Quote of the Day: February 27, 2015

“Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it’s not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special.”

-Leonard Nimoy

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My (Revised) Top 20 Movies of 2014

Three of these didn’t blow.

I know I originally did this list way back in late December, but it would be kind of stupid of me to have watched all those movies I watched for Oscar season and having had my opinion evolve without re-doing the list. So, uh, here you go.

20. Big Hero 6

Dear god, do I want a Baymax plushie. Have I mentioned that yet? I don’t care, I still want one.

Genres: Animated, superhero, comedy

Directed by: Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt)

Voices of: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Daniel Henney

I’m personally still pissed that it won Best Animated Feature, but I’m also not going to deny that Big Hero 6 is an incredibly likable movie, if not the most original or unpredictable. To be absolutely truthful, this movie probably wouldn’t rate as highly in my mind if it wasn’t for Baymax, but the other characters hold their own in terms of likability, especially Hiro and his brother, though the side characters get their share of laughs as well.

They really should’ve picked one way to pronounce “Hiro” and stuck with it, though. That’s pretty goddamn annoying.

19. The Lego Movie

Genres: Animated, comedy, adventure

Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street)

Voices of: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman

I didn’t love The Lego Movie nearly as much as some people did, but, again, I still thought it was a great movie. I thought the buildup was kind of weaker than I expected, but the rest of the film is pretty terrific fun. It’s definitely the best piece of incredibly conspicuous product placement ever made, if nothing else.

Ant it’s not even close, realy.

18. 22 Jump Street

Genres: Comedy, action

Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (See above)

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Ice Cube

The second straight Phil Lord/Christopher Miller project on my list had, like The Lego Movie, kind of a weak buildup that kind of disappointed me. Thankfully, when it does pick it up, it grabs hold of the intensity knob (Heh) and turns that shit up to 11 (Out of a possible five).

“I am the unicorn wizard!!!…”

It’s not quite as good as the first movie, but as long as Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube keep delivering, I genuinely wouldn’t mind seeing some of the joke sequels that were teased during the credits.

17. Edge of Tomorrow

Genres: Science fiction, action

Directed by: Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Admit it, you took one look at the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow (Or All You Need is Kill. Or Live. Die. Repeat.) and rolled your eyes. “Oh great, another Tom Cruise sci-fi movie. Why can’t this Scientologist prick just fuck off into irrelevancy and take his smug-ass demeanor (As well as his tremendous talent for making action movies) with him?” Then you learnt about the plot. “Oh, fucking brilliant. Oblivion meets Groundhog Day??? Jesus Christ, are there no more original ideas in Hollywood?”

Yes. Yes there are.

And then, you actually watched Edge of Tomorrow. That made you feel pretty stupid, didn’t it?

16. The Theory of Everything

Genre: Biographical romantic drama

Directed by: James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake

This movie has gotten a lot of recent criticism for essentially being just another paint-by-numbers Oscar movie, but even so, I really like it. I definitely understand the complaint that it’s a merely okay movie with good performances, but when those performances are as good as the ones you get from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, I frankly don’t see that much reason to hate it all that much. I can understand being adverse to it, but I enjoy it, personally.

15. Selma

Genre: Historical drama

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Touissant, Stephen James, Wendell Pierce, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey

It’s bullshit that Ava DuVernay didn’t get nominated. And that’s all I have to say about that.

14. The Imitation Game

Genre: Historical thriller

Directed by: Morten Tyldum (Headhunters)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Mark Strong

Much like (Although maybe not quite as much as) The Theory of Everything for being another “Oscar-bait” movie, and while I do generally have a problem with that term, I can see what people get at when they criticize it. That said, even more than The Theory of Everything, I love this movie, mostly for Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance.

13. John Wick

Genre: Action thriller

Directed by: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem DeFoe

Oh, just read the entry for Edge of Tomorrow again.

12. Top Five

Genre: Comedy

Directed by: Chris Rock

Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, J.B. Smoove, Cedric the Entertainer, Tracy Morgan

Cedric the Entertainer is fucking disgusting. This movie has convinced me of that.

Also, DMX has the voice of an angel.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy

Genre: Superhero

Directed by: James Gunn (Slither)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

I saw this movie four times in theatres, and it got a little better each time for me. I’m sure most of you are sick to death of it by now, so I’ll just say that if you haven’t seen it yet, do so immediately.

10. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Genres: Anime, drama, fantasy

Directed by: Isao Takahata (Grave of the FirefliesPom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas)

Voices of: Asi Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto, Atsuko Takahata

English dub: Chloe Grace Moretz, Darren Criss, James Caan, Mary Steenbergen, Lucy Liu

I haven’t talked very much about Studio Ghibli, as I’m just now starting to get into Japan’s answer to Disney, but The Tale of the Princess Kaguya sold me on them. As cliched a noun as “beautiful” is in describing movies, it’s a perfect word to describe this dreamlike movie. The art style in this movie is brilliantly executed, and the last fifteen to twenty minutes or so are composed of some of the best animated sequences I’ve ever seen. Also, the soundtrack in this movie is terrific. It figures that I’d get into Studio Ghibli right when they decided to go on a hiatus.

9. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Genres: Animated, fantasy

Directed by: Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon)

Voices of: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

As much as I loved Princess Kaguya, it just couldn’t beat out my highly developed Western ethnocentrism.

8. Nightcrawler

Genre: Crime thriller

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Starring: Jake Gyllenhal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton

It’s bullshit that Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t get nominated. That’s all I have to say about that (Again).

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Genre; Superhero

Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo (Community)

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson

Terrific movie, but did we ever ind out what happened to Red Skull in the first movie? That kinda seems like something you wouldn’t wanna gloss over.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Genre: Comedy

Directed by: Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom)

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric

The Grand Budapest Hotel is actually the only Wes Anderson movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s tough to think that any of his movies could possibly be better than The Grand Budapest Hotel. Just give me dark, whimsical, occasionally crude humour in formal, colourful environments and I’ll be putty in your hand, I guess.

5. Gone Girl

Genre: Psychological thriller

Directed by: David Fincher (Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris

Blood…. So much blood… Poor Ben…

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Genre: Science fiction

Directed by: Matt Reeves (Let Me In)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee

It’s bullshit that Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell… Ah, fuck it.

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Genre: Superhero

Directed by: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicolas Hoult, Evan Peters, Ellen Page, Peter Dinkage, Shawn Ashmore

With all the love that Marvel movies keep getting, it’s easy to forget that Fox has been churning out quality X-Men movies (Brett Ratner and shitty Deadpool aside). Days of Future Past (Based on the popular story arc fro mthe comics) continues on in that tradition, combining the older actors from the original trilogy with the newer actors from X-Men: First Class. Hopefully, X-Men: Apocalypse is just as good. Also, while we’re hopin  things, I hope the sexual assault allegations against Bryan Singer turn out to be false.

One of those definitely seems more likely than the other. But hey, Channing Tatum’s gonna be Gambit and Nightcrawler is coming back, so it all works out in the end.

2. Whiplash

Genre: Drama

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist

Until I saw Whiplash, I thought for the longest time that there wasn’t any real competition for my favourite movie of the year. It didn’t quite get there, but hey, 2nd place ain’t bad. J.K. Simmons especially did a really good job-“

“Excuse me? You dropped my movie to second place for some fucking Hollywood circle jerk art house piece of shit?”

Oh, uh, Doctor Fletcher, I-

“Did I say you could speak, bitch?”

(Whimpers)

“If you deliberately sabotage my movie, I will gut you like a pig!”

I’m no sabotaging it, I, really loved it, I-I-

“Oh my dear god, are you actually crying? Are you one of those single-tear people?”

N–n-no!!

“You are a worthless pansy-ass who is now weeping and slobbering all over your keyboard like a nine year old girl! “

(Starts straight-up bawling)

“… Whiplash is your favourite movie. Say it.”

Whiplash is my favorite movie.

“Say it so the entire internet can hear you. “

Whiplash is my favourite movie! 

“LOUDER!!!”

WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!

” You are a worthless, friendless, faggot-lipped little piece of shit who is under the delusion that he has any writing talent to share with anybody, and who is now weeping and slobbering all over his computer like a fucking nine-year old girl! So for the final, FATHER-FUCKING time, SAY IT LOUDER! “

WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…Start practicing harder, Rollins.

(Resumes sobbing)

1. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Genres: Surreal comedy, black comedy

Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan

No, I’m not bandwagoning. I loved Birdman even before it won Best Picture. If you really want me to go into it, read my review, or my Oscar predictions, for that matter. It’s my favourite movie of this year, possibly one of my favourite movies of all time, and that’s really all you can ask out of a year in movies.

Especially when there’ no hilarious Nicolas Cage performance to rewatch. God, that movie blows/

Post-Oscars State of PKTM

It’s over… Thank fucking god it’s over.

So, the Oscars are over,and I’m happy to say that the good guys won. I mean, there’s stuff from the ceremony that I’m mad about (Big Hero 6 winning Best Animated Feature over How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Joan Rivers getting the shaft in the In Memoriam section, a shitty In Memoriam section in general), but on the whole, I was happy that BirdmanGrand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash killed it, I though the musical performances were great, and I enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris’ hosting (Come at me, literally everybody else who watched the Oscars!!!).

Those of you wondering where my Razzie reviews and predictions are (As if there are any of you) should stop expecting them, because they’re not going to happen. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find a single stream of Saving Christmas anywhere, and, somehow, I don’t think watching that piece or garbage will build up my integrity as a reviewer. It’s a Kirk Cameron religious movie, for god’s sake. After Left Behind, I’d rather gouge out my eyes then watch another preachy-as-hell evangelical propaganda movie again.

So, as you might have guessed, I’m kind of burnt out on movies after having solely released movie reviews, Oscar-related material and Quotes of the Day since my Tarantinoverse Deathmatch way back on November 30 and December 7. So, I think you have more than enough reason to forgive me if I won’t be doing much new movie reviews until the start of the summer movie season, during which I’ll be totally overcome with the joy of seeing Avengers and Jurassic World, among others.

Anyways, this is what’s going to be going on over the next couple of months.

Quotes of the Day: Yeah, I kinda like them. They’re definitely only to be used as between-post filler, but I don’t see myself abandoning them altogether.

TV Reviews: After the whole Flash/Gotham/Legend of Korra debacle, I’m kind of reluctant to do this again, but it’s not like I can not review Game of Thrones.  If that goes okay, I might review some more stuff. No promises, though.

Movie Theories/Rants: I still haven’t done as much of these as I would like, but I have a couple ideas kicking around that might end up semi-decent.

DEATHMATCH!!!: It’s currently on hiatus until I can think of a solid second episode (And maybe a better way to present it) but I had too much fun doing the first one to even consider ditching it.

Movie Reviews: Just because I’m burnt out on them doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing them.

I’m probably reviewing: Chappie, Cinderella (I still like Disney. Sue me), While We’re YoungInsurgent, Ex Machina, Clouds of Sils Maria

I might review: These Final Hours, It Follows, Get Hard, Home, Furious 7 (If I watch the first six movies first), True Story, The Water Diviner

Of course, some of these movies are just coming out in limited release, so maybe I shouldn’t be making promises I can’t keep, but when have I ever been one to learn from experience?

Also, my Top 20 movies of 2014 should be posted soon, so yeah.

By the way, I encourage anybody reading this to start commenting on my posts and maybe spreading the word about PKTM. Believe me, I’m grateful a million times over for whatever meager traffic I get, and if I’m stuck at 44 subscribers, so be it, that’s 44 more than I ever thought would be on board when I started almost two years ago. However, I would like to reach a larger audience if at all possible, so if anybody who likes any of my posts could comment, like and/or follow, I would be eternally grateful.

Sorry to go all PBS on you guys just now. I expect my god complex to kick back in anytime now, so I’ll cut this short before then.

My 2014 Oscar Predictions

Many tiny, tiny men were forced to give up their lives after being randomly selected for being made to stand in an uncomfortable upright position and having liquid gold poured on them. Their sacrifice will not go forgotten.

Ah, the Oscars! The award show where the old, rich, out-of-touch white men of Hollywood engage in the biggest circle jerk of the year and hand out golden, vaguely phallic trophies in order to congratulate each other for making pretentious, artsy films that the average moviegoer didn’t even think about before the eve of the ceremony!

God, do I love the Oscars. It’s right up there with my birthday, Christmas, Blue Jays Opening Day, Game 7 of the World Series and Edmonton Comic Expo Weekend in my rankings of my favourite days of the year. For somebody who loves movies as much as I do, it’s so great to see these movies that I’ve grown so attached to in the last few months that I’ve been scrambling to watch them. It’s nice to see them all gathered together where all of them can be celebrated for the joy they’ve brought to people.

And by “all of them”, I, of course mean “Boyhood“.

So, without further ado, let’s get my official predictions out of the way!!!

(Keep in mind that I haven’t seen 100% of the movies. Merely a lot of them. Don’t blame me, blame school.”

That, and the fact that I’m not allowed out of my house anymore after the unfortunate incident at a nearby Dairy Queen.

Visual Effects

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees! And people say we monkey around…”

Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If I were in charge: Interstellar

Interstellar didn’t impress me as much as it did others in terms of story or plot coherence, but I can’t deny the visual majesty that Nolan’s space epic had. That said, when Dawn wins, I will not complain at all, because Apes On Horses.

Film Editing

TWELVE YEARS!!!! THIS TOOK TWELVE YEARS!!!! ITSOAMAAAAAAAAZZIIIINGGG!!!!!!!”

Will win: Boyhood

If I was in charge: Boyhood

Yeah, as burnt out as I am on hearing people call Boyhood the Citizen Kane of our era or some bullshit, I can’t deny the wonderful editing job done in the film.

Costume Design

Dear lord.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and Hairstyling

And this is what happens when you party with Benecio del Toro.

Will win: Guardians of the Galaxy

If I was in charge: Guardians of the Galaxy

Cinematography

Gravity‘s got nothing on this.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

Emmanuel Lubezki. That is all.

Production Design

The symmetry alone, Jesus Christ.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Mixing

Theeeeenn, he swore profusely at me, Pa rum pa pum pum….

Will win: Whiplash

If I was in charge: Whiplash

Man, I’m not exactly being much of a contrarian, am I?

Sound Editing

Oh, there we go.

Will win: American Sniper

If I was in charge: Birdman

Original Song

Will win: “Glory” (Selma)

If I was in charge: “Glory”

Original Score

Just for the record, I would have given the prize to either John Powell or Joe Hisaishi for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, respectively.

Will win: Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary- Short Subject, Documentary- Feature

I didn’t watch any of these. Why? I’m really, really lazy, in case you guys haven’t noticed.

Foreign Language Film

Are her eyes following anybody else? Just me? Okay then…

Will win: Ida

If I was in charge: Leviathan

Animated Feature Film

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

If I was in charge: How to Train Your Dragon 2

While I still think that Dragon is the best animated movie of the year (Yes, even better than The LEGO Movie), I highly suggest any fan of animation to check out The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. You’ll thank me later, trust me.

Adapted Screenplay

Will win: The Imitation Game

If I was in charge: The Imitation Game

Original Screenplay

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should win: Birdman

Supporting Actress

Yeesh, now that kids’ eyes are following me.

Will win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Patricia Arquette

Again, I’m not a huge Boyhood fan. That said, I think I would’ve liked it more if it focused more on Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Supporting Actor

Will win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

If I was in charge: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Actress

“What the fuck am I watching?!?!”                    -Julianne Moore, seen here puzzling over Inherent Vice.

Will win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

If I was in charge: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Admittedly, I haven’t seen Still Alice yet, but with all do respect to Julianne Moore, I don’t see how her performance could be better than Rosamund Pike in the movie that is the biggest Best Picture snub of the year.

Actor

Yeah, no way I’m joking about this photo. I’m not a total asshole.

Will win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

The sentimental part of my brain wants Michael Keaton to win, as Redmayne’s still young, and we don’t know if Keaton will ever be nominated again, but I know in my heart of hearts that Redmayne was probably better.

Director

Meh.

Will win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

I LIKED BOYHOOD, ALRIGHT!?!? I JUST THINK IT’S KIND OF OVERRATED!!! AM I REALLY SO WRONG IN THINKING THAT?!?!

Picture

You know you want it.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

My gut actually says that Boyhood is gonna take it, but winning all the Guild Awards is pretty promising, so maybe Birdman has a realistic shot at winning the big prize?

American Sniper is going to sweep the awards now, just because I said that.

American Sniper (Movie Review)

Well, this is gonna be an absolute joy to watch!

I love Clint Eastwood, but I can admit that he hasn’t exactly been on top of his game lately. After the greatness that was Gran Torino, the legendary actor/director hasn’t had that much success, at least critically (I’ll give you Invictus, that was actually pretty great, but Hereafter, J. Edgar and Jersey Boys all kinda sucked).

His big political statement hasn’t exactly helped matters, truth be told.

His latest movie is American Sniper, the story of the late, much-celebrated sniper Chris Kyle, someone who has been quoted as saying that “[he] would like to shoot people with Korans”. In terms of avoiding political controversy, this was probably not the way to go.

American Sniper

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Produced by: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz,  Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, Peter Morgan

Written by: Jason Hall

Based on: American Sniper by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwan and Jim DeFelice

Genre: Biographical war drama

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Fake Baby

Plot: Searching for a higher calling outside of his lucrative career as a rodeo cowboy, Texan Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), seemingly finds his divine purpose when he is horrified by the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya. Enlisting in the army and eventually becoming a Navy SEAL, he shows a considerable amount of ability as a sniper. He is shipped off to Iraq after 9/11 (Because…Reasons…) and becomes the deadliest sniper in American military history, killing upwards of 160 enemy combatants. However, killing that enormous amount of people doesn’t normally result in a sound mental state, and sure enough, Kyle’s military career, and the resulting PTSD symptoms start affecting his relationships with his wife (Sienna Miller).

Look, this is a super controversial movie, and there is absolutely no getting around that. I’d be remiss to not go into at least some of the controversy surrounding this movie. That said, even considering the divisive nature of the film, it’s fairly easy to forget that, in a lot of respects, this is a super well made movie.

I fully admit that I went into this movie not expecting to like it and yeah, I kind of didn’t, but even I’ll admit that this movie shows a lot of potential. The cinematography looks like that of your standard Iraq War movie, which is appropriate considering, y’know, that the movie’s about the damn Iraq War. It also sounds terrific, as is par for the course with a lot of war movies, and is most likely going to win some sort of Oscar for sound editing or sound mixing, or whatever (I still don’t understand the difference between those two, frankly).

The sound and atmosphere really help contribute to this super intense atmosphere that Eastwood has always done a very good job of creating. You don’t exactly expect a lax atmosphere from a movie in which a small child is being aimed at through the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, at one point. Eastwood’s technically skilled direction takes the inherent intensity that comes with a movie like this and multiplies it twentyfold. It’s a flawed movie, but it was never boring, and in the end, that may do it for some people.

Something else that I would have be a complete idiot to skip over without praising is Bradley Cooper. Now, I am a Bradley Cooper fan, let’s get that straight. The first movie I ever saw him in was The Hangover, and if you would have told me way back in 2009 that he would go on to be nominated for three consecutive Academy Awards (As well as voice Rocket Racoon) after that (Brilliantly hilarious) movie, I probably would have laughed in your face. And then shot you in the kneecap. I was a pretty hardcore 12-year old.

I was basically Hit-Girl. Except, you know, a guy.

If he does win the Oscar, I’ll still be pissed off, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that his performance is pretty outstanding. From the 100% authentic sounding accent that one would swear had been lifted off of a bona-fide god-fearing Texan without having warped it into something stereotypical and cartoonish.

Like so.

All around, Cooper sells Chris Kyle as a likable, humble human being. You know, when he isn’t referring to the Iraqis as “savages”, but more on that later.

The action in American Sniper is also very good, as one would expect from a Clint Eastwood movie. It kind of ties into that “intensity” crap I was rambling about earlier. However, this is where some of the flaws in the movie start rearing their ugly heads. See, while the action scenes are very well done, it kinda looks like somebody drew the line for the budget at realistic-looking blood. Instead of that, they used the shitty, cartoony looking CGI blood that one would expect from Kick-Ass, or something.

Boy, I’ve been referencing that movie a lot lately. Weird.

Yeah, it worked in Kick-Ass, but in a movie that’s supposed to be gritty and ultra-realistic, CGI blood is super distracting. In fact, it kind of fucking sucks. What the hell, Clint!?

Also, while the actors do genuinely good jobs, with the obvious highlight being Cooper, the characters that weren’t Chris Kyle are either insultingly given the shaft in terms of character insight (*Cough* Sienna Miller *cough) or are really underdeveloped. Kyle’s fellow soldiers definitely fall into the latter category.  At no point did I really feel any genuine camaraderie between them and the main character. I mean, I get that they were supposed to be friends, but it doesn’t spend enough time showing them just hanging out with each other and forming genuine connections. For all its flaws, the movie feels very brisk, I wouldn’t have minded a couple more scenes of Kyle socializing with his comrades.

I guess we get some semblance of a connection when we see Chris’s reaction to them getting shot in the face. Not the worst, I suppose, but it could have been handled a lot better.

Also, there’s supposed to be a rivalry of sorts between Chris and some Iraqi sniper. It’s really dumb.

If only my complaints would end there. If fucking only.

So, American Sniper is not really an anti-war film, but it, for all the accusations of jingoistic nationalism thrown at it, is not really a pro-war film either, or al least tries not to be. That’s a pretty sound creative decision, considering the film is supposed to be a character study of Chris Kyle. So, how does it stack up as a character piece?

In that respect, it is a complete and utter fucking failure.

I’m pretty sure you’re getting sick and tired of hearing this, as his criticism has been bandied about plenty since the film’s release, but Chris Kyle was an objectively bad person, as the quote I mentioned in the intro would suggest. How exactly does one hear one of his many quotes mentioning his liking for killing Iraqis (Just look it up, it’s not exactly tough to find) and try to give off the illusion that this is essentially a good guy we’re dealing with? I would expect this from somebody who has maybe only heard about him in passing as a war hero, but not from a motherfucking biography of the man!!!

Yeah, he does call the Iraqis “savages” at a couple points, but he’s portrayed as a good guy so often that to hear him casually dehumanize an entire country is rather disturbing and out of place (It wouldn’t have been if they’d have decided to, I dunno, show Chris Kyle for the person he was instead of the flawed anti-hero bullshit they came up with. You could make the argument that he saved a lot of lives, but a) So did the enemy sniper, but that doesn’t make him any less of a hateful character, and b) that still doesn’t excuse such a cleaned-up version of what could’ve been a very interesting character. It doesn’t totally ruin the movie, but it does deal some pretty serious blows to its credibility.

Overall: There are worse war movies out there, but that doesn’t make this ultimately wasted attempt any more of a letdown.

Rating: 5.5/10

Oh, Jesus, I didn’t even get into the Fake Baby.

If you guys want to read a shorter, less profane review of American Sniper, head over to fellow WordPresser Polar Bears Watch TV where he (She?) delivers a pretty great review in about 1000 less words.