American Sniper broke all kinds of box office records this weekend, with a $90.2 million weekend haul. Warner Bros. estimates its Oscar nominee for Best Picture will have made $105 million once the four-day MLK holiday weekend is over.
It’s the largest MLK weekend opening ever, more than doubling the old record held by Ride Along. It’s the largest January weekend ever, a a record previously held by Avatar with $68.5 million in 2010. It’s the opening ever for a drama, bettering the $83.8 million that Passion of the Christ made in 2004. It’s the biggest R-rated opening of all time and it’s by far the biggest opening of director Clint Eastwood’s storied career, more than tripling the $29.5 million that Gran Torino made opening weekend in 2008. +Continue Reading
Screenwriter Jason Hall got the movie’s other high-profile nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, evidence that the writer’s branch of the academy realized just how much balance and nuance Hall added to Kyle’s book when writing his screenplay. Jason Hall told Military.com the amazing story of the film’s development in this interview last month. +Continue Reading
After your friends and family see the new American Sniper movie this weekend, have them check out this video as a reminder that Navy SEALs do a lot more than just long-range shooting. Whether the mission is on sea, air or land, Navy Special Operations play a critical role in the United States’ first line of defense.
Civilians sometimes have incredibly short term memory about just how the military works and a lot of them probably don’t remember that SEALs carried out the operations depicted in movies like Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty and even Act of Valor. You can also send them to watch the PBS documentary Navy SEALs — Their Untold Story or read ex-SEAL Dick Couch’s excellent book that’s a companion to the series.
American Sniper opens in movie theaters everywhere this Friday. Director Clint Eastwood delivers heart-stopping action in the Iraq battle scenes, but he’s just as interested in Chris Kyle’s marriage to wife Taya (played by Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, respectively).
American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s new movie starring Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has been playing in New York and Los Angeles since Christmas Day to qualify for Oscar nominations but it finally opens in the rest of the country next Friday January 16th.
The movie shares its title with Kyle’s bestselling memoir but the finished film portrays his life with a big dose of his wife Taya’s perspective, since she started working closely with the filmmakers after Chris’ murder in early 2013.
Warner Bros. has just released a new featurette about the film’s efforts to portray Chris Kyle the man, showcasing interviews with Eastwood, Cooper, Taya Kyle and Sienna Miller, who plays Taya in the movie. American Sniper is the first contemporary mainstream movie that’s tried to portray both the experiences of troops deployed overseas and the effect that service has on their families back home. Check out the clip below and check back here next week for our exclusive interview with Taya Kyle. +Continue Reading
2014 was an intense year in Military news, and it brought to Under the Radar a number of moving pieces about our beloved veterans and a few that were zany, ridiculous, and strange. Here we like to broadcast and comment on everything from movies to not-so-fond military memories, and we were able to dig those up droves. Showing a bit of the off-beat side of the military, here are the top 10 Under the Radar stories from 2014.
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.
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
Former SEALS Marcus Luttrell and Robert O’Neill love them some football.
If you’re a football coach selling that “football is war” metaphor to your team, which high-profile SEAL veteran do you want to deliver that pregame motivational speech? The one wrote a book about his heroism under orders from the brass or the one who some say broke the code by going on TV to announce that he was the guy who took out Osama bin Laden?
Last Saturday, Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell gave a pregame speech to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide before they took on the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Washington Redskins brought in the newly famous Robert O’Neill on Saturday night to inspire the squad before their Sunday home game against the woeful 1–8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Guess what happened. +Continue Reading
Lady Valor is a documentary film about Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who came out as a transgendered woman on Anderson Cooper’s CNN program in 2013. The network then commissioned this film, aired it last month and now it’s available on VOD and DVD from Wolfe Video. Kristin Beck comes off as exactly the sort of badass you’d expect a special ops warrior to be. Over the course of an interview about her Navy career as Christopher Beck, she calmly describes her resumé and it’s spectacular.
The movie is aimed at everyone who’s not predisposed to understand or accept Kristin Beck’s transformation and highlights the role the United States Military has historically played in changing mainstream America’s attitudes about race, religion, national origin and sexuality. Beck thinks transgendered Americans can and will serve their country as well as anyone else. +Continue Reading