The UK's most trusted (and scathing) film reviewer asks: who needs the professionals now that everyone's a critic? For decades, the backbone of film criticism has been the hatchet job - the entertaining trashing of a film by professional reviewers, seen by many as cynical snobs.
But with the arrival of the internet, have the critics finally fallen under the axe? With movie posters now just as likely to be adorned by Twitter quotes as fusty reviewer recommendations, has the rise of enthusiastic amateurism sounded the death knell of a profession? Are the democratic opportunities of the internet any more reliable than the old gripes and prejudices of the establishment? Can editing really be done by robots? And what kind of films would we have if we listened to what the audience thinks it wants?
Starting with the celebrated TV fight between film-maker Ken Russell and critic Alexander Walker (the former hit the latter with a rolled-up copy of his Evening Standard review on live television) and ending with his own admission to Steven Spielberg of a major error of judgement, Mark Kermode takes us on a journey across the modern cinematic landscape. Like its predecessor, The Good, The Bad & The Multiplex, Hatchet Job blends historical analysis with trenchant opinion, bitter personal prejudices, autobiographical diversions and anecdotes, and laugh-out-loud acerbic humour. It's the perfect book for anyone who's ever expressed an opinion about a movie.
©2013 Mark Kermode (P)2013 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd
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"A Kermodian rant, and essay on criticism"
I imagine most (or all) listeners will be very familiar with Kermode's film podcast, and so will come to this knowing all about Mark's likes and dislikes. This time he talks in some depth about movie criticism, from it's origins to it's current position in the hands on amateurs on Amazon and the like. There are rants of course, and some of it feels a little forced, but plenty of good points are made too. I'm not sure what the conclusion was, but it was entertaining to listen to.
This is also a surprisingly foul mouthed book, which isn't a problem, just surprising. Away from the shackles of the BBC, Kermode swears like the proverbial trooper.
"Kermode's new book is a real treat, Loved it!"
Iwill listen to this book again.
In a world of critics, he was another one... with a hatchet.
Mark Kermode is an excellent movie critic. He has a very engaging style and a real love of film with a wealth of knowledge and a real death of understanding of the art form. Though, you won't ever hear Kermode himself say that. He is self deprecating to a fault and has real warmth and affection for takers of and he audience of cinema in all it's forms. This third book is thoroughly entertaining. I would rank this book as joint close second to his first, “It's only a movie” alongside his second outing, “The good, the bad and the multiplex.” All three are very entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, “It's only a movie” is excellent with the next two far from being the difficult second and third albums. They stand on their own merit and will stand the test of time. The first book is more of a manifesto and a positioning statement, it comes from the writer's heart and is a joy which survives many repeated listens. Looking forward to the next listen and the next book. Brilliant stuff indeed. Thanks Mark.
"A very intelligent look"
This audio book is like the kermode and mayo show but with out simon stoping kermode ramblings. Mark clearly shows his love of cinema in his thoughtful arguments on a subject which is changing his field of work.
"Kermodian flappy hands at their best!"
If you know the work of the good Dr. then you know what to expect in this his third book looking at the industry with which he has become synonymous with.
In Hatchet Job Kermode looks at modern film criticism and asks the question 'who needs the professionals now that everyone's a critic?'
Through his flappy handed ramblings and entertaining stories from throughout his career he sets about to discover where the current day professional critic sits alongside reviews written in 140 characters now that everyone is a critic.
Never short of opinion Kermode posses interesting questions about how the world of film criticism is changing but as most blogs are 'graffiti with punctuation' I think he'll be doing fine for some time to come.
A must read for any wittertainment fan!
"A skilled orator giving an insight into his world"
Being a relatively recent convert to the @wittertainment podcast and the flappy handed blather of BBC Radio's version of Statler and Waldorf, I looked forward to hearing what the good doctor had to say in book form.
Dr. Kermode is very good at speaking, easy to listen to and, giving that he was speaking words he himself had written it came as no surprise that the delivery was crisp and impassioned in all the right places.
Peppered with humour as well as the rants he is famous for the tale moves on at a brisk pace and is enlightening as to what it means to be a full time film critic, from the arcane days of print media in the 80's when he started, to the digital age in this century. It goes someway to explaining how on earth someone can make a living by watching films and complaining about them while simultaneously admitting that they couldn't have done a better job themselves.
An enjoyable listen which includes my current favourite phrase "turned it up to eleventy-stupid"
"Another Kermode book, top job."
Ok Kermode is not a professional reader, I don’t care, yes he asks rhetorical questions, I don’t care. Yes his reading style is a tad erratic and oddly emphasised. DON’T CARE. The book is a laugh, he’s a laugh, it made me smile.
Note it also had some interesting information in there to.
So basically fun and you learn something. That’s about as much as you can ask of any book.
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