‘American Sniper’ and ‘The Imitation Game’

By on January 21, 2015

Seriously, with this review I want to make it blatantly obvious I am speaking about the movie “American Sniper” and not the real life warrior the movie is based on, Chris Kyle. Kyle’s legacy is a national treasurer. His dedication to the United States and defense of its people is legendary, honorable to the highest measure, and worth more merit than can be told in a single feature film. With that said, I saw “American Sniper” over the weekend and — since we have officially started the Oscar chatter — I have to wonder why this film is nominated for best picture.

“American Sniper” is the story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American history. Raised in a strict Texas family, Kyle learns to hunt with his father when a young boy. In his 30s he realizes he needs something more in his life and joins the Navy SEAL program. At war in Iraq he becomes a legend and saves countless lives. He has a problem adjusting when he returns home, but overcomes his disassociated behavior by working with wounded veterans. Spoiler alert: Kyle is allegedly murdered by one of the soldiers he is trying to help. (The alleged murderer, Eddie Ray Routh, is still awaiting trial.)

The film has a definite Clint Eastwood feel; he directed “American Sniper.” The storyline develops slowly and the plot never really goes anywhere except forward. There are no shocking revelations, no twists, no unexpected turns. Of course, Eastwood is limited with what he can do by retelling a true story. Is this a good movie? Yes, of course it is. Is it Oscar worthy? No, not really, especially for best picture. I must say though, Bradley Cooper (who plays Kyle) definitely deserves to be nominated for best actor. I’m sure many people will not share my opinion. If you weren’t part of the record breaking crowds jamming theaters over the weekend go see “American Sniper” get out and form your own opinion. It’s a good movie; just don’t expect greatness.

Benedict Cumberbatch portrays WWII codebreaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.” (Photo courtesy of whysoblu.com)

Benedict Cumberbatch portrays WWII codebreaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.” (Photo courtesy of whysoblu.com)

‘The Imitation Game’

Oscar season is in full swing and now is the time of the year when I scurry from theater to theater trying to catch up on all the nominated films I haven’t seen. “The Imitation Game” is up for eight Academy Awards, including best picture, and is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.

Benedict Cumberbatch is Alan Turing, a quirky genius of mathematics who leaves his professorship to work on a secret project during World War II at Britain’s Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. His goal is to break the German communication code. Based on a true story, there is not much I can say about “The Imitation Game” that wouldn’t ruin it for those who haven’t seen it yet. Cumberbatch is joined by Keira Knightley who plays Joan Clarke, seemingly a love interest but more importantly a team member. Mathew Goode (“Watchmen”) plays another team member who is often at odds with Turing. The cohesiveness of these actors is legendary.

Great movies make the viewer question the world. “The Imitation Game” is a great movie. All of humanity was bettered because of Turing, yet humanity punished him and ultimately forced his hand to take his own life. This sad, but wonderful tale is a must see for any movie fan.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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