Taking Chances (2009)

rob challengeMovie Rob has challenged me to watch this film, and if I am being honest I have never heard of it, but I do like watching the stars of the movies in other work. Turns out i pick the wrong film, i was meant to pick the Kevin Bacon one

logoDirector: Talmage Cooley

Writer: Annie Nocenti (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Long, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Corddry, Keir O’Donnell, Missi Pyle, David Jensen, Jimmi Simpson, Nick Offerman

Plot: When he discovers that an Indian casino is about to be built over the town’s historic battlefield, Chase Revere, the self-appointed protector of a small town’s rather meager place in American history, joins forces with sexy but dangerous town siren Lucy Shanks to launch an all-out offensive against the project – earning the wrath of the entire town, who believe that the casino will save their decaying local community. 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Indie Comedy Lacking Something

Story: Taking Chances starts Chase Revere (Long) an historical museum employee who goes around spreading the story of his town’s forgotten battle in the civil war. Chase comes off as a very good guy who will help a person in need, never takes a chance and loves his job. Digger (O’Donnell) is trying to push Chase to come out of his shell but Chase isn’t interested in his plans.

Mayor Cleveland Fishback (Corddry) has an idea to try and save his town which involves going t the native Americans to make casino. Chase ends up having chance meeting with Lucy (Chriqui) a firecracker with early romantic sparks. Chase continues the romance with Lucy while he has to come up with an idea to stop the new casino being built over the battlefield which has a rich history for the town. We have to see if Chase can get enough backing to stop the casino being built when people in the town seem happy with the idea.

Taking Chances is an indie comedy with elements of a coming of age tale, I do think the whole concept reflexes the problems America is facing in the small towns but in the end the transformation Chase goes on is the most important part of the film. I found the awkward relationship between Chase and Lucy uncomfortable as we clearly want Chase to be happy but that is never going to happen with Lucy. I think there is way too much hate towards Chase for trying to keep the casino out of the town too. I think this is a solid story but there are certain parts that should have been added to give it that extra something to make it special. (5/10)

Actor Review

Justin Long: Chase Revere is honest guy who loves his historical job, when he hears that the battlefield is the prime location for a casino that the town wants to build. Chase also gets involved with a relationship of sorts with Lucy a girl that pushes him to come out of his comfort zone. Justin can nail comedy but this seem to be a struggle for him. (5/10)

Emmanuelle Chriqui: Lucy is the firecracker who comes into Chase’s life and pushes him to take more chances. She stands by Chase as he tries to fight for the city while hiding a secret that will change her relationship with Chase forever. Emmanuelle does a standard job but doesn’t make you like her character or care what happens to her. (5/10)

Rob Corddry: Mayor Cleveland Fishback is trying to bring the town back from the brink of bankrupt but he really just starts putting the town and all of its assets at risk by agreeing t terms to build a casino. Rob does his usual routine we have seen in every film with him. (5/10)

Support Cast: Taking Chances has generic supporting characters that sum up all the characters you would see around the town. They give a few extra laughs here and there.

Director Review: Talmage Cooley Talmage gives us a solid comedy but it lacks that little something to make it a good comedy. (5/10)

Comedy: Taking Chances has a couple of laughs but really doesn’t reach the laugh out loud stage. (4/10)

Settings: Taking Chances keeps everything inside a small town which works for the story. (9/10)

Suggestion: Taking Chances is one to try but I wouldn’t be recommending it too many people. (Try It)

Best Part: Leap of faith.

Worst Part: The town seems to be full of assholes.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Love’s always a gamble.

Overall: A comedy that lacks the real punchlines needed to make us laugh.

Rating 50

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)


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)


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