American Sniper (2014)

logoDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Jason Hall (Screenplay) Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, James Defelice (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Kyle Gallner, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Try Vincent, Keir O’Donnell, Sienna Miller, Eric Ladin

 

Plot: Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow, but Respectful Biopic

 

Story: American Sniper starts with Sniper Chris Kyle (Cooper) on a mission in Iraq, he picks up on a child carrying a grenade and has to make the important decision. We flashback to see Chris’ childhood where he was taught to shot by his father Wayne (Reed). Chris travels around as a rodeo before joining in the US Army. We follow as Chris starts a romance with Taya (Miller) while being trained as a sniper.

We watch how Chris and Taya witness the Twin Towers fall before learn that Chris will have to go into combat, we watch as Chris has to take out the threats on the soldiers with his sniper. Following Chris as he fights to survive while Taya keeps him updated with his unborn child. After Chris returns home we see the effects of war are starting to catching up with Chris changing how he reacts in his life, but he does make it home to be with his new born child.

Chris starts to become distant but Chris has to return to the front for his Second Tour. Chris is determined to catch ‘The Butcher’ and on this second tour he gets the chance to build a team to track down the man who is keeping the Iraqi people in fear. We continue to watch between his four tours of duty and time home as his legend continues to be built up.

American Sniper is a film that I have to first say I have the utmost respect for Chris Kyle and everything he did in his life. I would never have heard enough about the sniper legend without this story. Having said all of that I did find this film incredible slow paced and very repetitive. I only found the final tour attack and aftermath enjoyed because it finally showed the effects of the tours on Chris. I felt that too much of the film was based on Iraq and we needed to see more of the returning side. Overall I found this a very slow biopic that does respect the legend but just doesn’t make his story the most entertaining. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Bradley Cooper: Chris Kyle is the famous sniper who has massed up countless kills making him a legend to the American people, we watch how he goes about his tours of duty while trying to balance his own personal life including starting his own family. Bradley does give a good performance but I don’t feel it was an Oscar nominated worthy one. (8/10)

 chris

Sienna Miller: Taya is the long suffering wife of Chris who has to spend months away from him as he is on his tours of duty while raising their children. Sienna does a solid supporting performance but doesn’t get the screen time we would like from her character. (7/10)

taya

Support Cast: American Sniper has a supporting cast that mostly includes the soldiers alongside Chris, they all help motivate him to stay as he wants to keep them safe by taking out as many enemy combatants as he could.

 

Director Review: Clint Eastwood – Clint is a director I usually enjoy watching his work but I did end up finding this one very slow. (5/10)

 

Action: American Sniper has plenty of war base action that shows just how chaotic Chris would find himself in. (7/10)

Biographical: American Sniper does pay the respect required to an American Hero. (9/10)

War: American Sniper tries to show sides of war, the action and the effects of it all. (8/10)

Settings: American Sniper keeps the war settings looking very authentic, but also keeps the home in America feeling everyday places. (8/10)

Suggestion: American Sniper is one to try, if you like a good biopic you should enjoy it but otherwise is might come off slow. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final Tour.

Worst Part: First Hour is very slow.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final tour.

 

Believability: It is based on the real legend. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Through the credits we see the aftermath of what happened ti the real Chris Kyle.

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 BAFTAs Best Screenplay and Best Sound

Oscar Chances: Won 1 Oscar

Box Office: $355 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: The most lethal sniper in U.S. history

Trivia: Chris Kyle’s father personally told Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper that he would “unleash Hell” if his son’s memory was disrespected in this film. He did also say that Eastwood and Cooper were “men he could trust”.

 

Overall: American Sniper is a slow moving respect filled film that does show the real effects of war.

Rating 60

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Annabelle (2014)

logoDirector: John R. Leonetti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brain Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger

 

Plot: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Demon Film

Story: Annabelle starts by telling us the part of the story that happened in ‘The Conjuring’ just to remind us about what we will be watching. We go back a year earlier Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton) are planning for their first child. We see early stages of tension between the couple and they both try to keep everything together. John happens to buy an Annabelle doll for their child, which I might add they don’t know whether it will be a boy or a girl, but they have way to many dolls if it turns out to be a boy.

The first night of having this creepy ass doll Mia hears screams coming from the house next door and the neighbours needing an ambulance. The incident leads to Mia getting stabbed and the two intruders who are part of a cult both die one from being shot the other suicide.  Luckily for the couple the baby is unharmed but Mia is ordered to stick to bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy.doll

The ordeal for the couple has only just starting when strange things start happening around the house, including the sewing machine turning itself on. Disposing of the doll because the suicide girl died holding it. Mia has the baby even though the house catches fire, but just in time for the couple of move for John’s new job. The couple have a baby girl Leah, good job they had all the dolls ready for a baby girl, but one doll made the trip that they didn’t want to, the Annabelle doll. It soon becomes apparent that whatever was haunting them at the old house is back but John doesn’t know what to make of Mia’s claims. Mia alone in the apartment overnight continues to get haunted by strange goings on, Mia must fight off whatever is after her and her baby before it is too late. Mia learns that she could be up against a demon that the cult that tried to kill her had summoned. Mia has to find a way to give the demon a soul to make it vanish once and for all.

Annabelle is the prequel to the good horror film ‘The Conjuring’ and it focuses on somewhat of a side note from that film with the creepy doll. The problem is that the doll is nothing but a creepy doll that just gets moved around by a demon. Nearly everything that happens is very generic for the genre right down to the characters decisions. We have the trademark priest falling to actually do anything to help. The idea does put the story into a real horror situation from the intruders to the possession which should really make this a much scarier film than we actually get. It just seems to take too long to really roll into the main side of the haunting especially as we already know about the doll. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

Annabelle Wallis: Mia loving wife and soon to be mother who gets attacked, but once she has the baby she continues to get haunted by a spirit demon who wants her baby. Annabelle does a solid job in the lead role but really struggles to make an impact when it comes to the legacy of a role like this. (6/10)

 mia

Ward Horton: John Gordon father and husband who spends most of the film at work leaving Mia to do all the work against the demons. Ward does what he can with what little he has to work with here. (4/10)

 

Support Cast: Annabelle has a supporting cast of people who try to help mainly the useless priest and a lady full of regret because of what happened to her own child. They offer the usual help without really doing much to the story.

Director Review: John R. Leonetti – John gives us a standard modern horror with easy jump scares instead of any tension building. (5/10)

 

Horror: Annabelle enters into the world of cheap jump scares that can be called well before they happen. (5/10)

Settings: Annabelle has most of the hauntings going on inside a house which brings the horror back home for the characters. (9/10)

Suggestion: Annabelle is one for the horror fans to try but don’t expect too much from it. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Ghost attack changing age through a door.

Worst Part: Cheap jump scares.

Scariest Scene: Ghost changing age after running through a door.

 

Believability: it is said to be based on real events but it is up to you what you want to believe. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It will have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $255 Million

Budget: $6.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

Overall: This really is a lacklustre prequel to one of the better recent horror films, it becomes lazy with its scares and turns into something we have seen before.

Rating 50