16th Mar2015

The Entertainment Website Readers Choice Best in Film

by timbaros

images-346Voting in The Entertainment Website Readers Choice Best in Film ended last week and the readers have spoken. You’ve chosen American Sniper as the Best Film last year. It easily won this category, taking 33% of the vote. Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game and Whiplash all tied for second.

images-311Eddie Redmayne was the overwhelming choice for Best Actor – taking 50% of the vote in this category – for his performance in The Theory of Everything (which recently won him an Oscar). Ben Affleck for Gone Girl and Jack O’Connell for ’71 (surprisingly) were next.

images-347Rosamund Pike was chosen as your favorite performance by an Actress. The Gone Girl star was the overwhelming favorite in this category. Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Reese Witherspoon for Wild were behind Pike’s win.

JK Simmons took 75% of the best performance by a Supporting Actor vote – the highest percentage of all the winners – for his role in Whiplash. Ethan Hawke was far behind for second place.

There was a three-way tie for Supporting Actress. Recent Oscar winner for Boyhood Patricia Arquette tied with Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game and Emma Stone for Birdman.

Your choice for Best Director was NOT recent Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu for Birdman, nor was it critic’s darling Richard Linklater for Boyhood, it was Clint Eastwood for American Sniper. The 84 year-old Eastwood proves that age doesn’t matter and that he’s still on top of his game.

The Lego Movie was chosen as your favorite Animated film.

Thanks to you, the readers, for taking the time to vote. We can’t wait to see your choices next year!

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18th Jan2015

American Sniper – Film

by timbaros

Add American Sniper to the list of very good Clint Eastwood movies.

While it’s not his best film ever (see Unforgiven and J. Edgar) nor his worst film (see the recently poorly received Jersey Boys), it’s a loyal and factual re-telling of the true story of Chris Kyle, a member of the elite Nave SEALS. He was the most lethal sniper in the history of the U.S. Military, having 160 confirmed kills. He was also a husband and the father of two children, but being the best sniper and serving his country were the most important things in his life.

Kyle (played valiantly by Bradley Cooper) in the beginning of the film is a ranch hand in Texas. His life doesn’t amount to much, especially after her finds his girlfriend in bed with another man. But after getting his arm injured, he decides to join the navy. His commitment for his countries becomes imbedded in him after the catastrophic events of 9/11. After months of gruelling training, him and his team are sent to Iraq to fight the enemy. And they are tasked with some of the most dangerous missions in the military. This includes heading directly into enemy territory and looking for a man called Shiekh Al-Obodi (Navid Negahban), one of the leaders of the Taliban.

Kyle serves four tours, in between each one going home to be with his family but getting the pull to serve again. He’s urged against it by his pretty wife Tanya (an amazing Sienna Miller). Even the birth of his two children doesn’t keep him home. He continues increasing his sniper kill tally, which includes women and children who threaten to kill U.S. soldiers. Kyle is also determined to kill
a man called Mustafa (played by Sammy Shiek). Mustafa is a Syrian shooter who had competed for his country in the Olympics. He’s also killing the insurgents (the Americans on the ground). Kyle is determined to kill him as he has killed one of his fellow soldiers. The film then becomes a cat and mouse story to dramatic effect, where Mustafa aims to shoot the soldiers but Kyle aims to shoot him. It all culminates in an amazing shootout between the U.S. soldiers trapped on a rooftop in Sadr City while the enemy comes in from all sides, all in the midst of a massive sandstorm. It’s one of Eastwood’s best film sequences I’ve ever seen.

However, American Sniper doesn’t end there. Kyle, after getting shot in the massive shootout, returns home, but has a hard time rejoining society, and his wife has a hard time getting connected with him. He’s a changed man, but seems to slightly recover after he starts helping soldiers at a local veterans hospital and also helps to train them on weapons and combat tactics to lift their spirits. American Sniper would’ve had a better impact if the film ended after the shootout in Sadr City. This last bit of the film seems to be tacked on to tell the rest of Kyle’s story.

Cooper excellently plays Kyle though he’s a bit too old to be playing Kyle in his younger years. It’s a performance that has just won him an Academy Award nomination for the Best Actor Oscar. Miller is also excellent as Tanya – it’s the best performance of her career. And while American Sniper looks and feels like a good film, it’s the last ten minutes that don’t need to be there. American Sniper is adapted by the book of the same name by Kyle by actor turned-screenwriter Jason Dean Hall. Kyle was shot and killed in Texas in 2013 by a 25-year old Marine Corps Veteran, a veteran he was trying to help.

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