Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Mark Kermode, unlike some films, is a joy to watch

From The Exorcist to Mary Poppins, film critic Mark Kermode brought a lightness of touch to his life-long love of film in Saturday's talk.

The bequiffed and Brylcreemed one regaled his audience with opinions and anecdotes from life as a film lover and critic, as detailed in his memoir It's Only A Movie.

The warmth and humorous punch of his delivery was an added bonus — because while this was billed as a talk, much of the content was uproariously funny.

Laughter greeted the story of his first radio appearance, particularly Momma Kermode's description of it as “a bit gabbly”, and Kermode's retelling of an uncomfortable red carpet encounter with a regal Helen Mirren after he dissed The Queen as a “made for TV” movie.

But there was celluloid education mixed in with the funny bits. We were reminded of the video nasty craze of the 1980s — as Kermode pointed out, “horror fans aren't a danger to anyone but themselves” — and a reminder of Kermode's love of Mary Poppins, with academic luvviness, referred to as Poppins.

Who knew that Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke, had a couple of jobs and wasn't just a chimney sweep? Kermode's pet hates of 3D and Avatar were also given an airing but judging by the warmth of the Belfast welcome, he was preaching to the converted.

Kermode took questions from the floor after his talk, giving garrulous responses and endearing himself to the audience even more.

MARGARET CANNING

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