Unbroken is one of those movies that arrives with the weight of enormous expectations. Louis Zamperini’s story was most recently told in Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, a biography that touched millions of lives. At least 50 people over the last year or so have told me that it’s their favorite book ever.
Making a film out of a such a beloved book is always a risk and crafting a film out of what could be five different movies (the story of a young delinquent, the experiences of an athlete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the bravery of a man who survived 47 days at sea after a plane crash, the even more striking bravery of a man who survived a Japanese POW camp and the story of a WWII veteran who battled PTSD and put his life back together. +Continue Reading
Sony has canceled the December 25th release of The Interview, a comedy about two tabloid journalists asked by the United States government to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in response to what’s now been confirmed as a massive hack of the company’s computer network. That hack as been followed by threats of violence against Sony employees and theatergoers in any cinema that chooses to show the movie.
Let’s call this what it is: North Korea is behind a terror attack on United States soil. There may not have yet been any violence, but over 6,500 current and former employees have violated: their personal email correspondence, their Social Security numbers, their office presentations and even some of their salaries have been exposed in ways they could’ve never imagined. +Continue Reading
Unbroken, the new movie based on the life story of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, opens Christmas Day. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie tells the story of the former Olympic athlete’s will to survive, first at sea after his plane crashes and then as a prisoner in a Japanes POW camp for the duration of the war.
Prisoner of war stories have inspired some great movies. Here are nine more of the best. +Continue Reading
By Chris Marvin
Managing Director, Got Your 6
There’s something unique about American Sniper. If this were just another modern war movie, Chris Kyle might be portrayed as a replica of the hollowed out versions of the soldiers we often see splashed across the big screen. Their faces smeared with sand and eyes void of emotion. Their only value derived from acts of courage during a heated battle scene. But this movie goes deeper and delivers an important lesson.
American Sniper — directed by Clint Eastwood and opening in limited theaters on Dec. 25 — is based on the true story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, portrayed impressively by Bradley Cooper. The film shares the story of a man who, even as a boy, saw himself as someone bound to protect those around him. Kyle lived by a simple code that drove his dedication to the men he served alongside, a sentiment that binds together many of us who have served. Kyle’s infectious passion to accomplish a mission took him through four tours in Iraq and 160 confirmed kills, earning him the nickname “Legend.”
Over the past decade, many, through cinema, have experienced the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through explosions and gunfire. Yet, there is no realization of the lives that our service members and veterans live in between the battlefield and the home front. American Sniper takes the audience through the complexities of war and the families who have lived through it. There are noble struggles for hardened souls and the quest to find a sense of normalcy, which Eastwood and Cooper have found a way to accurately portray.
Kyle, with pinpoint precision, quells the threat of enemies hiding in alleys waiting to ambush American convoys. His dedication to the mission causes the sounds of war to echo at home as he contemplates the lives he could have saved. In the same manner, the responsibilities of life and family are ever present for him on the battlefield. It’s through this journey that we see the depth of the man, once the uniform comes off. In the movie, a SEAL says, “You can’t shoot what you can’t see,” yet somehow Eastwood has managed to capture the dichotomy of traveling home from the battlefield and back again like no director has before.
When Eastwood and Cooper move beyond the reputation of Kyle, we begin to understand the true value of a battle-tested veteran. As Kyle helps his fellow veterans cope with loss of limbs and reintegration challenges, he is able to exorcise his own demons. “Why do you do it?” a veteran asks Kyle as they shoot at a range. His response: “We take care of each other, right?”
I have spoken with many veterans who have screened American Sniper, and they all say the same thing: this movie gets it right. American Sniper is in a new breed of Hollywood war films. It is an inspiration for how to properly and thoughtfully showcase veterans and the reintegration process — a model the entertainment industry should adopt more often.
American Sniper is also the quintessential example of the types of portrayals of veterans that Got Your 6 — a coalition of 30 veteran-focused nonprofits — is promoting in film and television as a way to demonstrate the nuance of the veteran experience. As Hollywood continues to tell the stories of those who have served, deployed, and returned home, depictions like these help bridge the civilian-military divide. American Sniper is the story of a man who ultimately succeeded on the battlefield and at home –and we all have responsibility to recount it.
Chris Marvin is a retired Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and the managing director of the Got Your 6 campaign.
Follow Chris Marvin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChrisMMarvin
This article originally was originally published by The Huffington Post.
If you’re trying to extend family time once the presents have been opened on Christmas, the right movie can keep everyone in the same room for at least a few more hours. Three new home video releases can help extend that holiday togetherness. +Continue Reading
James Franco and Seth Rogen’s upcoming movie The Interview may have inspired a North Korean cyber-attack on the Sony Pictures computer network, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone since the movie is about a U.S. government plot to use a Ryan Seacrest-like TV host to assassinate Kim Jong-Un during an interview. +Continue Reading
Unbroken, director Angelina Jolie’s movie about World War II hero Louis Zamperini, opens on Christmas Day and the studio has released a short documentary clip to introduce his incredible story to moviegoers who don’t know Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestselling book about Zamperini’s life and his success as an Olympic athlete at the 1936 Berlin games and his brave WWII service.
Of course, Military.com readers already know at least the outline of that story, but this clip has some great footage of Jolie interacting with Zamperini during the preparation for the film. Louis died at 94 earlier this year and didn’t have a chance to see the finished film, but his message about perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds will finally make it to theaters this month. Check out the clip below. +Continue Reading
The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a/k/a Star Wars Episode VII) highjacked the Internet on Friday and nothing about the new footage freaked out the fanboys more than the new crosspiece on the lightsaber.
Changes to the arsenal can be traumatic in any military setting, but it’s hard to figure out what director J.J. Abrams is going for here. If a lightsaber is supposed to effortlessly slice through anything it touches, why add a crossguard made out of the same magic to the hilt? Wouldn’t a Jedi be risking life and limb if his crossguard accidentally brushed the warrior during battle? +Continue Reading
Clint Eastwood’s latest film is American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle’s memoir about his service in Iraq. Bradley Cooper stars as the Navy SEAL. The movie will open December 25th in select major cities and January 16th all over the USA.
Most folks think about Clint as an actor but American Sniper represents his 34th feature film as a director. As we count down the days until Sniper hits theaters, here are five great military films directed by Eastwood. +Continue Reading
Pierce Brosnan went out and secured the rights to Bill Granger’s Peter Devereaux spy novels and he’s attempted to launch a new movie franchise for himself with The November Man (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD). You know the drill: Devereaux’s an aging CIA agent who’s called the November man because everything’s dead after he comes to call. He wants out of the game but they pull him back in to extract his (secret) wife from a Russian mission gone wrong. +Continue Reading