The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

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Jeff
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The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#1 Post by Jeff » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:42 pm

George Clooney's The Monuments Men

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domino harvey
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:31 pm

Let's hope we can avoid conversation on the anachronistic song choice this round! Clearly the trailer's trying to remind you that the Nazis lost and now we can enjoy important culture like Shawn Lee's "Kiss the Sky"... Looks like audience pleasing Awards bait and apparently John Goodman's tipped for an Oscar nom, which would be pretty neat

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knives
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#3 Post by knives » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:33 pm

Goodman will never win the Oscar because life sucks.

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Matt
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#4 Post by Matt » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:39 pm

Ocean's '44

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#5 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:42 pm

I admit, I'm interested to see how they can fit in Vincent Cassel's capoeira moves here.

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Brian C
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#6 Post by Brian C » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:20 pm

I hope this is a case of the marketing people trying to make it look like more of a comedy than it really is, because the Coen-lite vibe isn't really working for me. I'm a fan of Clooney and I love his work with the Coens, but he's at his most irritating when trying to carry that over into his work outside of Coen films (e.g., Leatherheads and The Men Who Stare at Goats).


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MoonlitKnight
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2013)

#8 Post by MoonlitKnight » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:48 am

Of course -- Clooney's directorial films are clearly only allowed to come out in 3-year intervals. :)

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#9 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:26 pm

Saw this with my dad today and found it a pleasant enough reason to go to the cinema in this ridiculous weather. It walks a fine line between being pure popcorn entertainment and also tackling subjects that might not be fit for those kinds of entertainment nowadays.

Clodius
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#10 Post by Clodius » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:10 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Saw this with my dad today and found it a pleasant enough reason to go to the cinema in this ridiculous weather. It walks a fine line between being pure popcorn entertainment and also tackling subjects that might not be fit for those kinds of entertainment nowadays.
That's surprising to me, because me and a number of friends went to see it and we all disliked it, ranging from outright hate to mere apathy. Granted my friends are philistines who get bored relatively easily and can't quickly place Belgium (they wanted to go expecting Oceans '44) but I disliked the extreme tonal inconsistencies and lack of characterization (beyond "They're OLD!).

The movie tries to play like both The Great Escape and Saving Private Ryan at the same time, jumping between those tones far too frequently. 1 minute, Matt Damon's on a landmine with wackiness, the next they're finding gold teeth from the Holocaust. It seems like Clooney wanted to throw back to 60s era WW2 movies but wanted to keep the seriousness present in more recent films and it just doesn't work.

My bigger complaint is the lack of characterization in the film. Monuments Men was advertised as a group of characters getting together to save art from the Nazis. There's barely even time for a montage before they're all of a sudden in Europe. This film desperately needed to spend 30 or 40 minutes getting the characters together and through basic before tackling the quest. Plus the group is hardly together before
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2 members are killed and Matt Damon is off bugging Cate Blanchett
. Another characterization problem is in the villains. We get one early Nazi villain who is sidelined and caught with a ton of the movie remaining. The movie then introduces another Nazi to basically be "Head Evil Guy" in the first one's stead. That was problematic, as was the description of the Russians, who are portrayed as close to Nazis in evil quotient.

Personally, I thought the movie was severely flawed and mediocre at best (which is very forgiving).

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#11 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:56 pm

I agree with you in as much as splitting them up was kind of against what was advertised. But then again I found some of the pairings pretty interesting to watch, like Goodman with Dujardin and especially Bill Murray and Bob Balaban. I didn't find the tonality much of a problem, I read it as the film being more trusting of the audiences knowledge of the more horrific atrocities of what was going on.

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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#12 Post by Clodius » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:29 pm

The Murray/Balaban combo was probably the best part of the movie honestly, and while Dujardin was great, he just wasn't in the film enough (part of the whole "splitting up the group" problem). It did have a couple striking scenes, particularly Balaban and Murray coming across the deserter as well as Dujardin and the horse. Those were few and far between enough that they didn't really justify the movie in my eyes.

As for the tonality issues...
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The film was excessively maudlin to me, throwing in nods to Nazis atrocities and deaths simply to affect the audience in order to show that this war and quest are important. A great example of this is the Christmas scene. It's supposed to be affecting due to two factors the audience has zero investment in. Murray is tearful about missing his family. Who we haven't met and he's rarely mentioned at all until that scene. Why should that move me as an audience member? At the same time, Clooney brings an unidentified GI who is dying to the medic. Again, a GI we've not met nor have any investment in. It's like Clooney filmed the Murray part, figured it needed it to be longer, and just tossed that scene in.

Similarly, the deaths of Dujardin and Bonneville were slightly better but because we spent so little time with the characters, the impact of their deaths is lessened. What do we actually know about Bonneville before he dies? He likes art and was a drunk up to joining up. Then we get the letter to his father about how he's been a disappointment. Why? Being an alcoholic is not a reason in and of itself.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#13 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:29 am

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I'll give you the GI death. That felt a little too random, but the stuff with Bill's character was incredibly moving. Seeing his body language change as he hears his daughter's voice turned a corner in the film for me. I didn't feel much the need to see these character's home lives before leaving. Things like that don't have to be spelled out so distinctly, for me anyway.

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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#14 Post by Clodius » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:19 am

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It doesn't have to be spelled out for me either, and that scene was moving in and of itself. But it's impact would have certainly been greater if we had some more development on Murray's (and all the other) characters. That scene was just a symptom of the disease which infected the movie. Again, I thought it was mediocre, not terrible ( I suppose inoffensive is the best term). It's just that a film with this cast and pedigree should be so much better than inoffensive

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Altair
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#15 Post by Altair » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:02 am

“The Monuments Men” (2014), directed by George Clooney, his fifth film behind the camera, makes use of an irresistible premise: recover art works looted by the Nazis during the dying days of World War II. Not only is this a story never told before in the cinema (leading to an aura of uniqueness not often found with Hollywood studio pictures), but Clooney has assembled an enviable cast alongside himself with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Cate Blancett.

Yet as a war film about art, it rarely seems too concerned about the specifics of the paintings and sculptures they’re trying to rescue. Jan Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece and Michelangelo’s “Madonna and Child” are the main focus of the film, providing a narrative thread for the script (written by Clooney and Grant Heslov), but the thousands upon thousands of other pieces of art (emphasised by frequent shots of warehouses or mines stacked with canvases) are generalised into anonymous cultural property in the need of preservation. It’s frustrating, as are many parts of the film.

It lacks a strong narrative drive, being, until the last third, very episodic – some are fine, like Murray’s and Balaban’s encounter with a young German soldier at night, but others, such as discovering barrels of gold teeth taken from Jews exterminated by the Holocaust, show the film’s inadequacy dealing with the horrors of war. The pathos of members of the team dying and the mass destruction of art in impromptu bonfires lit by the German army are themes it finds hard enough to grasp and make the audience appreciate their impact. It keeps bumping into these big, important topics, the occupation of France and the role of collaborators say, pursuing them for a little while in subplots before backing away, unsure how to proceed, like over the use of child soldiers by the Germans, which is turned into almost an amusing anecdote.

This dichotomy between seriousness and a lighter, caper feel, reminiscent at times of late sixties and early seventies war films (think “Kelly’s Heroes” (1970) and their ilk, a feeling reinforced by Alexandre Desplat’s bass-heavy music score) leads to an uneasily balance not solved by Clooney’s at times uncertain and uneven direction. It always looks good thanks to cinematographer Phedon Papamichael’s eye for framing, but the characters’ speeches, justifying the importance of art even during wartime, sits awkwardly with the more cinematic moments, particularly the climactic race against time to liberate a huge storage of art.

It remains entertaining and well-acted throughout, but it’s clear that this is a film which could have been a more powerful exploration of its subject than it is. A missed opportunity then, enjoyable though, despite its failings.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#16 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:23 pm

Altair wrote:“The Monuments Men” (2014), directed by George Clooney, his fifth film behind the camera, makes use of an irresistible premise: recover art works looted by the Nazis during the dying days of World War II. Not only is this a story never told before in the cinema (leading to an aura of uniqueness not often found with Hollywood studio pictures), but
The Train

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Altair
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#17 Post by Altair » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:34 pm

Egg on face, of course.

My only justification in making such a mistake is not having seen The Train and looking at the synopsis, seeing it doesn't seem to be about the Monuments Men per se.

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knives
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#18 Post by knives » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:19 pm

But it is about the importance of art in the face of war.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#19 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:10 pm

Altair, I'm pretty sure you wrote this for a website or maybe a student newspaper, which is fine I guess, but you don't need to contextualize and set-up the film under discussion when (cross)posting about it here

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rohmerin
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Re: The Monuments Men (George Clooney, 2014)

#20 Post by rohmerin » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:02 am

What's the stunning Art Deco bar where Damon and Clooney drinks? Is it in NYC?

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