GIRLS STATE – Review by Diane Carson

An energetic, working community emerges in Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ Girls State as hundreds of Missouri high school teenagers share a week, June 2022, on Lindenwood University’s campus. There they organize into groups and form a government, including self-declared candidates campaigning and the entire citizens collective electing a Governor, Supreme Court Justices, an Attorney General, and more. As each candidate promotes herself, alliances are formed and competition amplified amidst tense nerves. These five hundred diverse Missourians bond, debate, strategize, and gain immense insight into the democratic world.

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THE MISSION – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

As a youth, John Chau fell in love with the exploits of Robinson Crusoe, dreamed of living in the trees on the beach, and believed God had adventures planned for him. At just twenty-six, he was so focused on one adventure—evangelizing to the indigenous people on an isolated island east of India—that it took his life.

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MAYOR PETE – Review by Martha K Baker

Video-recording a modern campaign for President of the United States requires agility. The campaign itself, of necessity, demands consistency and, thus, repetition — not always the making of a vibrant documentary. The filmmaker and editor have to select reportage that engages. The same for the candidates themselves. Mayor Pete presents the candidate, Pete Buttigieg from beginning to end of that 2020 campaign. Instead of being the report of a man now in the White House, it is the biography of a political career in its adolescence, heading nicely toward greater success.

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BOYS STATE – Review by Diane Carson

Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss capture today’s politics in a microcosm through their documentary Boys State, a spirited, unpredictable look at the 2018 Texas Boys State experience. a week-long event where eleven hundred 17-year-olds, arbitrarily assigned to the fictional Federalists or Nationalists group, square off in representative elections, the most consequential for Boys State Governor.

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FULL BATTLE RATTLE (2008) – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

It’s Disneyland For War Games. Somewhere in the Mohave Desert, the U.S. military maintains a large rural compound that contains several fake Middle Eastern towns. It’s Fort Irwin, and it’s here that American soldiers are sent to practice battle tactics and learn to deal with ‘the enemy’ before their deployment to war zones.

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