Open mind

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Although it is often argued - not least by Simon - that Doctor Mark Kermode approaches certain films (The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, for example, or the works of Michael Bay) with a preconceived idea of what he will think, Mark maintains that he goes into every movie screening with an open mind. He expanded on this point at length during his review of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, pointing out that he had always thought of Joel Schumacher as someone who just makes movies (Flatliners, The Lost Boys) with backlighting, big hair and blowy shirts, until he made Falling Down - at which point his entire opinion changed. (Mark told Schumacher this to his face).

Similarly, although Mark hated the first two Chris Columbus-directed Harry Potter films, he suddenly understood - and embraced - JK Rowling's world once Alfonso Cuaron replaced Columbus and made Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban.

Other examples -

  • During the computer games debate Mark praised Michael Bay ("the difference is, [Bay] has made good movies") and back in 2001, was the sole flag-waver for Pearl Harbor, saying that other critics who were complaining about its historical inaccuracy or the terrible script were missing out on the point that it was just big, dumb, blockbuster spectacle and should be appreciated as such. (In The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex Mark admits this opinion was "humbug.")
  • Having absolutely panned Revolver ("there will be few worse films made in the 21st century") and RocknRolla ("The Long Good Friday as done by Chas and Dave"), Mark was certain that Guy Ritchie was about to "ruin" Sherlock Holmes. Instead, he actually really quite liked both the 2009 release and its sequel.
  • Ikea Knightley's career turnaround - thanks to The Duchess and The Edge Of Love - from "head girl, teeth teeth teeth, and who cares" to an actor Mark thinks is really talented. The Good Lady Professor Her Indoors predicted this, having pointed out exactly the same thing had happened in Mark's assessment of Helena Period Drama.
  • U2's appearance in Tell No One did not actually completely ruin the film for Mark, on account of the fact that it was a plot point.

And of course he can always change his mind afterwards. Just ask Neil Young.