Mark Kermode's pretentious review of an empty cinema

CINEMAS have been pushing boundaries recently by showing f**k all. Mark Kermode reviews their minimalist content: 

There is no bigger mystery box than cinema, according to director J.J Abrams who made a lot of films I didn’t like and the criminally underrated avant garde masterpiece Gone Fishin’. And judging by Hollywood’s recent output, he’s totally right.

I’ve been sitting in empty movie theatres for months now, often having to sneak in through bathroom windows just to get a front row seat to big screens showing absolutely nothing, and I’m as baffled as a layman would be at episode eight of Twin Peaks: The Return. 

No sound, no picture; it’s a daring directorial choice that even Michael Haneke or Jonas Mekas wouldn’t dare attempt. The narrative also breaks all the rules by introducing no characters and throwing the three-act structure in the bin.

This sense of unease familiar from Stan Brakhage’s oeuvre was also found in the deserted box office, darkened toilets, and stale popcorn machine. I haven’t seen anything this avant-garde since Secret Cinema did Un Chien Andalou. 

A jarring interlude when a projector whirred into life and began showing Tenet, because I turned it on thinking it was the light switch, briefly ruined my enjoyment until it broke and plunged me into darkness reminiscent of Bela Tarr’s Satantango. 

For my full eight-and-a-half-hour long review of this harrowing and vital cinematic experience, listen to my podcast where I graciously let Simon Mayo get a word in occasionally while referencing more directors you’ve never heard of.

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Can you get a jab before you get Covid? An interactive fantasy for all ages

GREETINGS, brave adventurer! Can you succeed in our most challenging interactive fantasy yet – getting vaccinated before you’re exposed to Covid?

1 You are at home, as usual. Do you try to get vaccinated? If so, go to 2. If not, go to 3.

2 Roll a dice (and that is the correct contemporary spelling, pedants) to determine your age. If you roll 5 or 6 you are over 75, so go to 4 while complaining about bladder control issues. If you roll between 1 and 4, you are under 50 and are f**ked. Go to 3.

3 You are not going for a jab and are stuck at home forever. Minutes turn into hours. Even masturbation has lost its excitement and freshness. Slump onto the sofa with some ginger biscuits and a shit episode of The New Avengers on ITV4. Your adventure ends here.

4 You set out on the path to vaccination. Do you get the bus (go to 6) or walk (go to 5)?

5 An anti-vaxxer blocks your way, talking bollocks about Bill Gates. Prepare to do verbal combat with your dice. If you roll 1-3, you are convinced by this nonsense so go to 3. If you roll 4-6 you tell them to f**k off and go to 8. If it’s Laurence Fox remind him he only had a supporting role in Lewis, the twat.

6 The bus is full of idiots who think that wearing a mask occasionally will ward off Covid, and also go to busy gyms because they are simpletons with abs. Go to 7.

7 You are dead. This is a downer, but at least you need not stress about an Ocado delivery for the foreseeable future. Swings and roundabouts. Your adventure ends here.

8 You have reached your GP’s surgery. Genuine protection against Covid is finally in sight. You feel like an exhausted but triumphant Frodo who’s just destroyed the ring in Mordor. Unfortunately all vaccinations have been cancelled because Boris Johnson is doing a photo opportunity dressed as a doctor. Your adventure ends here.