American Sniper

Todd H

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Saw this film last night and thought it was outstanding. Bradley Cooper was amazing in the lead role. Well deserving of the accolades it is receiving.
 

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A few excerpts from my full review:

If there are any failings about the film, they can largely be traced to its first act. Scenes that are meant to flesh out Kyle's backstory instead end up coming across as heavy-handed and overwrought with masculine clichés. And viewers may find it hard to suppress a chuckle or two at moments such as one in which a stoic Cooper marches silently towards the camera — clad in a white cowboy hat (what else) — and squints into the sunlight as he stares intently off-screen.


Fortunately, the rest of the movie isn't unintentionally farcical in the least. For after enduring the torturous rite of passage that is Navy SEALs training, then meeting, wooing and marrying Taya (an underused Sienna Miller), with whom he eventually fathers two children, Kyle is deployed to the Middle East. It's at this point that the movie really begins to earn its stripes, as Eastwood's depictions of the savagery of war are uncompromising and hard-hitting.


More importantly, it's from this point onward that we see the bulked-up and already physically convincing Cooper really emotionally disappear into his role as Kyle, whose sharpshooting prowess quickly earns him the nickname "Legend" among his fellow soldiers.


For those who may not be familiar with the story of Chris Kyle, the movie's final scenes are all the more heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, as it builds on Cooper's affecting portrayal of a man striving to overcome PTSD, who struggles on a daily basis with reconciling his duty with his morals. Forget about the controversy surrounding who Kyle was in real life, or the debate on whether the film may be too patriotic for its own good; this is what the film is truly about — it's a story about having the courage to go to the darkest depths of our own humanity, and then finding the strength to claw our way back into the light.
4 out of 5.
 

Mark Booth

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The Booth Bijou gives 'American Sniper' 5 out of 5 stars! A very excellent movie and a terrific performance by Cooper. The film and he both deserve their respective Oscar nominations.


That said, with just 'Birdman' left to see, it's my humble opinion that 'The Theory of Everything' should get the Best Picture Oscar and Eddie Redmayne should get the Best Actor Oscar. We'll see.


BTW, Cathy and I saw the film in Coronado, CA, just a mile or so from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, where many Navy SEALs are trained.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Amphibious_Base_Coronado


Unfortunately, it didn't appear any of the Coronado or San Diego locations were used for the filming. During the wedding scene it looked more like the area around Marina Del Rey to me.


Mark
 

Robert Crawford

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TravisR said:
Solid movie but Bradley Cooper is the real highlight.
Judging by the audience reactions I viewed this film with, it's a film that will connect well with the American public. The film critic type audience will like it less than the average Joe type audience. I think you'll see that here as posters make their comments known about this film.
 

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Robert Crawford said:
Judging by the audience reactions I viewed this film with, it's a film that will connect well with the American public.
Yeah, you can tell when a movie is working and I saw this with a huge crowd yesterday afternoon and they really felt something when they saw it. I think the bulk of the connection comes from Cooper's performance.
 

Robert Crawford

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TravisR said:
Yeah, you can tell when a movie is working and I saw this with a huge crowd yesterday afternoon and they really felt something when they saw it.
It told a good story which is what a good movie does. However, the accuracy of this story has some serious questions, but the dramatic license taken in this film did a good job in making a very entertaining, but thought-provoking movie.
 

Tim Glover

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Saw this Thursday night....


I liked it a great deal. The very critical side of me feels it was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on it but its still an excellent film.


Cooper was GREAT no doubt and his performance has touched people. Our theater was packed even on a Thursday night. What was surprising was that 80% of the crowd seemed to be college age or slightly older couples. Guys in ball caps with their dates.


When the credits rolled, no one got up. Was SO quiet. Not a word said. Just slowly people got up...not speaking; walking out of the auditorium in deep thought. I mean it was dead quiet. Very cool. That alone was moving and speaks volumes to what extent this film will touch Americans.


That after the movie experience has only happened to me once before & that was Saving Private Ryan.


9/10
 

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I saw this today in IMAX, it was good but I prefer the other Best Picture nominees I have seen. Still a solid 4/5.
 

Robert Crawford

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Tim Glover said:
Saw this Thursday night....


I liked it a great deal. The very critical side of me feels it was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on it but its still an excellent film.


Cooper was GREAT no doubt and his performance has touched people. Our theater was packed even on a Thursday night. What was surprising was that 80% of the crowd seemed to be college age or slightly older couples. Guys in ball caps with their dates.


When the credits rolled, no one got up. Was SO quiet. Not a word said. Just slowly people got up...not speaking; walking out of the auditorium in deep thought. I mean it was dead quiet. Very cool. That alone was moving and speaks volumes to what extent this film will touch Americans.


That after the movie experience has only happened to me once before & that was Saving Private Ryan.


9/10
Bingo! I was surprise that my movie audience stayed in their seats until well into silent credits. Yes, their reaction reminded of a similar reaction at my Saving Private Ryan viewing.
 

Robert Crawford

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Wayne_j said:
I saw this today in IMAX, it was good but I prefer the other Best Picture nominees I have seen. Still a solid 4/5.
Unfortunately, it's going to be one of the few BP nominees of this year that many people actually viewed prior to the AA show.
 

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"American Sniper" was a solid film, featuring a strong lead performance by Bradley Cooper (as Chris Kyle, the legendary Navy Seal sniper who kept many US troops safe through strategic sniping in military engagements on the ground by soldiers after 9/11), and Sienna Miller was also good in a supporting role as Chris's wife, Taya. Director Clint Eastwood keeps things going with solid movie storytelling and pacing, keeping viewers engaged in the moral quandary facing snipers having to make split-second decisions to protect their own while exercising judgment to minimize the body count whenever possible. This "calling" takes its toll on Chris, and the script examines the brotherhood of soldiers, and the strong need to have each other's backs (and to return to the battlefront by re-joining with additonal tours of duty), in spite of their personal sanity and PTSD, and forsaking their family's wishes to stay stateside.


The ending provided a sobering reaction from my audience, so quiet, and respectful. That told me the film worked, it struck all the right chords for a war film, as it dealt with the aftermath of war.


I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.
 

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My friend and I went to the local arthouse theater to see this, couldn't even get in the door it was so packed. Went to the mall for a 7:20 show, and all of the showtimes were sold out until 9:10. And our 9:10 show was sold out too. I don't know what exactly sets this movie apart from the other recent war movies, but it's connected with some sort of cultural zeitgeist in a very real way. I wouldn't be surprised if this has the kind of opening weekend normally reserved for transformers and superheroes.
Robert Crawford said:
It told a good story which is what a good movie does. However, the accuracy of this story has some serious questions, but the dramatic license taken in this film did a good job in making a very entertaining, but thought-provoking movie.
The tricky thing with Chris Kyle's story is that there are many indications that his autobiography also took a great deal of dramatic license. So there's two layers of separation between this movie and the reality of what happened. What seems certain is that he served four tours in Iraq, received two Silver Star Medals and five Bronze Star Medals among many other commendations, and is generally regarded as one of the (if not the) most lethal snipers in U.S. history.

Clint Eastwood's film and Bradley Cooper's performance present a fictionalized Chris Kyle that is an overlay of many of the specifics of the real Chris Kyle's story over an everyman portrayal of an American sniper that's meant to serve as a stand-in for many who went over there, became increasingly disenchanted and came home with a piece of themselves still over there. At that, the movie (and Cooper's performance) is tremendously effective.

The scenes when he's home for good either strip away the public celebrity and media controversy that followed his autobiography's publication or leave it unmentioned off camera. What we see instead is some of the other parts of his return to civilian life, a man who was destabilized by his experiences but refused to admit it, a man who had to build relationships with the children he'd been separated from for so long, and a man who found an outlet for his survivor's guilt and unsettled feelings by serving as a sheepdog in a whole new way through veteran outreach efforts.

Taken from that perspective, Kyle died in the line of duty, stepping up for others who served.

It did make me a bit uncomfortable
when they rolled the footage of the real procession and service over the end credits. We were witnessing the remembrance of a real flesh and blood human being who died under tragic circumstances,
but I felt like we were applying our feelings about Bradley Cooper's character to it.
 
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Edwin-S

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I think a lot of people are going to see this film to see the answer to the unanswered question shown in the trailers: Does he blow away the kids that are shown in the trailer?
 

Robert Crawford

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Adam,


I added a spoiler to some of your review as some people might not be aware of that circumstance and if they are, some might be surprised by what they showed in this film.
 
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TravisR

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Edwin-S said:
I think a lot of people are going to see this film to see the answer to the unanswered question shown in the trailers: Does he blow away the kids that are shown in the trailer?
That scene works so well in the trailer but the movie adds some music that actually weakens the scene slightly. I'm sure some will disagree but the trailer feels real and scary but seeing the scene in the movie, the music makes it feel more like a movie. It's still a good scene but it works better without the music.
 

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4/5 for me. The bullshit use of cell phones during action scenes really took me out of the moment tho. I'm a civ and even I know that shit just does not happen.
 

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