Friday, April 26, 2013

Netflix Instant: TV & Movie Picks- Innovators Documentary Edition

The last week or so has been considerably slower for me since we don't have the film festival and a billion trillion movie reviews to write which means I've been able to catch some short documentaries at home. The overarching theme of these is that these selections deal with creators and innovators in various forms of art forms, specifically within the movie and music realms. All of them are relatively lightweight in tone, so don't expect any scathing criticisms or too much of an even approach to the docs, but rather, it's a great way to illuminate each subject.

Bob Moog is one of the most influential people in music. Before this Skrillex/EDM bro-music trend got started, many musicians used Bob's synthesizer as a way to enhance and explore the possibilities of sounds in a way that wasn't possible before. As a "musician", I always find the use of technology within music fascinating. The documentary traces the history behind the inception, adoption, and subsequent evolution of the synthesizer's place in pop music. But the best thing about the movie is the portrait that it gives us about the late Bob Moog who was a highly philosophical and intelligent person.

This film topic is the democratization of creative fields thanks to computers, the Internet, and the viral culture. The documentary focuses mostly in film production and music but it does take a look at the design and advertising industries. I particularly enjoyed the negative aspects of this new way of creating and distributing art. One of the music journalists from the movie nails the way that new bands come up and that is the ebb and flow of hype and backlash, calling it a bunch of "online writers and bloggers jerking each other off constantly. It's embarrassing." So the movie ends up being a great look at the cultural impact as well as the business side of things. This is a great movie for anyone at all interested in digital media of any kind.

Having just completed an 25 Essential Movies list on Letterboxd, I was struck by just how much genre and specifically sci-fi entries I had there. This particular documentary focus on many of the greatest sci-fi effects artists who created some of the best know creatures that shaped early monster movies including interviews with various genre legends like Ray Harryhausen. Peter Jackson, and Forrest J. Ackerman. A lot of the best parts of the movie are going to be some of the older footage compiled for it featuring very early special effects work.

That's it for me this week, guys!

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