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on 12 August 2017
A great read. All told in an almost casual way. Really seems more like having a chat with the movie doctor rather than being told things. A thoroughly engaging experience from start until the end.
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on 17 August 2017
fascinating and entertaing. 5 points for the boss reference. a must read for all modern film fans. hello to jason isaacs.
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on 18 August 2017
An amusing collection of essays by film critic Mark Kermode on what he thinks is wrong with modern cinema. Although entertaining, some of the book struck me as very silly, particularly the first chapter. I mean, can it really have come as a shock to Mr Kermode to learn the price of two cinema tickets, a coke and some popcorn? Why? Isn't he supposed to be a regular cinemagoer? And why does the tightwad grudge buying his daughter a coke and some popcorn anyway? How mean can you get? The part where he sneaks into the cinema at age 11 to see Blazing Saddles is very amusing, but that stuff about only being able to buy chocolate covered raisins and .'we went to the cinema to watch, not to eat' is rubbish. In the 70s, drinks, sweets and ice creams were heavily promoted in the ads, for instance I remember an amusing ad for Kia-ora orange drink which had Ronnie Barker saying 'customers are requested not to make idiotic slurping noises during the film.' As for ice creams - you didn't even have to go out to the foyer to get them, elderly ladies with trays brought them into the auditorium. One I can remember from my local Odean who was about 90. So things really haven't changed that much. This makes me take the rest of the book with a pinch of salt, as I am not sure how much is his real opinion, and how much exaggeration. Still, it's entertaining enough.
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VINE VOICEon 4 September 2011
... 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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...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 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 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 16 September 2012
It's better than his first book. However without Dr Mayo there to moderate him, the arguments do get a little repetitive. Some of the storytelling is also incredibly clumsy, such as his tale of queuing in a multiplex and being offered popcorn. Could have been done in half the time.

Shame really as drop some of the repetition and with some decent editing this would be a 4 star book.
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on 13 September 2011
A few things.

Kermode is one of the best, if not THE best film reviewer. Entertaining, informative and right about 95% of the time. This book reflects all of this. Its a good read.

BUT and this is a BIG BUT if you listen to Kermode and Mayo you will literally have heard ALL of this before.

It is literally like someone has made a transcript of some of the most entertaining bits from the radio.

As the only people who are going to be interested in this are likely to be radio fans then its kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If you only buy one book by Mark Kermode, make it a different one.

It's like going to see the Exorcist, then going to see the Exorcist again, then reading the script.
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on 12 September 2011
Mark Kermode is the one film critic that I like to listen to. No, scratch that, he's the only one that I love to listen to. I never miss the Friday review show with Simon Mayo. And there's the rub. You see there's very little in this book that the great man hasn't already espoused at length on the radio show. If you're a regular listener then I'm afraid that you've heard it all before.

That said, there's a humorous tale of a poor visit to a multiplex that everyone can probably relate to starting thing off and if you're not familiar with the man and his views then you'll find yourself informed and entertained.

It's easy to read and there's lots of fact and anecdote, but for the real fans it's a case of been there, done that. Maybe it should have come with a free T shirt.
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