ACCORDING to Sunday Times reviewer Anna Burnside: ‘Mark Kermode is a critic with more opinions than Delia Smith has baking trays.” At this year’s Belfast Film Festival Kermode, often referred to as ‘the good doctor’ will be reflecting upon some of his personal celluloid favourites, under the cross-examination of local film critic Brian Henry Martin during the Desert Island Flicks event at The Black Box in Belfast’s cathedral quarter, on Friday 12 April.
Kermode has done it all, dodged bullets on the hills of Hollywood, been hand-bagged by the Queen, well Dame Helen Mirren. He’s travelled across Russia and Ukraine risking life and limb trying to cover the film Dark Waters and infamously was evicted from the Cannes Film Festival for swearing-in French. To top it all, he’s also a talented double-bassist and member of the four-piece skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers.
Familiar to many as the resident critic on Wittertainment, BBC Radio 5 Live’s long-running, weekly film review show which he co-presents every Friday afternoon with DJ Simon Mayo. His favourite films include The Exorcist, Silent Running and Mary Poppins and he’s a staunch defender of the much maligned Twilight series. A 2010 YouGov poll rated him as the UK’s most trusted film critic, with a staggering 3% of the overall vote.
Famous for his ‘Kermodian’ rants, he memorably claimed that Sex and the City 2 was ‘nothing more than consumerist pornography’ and in his last book, The Good the Bad and the Multiplex, he claimed there were three absolute truths in this world: “One, the world is round, two, we are all going to die and three, nobody liked Pirates of the Caribbean 3.”
Studying English at Manchester University, Kermode wrote his PhD thesis on horror fiction before starting out in his career in print journalism. He has contributed to many UK magazines such as Time Out, NME and Fangoria magazine and regularly writes a column for the Guardian newspaper reviewing the latest DVD releases. As a Broadcaster he has worked for both the BBC and Channel Four, working on documentaries about films such as Blade Runner and The Shawshank Redemption . He can be seen regularly on television as a presenter on BBC 2’s Culture Show and as an occasional guest on Newsnight Review.
With his encyclopedic knowledge on all things cine, audiences will surely be in for treat on the night, as Kermode answers a variety of questions in his typical forthright nature. A regular attendee of Belfast’s festival scene, his annual film nights regularly closes the city’s Cinemagic film festival. It will be great to see those flappy hands and that terrible Danny Dyer impersonation on display once more, just nobody mention Michael Bay.
Tickets for the event are priced at £7 and can be purchased from the festival’s website , or by contacting 02890246609.
Oh and just one more thing, hello to Jason Isaacs.
By William McClean