Coming to the Pro

American Sniper

April 20, 21, 23 – 25 9 p.m.

April 26 3 p.m.

April 30 – May 2 6:30 p.m.

“American Sniper” tells the true story of Chris Kyle, a Texan cowboy turned Navy SEAL, who tours in Iraq following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, is considered the deadliest marksman in American history with 225 confirmed kills, and the film tells the personal story of his hunt for an al-Qaeda leader.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper” attracted controversy for its portrayal of the war in Iraq; critics accused it of reducing the complicated situation in the Middle East to a black-and-white portrayal of Americans fighting Iraqis. However, the film’s core is not politics; instead it grapples with the mental and emotional struggles war creates. The story especially focuses on its effects on the relationship between Kyle and his wife, played by Sienna Miller.

The film’s action does keep viewers on the edge of their seats, but the true strength of “American Sniper” lies in its moving story. The dramatization of the reality of life as a Navy SEAL is well-worth two hours of your time.

Be aware that the violence can be quite graphic, and the film deserves its R rating.

For fans of: Argo and moving dramas.

 

Big Eyes

April 27, 28, 30 – May 2 9 p.m.

May 3 3 p.m.

May 7, 8 6:30 p.m.

Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, the painter Margaret Keane let her then-husband, Walter Keane, take credit for hundreds of her paintings. As her work, mostly of children with her trademark big eyes, attracted more attention and fame she grew ever more unhappy letting Walter take the credit.

“Big Eyes” stays close to the facts as it follows Margaret’s life, from leaving her first husband in 1958 to meeting Walter and the couple’s rise in the art world. It culminates in their messy divorce and court battle, where Walter remained adamant that he was the true artist behind the paintings.

The film has many shots that are unmistakably Tim Burton (he both produced and directed), but it is not as over the top stylistically as some of his work (looking at you, “Edward Scissorhands”). Amy Adams earned a Golden Globe for her role as Margaret, and Christoph Waltz delivers much the same performance he does in every role, which you either enjoy or you don’t (I do).

While the film delivers to fans of either Burton or one of the leads, it can leave some watchers behind. While we get to know Margaret well enough to see why she would allow her husband to take credit for her work, we are given less about who Walter was, or why he would mistreat his wife, and even less about why their children played along. At times the film feels a little unfocused — without enough action to be an action film, humor to be a comedy, or character depth to be a drama, its intended audience is unclear.

For fans of: Biopics and Tim Burton.

 

Citizenfour

May 4, 5, 7, 8  9 p.m.

Edward Snowden is either one of America’s greatest heroes or the Benedict Arnold of the 21st Century. Snowden is an uninteresting character, the type of guy you might pass in the street and never notice. This contrast is what makes “Citizenfour” so intriguing.

The documentary is imaginative, informative and very topical. As students and faculty in an American University, one could argue every one of us has a responsibility to attempt to understand current events as well as the policies of the Federal Government. While there are generalizations and factual omissions in the film, it does a spectacular job of telling Snowden’s side of the story, which is absolutely essential to understanding the complex controversy he is at the center of.

“Citizenfour” strikes fear and uncertainty as it explores what the modern state is capable of as far as violating freedom and liberty. Although at times it is a bit melodramatic with spooky music and necessary stock footage style cinematography, it is still a unique and important documentary worth seeing.

For fans of: Documentaries, politics