Mark Kermode
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Mark Kermode

Mark Kermode
Mark Kermode at the British Podcast Awards 2018 (May 2018)
Kermode in May 2018
Born
Mark James Patrick Fairey

(1963-07-02) 2 July 1963 (age 57)
EducationHaberdashers' Aske's Boys' School
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
OccupationFilm critic, presenter, writer, musician
EmployerBBC
Scala Radio
The Observer
TelevisionThe Film Review
The Culture Show
(m. 1991)
[1]
Children2
Websitewww.theguardian.com/profile/markkermode

Mark James Patrick Kermode ( Fairey;[2][3] born 2 July 1963)[4][5] is an English film critic and musician. He is the chief film critic for The Observer, contributes to the magazine Sight & Sound, presents the BBC Four documentary series Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema, co-presents the BBC Radio 5 Live show Kermode and Mayo's Film Review, and previously co-presented the BBC Two arts programme The Culture Show. Kermode is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Kermode is a founding member of the skiffle band the Dodge Brothers, for which he plays double bass.

Early life

Kermode was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire.[5] He was educated at The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, a private boys' school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, a few years ahead of comedians Sacha Baron Cohen and David Baddiel and in the same year as actor Jason Isaacs.[6]

He was raised as a Methodist, and later became a member of the Church of England.[7] His parents divorced when he was in his early 20s and he subsequently changed his surname to his mother's maiden name by deed poll.[8] He earned his PhD in English at the University of Manchester in 1991, writing a thesis on horror fiction.[5]

Film criticism

Kermode began his film career as a print journalist, writing for Manchester's City Life, and then Time Out and the NME in London. He has also written for The Independent, Vox, Empire, Flicks, Fangoria and Neon.[9]

Kermode began working as a film reviewer for BBC Radio 1 in 1993, on a regular Thursday night slot called Cult Film Corner on Mark Radcliffe's Graveyard Shift session.[10] He later moved to Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 1 morning show. He also hosted a movie review show with Mary Anne Hobbs on Radio 1 on Tuesday nights called Cling Film.[11] Between February 1992 and October 1993, he was the resident film reviewer on BBC Radio 5's Morning Edition with Danny Baker.

Since 2001, Kermode has reviewed and debates new film releases with Mayo on the BBC Radio 5 Live show Kermode and Mayo's Film Review.[12][13] The programme won Gold in the Speech Award category at the 2009 Sony Radio Academy Awards on 11 May 2009.[14]

Kermode is a visiting fellow at the University of Southampton.[15] He has also contributed to Fangoria magazine,[16] and worked on film-related documentaries like The Fear of God; 25 Years of the Exorcist, Hell on Earth: The Desecration and Resurrection of Ken Russell's The Devils, The Edge of Blade Runner, and The Cult of The Wicker Man.[17]

Until September 2005, Kermode reviewed films each week for the New Statesman.[18] Since 2009 Kermode has written "Mark Kermode's DVD round-up" for The Observer, a weekly review of the latest releases.[19] He sometimes writes for the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine.[20] Kermode is a film critic and presenter for Film4 and Channel 4, presenting the weekly Extreme Cinema strand. He also writes and presents documentaries for Channel 4,[9] and co-presents The Film Review with Gavin Esler, for BBC News at Five.[21] As a host of BBC Two's The Culture Show, Kermode presents an annual "Kermode Awards" episode which presents statuettes to actors and directors not nominated for Academy Awards that year.[22]

In 2002, Kermode was critical of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the censor for film in the UK, for its cuts to the 1972 film The Last House on the Left .[23] In 2008, the BBFC allowed the film to be re-released uncut.[24] He has also stated that the BBFC do a good job in an impossible situation and expressed his approval of their decisions.[]

In a 2012 Sight & Sound poll of cinema's greatest films, Kermode indicated his ten favourites, a list later published in order of preference in his book Hatchet Job, as The Exorcist, A Matter of Life and Death, The Devils, It's a Wonderful Life, Don't Look Now, Pan's Labyrinth, Mary Poppins, Brazil, Eyes Without a Face and The Seventh Seal.[25]

He cites his favourite directors as William Friedkin, Terry Gilliam and Ken Russell.[26]

In September 2013, Kermode became the chief film critic for The Observer.[27]

In 2018, he began to present his own documentary series Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema on BBC Four. A second series followed, as well as Disaster Movie, Christmas, and Oscar Winners specials.

In 2019 Kermode presented a movie soundtrack themed show on classical radio station Scala Radio.[28]

Other writing

In February 2010, Random House released his autobiography, It's Only a Movie, which he describes as being "inspired by real events".[29] Its publication was accompanied by a UK tour.[30] In September 2011 he released a follow-up book entitled The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex, in which he puts forth his opinion on the good and bad of modern films, and vehemently criticizes the modern multiplex experience and the 3D film craze that had grown in the years immediately preceding the book's publication.[31] In 2013 Picador published "Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics" in which he examines the need for professional "traditional" film critics in a culture of ever increasing online bloggers and amateur critics.[32]

In 2017, he collaborated with his idol William Friedkin on the feature documentary The Devil and Father Amorth, as a writer. The film had its first showing at the Venice Film Festival on 31 August 2017.[33]

Other work

Kermode has been a regular presenter on BBC Two's The Culture Show. He has appeared regularly on Newsnight Review. It was during a 2006 interview with Kermode for The Culture Show in Los Angeles that Werner Herzog was shot with an air rifle. Herzog appeared unflustered, later stating "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid".[34][35]

On 19 May 2007 he was featured on the show playing with his skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers, in which he plays the double bass.

Kermode also co-hosted an early 1990s afternoon magazine show on BBC Radio 5 called A Game of Two Halves alongside former Blue Peter presenter Caron Keating.[36]

Kermode appeared in a cameo role as himself in the revival of the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous on 1 January 2012.[37]

In April 2008, Kermode started a twice-weekly video blog hosted on the BBC website, in which he discussed films and recounts anecdotes.[38] He retired the podcast for its 10th anniversary at the close of 2018, with special episodes on his most and least favourite movies of the previous decade.

Kermode has recorded DVD audio commentaries for Tommy, The Devils, The Ninth Configuration, The Wicker Man[39] and (with Peter O'Toole) Becket.[40] He also appears in the DVD extras of Lost in La Mancha, interviewing Terry Gilliam and Pan's Labyrinth where he interviews Guillermo del Toro about the film, which he has called a masterpiece. Kermode has written books, published by the BFI in its Modern Classics series, on The Exorcist[41] and The Shawshank Redemption[42][43] and his documentary for Channel 4, Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature, is on the film's 10th anniversary special edition DVD.[44]

Kermode's strong family connections with the Isle of Man has led to him playing an active role in Manx culture and the arts. Part of this has seen him host various talks on the island including; An Evening with Mark Kermode at the Ballakermeen High School.[45] He is also heavily involved with the annual Isle of Man Film Festival.[46]

On 10 November 2019 it was announced that Mark Kermode would be patron of the Sir John Hurt Film Trust. [47]

Music

Kermode performing with The Dodge Brothers in 2010

Kermode played double bass for a skiffle/rockabilly band called The Railtown Bottlers in the early 1990s. The Railtown Bottlers were also the house band on the BBC show Danny Baker After All for a series, starting in 1993,[48][49] where he performed with Madness lead singer, Suggs.[] In 2001 he formed The Dodge Brothers, playing double bass in the skiffle quartet.[49]

Personal life

Kermode is married to Linda Ruth Williams, a professor who lectures on film at the University of Exeter. From October to November 2004, they jointly curated a History of the Horror Film season and exhibition at the National Film Theatre in London.[50] Kermode and Williams have two children.[8]

Kermode has been described as "a feminist, a near vegetarian (he eats fish), a churchgoer and a straight-arrow spouse who just happens to enjoy seeing people's heads explode across a cinema screen".[51]

In the mid-1980s, Kermode was an "affiliate" of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and was involved in the Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign, against the deportation of one of the group's members to Sri Lanka.[52] This developed into a high-profile national campaign involving people from left-wing groups such as the RCG, local residents of Manchester, and extending to church leaders and Labour Party Members of Parliament.[53] Kermode describes himself in this period as "a red-flag waving bolshie bore with a subscription to Fight Racism Fight Imperialism and no sense of humour."[51]

Awards and honours

Year Ceremony Award Result
2010 Sony Radio Academy Awards Best Specialist Contributor of the Year Gold [54]
2009 Sony Radio Academy Awards Speech Award Gold [55]

Kermode is a patron of the charitable trust of the Phoenix Cinema in North London,[56] which was his favourite cinema during his childhood in East Finchley.[57] The tenth anniversary episode of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review was broadcast from the venue as part of its relaunch celebrations in 2010.[58]

In 2013, Kermode was appointed an Island of Culture Patron by the Isle of Man Arts Council.[45]

In 2016, Kermode was made an honorary Doctor of Letters at the University of Winchester.[59]

In 2018, Kermode was appointed Honorary Professor in the Film Studies Department at the University of Exeter.[60]

References

  1. ^ "26 years ago today, and still seems like yesterday. @lindaruth1 x". Twitter. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Norman, Matthew (24 January 2005). "Matthew Norman's Media Diary". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ Norman, Matthew (7 February 2005). "Matthew Norman's Media Diary". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 2008.
  4. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian. 2 July 2009. p. 35.
  5. ^ a b c "Film critic honoured by University of Manchester". University of Manchester. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  6. ^ Lester, Paul (1 February 2008). "JC Interview: Jason Isaacs". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008. Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School ... [produced] quite a vintage crop in [Isaacs'] time: fellow pupils included Sacha Baron Cohen, David Baddiel and Matt Lucas. 'I've seen Baddiel a few times', Isaacs says, and he sees the others occasionally at awards ceremonies. ... [N]ot all the Habs stars of the time were Jewish, though, and Isaacs has a lot of time for another alumnus, the BBC's film critic, Mark Kermode: 'He is always incredibly lovely and says hello on his Radio 5 podcasts, which I've listened to in Auschwitz and many other strange places. He's said I was too cool [at school], but he was at the epicentre of the in-crowd.'
  7. ^ Dalton, Stephen (22 January 2010). "Mark Kermode: the new Jonathan Ross?". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ a b Lawson, Mark (9 April 2009). "Drawn to the devil". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009.
  9. ^ a b Mark Kermode, English Department teaching staff, University of Southampton, accessed 14 January 2008
  10. ^ "Fancy a Brew? (Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley website)". Retrieved 2008.
  11. ^ "Mary Anne Hobbs". BBC. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  12. ^ "BBC - Podcasts - Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Review". BBC Radio 5 Live. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ "BAFTA member Mark Kermode". BBC News. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ Speech Award 2009 citations Archived 15 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine Sony Radio Academy official site
  15. ^ Kermode on BBC Newsnight Review, accessed 14 January 2008
  16. ^ "Kermode to Random House". Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ "Biography". Macmillan. 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 23 May 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  18. ^ Mark Kermode, New Statesman, accessed 14 January 2008
  19. ^ "Mark Kermode's DVD round-up". The Observer. London: Guardian.co.uk. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ "Mark Kermode". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "The Film Review". BBC Online. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ "BBC Two - The Culture Show, Forget the Oscars, Here Are the Kermodes: A Culture Show Special". BBC.
  23. ^ Kermode, Mark (21 June 2002). "Mark Kermode on censorship: What are they scared of?". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  24. ^ "The Last House On The Left". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2020.
  25. ^ "Sight and Sound". BFI. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  26. ^ "Mark Kermode". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Mark Kermode is new Observer film critic". BBC News. 18 August 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  28. ^ "Simon Mayo joins new classical station". Bbc.co.uk. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ Gallagher, Victoria (10 February 2009). "Kermode to Random House". The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  30. ^ "It's Only a Movie". Random House. Retrieved 2010.
  31. ^ Kermode, Mark (28 August 2011). "How to make an intelligent blockbuster and not alienate people". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011.
  32. ^ "Picador - Mark Kermode". Picador. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ "William Friedkin on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ Herzog shot during interview, Hollywood.com, 3 February 2006, accessed 29 January 2013
  35. ^ Herzog on his latest film Grizzly Man, BBC News, accessed 14 January 2008
  36. ^ Kermode, Mark (2010). It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive. London: Random House. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-1-84794-602-7.
  37. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous | Series 6 - 2. Job". Radio Times. Retrieved 2012.
  38. ^ "Kermode Video Blog from the BBC's Blog Network website". BBC. Retrieved 2011.
  39. ^ "The Wicker Man review". Dvdoutsider.com. Retrieved 2008.
  40. ^ "Becket review". Reel.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  41. ^ Kermode, Mark (2003). The Exorcist (2nd ed.). London: BFI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85170-967-3.
  42. ^ Kermode, Mark (2003). The Shawshank Redemption. London: BFI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85170-968-0.
  43. ^ Kermode, Mark (22 August 2004). "Hope springs eternal". The Observer. London. Retrieved 2009.
  44. ^ Papamichael, Stella (8 September 2004). "The Shawshank Redemption 10th Anniversary SE DVD (1994)". BBC Movies. Retrieved 2009.
  45. ^ a b "Mark Kermode opening event celebrates island culture 2014". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  46. ^ "IOMFF2015". Isle of Man Film Festival. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015.
  47. ^ "Mark Kermode to Be Patron of Norfolk's New Sir John Hurt Film Trust". Eastern Daily Press. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  48. ^ "Critically speaking". Southampton Echo. 13 April 2002. Retrieved 2009.[permanent dead link]
  49. ^ a b Kermode, Mark (1 June 2008). "My 20-year love affair with the joy of skiffle". The Observer. London. Retrieved 2009.
  50. ^ "Professor Linda Ruth Williams". University of Southampton. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  51. ^ a b Randall, Lee (7 February 2010). "Interview: Mark Kermode, film critic". The Scotsman Magazine. Retrieved 2010.
  52. ^ Kermode & Mayo. "Mark Kermode - The Baader Meinhof Complex". Retrieved 2016.
  53. ^ Viraj Mendis Defence Campaign. Viraj Mendis Will Stay!. Retrieved 2014 – via YouTube.
  54. ^ "Radio Specialist of the Year Award". Radioawards.org. Retrieved 2010.
  55. ^ "The Speech Radio Award". Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 2012.
  56. ^ "Mark Kermode". Phoenix Cinema. 15 February 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  57. ^ Kermode, Mark (2011). It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive. Random House. p. 26. ISBN 9780099543480.
  58. ^ "Press Office - Kermode and Mayo Film Review live at Phoenix Cinema". BBC. Retrieved 2012.
  59. ^ Mark Kermode receives honorary degree from the University of Winchester. Retrieved 2019 – via YouTube.
  60. ^ "Influential film critic Mark Kermode appointed Honorary Professor". University of Exeter. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 2018.

External links


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