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American Sniper: a movie review

From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures via Youtube)American Sniper" opens with U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, watching through the scope of his rifle as a mother hands what looks to be a grenade to her adolescent son before sending him towards an American military convoy on the streets of Iraq. Kyle is faced with the decision of either shooting the young boy or risking the lives of the marines in the convoy. From that point, the action abruptly shifts to a time when Kyle was roughly the same age as the boy at the other end of his scope in the previous scene. He is learning to hunt with his father, a tough minded man who instills the belief in him and his younger brother that their mission in life is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. That philosophy will come to define Kyle throughout the movie and drive him to join the navy SEALs en route to becoming most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills over the course of 4 tours in Iraq.

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Surprised by Oxford: best book I read in a year

Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber (Credit: Thomas Nelson Publishing) Carolyn Weber earned masters and doctoral degrees in romantic literature at Oxford University, where she became the first female dean of St. Peter's College, Oxford.  She is today a writer, teacher, speaker, and mother of four.  To say that she is one of the finest writers I've ever read is an understatement.

Surprised by Oxford is the story of Weber's first year as a student at the world's oldest university.  I was not just surprised by Surprised by Oxford—I was stunned.

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Foxcatcher: a movie review

Steve Carrel as philantropist, wrestling enthusiast and heir to the E.I. du Pont family fortune, John E. du Pont, speaking to Channing Tatum, who plays Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz in a scene from the new Sony Pictures movie Foxcatcher (Credit: Sony Pictures) The only thing more unexpected than Channing Tatum with his shirt on is the plot of Foxcatcher. However, if you are looking for a movie with Channing Tatum without a shirt, you will probably have to wait until next week. In his newest movie, Tatum stars alongside Steve Carell in this gripping drama based upon a true story. Carell sheds the funny man persona and loses the World's Best Boss coffee mug to play John "Golden Eagle" du Pont. The only thing greater than du Pont's patriotism is his bank account, which leads him to start a partnership with Tatum's character Mark Schultz.

This movie centers upon Schultz's training for the 1988 Olympics. Taking place three years after the fact in 1987, Mark is down and out after earning a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. In a desire to return to the gold medal podium, Mark trains with and in the shadow of older brother Dave, fellow 1984 Olympic gold medalist.  However, Mark wants to make a name for himself apart from his brother. Millionaire John du Pont also has a great desire to make a name for himself, one that is patriotic and philanthropic in nature. Thus, these two individuals, with deep aspirations to be known, join together for the better part of the movie in a perceived mutually beneficial relationship.

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