Marine Bonds with Combat Dog in Man\’s Best Friend Drama

 

Megan Leavey

Film Review by Kam Williams

Marine Bonds with Combat Dog in Man’s Best Friend Drama

Five years ago, Mike Dowling published “Sergeant Rex,” a memoir about the unbreakable bond he’d forged with a bomb-sniffing dog while conducting over 35 missions on the front lines of Iraq. Now, another Marine, Corporal Megan Leavey, is the subject of a docudrama “based on a true story” chronicling her suspiciously-similar relationship with the very same German shepherd.

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film stars Kate Mara as the title character, with veteran thespians Edie Falco and Will Patton in support roles. At the point of departure, we find the rudderless protagonist enlisting in the service more out of a lack of direction than a sense of patriotism.

But after completing basic training on Parris Island, she finally finds her true calling upon being assigned to the K-9 unit. Uncontrollable Rex is on the verge of being declared unfit for active duty by the base’s impatient veterinarian, Dr. Turbeville (Geraldine James), when an intrepid dog whisperer begs for an opportunity to soothe the savage beast with a little TLC. 

Drill Sergeant Martin (Common) intervenes on her and the hound’s behalf. Then, exhibiting the patience of Job, Megan is the first soldier with the tender touch necessary to tame Rex. The two soon become inseparable and, the next thing you know, they’re shipped overseas to search for IEDs buried in the dangerous desert sands of Iraq’s Anbar Province. 

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

The deployment initially proves uneventful other than Megan’s crossing paths with potential love interest, Corporal Matt Morales (Ramon Rodriguez). Too bad he likes the Mets while she’s a rabid Yankees fan.

Unfortunately, before love has a chance to blossom, Megan and Rex are injured in a blast and shipped back to the States for rehab at facilities far apart from each other. By then,  Megan’s already developed an attachment to the hound that’s almost illegal. She’s convinced Rex belongs to her, not to the U.S. Military. So, she spends the rest of the picture cutting through bureaucratic red tape ’til their tearful reunion. Aww!

Megan Leavey, Film Review, based on a true story, Marine, Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Will Patton, K-9 unit, German Shepard, U.S. Military, dog whisperer

Pat and predictable, yet a sentimental enough journey to leave you weepy in spite of yourself.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, mature themes and suggestive material

Running time: 116 minutes

Production Studio: LD Entertainment

Distributor: Bleeker Street Media

 

Source:  Baret News

Dramatization of 2008 Financial Collapse Arrives on DVD

 

51FDo+505+LThe Big Short

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Dramatization of 2008 Financial Collapse Arrives on DVD

Michael Lewis’ The Big Short was an eye-opening best seller chronicling the machinations on the part of a quartet of Wall Street contrarians (played by Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt) who accurately forecast the global financial crisis of 2008. The four made a mint by investing in Credit Default Swaps (CDS) in anticipation of the collapse of the market in Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO).

In layman’s terms, these proverbial smartest guys in the room basically bet that the real estate bubble would burst, because of the easy money being lent unqualified borrowers via subprime mortgages. The banks didn’t mind making so-called NINJA loans (No Income/No Job) since they would quickly sell the worthless instrument to unsuspecting investors just about as soon as the deals were completed.

Despite a plethora of decent performances, the screen version of The Big Short fails to do justice to the source material. The movie marks Adam McKay’s first foray into dramatic fare. The veteran writer/director has enjoyed quite a career in comedy, which is reflected in a resume that includes Anchorman (2004), Talladega Nights (2006), Step Brothers (2008) and The Other Guys (2010), The Campaign (2012), Anchorman 2 (2013) and Get Hard (2015).

The Big Short, DVD Review by Kam Williams, Michael Lewis, global financial crisis of 2008, based on a true story, disappointing dry lecture

Despite winning this year’s Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, the film suffers from a few glaring flaws in this critic’s humble opinion. The first is the fact that the names of all the key players have been changed. Since this is based on a true story, resorting to fictional characters serves to lessen the intensity of a tale that could’ve been quite compelling.   

The movie is further trivialized by a failure to commit fully to drama, a no-no, given the serious subject matter. After all, no one has been held responsible for the crash, leaving much of the country still miffed about the billion dollar bailout of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

The Big Short, DVD Review by Kam Williams, Michael Lewis, global financial crisis of 2008, based on a true story, disappointing dry lecture

Equally annoying are several celebrity cameos by the likes of chef Anthony Bourdain, Aussie actress Margot Robbie and pop diva Selena Gomez. During distracting, fourth-wall breaking appearances, they face the camera to explain the meaning of derivatives and other arcane financial instruments. McKay ostensibly included these interludes to make his jargon-laden script more accessible.

A disappointingly dry lecture in finance strictly with egghead appeal.

Fair (1.5 stars)

Rated R for nudity, sexuality and pervasive profanity

Running time: 130 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; In the Tranches: Casting; The Big Leap: Adam McKay; Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short; The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall; and Getting Real: Recreating an Era.

To order a copy of The Big Short Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0177ZM3LO/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News