American Sniper

Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood pumps out movies like he works on an assembly line. He moves so fast that he had two films hit theaters in 2014, but while there’s nothing wrong with a workmanlike approach to film making — especially if there’s some obvious passion in the final product — the working man is going to have some off days from time to time. Unfortunately, American Sniper was made on one of those days. The clunky bio pic has a strong performance from Bradley Cooper, but even he can’t make up for this misguided and underwhelming effort. Based on the late Chris Kyle‘s life and autobiography, American Sniper shows Kyle’s (Cooper) life as a son, husband, father, and, most famously, America’s deadliest sniper. Screenwriter Jason Hall (Paranoia) has written less of a film about Kyle than a series of CliffsNotes. The film opens with Kyle questioning whether he should shoot a suspicious mother and child in Iraq, and the way this predicament plays out is shown over the course of the film. Then the film cuts to his childhood, where we see Kyle’s religious father teaching him how to shoot and telling him about the evils of the world. We see how this sticks with Kyle, but it’s not terribly vital to the film or the character. That trend repeats throughout as we wonder why Eastwood and Hall have made certain choices at the detriment of the film’s potential drama. We see why Kyle enlisted, how he met his wife Taya (Sienna Miller), and spend time on his days as […]

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Selma

The end of any calendar year is traditionally marked by a glut of biopics, the kind of true-life tales that frequently pack an emotional wallop, particularly the “inspirational” kind. It’s easy to feel compelled to action — some action! any action! — after sitting in a theater for two-plus hours, having your heart broken by a story that’s both cinematically rich and personally touching, but it’s far harder to turn that into actual movement. Let’s put it this way: when was the last time you walked out of a movie theater and felt like you’d had the crap kicked out of you? If you’re keeping up with 2014’s staggering rash (not that kind of rash, unless you’ve been tempted to imitate Wild) of dramatically upsetting biopics, it was probably mere days ago. But how can you fix that movie-sized hole in your heart after watching genuine human beings go through terrible, terrible things on the big screen, purely for your entertainment? What if you’re too busy feeling sad about said biopics to get your holiday shop on? Open up your pocketbooks, buddy, ’tis the season!

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news eastwood sniper

It’s been about two weeks since Steven Spielberg dropped out of American Sniper, the upcoming biopic that will star Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Apparently, two weeks is just enough time to line up another hugely popular director- as reported by Twitchfilm, Clint Eastwood is in talks to become Spielberg’s replacement. For Eastwood, this is a pretty big ego boost since he’s apparently the next best thing when Mr. Spielberg is unavailable. For the movie-going public, this news is slightly less terrific. Eastwood’s got a masterful eye for direction, but that masterful eye has been conspicuously absent for his last few pictures- J. Edgar, Hereafter and Invictus all fall somewhere within the ‘mediocre’ category. Perhaps American Sniper will see the actor-turned-director hitting Unforgiven-level heights (or at least Gran Torino-sized ones).

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director_spielberg

Briefly: Well, this is a nice surprise. THR reports that Steven Spielberg has quietly lined up his next directorial outing, a real feat considering the heat the film already has on it. The outlet shares that Spielberg will next helm an adaptation of American Sniper,  the true life tale of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle that Bradley Cooper has long been developing as producer and star. While the film was already compelling enough when Cooper signed on back in May of last year, with Kyle’s career distinction of  recording more career sniper kills in United States military history than anyone else (160 confirmed kills out of 255 claimed kills), the story toook a decidely tragic turn when Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range by a fellow veteran back in Februrary of this year.

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David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper

The Toronto International Film Festival has so far issued few surprises – after all, most of us were surely expecting that Cloud Atlas would divide, Argo would be solid, The Place Beyond the Pines would enthrall, and that Thanks for Sharing would play like Shame-lite – but there has been one film whose praise has surprised many, most of all this writer. The pieces of David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook are all good – the director, the source material, the cast (including Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro) – but the film’s first trailer just hinted at a film that was light and amusing. Apparently, though, the film is much more than that, and a number of critics are already throwing “awards-worthy” praise all over it. That said, it seems like the casting of Cooper (swapped out for Russell’s frequent star, Mark Wahlberg) was an unexpectedly solid choice, and neither Russell nor Cooper seem ready to let that magic go.

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

Looks like Bradley Cooper isn’t wasting much time getting his first project for his brand new production company going. THR reports that the actor is currently “setting up” a big screen adaptation of American Sniper through his company. Cooper will produce the film through his new production shingle at Warner Bros., 22nd & Indiana, which he just set up this past March. Cooper will also “likely” star in the film to boot. The film will center on the real life story of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL who is the owner of one hell of a distinction – he’s recorded more career sniper kills in United States military history than anyone else. In fact, Kyle smashed the previous record (109) with his official count, which is 160 confirmed kills out of 255 claimed kills. His work earned him the succinct nickname of “The Devil” by Iraqi insurgents, who even went so far as to place a bounty on his head. Kyle’s life is also cinematically colorful, with his path to the SEALs marked by a childhood of hunting, a brief period of rodeo-riding, and a fittingly legendary tale of how he ended up signing up for the Navy (he was trying to sign up for the Marines, but the Marine recruiter was out to lunch). There’s also a weird little story about Kyle claiming to have knocked out, of all people, Jesse Ventura. Jason Dean Hall (Paranoia, Spread) is set to adapt the script, which comes from Kyle’s biography, […]

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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