Gabriela Cowperthwaite on MEGAN LEAVEY — Nell Minow interviews

gabriela cowperthwaiteGabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary “Blackfish” showed us that the orcas performing tricks at SeaWorld were in severe distress. Her first narrative feature film, “Megan Leavey,” is another story about the complicated but profound workplace relationship between a human and an animal, based on the true story of a Marine Corporal and a specially trained, very fierce dog named Rex. Continue reading…

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MEGAN LEAVEY — Review by Cynthia Fuchs

MEGAN LEAVEY POSTER“I left this place a thousand times in my mind, but I never actually went anywhere,” says Megan Leavey (Kate Mara). That place is home, a small town in upstate New York with an unsupportive mother (Edie Falco) and a kindly but mostly absent father (Bradley Whitford). Megan’s sense of confinement shapes the early scenes in Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s movie: trucks, railroad tracks, and a hulking factory form internal frames as she looks off-screen. Her escape is the Marines: it’s 2003 and the war in Iraq is underway, a war the movie uses a backdrop for the story of Megan’s coming of age. Continue reading…

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MEGAN LEAVEY — Review by Martha K. Baker

“Megan Leavey” teaches about a dog’s life. The title is the name of a woman without direction. Leavey is treated poorly by her mother and step-father in a small New York town. She has no where to go. She’s going there fast, fueled by drugs and alcohol. She joins the Marines to get out of town. Once in the corps, even as she trains, Leavey continues making poor decisions. As punishment, she is sent to the kennels to clean dog poop. Continue reading…

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MEGAN LEAVEY — Review by Susan Granger

While “Wonder Woman” celebrates a fantasy hero, “Megan Leavey” reveals the true story of a real woman, a Marine in combat, and the bomb-sniffing German Shepherd who becomes her constant companion. Growing up in suburban Valley Cottage, New York, Megan Leavey (Kate Mara), admittedly, doesn’t connect with people very well, nor does Rex, the large, aggressive, allegedly uncontrollable Military Working Dog dog with whom she’s paired in Marine K-9 training at Camp Pendleton. Continue reading…

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Zoe Lister-Jones on BAND AID — Loren King interviews

Artistic struggle is in Zoe Lister-Jones’s DNA. The roller coaster ride of the artist’s life is one of the themes she tackles in Band Aid, the comedy she wrote and directed, and stars in with Adam Pally, about a battling couple who form a rock band as marriage therapy. Although Lister-Jones has experience as a singer, she learned bass to play Anna, an unsuccessful writer who works as an Uber driver. She also wrote the lyrics to the “fight” songs that she and Pally perform. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 9 – 16: MEGAN LEAVEY

motw logo 1-35A film about a woman and a dog already has one at a distinct advantage. Critical faculties are of little avail against the soulful eyes of an adorable canine. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film Megan Leavey (opening June 9, 2017) pulls at the heartstrings with near shameless abandon, and for the most part it works. – Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Jenkins and Coppola Make Movie History

Between Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and Sofia Coppola’ The Beguiled, the past two weeks have been benchmark for female filmmakers. Wonder Women is the highest earning female director, and The Beguiled won prizes for Coppola at Cannes. Read the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Amanda Kernell talks SAMI BLOOD — Jeanne Wolf interviews

amanda kernell smallAmanda Kernell, who wrote and directed her first feature film, told me she is surprised and honored that her project has been so praised and well received at festivals around the world. Kernell had already done a series of acclaimed short films, but “Sami Blood” is the movie she always knew she would make. It took her time as she put it, “To find the courage and the means.” Continue reading…

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MEGAN LEAVEY — Review by Cate Marquis

MEGAN LEAVEY is a moving “girl and her dog” story, except the “girl” is actually a troubled young woman Marine struggling to find her footing and the dog is no sweet, friendly pooch but a military dog with talent for detecting explosives but a terrible temperament. Together they discover what neither could find on their own. Continue reading…

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CHURCHILL — Review by Martha K. Baker

“Churchill” bombasts toward D-Day! What does an old soldier who remembers his infamous failure in an earlier war do when his country and its allies’ generals are ready to mount a major attack? That’s the question that the excellent film “Churchill” ponders regarding the Prime Minister of England in the run-up to D-Day. Continue reading…

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