Missed it by that much
American Sniper – The Good Parts Version
I don’t want to harp on Sniper too much because it’s really not a bad movie. Bradley Cooper gives an admirable albeit simple and rather boring performance as the equally admirable and simple and boring Kyle, who stands resolute under the most horrifying of circumstances and never rises above being a kind of white stallion of American exceptionalism. The most intense scenes of the film, broadly featured in its ad campaign, depict Kyle sternly weighing the necessity of shooting a woman or child to protect his men. This – it goes without spoiling too much – he eventually does when it’s apparent there can only be two outcomes, but Eastwood doesn’t really make a follow-through effort to show the impact this has on Kyle’s conscience, other than having him give a firm rebuttal to his partner, who happens to be an immature, hyperviolent gamer soldier the like of which we’ve never seen before in a war movie. Later on the script tries to touch on Kyle’s post-traumatic stress disorder (which he may or may not have had), and while I liked the relatively understated way Eastwood chose to portray this, relying more on jarring everyday sounds and Cooper’s acting than on obtrusive visuals and dream sequences (take that Mad Max), it still feels like the creators are just checking off ingredients for a story based firstly on a tagline – “No soldier comes home unscathed.” – and secondly on the life of the man Chris Kyle, who’s basically present to prove the truth of the tagline. One will walk away from Sniper knowing that Kyle was a killing machine of the highest caliber but having little understanding of Kyle as a husband, a father, a patriot, a conservative, or anything else besides a humble Texan who picks up a pretty woman at the bar and would unhesitatingly give his life for his country.
A Trailer ReviewMoby Dick movie by Ron Howard – Oh, brother. I hated the real version of this movie.
An Imitation of a Man
The Imitation Game is a dramatically acceptable HBO-level biopic about brilliant mathematician Alan Turing’s gayness and the horrible sentence he received from Britain for admitting to it. As others have pointed out, the movie is woefully inaccurate historically but it doesn’t really matter because the filmmakers obviously elected to emphasize stigma towards homosexuality over the realistic depiction of historical events, going so far as to deliver the story in flashbacks structured around a hokey, made-up investigation into Turing’s past. Wikipedia has almost a full four pages roasting The Imitation Game on everything from trivial details such as Keira Knightley’s casting to more egregious errors like the commanding authority placed on the codebreakers’ shoulders and Turing’s clichéd representation as an antisocial, misunderstood genius.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s deep and powerful speech
More on Friday including Boyhood!!