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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 April 2015
This is the second of Mark Kermode's books I've read (though I am a regular listener to his podcast), which is unusual for me as I usually try to read them in order (but my copy of 'The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex' is off in a box somewhere so I skipped ahead). The first book was autobiographical, and I understand the second is about the current state of cinema - this time Kermode writes about film criticism itself.

While the book gave ample opportunity for some of the author's frequent anecdotage, I found it had to pick out a real theme for the book and to understand what the journey was that it was trying to take me on. There didn't seem to be an overriding message to the manuscript and I found myself several times getting lost and having to back up a few pages to understand what point was trying to be made.

Going in, I had expected something a bit more ranty - much of the focus of the comment I heard/read after the book was published was about sockpuppettery (posting of fake reviews - positive for one's own product or negative for a competitor's), however this was only a small fraction of the book.

The book didn't really generate enough of an emotion in me to commit to a final statement - perhaps just that it was a bit bland?
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on 25 October 2013
At one point reading this I thought I'd actually bought the audio book, so familiar was the reading experience to listening to the author Mark Kermode in his weekly Five Live film review programme. This is Kermode Kermoding at his most Kermode.

The only slightly off-Kermode nature of the book comes in the form of regular self-deprication, with Kermode insisting many times he is not fit to lick the shoes of many of the other critics he discusses - especially Roger Egbert. These do become a little tiring by the end. If you're good - which he is - it is probably best to exercise restraint in mentioning how good you are too often; but constant digs at yourself, I think, are simarly unnecessary.

Whilst I was five-star entertained, I couldn't give this book overall the full five. There are copious insightful points made about film (and other) criticism, its history, its awkward place in the digital future, and a multi-storey car-park full of entertaining anecdotes and movie trivia, it just didn't - in the end - really come together to make any over-arching point, And that wouldn't be a problem, if I didn't get the nagging feeling, that the author really wanted it to.

I should probably shut-up critiscing a critic's book on critiscism, as I really did enjoy reading every chapter of this book, with the rousing ending to the final chapter leaving me wanting to punch the air. Then, for no reason, there's an unnecessary epilogue set on a beach in Mexico.
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on 13 April 2016
One of the few critics I can listen to and not punch the wall when I do not agree with his review.
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on 16 September 2014
Reading the book, you pretty much have Mark's voice talking at you. However, its a little repetitive and not as good as his first book, although better than the second.

Limited scope.

Not a patch on Wittertainment.
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on 7 July 2014
This is the first book I've read about film criticism and it's inspired me to read more. I'll also read more of Kermode's books. He's a witty, funny, self-deprecating writer who makes thorough, balanced investigations. There are some great tips in here for films you might not have seen too.
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on 5 March 2014
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.
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on 21 September 2014
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.
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on 22 June 2014
Kermode is a terrific reviewer. The heir to Barry Norman in my eyes. His love of film is highly infectious.
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on 17 September 2014
An interesting book written with a love for and of, film. He is gently self-deprecating, knows his job well and has plenty of fascinating stories to tell. I found myself smiling and sometimes surprised myself by laughing out loud and I will certainly be buying his other books.
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on 21 November 2013
.... but, in all fairness, I can't. I was really disappointed to discover that somewhere around 20% of the book (according to my Kindle) is an Index. An unpleasant discovery and one of the downsides to not being able to flick through the printed copy. The book was therefore shorter than I expected to be (and hoped it would be) because as an admitted fan of the estimable Dr K, if he writes it, I will read it. I enjoy his opinionated rants (been known to let loose one or two of those myself) whether I agree with them or not.

Like "It's only a Movie" and "The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex" the writing style is almost conversational and it was easy to "hear" the good doctor's voice in your head. Almost as good as listening to the audiobook ;-o I found the book entertaining, enlightening and insightful.
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