Friday, January 23, 2015

"American Sniper" - Movie Review

Trailer: American Sniper - Warner Bros.

Nerve-Wracking Portrait of Combat and Its Effects on Our Soldiers

There has been controversy over this film. The problem with those against it is that they don't understand what this film is about. It's about following one soldier and his experience in combat and what happens to him. People are beside themselves over the "politics" of the film. Well, I don't see any politics. Maybe that's enraging to some just because the politics of The Iraq War are never discussed.

I personally was against our going into Iraq. I remember watching "We Were Soldiers" with Mel Gibson just before the war started. This was another movie that was about the soldiers. The war in question there was The Vietnam War. Yet, that film didn't have any politics in it either. It was about the soldiers who fought. They signed up to serve their country. They didn't sign up for serving their country if they agreed with the war. They fought regardless. That is what soldiers do. If you have any questions about our nation deciding to wage a war, the only people you need to address is our elected representatives. They make the decision. Then, the soldiers fight. The soldiers have no say in the decision to fight that war. Once the soldiers are in the war, their lives are about doing what they've been ordered to do. And, it's about watching over each other. That's it, and that's the way it is.

This movie is about Chris Kyle, and what happens to him and to those around him. That is the structure of the movie. So, if people have a problem with that, that is up to them. I don't. I understand what Clint Eastwood intended to do with this film, and I think he, his cast and crew did a tremendous job.

The depiction of combat is nerve wracking. But, it is the effects on Kyle and his men that cut to the core. It should remind everyone what our men and women in the military do for their country.

****1/2 (4 1/2 Out of 5 Stars)

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Birdman," "Great Budapsest Hotel" Lead Oscar Nominations!

Article: ‘Birdman,’ ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Top Oscar Nominees - Variety

Oscar Nominations are OUT!:

* Best Picture:
“American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Selma.”

* Best Actor:
Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.

* Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon.

* Best Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” Richard Linklater for “Boyhood,” Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher,” Wes Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game.”

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Oscar Nominations Are Out!

Article: ‘Birdman,’ ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Top Oscar Nominees - Variety

Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams led off the Oscar Nominations just now! They announced Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Film Editing, Original Song, Production Design, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects in a live webcast that started at 8:30 a.m. EST.

Chris Pine, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the second set of nominations, which included Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Lando! - "Star Wars" Favorite Scoundrel Returns

Video: Scoundrel School - Star Wars

I have been underwhelmed by the new animated series "Star Wars: Rebels" on Disney XD. But, it is a children's series, aimed at children, not adults. So, I guess that makes sense.

However, it has allowed for cameos by classic characters, which is cool! Vader showed up (reprised by James Earl Jones). And now, Lando Calrissian returns, portrayed once again by Billy Dee Williams. Watch the video above to learn the behind-the-scenes story behind Lando's return!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

"Wild" Film Review

Trailer: Wild - Fox Searchlight

One Woman's Transformative Journey

An excellent film that shows the transformative journey of a woman working to find herself through an extensive hike through the challenging Pacific Crest Trail.

An excellent performance by Reese Witherspoon anchors a great movie about love, loss, and dealing with life and then moving on with one's life.

Directed by "Dallas Buyer's Club" helmer Jean-Marc Vallée, this movie beautifully balances the real-life story of Cheryl Strayed as she goes on her trek across the Pacific Crest Trail with flashbacks to what led her to take the trip.

Screenwriter Nick Hornby crafts an excellent blueprint for Vallée to follow. Well made and inspiring. It's great to know a movie like this can still be made!

****1/2 (4 1/2 Out of 5 Stars)

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

13 Most Disappointing Movies of 2014

Article: The 13 Most Disappointing Movies of 2014 - Variety

2014 saw the rise of the Kickstarter movie, where stars went to the popular fundraising site to have fans pitch in to fund their films. But, with that came disappointments, which are included in Variety's end-of-year list.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Overlooked Films of 2014

Article: The 17 Most Underrated Movies of 2014 - Variety

Every movie year seems to run from crazy to chaotic! And, so it was with 2014. But, with so many movies making the spotlight, there were many deserving attention that didn't get it. Variety has a compelling list of movies that were overlooked and would make for good viewing!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Taken 3" - First Reviews!

Variety Review: "Taken 3" Review - Variety
Hollywood Reporter Review: "Taken 3" Review - The Hollywood Reporter

The 2015 movie year is officially underway! And, first up is "Taken 3" which promises to be the last of the "Taken" series. But, things are not starting out well. The latest Liam Neeson actioner is getting panned by both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter's critics.

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