Five ICBMs are eventually launched from both sides, with targets being major cities around the world including Tokyo, London, Paris, New York and Moscow. The Tamura family stays behind amid the city's panic and holds a final dinner. That night, Tokyo is struck by the first of the five ICBMs and blown to pieces. The ground itself is torn open by the blast, enveloping much of the city's wreckage in molten lava. Tamura and his family are killed by the detonation over Tokyo as their house is blown away by the ensuing fireball. Shortly after Tokyo is destroyed, the remaining four missiles impact their targets, obliterating each of them. The following morning, Takano and his crew change the course of their ship to travel towards Tokyo's ruins, prepared to die from exposure to the intense radioactive fallout. The ship's chaperone and Takano break down as the enduring events of what has happened become realized. The last shot shows Tokyo, now an immense crater, with the remains of the Diet Building at the center and a warning laid over the screen, asking for the events in this film never to happen.
Though men-on-a-mission is already a subgenre of war movies. It can itself also be divided into two categories: the more facetious adventure films that use the war background as a setting for thrills rather than horror; and the more serious offerings that seek to painstakingly recreate the weight of the real conflict.
What a weird year for movies. I haven't seen a film in a theater since Vin Diesel's "Bloodshot" in early March and the release schedule has been decimated by theater closings brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Top Gun: Maverick" looms large over 2020. The film first lost its summer release date and then the producers (wisely, it turns out) gave up on a Christmas release. We won't see the movie until July 2021 and that's only if the recovery goes according to plan.
There's also "No Time to Die," the James Bond movie that was completed over a year ago and was the first major release to pull the plug this year. Daniel Craig's last performance as 007 is now scheduled for spring, but that date is starting to look a bit questionable if things don't turn around soon.
This list comes with a caveat. Until this year, I'd seen every Christopher Nolan movie in a theater on or before opening weekend going back to "Memento" in 2000. I didn't see "Tenet" in a theater and I haven't yet given up and watched it on home video. Is it good enough or military enough to make this list? I just don't know, but I'm not spending time in a closed space with a bunch of people I don't know anytime soon.
Spike Lee follows a group of Vietnam veterans in the current times as they revisit the country for both a reunion and as part of a scheme to recover buried treasure. Things don't go according to plan and their past traumas don't stay buried. Lee made the movie for Netflix, so it was never planned for a big theatrical release.
Director and Army veteran Rod Lurie tells the story of the Afghanistan War's 2009 Battle of Kamdesh at Combat Outpost Keating in a movie that deserved a wider audience. Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom star in the film about an incident that resulted in Army Staff Sgts. Clinton Romesha and Ty Carter receiving the Medal of Honor for their actions.
It might be a strain to call this a military movie, but it does take place in a post-war environment decimated by the Civil War. The fallout of that conflict hangs over every scene of this beautiful and epic western.
Universal has decided to release this movie in theaters only on Christmas Day. That means a lot of people won't be able to see it right away because either their local theaters are closed or they aren't ready to go back to the ones that are open.
Unfortunately, mechanical issues with some of the transport vehicles created obstacles that not even the most special of operators could overcome. The mission was aborted and became an international embarrassment for the United States.
The truth that slowly emerges is far more complicated and raises some questions about the fine line between resistance and collaboration. The movie from first-time director Dan Friedkin features outstanding performances from Guy Pearce ("The Hurt Locker," "L.A. Confidential"), Claes Bang (Dracula in the 2020 Netflix series) and Vicky Krieps ("Phantom Thread").
The U.S. Air Force plays a big part in the plan's logistics and airmen are providing humanitarian support to the population who's getting left behind. It's a movie, so the family's journey is far more complicated than just showing up at Robins Air Force Base and hopping onto a plane, but director Ric Roman Waugh makes the drama worthwhile.
Tom Hanks wrote and stars in this movie based on "The Good Shepherd," a lesser-known novel by C.S. Forester. Hanks plays Commander Ernest Krause and follows him as makes his first Atlantic crossing leading a convoy of troop and supply ships.
Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a broken-down special ops veteran picking up work as a mercenary. He's roped into rescuing the son of a Indian drug lord but learns that he's expendable and not supposed to succeed at his mission.
That pisses Rake off and he sets out to save the boy and extract his own revenge. This is Hemsworth's best role outside of the Marvel movies and there's already plans for a sequel. This could become a signature series for Hemsworth and producers Joe and Anthony Russo (who directed the actor in the "Avengers" movies).
The movie focuses on efforts to upgrade Air Force PJ Lt. William Pitsenbarger's Vietnam War medals to a Medal of Honor. The all-star cast includes William Hurt, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, John Savage and the late Peter Fonda as the older versions of the men who survived Operation Abilene in 1966. Sebastian Stan is the congressional aide assigned to investigate the upgrade, and he comes to respect the men who served as he learns about Pitsenbarger's life and death.
A U.S. platoon that's part of the WWII invasion of Italy is sent on what seems like a suicidal reconnaissance mission into the Alps. They're guided by an Italian partisan (Franco Nero) who may or may not be on their side.
"The Mission" feels exactly like one of those movies where you'd rather see the documentary about how the movie was made. You'd like to know why so many talented people went to such incredible lengths to make a difficult and beautiful movie - without any of them, on the basis of the available evidence, having the slightest notion of what the movie was about. There isn't a moment in "The Mission" that is not watchable, but the moments don't add up to a coherent narrative. At the end, we can sort of piece things together, but the movie has never really made us care.
The action takes place in South America in the 18th century. Two great colonial forces are competing for the hearts and minds of the native Indians. On the one hand, there are the imperialist plunderers, who want to establish a trade in riches and slaves. On the other hand, there are the missionaries, who want to convert the Indians to Christ.
The central figure in the movie is Mendoza (Robert De Niro), who begins as the first kind of imperialist and ends as the second. Early in the film, he is a slave trader, a man of the flesh. But after he kills his brother in a flash of anger, he yearns for redemption, and he gets it from the missionaries who assign him an agonizing penance: He must climb a cliff near a steep waterfall, dragging behind him a net filled with a heavy weight of armor. Again and again, De Niro strives to scale the dangerous height, until finally all of the anger and sin is drained from him and he becomes a missionary at a settlement run by Gabriel (Jeremy Irons).
The movie now develops its story through the device of letters that explain what happened to the mission settlement. The missionaries dream of a society in which Christian natives will live in harmony with the Spanish and Portuguese. But the colonial governors find this vision dangerous; they would rather enslave the Indians than convert them, and they issue orders for the mission to be destroyed. Irons and De Niro disagree on how to meet this threat: Irons believes in prayer and passive resistance, and De Niro believes in armed rebellion.
In the end, neither approach is effective, and the movie concludes in a confusing series of scenes in which badly choreographed battle sequences are intercut with Irons' final religious services. It is a measure of the film's disorganization that at the end, when it is crucial that we understand who the Indians are fighting and how the battle is going, mere chaos takes over the screen and the actors stagger out of clouds of smoke as if they're looking for directions.
That is probably true. The locations are spectacular - especially a waterfall that supplies the great opening image of a crucified missionary floating to his doom. The actors are effective in their individual scenes. The mysterious atmosphere of the forest seeps into the story and lends it a certain mysticism. All that was needed to pull these elements together was a structure that would clearly define who the characters were, what they stood for and why we should care about them. Unfortunately, that is all that is missing.
Most of the time, war movies gain popularity among fans not just for the heroism or the glorified portrayal of events but for the atmosphere they create. War movies, as grim as they might be, are a way of turning the most horrific acts of human society into a compelling and immersive work of art. It recreates history for future generations and evokes empathy, pushing us to be better as a species. Stories of war make its machinations more humanized for us, bring us closer to things we often distance ourselves from, and give us a different perspective.
Set during the Vietnam War, the plot follows the journey of U.S. Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) from South Vietnam to Cambodia on the Nung River. Willard is sent on a mission to take out Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a rebel officer of the Army Special Forces, who is accused of murder and is also considered to have lost his mind. What follows is an intense interaction between the two men and a mind game that would leave you with a lot of questions. Suspenseful and cerebral, Apocalypse Now is nothing like all the other war movies you would have seen before and it's a major cultural milestone in cinematic history. 2b1af7f3a8