American Sniper (2015) Review

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘American Sniper’: Making a box office statement.

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is riding high at the weekend box office where it has already scored $30.5 million on Friday, according to studio estimates.LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch)—The Martin Luther King holiday could prove to be a bonanza for Clint Eastwood’s war drama “American Sniper”—perhaps finally lifting one of Oscar’s eight best-picture nominees into bona fide hit status. Contrino predicts the film could land in record-breaking January territory — the $75-$80 million range — for the weekend. “The word of mouth on this is so incredibly strong.

The film’s subject, Chris Kyle, was the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, with 160 kills, and he retired from the military in 2009, finding ways to help veterans back home with his family in Texas. Taya Kyle misses the way her husband, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, would hold her close or reach for her hand and make her laugh as they were walking in the Texas countryside. “I was madly in love with him and still am,” Taya tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

This is uncharted territory.” The R rated film, which has Bradley Cooper starring as real-life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, received a boost on Thursday with six Oscar nominations — including best picture and best actor for Cooper. That came after the film, relentlessly promoted in what are proving to be highly effective television ads, proved impressive in a handful of theaters for the three weeks leading up to its broader distribution. Pictures, Kyle Gallner, left, and Bradley Cooper appear in a scene from “American Sniper.” The film is based on the autobiography by Chris Kyle. (AP Photo/Warner Bros.

The $30.5 million is a record for the opening day of wide release in January and is likely to propel the film to a new weekend record for the first month of the year. Video: In 2012, TODAY’s Lester Holt met Chris Kyle, the man who inspired the Oscar-nominated film “American Sniper,” and talked to the former Navy sniper about his time serving his country and his complex relationship with his wife. The biggest R-rated openings of all-time are Hannibal ($58m), 300 ($70m), The Passion of the Christ ($83m Fri-Sun during its $125m Wed-Sun bow) The Hangover part II ($85m Fri-Sun during its $135m Thurs-Mon bow), and The Matrix Reloaded ($91m Fri-Sun during its $134m Thurs-Sun bow). And the film’s stars, Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, said that portraying the Kyles’ relationship honestly, and how Chris was torn between his duty to his family and his country, was an important part of the film-making process. “I think that it’s an essential part of Chris’s story,” Miller said. “Because the dilemma that he’s in — trying to juggle a home life with a wife and two children, but feeling like when he’s at home, there are people dying — that probably wouldn’t if he was there.” Ultimately, Kyle’s need to protect those in danger led him to four deployments in Iraq.

Unless I’m forgetting one, the biggest non-comic book, non-fantasy/sci-fi action movie debuts are Fast & Furious 6 ($97.3m), Skyfall ($88.3m), Fast Five ($86.1m), Fast & Furious ($70.9m), Quantum of Solace ($67m), The Bourne Ultimatum ($69m), and Mission: Impossible II ($57.8m). The veteran, in 2012, told Holt that his goal after retiring form the military was to raise awareness for the troops, and encourage “random acts of kindness to show your thanks.” He said that he wanted fellow veterans to “know that they’re wanted and loved.” “He had such a humility and such a heart of service that was in this package that was fun-loving and protective, and had all these nuances that made it always interesting,” Taya said. “But he chose war because he knew that was protecting people.”

His moral compass was probably locked in place by his Sunday School teacher dad, who actually did lecture him that ‘There are three types of people in world son. The eight nominees for best picture turned in a cumulative $205.1 million by the time the nominations were announced on Thursday, or little more than $25 million apiece. There’s sheep, and there’s wolves, and there’s sheepdogs – and their job is to protect the sheep…’ On arriving in Iraq, Kyle quickly found that was he a phenomenal marksman, and that his blood ran ice-cold under pressure. That’s the worst average performance by best-picture nominees up to that point in the awards process, and it appears none will be able to reach the $100 million mark at any point during their U.S. theatrical run. Like “Lone Survivor” last January, “American Sniper” is proving that plenty of Americans are willing to see gritty, violent films about the most recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and, as Mendelson noted, that those films need not be released in traditional blockbuster seasons.

On Feb. 2, 2013, a former Marine whom Chris was trying to helping cope with post traumatic stress disorder allegedly shot and killed Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield, on a Texas gun range. A case in point is “Selma,” a biopic from Paramount Pictures VIA, +2.85% about the bloody 1965 civil rights march led by King, and one of the eight nominated films. While the fortunes of “Sniper” are likely to soar over the three-day weekend, when moviegoers are expected to flock to the theaters, “Selma” could suffer on a day that it otherwise might capitalize on its historical ties to the Monday King holiday. “Selma” also was in limited release for two weeks before going to wider distribution this past weekend and finishing in second place.

The deliveryman, identified in a Boston Globe report as Jarrid Tansey, an employee at Palace Pizza, can be seen on footage captured inside F&R Auto Sales in Westport, Massachusetts, Saturday, returning tip money he had been given during a previous trip to deliver food to the dealership. The initial bill for the order of pizza and drinks came to $42 and some change and Tansey was reportedly given $50, comprised of two $20 bills and two $5 bills. There is real presence and heft to Cooper’s portrayal; we believe the characterisation, and we understand how the soldiers Kyle watched over from his sniper’s nest came to believe in him.

Eastwood’s output over the last few years has been troublesome, and I wondered after Hoover and Jersey Boys whether he had another decent film in him. In the end, the debate didn’t end well, with Tansey exiting and the female employee threatening to “put my foot in your a**” after he walked out the door, the Boston Globe reported.

Even when a local police officer came to her house to tell her the news she had dreaded for years – that her husband had been killed – she says she resisted going to that “dark place” she feared. “I was just focused on what I had learned over the years: don’t go there until you know.” When her girlfriend told her the officer had come to her house to talk to her about Chris, “I thought, ‘I’m going to hear what hospital I’m going to go to,” she says. “But the officer looked at me kind of sad and said, ‘I’m sorry. It’s been a tremendous blessing.” To make sure the filmmakers got her husband’s story right, she opened her heart and her home to Cooper and Eastwood, telling them everything she could about the deadly sniper that Iraqi insurgents called “the Devil of Ramadi,” but who was also giving and loving. “He was a man with a huge heart and charisma and kindness,” she says. “I think the blessing is that Chris really lived.

That takes an incredible amount of heart.” She admires Chris for how much pride he took in protecting his fellow soldiers on the battlefield. “I got a medal from a Marine who came home who said, ‘I am here because Chris saved my life, and I have a 2-year-old daughter that I never would have without Chris,’ ” says Taya. “It’s just about protecting each other, watching each other’s back and bringing each other home.” Taya says her family and friends, her faith and her children are helping her to live her life without her husband by her side. While she is preparing for the upcoming capital murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the 25-year-old charged with killing Chris and Littlefield, she says giving back is also helping her face her grief.

She founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to help enrich the relationships of military and first responders’ families. “That’s an honor and a privilege to work on,” she says.

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