The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex
Mark Kermode is a film critic I greatly admire. I don’t always agree with him (I mean come on…Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t that bad…) but for the most part I find his reviews very informative and I respect his refusal to hold his tongue. If he doesn’t like a film, you’ll know. He is at his best when angry and has the ability to utterly destroy a film without ever being needlessly insulting. Every point he makes is always backed up by well thought out opinions and solid research.
This book sees Kermode tackle the world of modern movies and focuses on a variety of subjects within that spectrum. He talks about cinema’s obsession with 3-D throughout history (he cites examples going back as far as the 20’s and 30’s) and why it never catches on, Hollywood’s fear of foreign films and the reasons that huge Hollywood blockbusters always feel so lacklustre.
I thought this book was hilarious. Kermode manages to infuse his rants with a lot of humour and I laughed out loud more than once reading this. His anecdotes especially, are brilliantly funny and make for some of the book’s most enjoyable passages.
As for the film criticism, I found it spot on. I am generally uninterested in mainstream movies and find most of Hollywood’s output to be absolute drivel. I found myself agreeing with most of what Kermode had to say on the subjects he put forward and greatly enjoyed his theories on why the various problems with mainstream movies persist.
A personal favourite was the chapter detailing the long and troubled history of 3D in cinema and the way it is repeatedly trotted out when Hollywood looks to be in trouble (Like how is was used to combat the threats of TV in the 50’s, video in the 80’s and now the threat of online piracy).
It’s a subject I’ve been interested in for some time and it was good to see such a well researched essay on the subject.
If you’re a film buff I’d highly recommend this one. It’s an intelligent and funny look at some of the problems plaguing the movie industry today and despite being loaded with statistics and details of film grosses it’s never boring.
If you’re a fan of 3D however, it may well put you off for good.