TIME movies

Widow of the Real American Sniper Calls Movie’s Success a ‘Blessing’

Chris and Taya Kyle on the cover of PEOPLE

"I miss how Chris changed the feeling in the room when he was in it"

Taya Kyle, the wife of the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, says the man who inspired the box-office hit American Sniper was “the biggest kid” at heart.

In an interview with People, Kyle opens up about the loss of her husband, who was shot dead in 2013, allegedly by a fellow veteran who goes on trial next month.

“I miss those family dinners where we would joke with the kids,” Taya, 40, says. “I miss the way he laughed at the littlest things with me and the way the kids and I couldn’t wait for him to come home from work. I miss how Chris changed the feeling in the room when he was in it.”

American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle’s memoir, has grossed more than $200 million since its nationwide opening on Jan. 16, and it’s also earned six Oscar nominations.

Kyle says she’s comforted by the way her husband’s story is resonating with veterans and general audiences. “I can’t think of a better blessing,” she says.

Read more at People.com.

TIME Opinion

The Distorted Way Disney Depicts Male and Female Bodies Isn’t Good For Us

BRAVE
Queen Elinor and King Fergus in Brave Pixar/Disney

Philip Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality and Social Change.

A culture populated by absurdly small princesses and hulking male heroes can change the way men and women see themselves

Disney has taken a lot of flak for perpetrating sexist stereotypes in its princess movies. In today’s competitive, every-moment-counts child-rearing culture, American parents want their kids’ entertainment to be not just fun, but also fulfilling. So if a movie sends the wrong message, many parents stay away. That’s why the company has responded to the criticism, shaping more recent princess movies such as Frozen and Brave around female characters for whom romance is not the primary motivation.

I welcome this evolution. But there’s still a lot to wonder about – and even complain about – in today’s animated children’s movies, especially in the radical differences between male and female bodies.

Yes, on average real men’s bodies are bigger, and more muscular, than women’s. And yes, animation is an art form not restricted to the boundaries of realism, which is what makes it great. But the exaggerations in these children’s movies are extreme, they almost always promote the same image of big men and tiny women, and they are especially dramatic in romantic situations.

Consider just the differences in hand size. Here are the hands of romantic couples in (clockwise from top left): Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Gnomeo and Juliet, Hercules, Tangled, and Brave.

Disney (4); Dreamworks; Touchstone Pictures

The differences between men’s and women’s hands and arms in these pictures are more extreme than almost any you can find in real adults. The men’s hands are routinely 3- or 4-times larger than the women’s. For comparison, I checked a detailed report that the Army commissioned to design its equipment and uniforms. In real American adults, for example, men’s wrists are on average only about 15 percent larger in circumference than women’s. In that scene from Frozen, not only is Ana’s hand tiny compared with Hans’s, but in fact her eyeball is wider than her wrist.

Disney

In the Hercules scene, his bicep is about 2.8-times wider than hers, while the very biggest man in the Army report had a bicep just 2.1-times bigger than the very smallest woman (that bicep difference is also greater than that observed between Shaquille O’Neal and his former wife, Nicole Alexander). The same is true of their neck and wrist measurements.

In the case of Hercules, we can actually compare the Disney depiction to ancient renditions of the demigod and his mistress. From 4th Century mosaics to Alessandro Turchi’s 17th Century painting, the demigod is portrayed relative to Megara in much more normal human proportions. I know Hercules is not supposed to be a regular human, but if he’s really a different species, maybe Disney shouldn’t feature him kissing a girl in a children’s movie.

(There are exceptions to the Disney/Dreamworks model of couples, even in modern animation. Consider, for example, the teen couple in Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s magical film Kiki’s Delivery Service, Marge and Homer Simpson – or, of course, Charlie Brown and Lucy. Even the older Disney classics, such as the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, had much more normally proportioned couples.)

Because humans reproduce sexually, there are obvious differences between males and females, called sexual dimorphism. However, in the grand scheme, as the sociologist Lisa Wade puts it, “men and women are overwhelmingly alike”; our similarities outweigh our differences. Still, we choose whether to highlight the differences that are apparent. And the amount of energy we devote to emphasizing and acting on the different qualities of men and women changes over time and varies across cultures.

Artists have been pairing men’s and women’s bodies for millennia. And even in art that was not intended to be realistic, the sex differences were usually not as dramatic as those seen in modern children’s movies.

Consider these three works of art. The first is Seated Man and Woman, a sculpture from Mexico about 2000 years old, showing obvious but modest differences in body type. The second is Michelangelo’s famous rendition of Adam and Eve from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1512, in which Eve’s robust physique is comparable to Adam’s. And the third is the classic American Gothic, by Grant Wood, from 1930.

Dallas Museum of Art; Getty Images (2)

I wouldn’t argue that differentiating the sexes in animated movies is the most pressing problem we face today. But I do think the choices that artists and producers make – and the popularity of their choices – gives us a window into important cultural dynamics.

In my own area of research, families and gender, many of our modern debates revolve around the different roles that men and women play. Can men warmly nurture children and work as nurses? Can women successfully lead families and companies? The differences between mothers and fathers can create comfortable compatibilities with obvious benefits. But unless we see that men and women have physical, emotional, and cognitive qualities in common as well, we will continue to treat single parents – and same-sex couples – as fundamentally deficient instead of evaluating them as complex people with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Having written about this subject frequently in the last few years, I know many people will disagree, arguing that the fundamental differences they perceive between men and women are natural and should be embraced. But what we think of as normal is not simply natural; it’s a product of the interaction between the natural world and our cultural ways. When the beautiful and romantic stories we grow to love in childhood set a standard that exaggerates gender differences and makes them seem natural – built into our very bone structures – it gives us a more limited, and less complex, vision of our human potential.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME movies

Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones: Good or Bad Idea?

Actor Chris Pratt speaks about the NBC television show "Parks and Recreation" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 16, 2015.
Chris Pratt speaks about the NBC television show "Parks and Recreation" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 16, 2015. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Deadline reports star might inherit Harrison Ford's bullwhip

You’re Chris Pratt. You’re 35. You just headlined a critically acclaimed megablockbuster built almost entirely around your rugged, scruffy, handsome-yet-still-somehow-everyguy charms. You also voiced the lead role in another critically acclaimed megablockbuster. Both those movies will have sequels—so that’s steady work coming your way.

So what do you do next? Maybe Indiana Jones? Well, you’re in luck, Fake Chris Pratt Who Has Time To Read Blog Posts: Deadline reports that Disney is considering hiring you for an in-the-works reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise.

Is this a good idea? Is this a bad idea? Is this just a studio just kind of ambiently considering casting everyone’s favorite person of the moment in a big-name role? Let’s consider the case for and against:

Good Idea: Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy was the Han Solo figure we’ve been waiting for after a generation of Skywalkers. He’s funny! He’s a scoundrel! He’s not the chosen one with a mystical parent destined to save the universe from the forces of darkness? Well…actually he was that last part—but it’s a testament to Pratt’s genial charm that his Peter Quill felt like a real human being even when the movie occasionally wedged him into a capital-letters Hero’s Journey.

And this is precisely what Indiana Jones calls for: Someone with the easy charm, the manly poise, the authentic guy-ness of early ’80s Harrison Ford. Like Ford, Pratt’s history is the story of a guy working hard to get his moment in the sun—and if Pratt doesn’t have anything on his résumé like Ford’s “I was just a carpenter, man” origin myth, he does have the Scooby-Doo Maui Van-House.

Pratt has character, something a lot of equivalently aged action dudes seem to lack. (Cough cough Sam Worthington cough cough Jai Courtney cough cough.) That would go a long way to making a new Indiana Jones a more attractive prospect—especially considering that a Disney Jones would probably feature no Spielberg, no Lucas, no Ford, or any of the creative people who made one great Indiana Jones movie, one good Indiana Jones movie, one weird Indiana Jones movie, and one ungodly terrible Indiana Jones movie.

Bad Idea: You could frontload the argument by pointing out that part of Pratt’s charm is rooted in his character’s simplicity. But Indiana Jones is an archaeologist and a college professor: You completely believe it when Ford puts on his nerd-glasses, and there is something enthralling about listening to his Indiana Jones spout historical-mythic exposition.

We should also remember that Han Solo and Indiana Jones are—in small but pivotal ways—very different characters. Part of the key to Ford-as-Solo is how he seems to be slightly ridiculing all the woozy cosmic melodrama around him. (“Absolutely, Your Worship.”) Ford-as-Indiana is funny, too, but he’s also much more of a classical romantic hero. Could Pratt do this? Would he even want to?

There are also more general career implications here: The question of how many franchises a single man should carry. The more specific question of how many Disneyfranchises a grown-up would want to carry. And at least one hyper-specific-for-Chris-Pratt question: Should a Steven Spielberg franchise with one great movie and at least one terrible movie actually even get rebooted, without Spielberg?

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME movies

Will Smith’s New Movie Concussion to Be Released on Christmas Day

"Annie" World Premiere
Producer/actor Will Smith with fans attend the "Annie" world premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 7, 2014 in New York City. Jim Spellman—WireImage/Getty Images

The film is based on the real life struggle of whistleblower Dr. Bennet Omalu

Will Smith’s NFL drama Concussion is set to be released on Christmas Day, Sony Pictures announced Tuesday.

Peter Landesman (Parkland) wrote and directed the film, which is based on a GQ article “Game Brain” by Heanne Marie Laskas, writes the Hollywood Reporter.

Smith, 46, plays the title role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a real-life neuropathologist who discovers football-related life-long brain traumas in football players. He fights to bring public attention to the debilitating injuries the high-impact sport inflicts.

Smith stars alongside Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Paul Reiser and Albert Brooks.

[THR]

TIME movies

Blake Shelton Set for Acting Debut in Adam Sandler Movie

Musician Blake Shelton on the Jimmy Fallon Show on Jan. 22, 2015.
Musician Blake Shelton on the Jimmy Fallon Show on Jan. 22, 2015. Douglas Gorenstein—NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

He'll reportedly play Arizona sheriff Wyatt Earp in the Western spoof Ridiculous 6

It seems Blake Shelton has caught the acting bug!

Days after showing his acting chops hosting the Jan. 24 episode of Saturday Night Live, The Wrap is reporting that Shelton will costar in an upcoming Adam Sandler movie.

Shelton will reportedly play Arizona sheriff Wyatt Earp in the Western spoof Ridiculous 6, the first of four original movies Sandler is producing exclusively for Netflix.

Appearing alongside Shelton and Sandler in the comedy will be Taylor Lautner, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte, comedian Whitney Cummings, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Dan Aykroyd, Terry Crews, Jon Lovitz and Vanilla Ice.

The film is set to begin production in February.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME movies

Here’s What You Need to Know About the New Ghostbusters Cast

Melissa McCarthy will star in the reboot, with Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig in negotiations to join her

A new Ghostbusters movie is on its way — and this one has a female-driven cast.

The Ghostbusters reboot has long been in the works, with many different stars attached to the project. At one point, the original director, Ivan Reitman, had agreed to return with Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson reprising their roles from the first film. But Bill Murray proved difficult to lock down. Reitman then left the film after Ramis passed away last year, at which point the producers approached Paul Feig to reconceive the project.

Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) will direct the reboot of the poltergeist policing movie and has cast Melissa McCarthy, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon in ongoing negotiations to join her. If their resumes are any indication, these women should have no problem measuring up to the 1984 cast. Plus, Bill Murray himself said in an interview that he thought McCarthy and Wiig would be perfect for the film. Not a bad endorsement.

So, meet your new (likely) Ghostbusters:

 

  • Melissa McCarthy

    attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.
    Melissa McCarthy attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Jason Merritt—2015 Getty Images

    If you were conscious during the summer of 2011, you know and love Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy from Feig’s Bridesmaids. Producers are obviously hoping to create movie magic again by reuniting the two stars with the director.

    After Bridesmaids, McCarthy and Feig worked together on The Heat in 2013 and in this summer’s Spy, which stars McCarthy, Rose Byrne and Jude Law. In between big summer comedies, McCarthy somehow manages to find time to shoot her TV show Mike & Molly and indies like Bill Murray’s St. Vincent.

  • Kristen Wiig

    72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
    Kristen Wiig attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Frazer Harrison—Getty Images

    Wiig has been equally busy. The comedian spent nine years on Saturday Night Live, where she popularized characters like Penelope and Gilly. After graduating from the late night show last year, she starred in the indie Skeleton Twins and the blockbuster Anchorman 2. She also lent her voice to How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Her. (Yep — she was SexyKitten from the beginning of the film.)

  • Leslie Jones

    "Top Five" Premiere - Arrivals - 2014 Toronto International Film Festival
    Leslie Jones attends the "Top Five" premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 6, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images

    Jones joined Saturday Night Live early in 2014 and was promoted to feature player in the fall. She stirred controversy in her first appearance on the show by making jokes about slavery on Weekend Update; since she’s become a valuable new addition, adding much-needed commentary to the show’s antics. She’s guested on comedies like Workaholics and The League and recently graced the big screen as Lisa in Chris Rock’s comedy Top Five.

  • Kate McKinnon

    attends the 2014 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 20, 2014 in New York City.
    Kate McKinnon attends the 2014 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 20, 2014 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy—2014 Getty Images

    Another current SNL cast member, Kate McKinnon is best-known for her Justin Bieber imitation on the show. She’s a Upright Citizens Brigade alum — the improv comedy group that helped launch Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari and Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City. Ghostbusters will be her first major feature film.

TIME movies

Here’s Your All-Female Ghostbusters Cast

Bridesmaids - Photocall
Melissa Mc Carthy and Kristen Wiig attend the photocall for 'Bridesmaids' Helene Wiesenhaan—Getty Images

Who ya gonna cast?

Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig officially aren’t afraid of no ghosts.

The two comedians have been cast in the long-awaited, all-female reboot of Ghostbusters alongside Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The newspaper reports that “negotiations are ongoing,” but the movie will likely film in New York City over the summer.

In the director’s chair will be Paul Feig, who previously created comedy magic with Wiig and McCarthy in the sleeper hit Bridesmaids.

[THR]

TIME movies

Everything You Need to Know About the New Fantastic Four Movie

Here's how the filmmakers are updating the story for the Internet age — for better or worse

The new Fantastic Four teaser trailer premiered today, and though this summer superhero film hasn’t created the same frenzy as the next Avengers movie, it does give us a glimpse at a new generation of heroes. The trailer promises to tell the origins story of a group of space explorers who have a responsibility to “discover” and “build” for future generations. In short, it tells us very little about what to expect in August.

Still, here’s what we do know:

It’s covering the Fantastic Four origin story

Based on the trailer, audiences can expect this movie to tell us (again) how a group of astronauts became a crime-fighting team.

In the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comic books, four characters — Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the Thing) — travel to space in a rocket, where they encounter cosmic rays that give them superpowers. In an interview with Yahoo, director Josh Trank (Chronicle) and writer/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) said that they took this origins tale and updated it with the new possibilities of interdimensional travel. (Hence why this trailer looks so much like the one for Interstellar.)

Perhaps the most important aspect of the comic books, to which Trank and Kinberg say they will stay faithful in the film, is that the Fantastic Four group is a tight-knit group. Sue and Johnny Storm are brother and sister in the comics, and Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are long-time friends of theirs. (Sue and Reed eventually marry.) Unlike the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy or even X-Men, the entire group acts like a loving, bickering, realistic family: They have a history together before they get their powers, and must learn to evolve together.

It’s a reboot

Didn’t we already have two Fantastic Four movies starring the guy who now plays Captain America? Yes, we did. But Fox decided to reboot the franchise because this is the era of the superhero film — and also because the original films were pretty terrible.

But unlike those Amazing Spider-Man reboots, Fox is promising a tonal departure from the mid-’00s Fantastic Four films. This take looks much darker and more dramatic than its predecessors, more like a sci-fi film based on a comic book than a Guardians of the Galaxy-style romp. (They even put glasses on Miles Teller to make him look smart!)

Despite unsubstantiated rumors that there’s been trouble on set, Fox has already given the franchise a vote of confidence by greenlighting a sequel before the trailer for the first even premiered. Fans are hoping that this Fantastic Four will be improved by its intriguing cast. (No offense, Chris Evans!) Which brings us to the most important point…

It has an interesting, young cast

Fantastic Four will feature some of the most buzzed-about new talent in Hollywood.

  • Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic

    2015 InStyle And Warner Bros. 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party - Arrivals
    Miles Teller David Livingston—Getty Images

    Miles Teller will lead the team as Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths. Teller earned critical buzz for his performance in the Oscar-nominated Whiplash this year, as well as 2013’s The Spectacular Now. Teller has a knack for playing a sympathetic jerk in those movies, as well as in That Awkard Moment and the Divergent series. He’ll likely bring some of that self-important scumminess to the role of Reed Richards, who’s a genius and frequently acts cold and aloof to his fellow heroes.

  • Susan Storm / Invisible Woman

    Alexander Wang X H&M Launch - Arrivals
    Kate Mara Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images

    Kate Mara is set to play Sue Storm, who can make herself invisible. Though she’s starred in Shooter, 127 Hours and American Horror Story, Mara is probably best known for her turn as the ethically compromised journalist Zoe Barnes on Netflix’s House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. Mara signed on to Fantastic Four and several other action films after she was unceremoniously dispatched from Cards. She also stars in Captive opposite David Oyelowo, Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Man Down with Shia LaBeouf this year.

  • Johnny Storm / Human Torch

    Canon PIXMA PRO City Senses - Austin
    Michael B. Jordan Tasos Katopodis—Getty Images

    Casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm is perhaps the best indication that this version of The Fantastic Four is taking itself very seriously. Though Jordan has indulged his lighter side in That Awkward Moment (also opposite Teller), he’s proven that he has serious acting chops as Wallace in The Wire, Vince in Friday Night Lights, Alex in Parenthood and — of course — Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, a role which many critics argued should have earned him an Oscar nod. In the 2005 and 2007 versions of Fantastic Four, Chris Evans played the Human Torch — whose power is catching fire — for laughs, but it’s hard to imagine Jordan as the comic relief in this new film.

  • Ben Grimm / The Thing

    "Turn" Series Premiere
    Jamie Bell Kris Connor—Getty Images

    Remember the kid from Billy Elliot? Now he’s all grown up and turned into The Thing. Jamie Bell (King Kong, Nymphomaniac) plays a former college football star and friend of Reed Richards who becomes a NASA astronaut. He’s turned into a rocky creature and must find ways to cope with his new appearance (which, unlike the other three characters, he cannot hide). The filmmakers used motion-capture technology to film Bell in the role.

  • Victor Domashev / Doom

    "The East" Premiere - Red Carpet - 2013 Sundance Film Festival
    Toby Kebbell George Pimentel—Getty Images

    Though he doesn’t appear in the trailer, the Fantastic Four’s nemesis, Doctor Doom, has been the most controversial character leading up to the film’s release. In an interview with Collider, actor Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) revealed that his character’s name has been changed from Victor Von Doom to Victor Domashev, and he goes by the name “Doom” on blogs. Yep, the original mad scientist/evil villain is now a programmer/blogger — a change that has fans up in arms. In the comics, Doom declares himself ruler for life in his homeland of Latveria and plots to take over the world weekly. Making him a blogger feels like something of a demotion.

TIME movies

Here’s Your First Trailer for Fantastic Four

We'll get a new origin story for the superhero gang

The not-so-long-awaited reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise is almost here, and Fox has released a first trailer to whet moviegoers’ appetites.

In the new preview, we see each of the titular Four–Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as The Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch and Jamie Bell as The Thing–as young twentysomethings before they become “Fantastic.”

The new film will be an origin story for the crew and will also feature Toby Kebbell as Victor Domashev, a new take on the classic Fantastic Four villain Dr. Doom.

Fantastic Four debuts on August 7.

TIME viral

Watch This Incredible Archer Split an Arrow Fired Right at Him

Just like Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. Only for real

When Kevin Costner split an arrow in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, cynics everywhere rolled their eyes. But now a Danish archer has matched that feat and much more besides — even splitting an arrow fired directly at him at high velocity.

Lars Andersen has spent a decade honing his archery skills to levels seen only on medieval battlefields, using ancient texts and tapestries for guidance. This video shows the 50-year-old firing at moving targets, from moving targets, using his feet, spearing soft-drink cans, hitting the ring-pulls from soft-drink cans, and much more besides. He can even catch an arrow fired at him and shoot it back in one swift movement.

To capture his grand finale — splitting a moving arrow — took years of preparation and 14 takes. The trick, he says, is to hit the target arrow just behind the head so that the shafts fluctuate against each other, splitting the bamboo (while not flinching at the thought of impending death, of course).

“The arrow fired at me was not fired with a very powerful bow, though it was definitely dangerous enough,” says Lars in a statement. “I hope to try it again using a proper high-speed camera.”

Give it your best shot, Lars!

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