This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics by…

Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics

by Mark Kermode

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
534221,808 (3.5)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 4 of 4
I usually enjoy Mark Kermode on his Youtube channel and find him entertaining, and effortless to listen to. I found his book equally entertaining, and finished it only a few days. It's a fantastic mix of philosophy and debate about what a movie critic is, along with entertaining stories of his own experiences and history about film. Great stuff! ( )
  hskey | Apr 28, 2018 |
Not bad and full of the usual Kermodian rants and anecdotes but 25% of the book is index! ( )
  LiveAndrew | Feb 23, 2017 |
Mark Kermode is pretty much everything I like about a critic. He’s smart, passionate and usually entertaining and passes the ultimate test of a critic; even if I disagree he’s well worth listening to. As it happens we agree on a lot (not The Exorcist, but we have common ground in an unreasonable shared love of Silent Running and reasoning hatred of Bay’s Transformers films), so I’m not inclined to go all Uwe Boll on him. Not for this book anyway.

Hatchet Job is an evaluation of movie critics and their role down the years. It’s a fierce, impassioned defence of criticism aspiring to be art or at least result in better art being made by others. But to tis credit this is a critical defence. Kermode’s great strength is retaining the perspective of fan and critic, understanding both and being prepared to answer all charges. You can see from the first chapter that even when he becomes a professional critic he makes fanboy errors, mistaking disagreements in view for errors of judgement. This leads to my one crucial disagreement with him; the issue of being wrong about films. Kermode’s view implies there are such things as objectively great films (the anecdote about Bonnie and Clyde or his account of re-evaluating AI). I’d argue that a well-reasoned viewpoint that’s at least engaged with a piece of art can’t be wrong. If there are factual errors or misunderstandings, yes there can be error but if a film’s failed to engage? If the critic has a reason why something’s failed to engage them? Surely then they’re simply providing a more well-rounded view.

Overall though, as entertaining and well-reasoned as his usual reviews. ( )
  JonArnold | Jan 14, 2015 |
For anyone not familiar with Mark Kermode’s work, he is the Chief Film Critic for The Observer newspaper, he presents The Culture Show on BBC2, and he is part of ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review’ programme on BBC Radio 5 live. In this book, he talks about his role as film critic, and more specifically, the role of a film critic in today’s world, where the internet allows pretty much everyone to be a critic about pretty much anything. And you don’t need to have any specialist knowledge or qualifications to be an internet critic. (I’m well aware that as a blogger, I’m one of these people that he talks about – I’m not particularly qualified to write about books or movies or theatre, but I do anyway, although I don’t claim to offer anything other than my own opinion, for whatever that’s worth.) So with the growth of blogging, tweeting etc., the role of progressional film critic has come under some threat.

Kermode eloquently makes the case for the necessity of professional film critics in such a world – he certainly convinced me, although to be fair, I agreed with his point of view in the first place. He also discusses how advertisement posters for films have now started using quotes from Twitter users as endorsements, and points out the obvious problems with this. For all this though, Kermode does seem to want to embrace the internet and the rise of online bloggers, is also quick to point out the advantages of it – both to himself and to others.

The book is very well written and engaging, and often very amusing too. Each chapter is about a specific point relating to the main theme, but Kermode often goes off at tangents, and uses lots of anecdotes to illustrate what he’s saying – at the end of the chapter, everything ties up nicely.

Overall, if you like Mark Kermode’s film reviews, you will like this book. If you don’t know anything about Mark Kermode or his film reviews, there’s a strong chance you will like this book. I don’t think you even need to be particularly cineliterate to enjoy it – my basic knowledge of any film extends as far as whether or not I enjoyed it. I started reading the book on a long flight, and usually when I’m flying, I end up listening to music, watching a film, or trying to sleep. However, I found myself not wanting to do any of those things, and instead just wanting to keep reading. So for me, this was definitely a winner, and I would recommend it. ( )
  Ruth72 | Oct 7, 2014 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"So tell me, how did you love the picture?"
Samuel Goldwyn
First words
'Forrest Gump on a tractor.'
...the longer I do this job, the more I wonder how you can ever know what you actually think of a film, so influential are the circumstances under which you first saw it, and the subsequent opportunities you may or may not have to re-evaluate your first response...
...wanting Casablanca to turn out differently is not the result of being stupid or foolish and wishing to ruin a picture you didn't understand in the first place – on the contrary, it's the result of watching the movie and getting it completely...
No audience will ever ask for an unhappy ending; just as you can't scare yourself by shouting 'Boo!' or tickle yourself into laughing...
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Starting with the celebrated TV fight between Ken Russell and Alexander Walker (the former hit the latter with a rolled up copy of his Evening Standard review!) 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. We are all critics now and, as the professional role diminishes, the democratic opportunities of the internet have created a new monster. Relying on speed of response, rather than considered reaction, these new critics have stolen the thunder of their paid up counterparts. But there is a dark side, the shocking deceptions hidden behind the facade of our digital world's new and supposedly democratic alternative, "the honest, unmediated audience response". Mark questions the future of any and all genuinely impartial criticism when reviews are systemically corrupted by bribery, vote-rigging, cyber-stalking, and sock-puppetry. And he asks that crucial question, what kind of films would we have if we listened to what the audience thinks it wants? 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 cynical humour. It's the perfect book for anyone who's ever expressed an opinion about a movie.… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.5)
1 1
2.5 3
3 3
3.5 3
4 9
4.5 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 126,332,553 books! | Top bar: Always visible