American Sniper fake baby

The first comments I heard from people about Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper, after the film’s premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles last fall, were about the baby. If you’ve seen the film, you’ve noticed the baby. If you haven’t seen the film you’ve probably still heard people talking about it. During a scene in which Chris Kyle is at home, Bradley Cooper has to hold a very obviously plastic baby for over a minute. Sure, joke about the scene being the one to lock Cooper’s latest Best Actor Oscar nomination, but for real, why the plastic baby?

Turns out there’s no grand concept behind using a prop rather than a real baby for the scene — it was a purely practical decision. Read More »

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Good Kill UK trailer

This new Good Kill UK trailer is a lot like the international trailer that dropped for the film not long ago. But it is a much better-assembled piece of work, with a more polished flow overall and a better deployment of the film’s signature elements. Specifically, Ethan Hawke as a fighter pilot turned drone pilot, who starts to crack as he targets and kills enemy combatants in the Middle East without leaving the safety of a control center in the US. Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) writes and directs, and just from this footage you might recognize the director’s touch. Check out this much better Good Kill trailer below. Read More »

American Sniper Bradley Cooper

Long before American Sniper was nominated for six Oscars or grossed $100 million on its opening weekend, it was almost a very different movie. In the summer of 2013, Steven Spielberg was attached to direct the film based on the memoir of U.S. sniper Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper was still attached to star and produce. However, after a few months of development, Spielberg dropped off the project. Director Clint Eastwood quickly jumped on and history was made.

So what was different about Steven Spielberg’s version of American Sniper? In a behind the scenes story about the movie, screenwriter Jason Dean Hall revealed some of the suggestions Spielberg made about the script and how they forced Warner Bros. to move in another direction. Read the Steven Spielberg American Sniper quotes below. Read More »

American Sniper header

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran on November 12. We’re bumping it up now that American Sniper is in wide release.

Director Clint Eastwood has great aspirations for American Sniper. First and foremost, he hopes to make a movie paying tribute to the most deadly sniper in the history of the United States. That’s the late Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper. He also hopes to show Kyle not as only a heroic solider, but a complex man confident in his actions and concerned about of their results. The film paints a grim picture of post-traumatic stress disorder and what it does to our veterans, especially in regards to their families. Finally, there’s also a drive to keep things exciting, so there are many gun battles in the deserts of Iraq.

Yes, American Sniper is an incredibly ambitious film with many moving parts. All of those parts work in certain instances, but only on rare occasions do they all come together at once. The disconnection makes the film fall just short of those great aspirations.

American Sniper had its World Premiere on Veterans Day at AFI Fest presented by Audi and you can read the rest of our review below. Read More »

Hunger Games MockingJay part 1 review

Note: This review was original published on November 10. We’ve bumped it up now that the film is in theaters. 

It’s a shame The Hunger Games series gets filed into the “young adult” category. Sure, there’s some dystopian young romance in there, but with each subsequent film, the series proves it is about much more than unattainable love with sporadic action. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 takes the series to its furthest point from YA stereotypes yet.

However, what’s most interesting about this latest installment — the first part of a two-part finale — is just how different it is from the rest of the franchise. Is that a good thing? Below, read why The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 feels like a different franchise. Read More »

andrew Garfield mel Gibson

With Spider-Man stuck in a bit of a void, Andrew Garfield is filling his time wisely. He’ll soon shoot Silence with Martin Scorsese, and now he might team up with another Oscar-winning director: Mel Gibson. Both Gibson and Garfield are circling a World War II project called Hacksaw Ridge. It’s the true story of Desmond T Doss, a U.S. military doctor (played by Garfield, if it all works out) who refuses to kill patients badly injured in battle. As a result, Doss was the first “Conscientious Objector” to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Gibson would direct the film. Read more about the potential Andrew Garfield Mel Gibson team up below. Read More »

John Woo The Crossing trailer

Cutting movies in half is very hip these days. Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and now…John Woo? Yes, the director of Hard Boiled, The Killer and Face/Off made a two-parter in 2008 with Red Cliff, and he’s doing it again this year with The Crossing. An epic romance set against the tragedy of a capsized ferry in 1949, it stars Zhang Ziyi and was written by Melody Wang, who wrote Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Now, that might sound like it’s John Woo’s Titanic, but it’s much bigger than that. The Crossing is a romance, a disaster film, a war film and more all rolled into one. It truly looks epic.

In China, The Crossing Part 1 opens in December and The Crossing Part 2 opens May 2015. There’s no U.S. release date yet. But, based on this trailer, I hope it gets one soon. Read More »

Testament of Youth UK trailer

Kit Harington and Alicia Vikander star in Testament of Youth as friends, and potential lovers, who are separated by the insanity of the First World War. Based on the memoir by Vera Brittain, considered one of the primary accounts of the war from a woman’s perspective, the film follows the dawning independence of Brittain (Vikander), and the relationship she forges with her brother’s friend, played by Harington. In this Testament of Youth UK trailer we’re treated to some glowing pullquotes, but also to many visions of England and Europe during the years before and during the war. This is a much more effective look at the film than the last trailer we saw; have a look below. Read More »

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