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Put on your tinfoil hats and get ready to go “woah” as The Spread dives head first into some fantastic film theory where we take on Trump, Brexit, Bond and more.

Welcome everyone to The Spread’s February issue for 2017. This month we’ve drawn the shades and got out our newspaper clippings and string to put together a display that would make the most hardcore of conspiracy theorists proud. Matthew Wilson breaks down the many weird and wonderful theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (as outlined in the brilliant documentary Room 237) and I do the same for Sam Mendes’ complex take on the psychology of James Bond in Spectre. I also go digging around in Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla to theorise on some hidden meaning before the new King Kong reboot hits our screens in March.

Then things get a little political as Anne-Sophie Marie delves into the curious relationship between the White House and Hollywood as she delves into what the the era of Trump could mean for filmmaking, and what the government could be conspiring to do. Daniel Theophanous then hops across the pond to do the same and take a good hard look at what a hard Brexit could mean for film production in the UK. For a slightly more optimistic look on the near future of film be sure to check out Edward Wragg’s take on the impending 2017 Oscars. It’s Edward’s first post on The Spread and we’d like to take just a brief second to welcome him to the family.

Speaking of the Oscars, we’ve got a mountain of great reviews about some great, awards season, films. Matthew Wilson finds that Martin Scorsese’s Silence is indeed something to shout about and he also delves into the beautiful Moonlight from Barry Jenkins, the bloody return of Mel Gibson as director in Hacksaw Ridge, the performance powerhouse that is Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea and the long-awaited high of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting 2.

I was lucky enough to take a look at some of the very best of late 2016 that’s starting to find its way to UK cinemas from Antonio Campos’ impressive look at making it in media with Christine to Jeff Nichols’ absolutely magnificent, Oscar-nominated, Loving. We also take a look at some of the films that didn’t quite make the awards cut but still deserve some recognition. The magnificent performances in Denial couldn’t be denied, M. Night Shyamalan makes a triumphant return with Split and I take a look to see if Ben Affleck’s Live By Night really deserved all the bad press.

Moving further away from the greatness of the awards season I find that Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is an experiment gone awry and that Peter Berg’s sentimental stab at a Boston eulogy with Patriot’s Day has some very troubling elements when you look beneath the surface. Beyond that, right down at the bottom of the cinematic barrel, we get a lot of joy out of poking fun at some bad films. Neill McNamara finds out that Assassin’s Creed is less a precise strike and more a clumsy bludgeoning while I learn the true meaning of horror watching Underworld: Blood Wars and The Bye Bye Man.

January was a great month for Cinema Jam, we held our second masterclass in editing with returning tutor Nicolas Chaudeurge and new tutor, and editor as such classics as Billy Elliot, John Wilson. Be sure to check out our interview with John Wilson, conducted by new Spread writer Matthew Spivack (to whom we also give a warm welcome), and check out the pictures from the course here. February looks to be even better with our upcoming Jam Session on the 20th with long-time Woody Allen producing partner Gareth Wiley (check out all the info here) and our second cinematography masterclass (following our sold out class last year) with the brilliant Richard Greatrex. You can also check out our interview with the man himself here.

From all of us at Cinema Jam and The Spread, here’s to a great late winter and an even better spring just around the corner (hopefully).

Mark Birrell

Mark is the editor of The Spread as well as a copywriter, film-blogger and lifelong cinephile who received his bachelors in Film and Comparative Literature from the University Of London.

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

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