‘A Very Secret Service’ Is a Very French Spy Comedy
This story originally appeared on Sept. 13, 2016. Imagine if the French had made Get Smart and you’ll have some idea of the surreal brilliance of A Very Secret Service. In Mel Brook’s American classic, super-agent Maxwell Smart bumbles his way through his fight against the agents of KAOS. Only... Read more
Argentina Produced a Falklands War Cartoon
This story originally appeared on Jan. 25, 2015. Zamba is a mischievous scamp on the state-run Argentine T.V. channel Paka Paka. Kids watch as he moves through time learning about music, art and Argentine history. He’s met Simón Bolivar, studied Latin American paintings … and witnessed the Falklands War. The... Read more
We Love the Pentagon’s ‘Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure’
This story originally appeared on Nov. 18, 2014. Ethically, it’s been a rough few years for the military. In July 2013, an Air Force major general went on an epic five-day bender while on a diplomatic mission in Russia. That November, Navy officials launched an investigation into misconduct involving... Read more
‘The Beast’ Is the Best Tank Movie You’ve Never Seen
This story originally appeared on Nov. 21, 2014. The Beast should be a terrible movie. It’s a film about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made by Americans in 1988. Kevin Reynolds—the man behind the disastrous flop Waterworld—directed it. Stephen Baldwin plays a major supporting role. On its face, The... Read more
‘Altered Carbon’ Is a Counterinsurgency Nightmare
Space travel is expensive and time-consuming. Short of figuring out some sort of warp drive, there’s a good chance that humanity’s push to the stars will take generations to accomplish. In science fiction such as Star Wars and Star Trek, warp drives are a prerequisite technology. How can you... Read more
The Red Army Saves the Day in ‘The Death of Stalin’
The horrors of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s regime are so nightmarish that it’s hard to imagine ever laughing at them, but British writers Armando Iannucci and Ian Martin found a way. Only the minds behind In the Loop and Veep could turn the complicated inner workings of the Soviet... Read more
‘Black Panther’ Is a Meditation on Leadership
This article contains spoilers for Black Panther. Black Panther is a blockbuster. Marvel’s newest film is setting box-office records and smashing ancient Hollywood myths about race and success. It’s touching nerves for all the obvious reasons, but film’s legacy will be its political message. In an era where no... Read more
Mark Richards Found Beauty in Afghanistan, Then Afghanistan Almost Killed Him
Mark Richards is a survivor, but Afghanistan almost killed him. At the age of 28, the photojournalist sneaked across the border from Pakistan. It was the early 1980s and he was making his living taking pictures of war. He’d spent the past few years covering all the conflicts Southeast... Read more
War Is a Racket in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’
This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Audiences don’t normally see daily life in the Star Wars galaxy. True, the prequels show the bustling life on various planets but those movies are all about the build-up to conflict. They never really show the way that conflict... Read more
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and the Value of Military Failure
This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poe Dameron is a terrible commander. The opening moments of Star Wars: The Last Jedi depict the foolhardy Resistance commander leading a bombing run on a First Order dreadnought. His team destroys the target, but it’s a pyrrhic victory.... Read more

Matthew Gault

Contributing Editor

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