'Megan Leavey' Review: True Story of War Veteran and Her Dog Earns Your Tears

'Megan Leavey' Review: True Story of War Veteran and Her Dog Earns Your Tears
Confession: I'm a dog lover. So take this praise with a grain of salt if you must – but Megan Leavey had me at first bark. Based on a true story (no, really!), this war drama deftly sidesteps the paths that suck you down in sentimental quicksand. Oh, you'll cry all right. But the movie earns your tears.

Kate Mara is raw and riveting in the title role, a marine who ends up in combat in Iraq with Rex, a bomb-sniffing German shepherd in the Military Police K9 unit. Nobody likes Rex.
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Film Review: ‘Megan Leavey’

Film Review: ‘Megan Leavey’
Megan Leavey” is a wartime romance, the twist being that it’s of the platonic interspecies variety. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s based-on-a-true-story drama recounts the deep bond shared by a Marine and her German Shepherd, which was forged in training, strengthened in combat, and cemented in retirement. Often too clunky for its own good, and (ahem) doggedly apolitical throughout, this earnest feel-good tale nonetheless manages to pull on the heartstrings with sufficient gentleness. Aided by a charismatic lead turn from star Kate Mara (and her canine sidekick as well), it should receive a warm, if perhaps not heroic, welcome from theatrical audiences.

Her life going nowhere fast in 2003, Megan (Mara) finds it untenable to continue living at home in Valley Cottage, New York, with her shrill divorced mother (Edie Falco), who’s now shacked up with the man (Will Patton) for whom she left Megan’s father (Bradley Whitford). Thus, for reasons only briefly sketched,
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Film Review: ‘Northmen: A Viking Saga’

Riding the coattails of various, mostly smallscreen medieval-combat chronicles, the English-language multinational production “Northmen: A Viking Saga” brings straightforward vigor to an uninventive but diverting tale of Norse warriors shipwrecked on hostile shores. There are no novel slants or plot twists in the script (by Austrian screen/genre-fiction writing duo Bastian Zach and Matthias Bauer) to render this bloody ninth-century adventure truly memorable. But helmer Claudio Fah’s pacey handling, a creditable if not especially starry cast (duly recruited mostly from hit cable skeins), and handsome locations (South Africa primarily filling in for Scotland) make it a respectable B-actioner. Having rolled out in various territories since October 2014, it opens July 31 at Arena Cinema in Los Angeles. U.S. theatrical prospects will be modest, improved upon by Aug. 11 VOD launch and subsequent distribution to other home formats.

A violent squall parts a band of Viking men from their seafaring vessel; those
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Joseph Fiennes Stars In First Risen Movie Trailer

The new faith-based movie Risen is set to open in theaters winter of 2016.

Starring Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Peter Firth (“Spooks”) and Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard), and directed by Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the action drama will be released on Friday, January 22.

Risen is the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection and the weeks that followed, as seen through the eyes of an unbelieving Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking Roman Military Tribune. Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) are instructed by Pontius Pilate to ensure Jesus’ radical followers don’t steal his body and claim resurrection. When the body goes missing within days, Clavius sets out on a mission to locate the missing body in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

Risen is produced by Mickey Liddell (The Grey), Patrick Aiello (As Above,
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Mirrors 2 Blu-ray Review

Mirrors 2 is one of those god-awful direct-to-dvd sequels that nobody ever asks for. It’s gory, violent, poorly written and inadequately structured. The cast consists of actors and actresses that aren’t quite glamorous enough for Hollywood, either in looks or performance, but somehow suited for this type of material. The special FX are cheesy, the pacing poor. Yet, for all of its initial shortcomings, Victor Garcia’s film is immediately watchable. Where else will you see a half-naked woman garishly rip the head from her own neck, entrails and all?

Movies like this work because they increase the disgusting factor tenfold in overtly imaginative ways. The gorish FX are cheap, but such only adds to the charm. People are beheaded, disemboweled, sliced; the opening scene features a security guard forced to swallow glass. The camera never shies away from the madness because, well, it doesn’t have to.
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The Gift

The Gift
Cannes film review, Market screening

Mr. Peterson's got a better cell phone than you. His cool gizmo tells him winning slot machines, leads him to babes, alerts him to hot stocks. That's the too-good-to-be-true premise of this taut sci-fi/horror thriller, which cagily meshes new technology with proven genres.

The Gift is a male-fantasy story trip that blasts through international hot spots, techno-charged with quick cuts, sound salvos and testosterone-fueled action. It may score solid numbers overseas with the teenage action crowd, but in the U.S. it seems best fit for an outlet such as cable channel Spike TV, whose viewers will be pleased with its cut-to-the-chase, cut-the-chit-chat storytelling.

That old horror storyline staple -- that man's hubris leads him to scientific creations that will turn on him -- is "The Gift's" solid story infrastructure. In this case, the U.S. National Security folk have created a veritable monster through cyberspace -- Big Brother will be everywhere, unless our hero and a cadre of F.B.I. specialists can thwart the system.

Greg Marcks' apt fast-forward direction is invigorated by the sharp technical team's aesthetic expertise and the crisp lead performances of Shane West, Edward Burns and Ving Rhames. The Gift blazes over plot holes and holds aloft its cyber mumbo-jumbo narrative. As the National Security chief, Martin Sheen's sonorous barking lends credibility to the film's urgent premise.

Cast: Shane West, Edward Burns, Ving Rhames, Yuri Kutsenko, Sergey Gubanov, Martin Sheen, Steven Elder. Director: Greg Marcks. Screenwriters: Kevin Elders, Michael Nitsberg. Producers: Alexander Leyvinan, Steve Richards, Roee Sharon. Director of photography: Lorenzo Senatore . Production designer: Antonello Rubino. Costume designer: Alison Freer, Maria Mladenoza. Editor:Joseph Gutowski .

Dark Castle Presents a Mobicom Entertainment Production

Sales: Hyde Park International.

No MPAA rating, 119 minutes.

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