An evening with the film critic Mark Kermode

This week, I went to hear a talk by the “Observer” film critic Mark Kermode.

The venue was the “Phoenix” cinema in East Finchely in London. This was Mark’s local cinema when we grew up. It has recently celebrated its 100th anniversary and claims to be the longest running cinema in the country. Ironically, when I first moved down from Manchetsre to London, I lived behind the cinema – then called the “Rex” – and went to it quite often.

Mark was there to promote his new book, “Hatchet Job”, and many of the themes and the anecdotes in his totally unscripted  and very amusing talk come from the book. He has now spent around a quarter of a century as a film critic and sees around 13 films a week. He claimed that he praises as many films as he disparages, but insisted that readers (and directors) always remember his critical reviews. He was clear, however, that bad reviews had little impact on a film’s performance at the box office.

Mark spoke for almost an hour and then answered questions for almost another hour. In that time, he referenced lots of films and, although I see quite a lot films myself, I had only seen about half of the ones he mentioned (he enjoys horror movies and I don’t). Films he spoke of warmly included “Blade Runner”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, the “Twilight” movies, “Gravity” and “Saving Mr Banks”. He hated “Breaking The Waves”.


  • Spence

    Sounds like a really interesting and fun evening! I would love to join you if you ever go again.

  • Roger Darlington

    A friend bought tickets for himself and his partner but she could not make it and I was offered the place; otherwise I would have suggested you come along.


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