It's Only A Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive, By Mark Kermode

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The Independent Culture

The film critic Mark Kermode announces from the off that this memoir will be "self-serving, hagiographic and deeply narcissistic". In fact, he is endearingly geeky (singing the praises of the neglected B-movie Piranha Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) and entertainingly catty (Keira Knightley's "teaky" performance in Pirates of the Caribbean earns her the moniker "Ikea Knightley"), but self-deprecating throughout.

Apart from a dull chapter that relates a tortuous four-day odyssey to a film studio in Ukraine, the book is fast-paced and full of incident: we learn that Kermode was once shot at while interviewing Werner Herzog (the Bavarian director took a bullet with equanimity), and thrown out of the Cannes festival for heckling during a Lars von Trier screening.

It's mostly light, jaunty stuff, but Kermode offers serious insights, too: he adeptly deconstructs his emotional response to Blue Velvet in a way that sheds light on both the subtleties of Lynch's film and the act of criticism itself.

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