Rather than the more straightforward autobiographical approach of its predecessor It's Only A Movie, radio and TV presenter / film journalist / academic / broadcaster / skiffle purveyor Kermode's second volume of personalised non-fiction is a rather more film-focused and rewarding affair. Here, Kermode gets to rant, cajole, persuade, plead and eulogise on a range of pertinent and up-to-the-moment topics: customer service in multiplex cinemas, 3D, the dying art of the cinema projectionist, the films of Michael Bay, the star quality of Zac Efron, nitrate film stock, cinema's roots in theatre, the British cinema industry and the social and cultural functions of the independent picture-house.
Its an enjoyable, hectoring, impassioned read; Kermode's love of cinema bleeds off every page and crucially, it leaves you wanting for more detail, as he occupies a place in populist film writing that's been vacant since perhaps Joe Queenan's Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler. Somewhere there's an academic book that makes similar points but backs itself up with rigour, some hard facts and a cooler head. Maybe Kermode'll knuckle down and write one just like it. Until then, this volume of stand-up film discussion will do just nicely as a cheery and impassioned stopgap.
Kermode, Mark. 2011. The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex (London: Random House), 336 pages, 978-1847946034