednes to the point that I no longer trust myself when it comes to judging movies". At one point, he even pleads "What, in brief, is the blood point?"

Yet, in the end, Kermode is optimistic about the future of professional film criticism: "Despite the culls sweeping through the profession in the twenty-first century, film criticism simply refuses to lie down and die" and "the web has proved a boon rather than a bugbear - despite my frequent moans to the contrary".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Kermode Tells it as it is, 17 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A funny sharp and insightful look at the world Film Criticism from a man who has been there and done it and isn't afraid to admit he has sometimes got it wrong but stands by his right to say what he honestly believes.

It seems somewhat ironic to be writing a review of this book considering he points up the drawbacks and potential misuse of
such information but I did truly love the book and nobody paid me to say so!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kermode on fine form, 9 Oct 2014
By 
HeadPith "Chris" (Wakefield, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very good book on film critics and criticism. Some funny and relevant tales thrown in for good measure. Well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the Kermode faithful, 5 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics (Hardcover)
Kermode's latest is full of insight, funny anecdotes and genuine passion for his field, but it definitely feels like a book that has only one point to make; a point which only goes so far.

I've been an avid listener to Kermode and Mayo's podcast for years and I'll listen to/read/watch anything he has to say, but it's undeniably a less engrossing read than The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A defence of professional critics, 29 Jun 2014
By 
jcmacc (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The latest Mark Kermode book covers lots of ground but is at its heart, a justification for the ongoing role of professional film critics in an age where film companies are happy to publish publicity posters of their products covered with dubious one word "recommendations" from anonymous Twitter users.

The book covers a variety of topics from the joys of blunt but witty reviews ("I Am Camera" reviewed simply as "Me no Lika"), the growing role of amateur internet review sites but most focus is on the implications of the gradual death of the print medium and move to online writing. There's little negative "better in my day" attitude in the text and the discussion and conclusions are balanced so good amateur review sites like Den of Geek are praised while at the same time, the problems with ill informed and potentially faked reviews are flagged.

There's an irony in this review: its an anonymous amateur critic's online review of a printed work by professional critic discussing the validity of reviews by anonymous amateur critics online.

Overall: an interesting book probably more appealing to existing "Kermode fans" than the casual reader - but if you read review magazines like Empire or Total Film, this could be considered an essential companion piece.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All good stuff, 1 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Usual fare from MK. Always gives value, and something to think about.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 17 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics (Hardcover)
I must admit to being biased as I am a long term fan of the good doctor and would buy anything that he wrote.

However Hatchet Job is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the movies. It's intelligent, well researched, balanced, full of fascinating anecdotes and laugh out loud funny.

Although I don't agree with everything he says it is very honest and I respect his opinions.

I would recommend it to fans of movies everywhere
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the heart, 22 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Kermode is a terrific reviewer. The heir to Barry Norman in my eyes. His love of film is highly infectious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics
Hatchet Job: Love movies, hate critics by Mark Kermode (Hardcover - 10 Oct 2013)
£13.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews