Posts tagged American Sniper
MOVIE REVIEW: The 15:17 to Paris

That crucial third act would make a heck of a short film on its own.  If we could fast-forward to there, we would be in business.  Instead, we get the Eastwood hero worship vanity project parade.  Invisible yet incredibly overt, The 15:17 to Paris freely flies its flags of god-fearing conservative morals, manly superiority, unwavering courage, dreams of glory, and military brotherhood.  The content isn't lowered for Eastwood’s credibility, but the execution is, even if there is an audience for this sort of thing. 

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Lost City of Z

The most crucial dramatic trait for films about exploration is a drawing a strong reaction to the unknown from the audience.  Whether it’s a historical story or a fantastical one of fiction, the film has to evoke awe, be that stirring swells of inspiration or jarring feelings of danger.  It has to move you, not bore you.  If a film can’t achieve that quickened pulse or heavy heart, it’s little better than a travelogue on cable television or a curriculum video they show soon-to-be-bored high school students in Social Studies class.

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VIDEO: Post-film reactions to "Sully"

Three top-notch film critics of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle survived the miracle flight recreations and Clint Eastwood's soft touch of "Sully," starring Tom Hanks. Hear the mixed reactions after an advance screening from Jon Espino, Emmanuel Noisette, and myself!

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EDITORIAL: Movies and the 9/11 impact

ANNUAL UPDATE: I'm here for an editorial on the anniversary of 9/11 to showcase a few movies, both serious and not-so-serious, that speak to that day whether as a tribute, remembrance, or example of how life has changed since that fateful day.  Enjoy!

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9/11, Column, Editorial, SPECIALDonald Shanahan9/11, 9/11 films, 9/11 movies, Films based on 9/11, Movie based on 9/11, Films affected by 9/11, Movies affected by 9/11, 9/11 anniversary, War on Terror, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, Independence Day, The Walk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Godzilla, Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Man of Steel, Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, Patriots Day, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Sully, American Sniper, Captain America: The First Avenger, Live Free or Die Hard, We Are Marshall, Hitch, National Treasure, Miracle, Million Dollar Baby, Ladder 49, Elf, Gangs of New York, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 2, We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, Behind Enemy Lines, The Last Castle, Pearl Harbor, The Patriot, Air Force One, Rambo III, Charlie Wilson's War, Jarhead, Courage Under Fire, V for Vendetta, The Sum of All Fears, Fight Club, Arlington Road, Munich, Syriana, The Dark Knight Rises, The Siege, True Lies, Pushing Tin, Turbulence, Executive Decision, Passenger 57, Airplane!, Cloverfield, War of the Worlds, Watchmen, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, King Kong, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Superman, Boyhood, The Fifth Estate, Snowden, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Source Code, Bridesmaids, Iron Man, Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo, Snakes on a Plane, Soul Plane, Anger Management, The Terminal, An Inconvenient Truth, Fahrenheit 9/11, 25th Hour, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, 13 Hours, Good Kill, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, A Most Wanted Man, Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty, Act of Valor, Restrepo, Green Zone, Dear John, The Lucky One, Brothers, Taking Chance, The Messenger, Stop-Loss, Body of Lies, In the Valley of Elah, Lions of Lambs, The Kingdom, Rendition, Grace is Gone, The Hurt Locker, Home of the Brave, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Remember Me, Reign Over Me, World Trade Center, United 93, Big Trouble, The Time Machine, Serendipity, Zoolander, Men in Black II, Sidewalks of New York, City by the Sea, Collateral Damage, The Glass House, Hardball, Rock Star, Soul Survivors, The Musketeer, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Ocean's 11, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, New York, New York City, The Pentagon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Editorial, War movies, film commentary, movie commentary, social commentary, SPECIAL, ANNUAL, Donald Shanahan, Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a LessonComment
MOVIE REVIEW: Sully

Celebrated director Clint Eastwood is no stranger to biopics based on historical figures, making him an ardent practitioner of hero worship.  Because the 86-year-old, four-time Oscar winner classically directs with a soft hand and a comely tone, his brand of adoration consistently lands on the veneration half of the definition.  Combining forces for the first time with another hero worship professional in All-American leading man Tom Hanks on “Sully,” you have double the cinematic potential of cherished devotion.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Burnt

Due entirely to his talent and appeal, two hours of Bradley-being-Bradley works and the film will rightly entertain at an acceptable superficial level.  The subject is simple and the the risk is low.  The food is pretty, the ensemble is smooth, and the cliches are pre-made.  While "Burnt" offers a flourish or two to spark a little extra entertainment, it is far from the grass roots personal touch and smaller scale passion that was Favreau's "Chef" a year ago.  "Burnt" is, in essence, more elitist and that requires you to be impressed, but only at a distance.

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EDITORIAL: Movies and the 9/11 impact

UPDATED:  September 11, 2015 with updated and new movie inclusions (after original post on the 10th anniversary in 2011) and a new section of faded and relaxed sensitivity.  I plan to make this an annual post and study.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Good Kill

Technology may change in warfare but what doesn't change are the human themes.  The dramas, successes, fears, and results of victories and failures still apply, only the scope and scale has changed.  "Good Kill," the new film written and directed by Andrew Niccol, typifies that signature human impact of war.  Reunited with his "Gattaca" muse Ethan Hawke, Niccol delivers a very timely and provocative slow boiler with a great deal to say about the current modern state of warfare.

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EDITORIAL: Final 2015 Awards Tracker and Oscar Reactions

Let's put a bow on the 2014 Oscar race.  Last night, I correctly predicted 16 of the 24 winners.   In my final update of this year's Awards Tracker, here are the final tallies, Oscar winners, and my reactions.  The Oscar winners in each category are in bold.  See you next year for another data session and awards season!

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CHECKLIST: My full and official 2015 Oscar predictions

Alright, folks!  I've done all of the research I can.  I've read all of the tea leaves and broken down every race.  I've made my detailed picks in seven columns and editorials over the past week.  Here's my master list.  In the three years of writing these Oscar nominations and following the data on my website, my prediction score has improved every year.  Last year, I correctly guessed 20 of 24 awards up from 19 and 17 from the two years before.  I'm gunning for another 20+ night again. 

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OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2015: The race for Best Picture

In this seventh and final post, we've come to the big one, folks.  Here's my analysis and breakdown of the race for Best Picture.  This is a close one, so read on!  Let's do this!  I've said it all season.  Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool.

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OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2015: The music and sound categories

It's time to begin making my formal and official Oscar predictions.  In this second post, we look at the musical and sound categories that include original score, original song, sound editing, and sound mixing.  Let's do this!

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COLUMN: Five snubs and five surprises from the 87th Academy Award nominations

The Oscar nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced this morning.  Directors J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron mapped out the little categories and then actor Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs drops some bombs this morning.  As always, there are plenty of surprises and plenty of snubs.  Through it all, the frontrunners have already emerged and this race is taking shape, so much so that I could probably name the eventual winners already today.

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COLUMN: Predicting the major 87th Academy Award nominations

With the 87th Academy Award nominations being announced tomorrow morning, I'm cutting it close with my predictions of who and what names will hear their named called.  I've been following the full awards season over on my Awards Tracker page, where I've been following the trends and reading the tea leaves.  Using that data and a batch of hunches, here are my savvy predictions for tomorrow's nominations in the eleven major categories.

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COLUMN: The 10 Best Films of 2014

Getting into the numbers, I reviewed twenty four-star films and twelve five-star gems.  That means my final "10 Best" list are all champs with two that had to be bumped to lead the next ten.  From there, my four-star reviews were ranked from 12-20 and then honorable mention.  In keeping with the hook of my website, each of my "10 Best" are presented with their best life lesson and linked full reviews.  Enjoy! 

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COLUMN: 2015 Winter Movie Preview

It has to be said every year, but the slowest season of the box office year are the months of January and February.  It's a dumping grounds for studios in slow months of cold weather and foot traffic at the multiplexes.  These are movies that aren't good enough for awards qualification and the holiday audiences of December or for the chipper personality of spring.  It's cold, slow, and drop off from awards frenzy.

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CHECKLIST: 2015 Winter Movie Calendar

Here is your lineup of films coming your way in the slow months of January and February.  Add these to your calendar or print and slip this list on the fridge.  As always, release dates shift all of the time, so be aware.  Enjoy!

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ADVANCE MOVIE REVIEW: American Sniper

Go right now to YouTube and play the trailer for "American Sniper."  First and foremost, THAT'S how you do a trailer.  That's how you tease a film, still name drop who you need to, and set the stage without giving a shred of your film away.  Second, after watching it, tell me you were surprised to see a name like Clint Eastwood's attached to a film with that kind of setting and tension.  You wouldn't be alone.  In many ways, "American Sniper" is new territory for Clint Eastwood will still retaining his signature hallmark of grit and heart.

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