Kermode performing with the Dodge Brothers in 2010
2 July 1963
Barnet, North London, England
|Residence||Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire, England|
|Alma mater||University of Manchester|
|Occupation||Film critic, presenter, musician|
|Employer||BBC, The Observer, Sight and Sound|
|Known for||Kermode and Mayo's Film Review, The Culture Show, The Dodge Brothers|
Mark J P Kermode (born Mark J P Fairey, 2 July 1963) is an English film critic and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He is the chief film critic for The Observer, and a contributor to Kermode and Mayo's Film Review and Sight and Sound magazine. He also co-presents the BBC Two arts programme The Culture Show and discusses other branches of the arts for the BBC Two programme Newsnight Review. Kermode also writes and presents a film-related video blog for the BBC. Kermode is also a co-founder of The Dodge Brothers, a skiffle band.
Early life and education
Kermode, born Mark Fairey in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, attended Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, an independent boys' school in Elstree, a few years ahead of comedians Sacha Baron Cohen, Matt Lucas and David Baddiel and in the same year as actor Jason Isaacs. He was raised as a Methodist, and later became a member of the Church of England. Mark Fairey's parents divorced when he was in his early 20s and he subsequently changed his surname to his GP mother's maiden name by deed poll. (Neither of them is related to the literary critic Frank Kermode.) He earned his PhD in English at the University of Manchester in 1991, writing a thesis on horror fiction.
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.
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. 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. 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. The programme won Gold in the Speech Award category at the 2009 Sony Radio Academy Awards on 11 May 2009.
Kermode is a visiting fellow at the University of Southampton, having gained a PhD at the University of Manchester in modern English and American horror fiction. He has also contributed to Fangoria magazine, authored the monograph The Exorcist (BFI Modern Classics), 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. He recommends The Witch Who Came From the Sea as one of the best video nasties of the 1970s.
Until September 2005, Kermode reviewed films each week for the New Statesman. Since 2009 Kermode has written "Mark Kermode's DVD round-up" for The Observer, a weekly review of the latest releases. He sometimes writes for the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine. 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, and reviews films for BBC News at Five. 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.
Kermode is sometimes critical of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the censor for film in the UK, calling for horror films from abroad to be shown in their uncut versions. However, in recent years, he has stated on numerous occasions 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, given alphabetically, as Brazil, The Devils, Don't Look Now, The Exorcist, Eyes Without a Face, It's a Wonderful Life, Mary Poppins, A Matter of Life and Death, Pan's Labyrinth, and The Seventh Seal. He has described The Exorcist as being "the best film ever made".
Kermode has more recently been famous for his rants about films he hated in particular the Transformers film series referring to them as sexist and leary in particular how there are a lot of "upskirt shots" in the series and he referred to the series as long Victoria's Secret commercials
In February 2010, Random House released his autobiography, It's Only a Movie, which he describes as being "inspired by real events". Its publication was accompanied by a UK tour. 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. 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.
Kermode has been a regular presenter on BBC Two's The Culture Show. He also appears regularly on Newsnight Review and The Film Review on BBC News. It was during a 2006 interview with Kermode for The Culture Show in Los Angeles that Werner Herzog was shot by an air rifle. Herzog appeared unflustered, later stating "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid". 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 has recorded DVD audio commentaries for Tommy, The Ninth Configuration, The Wicker Man and (with Peter O'Toole) Becket. He also appears in the DVD extras of Lost in La Mancha, interviewing Terry Gilliam. Kermode has written books, published by the BFI in its Modern Classics series, on The Exorcist and The Shawshank Redemption and his documentary for Channel 4, Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature, is on the film's 10th anniversary special edition DVD.
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, where he performed with Madness lead singer, Suggs. In 2001 he formed The Dodge Brothers, playing bass in the skiffle quartet.
Kermode lives in Brockenhurst with his wife, Linda Ruth Williams, a professor who lectures on film at the University of Southampton and has written The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema and co-edited Contemporary American Cinema. In October to November 2004, they jointly curated a History of the Horror Film season and exhibition at the National Film Theatre in London. Kermode and Williams have two children. 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".
Awards and other recognition
|2010||Sony Radio Academy Awards||Best Specialist Contributor of the Year||Gold|
|2009||Sony Radio Academy Awards||Speech Award||Gold|
Kermode is a patron of the charitable trust of the Phoenix Cinema in North London, which was his favourite cinema during his childhood in East Finchley. The tenth anniversary episode of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review was broadcast from the venue as part of its relaunch celebrations in 2010.
- "Birthdays". The Guardian. 2 July 2009. p. 35.
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- Lester, Paul (2008-02-01). "JC Interview: Jason Isaacs". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-23. "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.'"
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- Herzog shot during interview, Hollywood.com, 3 February 2006, accessed 14 January 2008
- Herzog on his latest film Grizzly Man, BBC News, accessed 14 January 2008
- Kermode, Mark (2010). It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive. London: Random House. p. [page needed]. ISBN 1-84794-602-X.
- "Absolutely Fabulous | Series 6 - 2. Job". Radio Times. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- "Kermode Video Blog from the BBC's Blog Network website". BBC. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- "The Wicker Man review". dvdoutsider.com. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- "Becket review". reel.com. Retrieved 2008-04-23.[dead link]
- Kermode, Mark (2003). The Exorcist (2nd ed.). London: BFI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85170-967-3.
- Kermode, Mark (2003). The Shawshank Redemption. London: BFI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85170-968-0.
- Kermode, Mark (22 August 2004). "Hope springs eternal". The Observer (London). Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- Papamichael, Stella (8 September 2004). "The Shawshank Redemption 10th Anniversary SE DVD (1994)". BBC Movies. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Critically speaking". Southampton Echo. 13 April 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- Kermode, Mark (1 June 2008). "My 20-year love affair with the joy of skiffle". The Observer (London). Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er6HthvT5UY[dead link]
- "Professor Linda Ruth Williams". University of Southampton. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- Randall, Lee (6 February 2010). "Interview: Mark Kermode, film critic". The Scotsman Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
- "Radio Specialist of the Year Award". Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- "The Speech Radio Award". Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- Bradshaw, Peter; Kermode, Mark (2010-09-24). "Film Power 100: the full list". Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "Mark Kermode". Phoenix Cinema. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
- Kermode, Mark (2011). It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive. Random House. p. 26. ISBN 9780099543480.
- "Press Office - Kermode and Mayo Film Review live at Phoenix Cinema". BBC. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- Profile of Mark Kermode at the University of Southampton
- Archive of selected articles by Kermode in Critics / Authors Review and Articles at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mark Kermode at BBC Programmes
- Kermode Uncut: Mark Kermode's Movie Blog at BBC Online
- Interview with Mark Kermode at subtitledonline.com
- Video interview with Mark Kermode regarding The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex at subtitledonline.com