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3.7 out of 5 stars71
3.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 12 July 2010
Although the book can be recommended as a very enjoyable read if you know what you're getting, what's probably important to tell the potential reader is what it's not.

Although written in a chronological way through Kermode's career in film writing, the book isn't really a biography, for example there's no insight into Kermode's musical side-lines, even the time he lead the house band on Danny Baker's short lived BBC late night chat show. Equally the book isn't really about films per se, so there's no serious critiques (as Kermode would do on the Culture Show), likewise no flippant "best of" lists etc.

What the book is, is an extended riff on Kermode's personal anecdotes from the Mayo/Kermode 5Live shows and podcasts. It's pretty much how you'd imagine the Kermode monologues would go on the radio show if there was no time pressure to do another review or a need to break for the news and travel. As such, many of the stories are familiar but longer in their written versions: in musical terms, you're getting the extended remixes of the singles you've already heard.

So, if you are a fan of the Kermode podcasts, you'll probably lap this up (and you can add another star to the review score). If you are looking for more depth about films and the film buisness, maybe that'll be the next book.
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on 23 November 2013
I bought this as I enjoyed Mark's review show on 5 Live with Simon Mayo. Perhaps the most helpful thing I can say is that if you don't like Mark - the way he speaks, his attitude and his approach - then you will not like this book. As you read through the book it is almost impossible not to hear his voice echoing in your head as he writes exactly as he speaks. If you're a fan this is great, if not then the book will start to grate quite quickly I think. The book illustrates where his almost obsessive film knowledge has developed from. It also shows he is not afraid to voice his opinion, even if it goes against the main stream.
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on 30 July 2011
I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be a book about movies (as one would expect from the title) or an autobiography. It tries to do both - an error that a good editor/publisher should have sorted.

The good bits (and the most entertaining) are about the movies and the author's personal reminiscences of discussions with producers/ directors etc. There are some interesting insights, for example on Bill Forsyth and his (faulty) memory of what he had filmed in 'Local Hero'. The story of Kermode's early career as a film reviewer was also good and shows what dogged persistence and dedication in the face of adversity can achieve.

The not-so-good bits are typified by the over-long discussions of the author's radio career and relationships with DJs. If this part of the book had been left on the cutting room floor, the book would have been shorter, better and more coherent.

But it was worth reading for the Movie insights.
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on 25 April 2010
A very enjoyable romp through Mr. Kermode's life (whether real or imagined). Glad to read he loves "Silent Running" as much as I do ... though I think his love for the "Planet Of The Apes" saga is, perhaps, a little over the top ...

Mr. K is a member of my generation (plus or minus a couple of years) so it was fun reading about his experiences in the 80s. Naturally, he was a lefty and his reminisces about feminism, the NME and Mrs. Thatcher have an almost Ben Elton-esque air about them (albeit heavily tempered now by wisdom, age and knowledge).

Well worth a read.
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on 13 May 2011
My main knowledge of Mark Kermode, is from his Radio 5 Live show with Simon Mayo where I enjoy his rambling film reviews and rants.
His book is written in very much the same sort of style, and while interesting isnt always very entertaining.
I enjoyed the stories of his student days in Manchester and his first forays into journalism.
The book is in a very large print so is a very quick read, enjoyable but I have got the feeling it could have been so much better.
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on 4 May 2011
I took "It's Only a Movie" with me on holiday as an easy and engaging read, while unable to listen to his weekly 5 Live show with Simon Mayo - and do you know what? I quietly enjoyed it.

It's not an autobiography and in fairness doesn't purport to be one. It's not a deep analysis of the world of film and again, it doesn't stake any claims in this department either. It takes instead quite a genial, self-deprecating look at how an obsessive love of film has somehow led Kermode to a career as a respected film critic. It doesn't take itself too seriously, as the title 'It's only a movie' ought to make clear and it is stuffed full of moments that shoot holes in the good doctor's preeminent image of all-knowing confident critic.

Like many of the films he's loved, his book probably has a niche market. I enjoyed it because I enjoy the weekly wittertainment podcast and this book goes a long way to providing the background to some of the show's recurring themes; "Chubby, hmmm?", a diffident respect for a certain Bavarian filmmaker, and I finally learnt the origin of Mark Kermode's apparent obsession with Jason Isaacs. You don't need to share his love of horror films to enjoy the book, nor do you need to agree with him about the Exorcist or Mary Poppins. If you can give Mark Kermode, the person, a little time (and as another reviewer wrote, I imagine this is even more so with the audio version) then my guess is you'll probably enjoy his company. It's only a movie, it's not too serious, and like most movies, it's a perfectly entertaining way to spend an evening.
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on 1 November 2013
Very entertaining and informative. Kermode has the gift of being passionate about what he does and transmitting that passion on to others. If you like films you must read this book, all of Mark's books and listen to his flagship podcast. Now!
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on 2 August 2011
I am a huge fan of Mark Kermode and love his film review show with Simon Mayo, so I was really looking forward to this book.
However, I agree with other reviewers that it's rather a confused affair; is it an autobiography or is it a book about film? Well... it's both... sort of.
Most of the book is a series of anecdotes from Mark's career, most of which I found interesting, even though I had heard a fair few of them already in short form. Occasionally, they went on for far too long and I think the editor should have done some serious cutting. These are interspersed with some bits and bobs analysing film genres, which are also interesting. However, when you put them all together, it doesn't quite work as well as I would have liked. I think that the publishers should have decided to go one way or the other. I probably would have enjoyed a book that focused more on film to be honest.

I still think it's worth a look if you like Mark Kermode, but if you don't, I would definitely avoid it. I actually read it via audiobook from Audible, with Mark as the narrator and I suspect that added a little something extra to the parts that I enjoyed.
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on 19 October 2011
Really enjoyed this book,not sure it deserves 2 stars or less. Well worth the price, and also the first complete book I've read on kindle. More of a mini auto biography than anything else, not sure if it would be worth being bigger.
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on 7 December 2013
Excellent book for anyone with an interest in films - I'm a fan of his broadcasting but I think he's an even better (and funnier) writer. Highly recommended.
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