Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘The Monuments Men’
I root for George Clooney. He has a lot going for him; he’s good looking, has a villa in Italy and is good friends with Sandra Bullock. That’s a lot for anyone, but that’s not why I root for him. I’m on his side because even though he’s a superstar he takes chances.
As an actor he put nipples on Batman, starred in a remake of an obscure Russian sci fi film, played a fox in a Wes Anderson movie and has played the lead in a movie about paranormal goats.
As a director he’s just as edgy. He’s stood behind the camera for a black and white look at Edward R. Murrow’s battle with Senator Joseph McCarthy, an old school football movie set in 1925 and an exposé of backroom politics.
He’s an a-lister who takes chances, and I applaud that which makes me sad to report I didn’t find as much to applaud in his most recent film as actor and director “The Monuments Men.”
Based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert M. Edsel, the movie stars Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville as a motley crew of art historians, engineers and museum directors recruited to locate and rescue priceless art works stolen by the Nazis. When two members of their team are killed they are no longer observers but active participants in the war.
Helping in the mission to return the plundered cultural artifacts is Rose Valland (Cate Blanchett), a French art historian and member of the French Resistance who not only aids the Allied art platoon but also tries to work her Parisian charms on Damon’s character.
“The Monuments Men” is a wartime comedy. Think “Hogan’s Heroes” by way of Leonardo Da Vinci and you’ll get the idea. It has some mild laughs (the biggest laugh, for Canadians anyway, comes from the Parisians who blame Matt Damon’s terrible French on having spent too much time in Montreal) but also a great deal of reverence for the art and the work of the real-life Monuments Men. ”People can come back but if you destroy their achievements, their history,” says George L. Stout (Clooney), “they can’t come back from that. That’s why Monuments Men was created.”
The reverential tone is reinforced by old school pacing that focuses on the character and art over action and a rousing soundtrack that sounds air-lifted in from a classic wartime era movie. The cast is uniformly fine and Bill Murray shows, once again in a brief scene in a shower (NO SPOILERS HERE), how his understated style can move an audience.
No problems there, but co-writers Clooney and longtime collaborator Grant Heslov appear to have taken a dose of sentimentality pills before putting pen to paper. What might have been an edgy, exciting look at an underreported slice of World War II history is reduced to an elegantly directed but somewhat dull film.
“The Monuments Men” is an earnestly told story but the lack of any real energy or surprises undermines its effectiveness.
Synopsis: Out with the old and in with the new: 2013 contained many magnificent movie moments (and some bad ones as well, but let’s not dwell on those) for the Reel Guys and it looks like 2014 will be just as bountiful. This week we gaze into our cinematic crystal balls and choose the films we’re looking forward to in the new year.
Richard: Mark, years ago I loved a show called The Equalizer. It starred Edward Woodward as a private detective who helped people in need “equalize the odds.” It was a cool show, and as much as movie versions of programs like The A-Team and Starsky and Hutch have disappointed, I’m looking forward to this. Denzel Washington is masterful at playing ambiguous antiheroes and reteaming him with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua seems like a good idea to me.
Mark: Richard, I don’t know the show but I do like Denzel, I do like Fuqua and I do like the concept. One movie I am looking forward to is The Monuments Men with George Clooney, Matt Damon and John Goodman as civilians pressed into battle during the Second World War to save art treasures from the Nazis. This should hit all the bases for me.
RC: Clooney is always cool, and he also directed the movie, so I’m keen to see it. I’m also very excited for The Zero Theorem. Terry Gilliam says his new film is the third part of the trilogy he began with Brazil and continued with 12 Monkeys. If that isn’t enough, it stars Christoph Waltz and Matt Damon. And did I mention it sprung from the wild mind of Terry Gilliam?
MB: Reality check: Whose last movie was the unwatchable The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. When Gilliam stinks he stinks up the whole room. Just saying…. If it’s sci-fi you’re looking for, how about the RoboCop reboot, a franchise that’s had more reboots than an Ugg store? Or Transcendence, which has a Philip K. Dick meets Body Snatchers sound to it. Appeals to the paranoid side of my split personality Richard…
RC: I liked Parnassus! It was like a Salvador Dali painting come to life! Gilliam Rules! But there are other things I’m looking forward to, like Maleficent. The creepy but beautiful Sleeping Beauty villain is a role Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones were born to play. If the movie is as cool looking as the clips I’ve seen, I’ll go for the art direction alone.
MB: Sure, but I think we’re both ignoring what must be the Greatest Movie of 2014 — the cinematic adaptation of the great novel Fifty Shades of Grey. C’mon, Richard, admit it, you’ll be second in line to see it, only because I got there the night before… and I understand James Franco is playing the handcuffs.