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.