Review: The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex

If blockbusters make money no matter how good they are, why not make a good one for a change? How can 3D be the future of cinema when it’s been giving audiences a headache for over 100 years? And, in a world where Sex and the City 2 is a hit, what are film critics even for?

Mark Kermode, one of the UK’s biggest and most trusted film critics, attempts to answer these and many other questions in his book The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex, a collection of eloquent, well-researched rants about the declining state of modern cinema. In a nutshell, it’s like a Jeremy Clarkson book about film. Except it’s actually well-written.

Kermode’s knowledge of the medium is encyclopaedic, and hilarious anecdotes about university life and family trips to the cinema are joined by in-depth analyses of Japanese horror, blockbusters through the ages, the popularity (or lack thereof) of world cinema with English speaking audiences, and even a history of cinema itself, from celluloid to IMAX. Make no mistake, this is a book by a film fanatic, primarily written for film fanatics.

But it’s still far from esoteric. Kermode’s writing is sensational, filled with sparkling wit and hilarious semi-psychotic breakdowns. Even if you haven’t heard of every film the book mentions (and congratulations to you if you have), there’s a kind of universality to what he’s saying. Surely everyone has found themselves in a dark multiplex, full of people noisily eating popcorn and nachos, wondering why in the name of all that’s holy you paid good money to see Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides in 3D?

Needless to say, Kermode’s book will divide opinion. Not everyone will agree with his views, nor will they all love the rambling, almost stream-of-consciousness writing style – he does to digress, does Mark.

But The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex is a fascinating, well-researched look at the state of modern cinema, and it’s absolutely worth reading simply to get a discussion going. A must-buy for anyone who’s even remotely interested in film.

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