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Let’s get critical. In The Critical Issue, we put films, filmmaking and criticism itself under the microscope to understand some cinematic secrets.

After last month’s Rebirth Issue we thought we’d start out the new season of sun by getting back to basics by focussing on some good old fashioned film criticism. We have a ton of reviews for you to enjoy from the biggest mainstream blockbusters of the pre-summer season to some of the more acclaimed indie gems that are exciting film fans across the globe.

We find out if the much anticipated live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast can live up to all that hype, and the original. I take a look at the the newest incarnation of the Power Rangers while Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds deal with a new incarnation themselves in Life, a film that may seem original at first but turns out to have some pretty old ideas. Luckily though I was able to catch a much more original horror film, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and break down why you should be seeking it out.

It’s all twists and turns in the crime genre as Francesca Amoroso takes aim at Ben Wheatley’s newest, Scorsese produced, offering Free Fire before getting stuck into the visual banquet of Park Chan-wook’s latest film The Handmaiden. Matthew Wilson also chows down on the horror film with just as much buzz as the last two films, the bloody and sumptuous Raw, while I take a voyage down the river to check out a lauded indie hit of my own from one of my favourite filmmakers, James Gray, with his new film The Lost City of Z.

After all those overwhelmingly great films things get a little underwhelming too with Shia LaBeouf’s well-meaning, and well acted, dud of a return to the big screen in Man Down and Warren Beatty’s more charming, but ambling, stroll back into our hearts with Rules Don’t Apply. Scarlett Johansson too stumbles in her hotly debated lead role in the western remake of Ghost in the Shell but all is not lost when it comes to silver screen returns as I find out Mad Max: Fury Road Black & Chrome is just the weird and wonderful revival that you need right now.

The Spread had so much fun with the critical angle that we kept things going in our features. In this issue we dissect Christopher Nolan’s beloved Dark Knight Trilogy to extract the still-burning embers of the symbolic meaning while I share some thoughts on the discipline of film criticism altogether and how it can may struggle to survive in the age of Rotten Tomatoes and the dreaded low percentage score.  

This month we also chat about all things film with director Daniel Sorochkin about his latest, award-winning and recently “Short of the Week” selected, film Check Please as well as our latest Jammer of the Month, VFX wizard Sean Lewis.

There’s also some very exciting and important Cinema Jam news to remind you of this month.

Our latest Bite-Size Course on How to be a successful producer with Gareth Wiley (Vicky Christina Barcelona) and Mark Foligno (The King’s Speech), taking place on the 22nd and the 23rd, is completely sold out. The good news for those of you who missed out on tickets though is that you can download a free e-book, courtesy of our brilliant tutor Mr Foligno, by clicking on the link and we’ll be in touch when we run the course again.

We’ll then be keeping the trend of incredible producing knowledge going with our latest Jam Session which will be taking place on Monday the 24th with a terrific lineup of films and talks with our very special guest speaker, producer of the soon to be 40 years-old original Star Wars, Gary Kurtz. It’s going to be a big one this month, and you’re not going to want to miss it, so book your tickets now to avoid any potential disappointment at the door.

Our involvement with Gary Kurtz has given us some inspiration for our May issue, in which the force may be with us….

Until then, thanks for reading, be sure to share to your heart’s content and remember that we’re always looking out for new voices. If you’ve got something you want to contribute, or just any questions about Cinema Jam in general, email us at info@cinemajam.com.

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 Apr 20, 2017

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