About a year ago, I spent a Tuesday morning in September traveling to Acton in West London to meet shameless self-publicist Toby Young (ironically, this is exactly the kind of name-droppy story he’d start one of his columns with - although most of the names he drops are bigger than Toby Young). He was making a short film for popular BBC2 Laverne-fest The Culture Show about the supposed ‘death of film criticism’ and interviewed me about my movie blog (PLUG) and how the internet was ruining everything for everyone.

I looked like a total mug, but only slightly more so than the ‘proper’ critics they had on, who whined on and on and on about unfair it was that people were reading free reviews on the internet rather than paying to slog through their (mostly) self-important crap in the papers.

The truth is: it’s not just online critics who are crap, it’s all of them. Particularly these ten:

I don’t have any particular beef with Mark Kermode. I used to listen to his podcast and sometimes it was pretty funny. In general, he likes good movies and dislikes bad ones, and he’s never afraid to speak his mind. But recently I’ve discovered his video blogs, and they are something else entirely. Try and get more than 60 seconds into this ‘hilarious’ skit about 3D cinema:

Incidentally, he couldn’t be more wrong about 3D.

Peter Bradshaw is the resident film critic at The Guardian. In general, he writes fair and considered pieces like this one about the controversy that surrounded Lars Von Trier’s genital-mutilation LOL-a-thon Antichrist. So why does he annoy me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the power he seems to have over your typical Guardian reader. It seems to happen every month: Bradshaw gives a good review to some film that’s made its way over from Cannes, it gets shown at the Chelsea Cinema, your relatives start ringing you up and telling you how good it is, and then when you finally see it you have to put up with all the insufferable cunts who come out afterwards exploding with superlatives.

Or maybe it’s just that creepy photo of him above his column.

Either way, at least I don’t hate him as much as Danny Dyer does.

You probably haven’t heard of Fiore Mastracci but you don’t have to read many of his reviews before you start noticing a few patterns, not least the many appearances of his signature ‘catchphrase’:



Perhaps the least well-known critic on the list (although if you’re a real human being and not someone who buys Sight & Sound, you probably haven’t heard of many of them), Brendon Connelly is massively popular movie blog Slash Film‘s UK correspondent. He’s probably not a bad guy, but he does have a nasty habit of casually mentioning that he’s ‘in the industry‘ (LOOK AT ME I’M HOLDING A CAMERA IN MY PHOTO) and these are what he reckons are the 10 most influential films of the last decade:

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
The Bourne Ultimatum
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Polar Express
The Matrix
Children of Men
The 40 Year Old Virgin

Fucking Sky Captain!?!?

I tried to look up some of Cosmo Landesman’s reviews so I could write about how fucking annoying he is, but I couldn’t because of The Times’ new paywall.

Fuck you, Murdoch.


Alan Frank, resident film critic at the Daily Star, has the cheeky grin of a man who loves getting his name onto posters. And get his name onto posters he does. Here are just a few of his favourites:

Trust me, once you start noticing his name on the posters in Time Out, you can never stop.


Say what you like about Daily Mail movie reviewer Baz Bamigboye, but he’s got the coveted ‘Most Fashionable Film Critic’ title on lockdown. Just look at the expression on that GQ motherfucker: he’s looking fly and he knows it. Check the pastel shirt, the navy blue tie, the defiantly raised pen which seems to shout ‘I’m about to write something acerbic!’. That photo looks even jazzier when incorporated into the Mail’s online masthead:

Yeeeeah bwoi. He’s even got sparklin’ lights n shit.

Anyway, Baz would barely chart on this list under normal circumstances (the real Daily Mail fucker is still to come) but last year he had a mini-breakdown at the Cannes press conference for Antichrist, when he standed up and shouted at notoriously difficult director Lars Von Trier an order to ‘explain and defend’ his film.


Most people wouldn’t consider TV presenter Claudia Winkleman to be a film critic, but the BBC obviously do, selecting her as Jonathan Ross’ replacement on Film 2010, and in the process effectively reducing the programme from a film review show to a show full of lame sexual innuendos.

They must not have been watching when Winkleman hosted a round-table discussion during last year’s Golden Globes which featured herself, Alex Zane, Ash Atalla AND Boyd Hilton. I refuse to believe that anything less bearable has EVER been broadcast on British television.

Winkleman takes over later this year.


Okay, okay, it’s easy to pick on the big guy with the weird hair who until recently lived in his Dad’s attic. But Harry Knowles, the founder of the first major movie blog Aint it Cool News, gives the entire internet a bad name. He accepts what are essentially bribes from film studios, who spend thousands of dollars jetting him all over the US (and that’s at least two seats on a standard plane) to special events, in exchange for surprisingly positive reviews of not-amazing movies. He gives positive reviews to movies that he or people he works with are involved in (he’s in the industry too, dontcha know), without mentioning it. He has cameos in some of the worst movies EVER made (Monkeybone, Ghosts of Mars, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…) and worst of all, he uses far too many exclamation points in his titles:

I’m a stickler for grammar.


There’s a lot of bad feeling aimed at the Daily Mail’s head film critic Christopher Tookey, and all of it is entirely justified. Not only does he take a very staunch moral line on most of the movies he reviews (at least he knows his audience), but he also likes to include gruesome details of real-world events and somehow imply that the movie is partially responsible.

Hence, Kick-Ass is responsible for the murder of Damilola Taylor and people who insult Tookey on the internet are responsible for the suicides of American teenagers.

He hates art cinema, he hates depictions of violence, he hates the BBFC, he hates the EU and he hates movies in which the lead characters are not ‘likable’. But there is one movie he likes very much:

That’s a real quote, honest to God.