At 84 years old (he turns 85 on May 31), Clint Eastwood is still cranking out enjoyable films and, like another elderly statesman of American film, Woody Allen (who turns 80 Dec. 1), some are hits and some are misses. “American Sniper” was a monster of a hit (a surprise one, at that, given its topic), due mostly to Eastwood’s tight and excellent direction and a stand-out performance by Bradley Cooper as U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, credited as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. Kyle served through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, and the film follows him in the war zone — as he makes hundreds of life-or-death split second decisions — as well as his attempts to maintain a normal family life back in the States — which he finds harder than his job in Iraq. The film is involving and fast-paced, much of it due to its crisp, minimalist directing and editing. Eastwood is kind of the Hemingway of film: He knows how to strip things down to their bare minimum to make a story simple yet powerful. Sienna Miller shines as Kyle’s wife, Taya Renae, though she has to take a back seat to her husband’s war feats. Vitals: Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Kyle Gallner, Luke Grimes, Sam Jaeger, Brando Eaton, Keir O’Donnell, Eric Close, Brian Hallisay. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 132 min., Drama, Box office gross: $346.559 million, Warner. Extras: “One Soldier’s Story: The Journey of American Sniper” featurette, “Making of American Sniper” featurette.
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