‘Fort Bliss’ Tours Tough Life of a Soldier-Mom

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Michelle Monaghan stars in the war drama "Fort Bliss."

(WOMENSENEWS)– “Fort Bliss,” writer/director Claudia Myers’ compelling war drama, stars Michelle Monaghan as Maggie Swann, a U.S. Army medic who returns home from a 15-month deployment in Afghanistan and runs into difficulties when she tries to resume her life as the single mom of a 5-year-old son who’s all but forgotten her while she was away. Just as she succeeds in reestablishing their bond, she’s called to another tour of duty in Afghanistan. “Fort Bliss” is a heartbreaking look at soldiering from a woman’s perspective. It opens Sept. 19.

Opening Sept. 17

“20,000 Days on Earth” is an impressionistic documentary about music man Nick Cave and his succession of bands to the present. Co-directors Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth creatively compress archival footage of performances, current footage of Cave (including his therapy sessions), commentaries by Cave and collaborators Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone, Blixa Bargeld, Warren Ellis and others into what seems to be a chronicle of just one densely packed “day in the life.” The film is a thrill for Cave mavens and music doc fans.

Sept. 19

“Tracks” is the inspiring truth-based narrative about Robyn Davidson, an Australian woman who trekked solo – or, to be more accurate, in the company of four willful camels and a dog – across 2,000 miles of harsh outback dessert, just to prove she could. Mia Wasikowska is wonderful as Davidson, a young woman who packs light for her journey but carries a lot of emotional baggage – some of which she manages to shed during the trip. Beautifully scripted by Marion Nelson (based on Davison’s book) and exquisitely shot by cinematographer Mandy Walker, “Tracks” is a sterling achievement by women working in film. A must-see.

“The Scribbler” is Dan Schaffer’s femme-centric graphic novel brought to live action. Suki (Katie Cassidy) is a schizophrenic young woman who submits to “The Siamese Burn,” an experimental shock therapy, to rid herself of multiple personalities, but finds that she risks losing her core identity instead of a dominant “visitor.” The film is darkly disturbing and scary sci-fi that reflects concerns about contemporary mores and social manipulations.

Sept. 26

“Two Night Stand” is the month’s romcom relief. Megan (Analeigh Tipton) and Alec (Miles Teller) hook up via the Internet for a one night stand – which turns out to be less than blissful and gets unexpectedly extended by a blizzard that traps them in his apartment. Their candid off handed criticisms of each other’s behavior are at the same time painfully apt and funny, and the denouement is good news. Fun stuff, and the good housekeeping tips might come in handy, just in case.

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