Deconstructing Militainment

Learn how militainment works and the ways the military uses movies to recruit young people into the army. The channel Pop Culture Detective is a treasure trove of smart video essays examining how men and masculinity are portrayed in modern film. His other videos: The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory, Predatory Romance in Harrison Ford Movies, and The Fantastic Masculinity of Newt Scamanderm are also all really insightful looks at some of the most influential pop properties today.

Another Version Of You

A well paced and imaginatively put together walk through American television history with one of its most influential writers producers, Norman Lear, the doc “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” is well worth a watch for cultural and entertainment history fans. While Lear is famous for being the godfather of topical television in the form of All In The Family and Maude, he remained a pioneer in many aspects of life both in politics and art.

Moving through America’s shifting cultural and political landscape through the 60s and 70s, the documentary touches upon so many fascinating parts of American history. Feminism, bigotry and inter-generational conflict were put under Lear’s satirical lens that aimed to open minds through laughter and empathy. Not always perfect, he learned a lot along the way and he candidly shares that.

He is credited as having created the most provocative television of his time with shows that drew up to 65 million viewers. The tensions around “Good Times” which spawned “The Jeffersons” is such insightful history on the struggles of diversity and representation on television. The look at Lear’s time as an activist fighting the “Moral Majority” in the 80s reminds us of the cyclical rise of the right, and his reflections on what it meant to be Jewish fighter in the war, to a husband of an outspoken women’s rights activist, or a dad at 80 all come through with revealing openness, honesty and wisdom from a man of this world 93 years. On Netflix right now and you can rent it on YouTube too.

Moonlight Must See

They’re right. Moonlight is a masterpiece. It starts out small but compelling and with each mounting scene reveals a true mastery of film-making and story-telling technique. Director, Barry Jenkins, behind the camera is maestro-like, conducting a beautiful and powerful classical suite. Moonlight is visually musical and extremely moving. That this film emerges from a poem is not a surprise, and its power has away of sneaking up on you. Jenkins command of the story’s emotional rhythms, and his ability to evoke such power and tenderness through subtly from scene to scene, really demonstrates a true cinematic artist has entered the pantheon, I am excited to see what he does next. To fully feel this film it does require one’s full uninterrupted attention where you allow the story to wash over you. Allow yourself to be relinquished to the filmmaker’s steady and masterful hand, opening the door for a beautiful, poignant, and to me unforgettable, journey. Check it out if you are a cinephile or enjoy indie dramas.

Master of Cinematic Detail Gets A Mini-doc

One of my favorite directors Wes Anderson gets the mini doc treatment that brings the same detailed whimsy to the auteur’s biography as can be found in his style driven filmography.

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