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... is one of the few regular features from Mark Kermode's weekly film review with Simon Mayo on Five Live which doesn't appear in this amusingly polemical book. Very simply it is a rant from start to finish. If you want an extremely funny, highly opinionated broadside fired at everything the author sees as wrong with modern cinema, you'll love this.

What you get is Kermode targetting the modern multiplex experience (as exemplified in a comedically kafka-esque account of attempting to watch a Zac Efron movie in a multi-screen cinema), an attack on brainless blockbusters when it is possible to make intelligent mass appeal films (here the good doctor, repeats his broadcast praise for Christopher Nolan's Inception) a rubbishing of 3-D movies, an analysis of the role of the film critic, a consideration of what the British film industry actually is, and a cry for films other than those in (American) English to gain an audience.

To my mind this is a superior work to Kermode's previous book, being much more of a coherent whole, rather than a magpie collection of anecdotes; and while the trick of virtually repeating one of his reviews (in this case the execrable Sex and the City 2, rather than Mama Mia) is reproduced, it is much more in context this time

The book is, as I say, a polemic, and Dr K is a self-confessed ranting ex-trot and as such it is unlikely that you will agree with everything he has to say. For me Kermode is too much of a luddite, frequently blaming the medium and the technology (particularly digital cinema) rather than its use. However the fact that you will at times disagree with the writing shouldn't matter one jot. If you want a well written, heartfelt, laugh out loud funny call to be given something more in the cinema than purely commercially driven, narratively bereft, pap while being fed overpriced rubbish, then this is the book for you.

Thoroughly recommended, with one slight warning - it is a very tiring read.
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on 11 September 2011
More substantial cohesion evident in the shape & structure of the whole, than his last book of 'bits'..takes the themes of the current film zeitgeist (everything feels shiny & expensive but lacks soul) and delivers thoroughly researched data, amidst the usual fervent Kermode preachin n' rantin.

Possibly due to the bulk of the data to be set-up here, with lots of figures & dollar signs, the infusion of humour is lessened, compared to the usual wit on display. Lacks a sense of 'off-the-cuff' but gathers substantial matter in a snowball effect of researched info regarding the state of film across the globe.

If only the hollywood suits & multiplex drones could read they might for an instant, if perusing this highly charged list of 'charges against cinema', realise that just because no one can voice their opinion with sufficient volume, there is always the Kermode 'Dragon' ready to monitor them & decry in public..it's his job.

Loses a star for preachin to the choir though..
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...although whether there are any realistic options for curing (or even tempering) the ills of modern multiplex (invariably Hollywood-dominated) world cinema, as evinced by film critic Mark Kermode in this highly entertaining (and informative) diatribe, is a debatable point. Certainly, the man's initial suggestion would be a step in the right direction, namely that those of us who favour 'independent' (and, typically, less obviously commercial and, I would argue, more thoughtful) cinema, should put our money where our mouths are and frequent our local 'independent' cinemas (if we have one!) in preference to the local multiplex (even if less convenient to do so).

I must admit I picked up Kermode's book on a loan (as it were) from a friend and had not otherwise intended reading it. Kermode is a film critic whose general demeanour and delivery I was not a particularly big fan of, something to do with 'liking the sound of his own voice' too much (well what film critics, including us on-line 'amateurs', don't, I hear you ask?). However, I did know that he (to a large extent) shares my despair at current multiplex film fare and the skewed UK film distribution system, and this collection of musings and (more often) rants neatly addresses many of my own bugbears on a range of issues (a case of 'preaching to the converted', I recognise). Among his targets are the absence of 'quality' (i.e. more thoughtful and subtle) blockbuster films, Hollywood's unnecessary, and culture-inhibiting, habit of remaking foreign films (largely due to English-speaking audiences' dislike of subtitles), the largely financially (rather than artistic) driven reasons for Hollywood's current obsession with 3D films and the undue (global) influence on a film's success of Hollywood's (often corrupt) Academy Awards process.

Style-wise, Kermode is in chatty mood throughout and has peppered the book with (for me at least) some genuinely funny moments - including his encounter, in the book's first chapter, with 'the youth of today' in the form of inflexible, and uncaring, multiplex cinema staff. What also shines through in Kermode's writing (regardless of whether, like me, you cannot quite understand his obsession with The Exorcist or get increasingly annoyed with his frequent use of the word 'movie' - it's 'film', Mark!) is the man's genuine (albeit often nostalgic) affection for cinema. This is particularly poignantly depicted during the closing section of the book during which he muses over the relative merits of (the admittedly more flexible and accessible) digital film vs. its analogue celluloid counterpart.
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on 29 December 2012
I picked this up on the offchance, having seen Kermode on the occasional TV slot. For me the key chapter is on the role of the critic which offers the rationale for the whole book which can best be summed up as guerrilla criticism - partisan, committed, well organised and in a just cause. Worth it for one quote alone, about the status of opinions - I'll leave you, dear reader, to find it. But find it you must. Not a horror buff myself, on the strength of this I've bought a copy of the Exorcist - mere 39 years after original release. Read it and weep, with laughter.
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on 15 September 2014
Listeners of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's 5Live Show will have probably long since read this, the show being a weekly highlight of mine - listening to the podcast in the early hours of the morning whilst mindlessly playing games on my laptop - or 'double geeking' as I call it. Anyway, I digress, any film afficianado will enjoy immersing themselves in Mark's committed world of cinema appreciation. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his tastes, I think you listen to or read Mark Kermode because you feel you have come across a bit of a kindred spirit.

This is my favourite of his books, but, y'know, I've hoovered them all up. The topics are interesting and sometimes fun - highlights being the fantastic and quite moving essay on projectionists and a chapter devoted to bad blockbusters and why can't they be better films - always fun to hear a good rant on a fun topic - the reply to Mark's rant about Titanic from one of the films exec's: 'the problem is, you're not a teenage girl' being amongst some very witty writing.
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on 5 February 2014
'The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex' is hugely anecdotal - If you like Mr Kermode you will quite simply like this book. If you also lament the malaise of the modern cinema going experience it is always a pleasure to find someone that not only agrees with you but has the hefty weight of 1000s of hours in the cinema seat to back it up.

Well written and appropriately paced the book recounts a number of key causes of the downfall of the cinema in a balanced and measured manner. The real pleasure of this book is that it puts into words the feeling you get when you visit your local Multiplex to see a film you have been waiting to see for only to leave the cinema wishing you had not have bothered. Nothing to do with the quality of motion pictures but the way that actually viewing the content is made purely secondary to the sale of fast food.

A terrific light read all round.
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on 2 September 2011
The Good the Bad and the Multiplex is Film Critic Mark Kermode's plea to the nation to "wise up" about the state of cinema. For those of us who follow his highly entertaining and (usually) 100% accurate criticisms of Movies on BBC radio then much of the book is as we would expect. His long standing arguements about the dumbing down of cinema, the latest Hollywood craze for "3D" films (Which I can't abide give me 2D anyday,)The Hollywood obsession with remaking fantastic foreign movies and completely ruining them, the death of narrative cinema etc. are well known. Here he expands on his arguements and makes a coherent and passionate plea to us,the audience,to expect and demand better.

His chapter on Hollywood blockbusters and how mind-numbingly dull they have become recently (hello Michael Bay)and how they could be brilliant given to an intelligent director who gives the audience credit fot having some intelligence (hello Chris Nolan) is just simply exactly how I have felt for some years now.

I don't expect Hollywood executives, 14-18 year old schoolboys (at whom most movies seemed aimed at these days) or Danny Dyer are going to read this book and change their ways,but they should,and if they did we might have a new "golden age" of cinema where we don't need gimmicks, re-makes and endless sequels to attract people to the "pictures".(N.B. number crunchers, the movies would make money see Inception for details.)

I highly recommend this book to any serious movie fan who likes a damned good laugh(the section about his 11 year old self going to see Blazing Saddles is hilarious) while having something serious to say about the medium we all love but is under-fire some people who make movies and don't seem to care.
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on 10 October 2011
This book is very informative and entertaining. It made me laugh out loud in several places - just very funny descriptions of real situations (eg Buying tickets online for a Multiplex cinema - when the system doesn't work).
However, in some places it is rather heavy going when he gets onto one of his favourite hobby horses - he tends to go on rather too long, having clearly made his point earlier.
Lots of valuble information about what really goes on in the film industry, and plenty of film titles I have missed to look up that sound well worth seeing.
I often get part-way through a book and then chuck it - not this one!
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on 20 May 2014
I bought this book on a Thursday lunch time (from Poundland no less) and finished it by the Sunday morning. For me this is probably the quickest I've ever read a book! It was funny, informative and very entertaining throughout. I know of Mark Kermode, but I've never been a huge follower of his...until now! Whilst I don't necessarily share his exact film tastes (e.g. his intense love of Silent Running) I did find myself nodding in agreement with almost all of what he had to say about cinema in general, and better still laughed out loud at most of it too. His views on Sex in the City 2 being a particular highlight. Also, he must be one the few film critics who actually belittles the influence of film critics. Anyone who LOVES films, not likes films, but LOVES films will thoroughly enjoy this.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 October 2014
I've long held the belief that the last place you want to be when you're feeling ill is in hospital. Similarly, the last place you want to go to to see a film is a "multiplex" (ugh!), that temple to charmless corporate bloat.
Film critic Mark Kermode clearly shares my sentiments towards the latter, and his book is an unremitting rant against all that he considers wrong with the process of funding, making and presenting films in today's world. It's a hugely entertaining read, but perceptive and insightful with it. You'll laugh, but if you love films, you'll also want to spit, and heave a brick through the shiny plate glass exterior of your nearest multi.
More power to your elbow, Mark.
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