Monuments Men  A Narada Film Review

Cate Blanchett - head and shoulders above.
Columbia Pictures - (2014)     George Clooney - Director and  George Clooney - Co-Producer
      I was going to say Hollywood should be ashamed of itself, but then what expectations can one harbor for a film directed by, screenplayed by, co-produced by, and starring George Clooney?

      In the miscasting debacle of the year, Bill Murray and John Goodman were dredged up by Clooney in an obvious attempt to repay his Superbowl gambling debts.   No, really.

      Bill Murray appeared, both physically and mentally, to have been waken from an artificially induced coma – at least Clooney had sense enough not to give him any lines longer than five words.   One look at Murray's pasty, swollen face, one look into his fading eyes, and we sense Murray - in real life - is making preparations for the fat lady to sing his praises - and I'm actually sorry to have to say that.   Goodman, a nearly-300 lb. parody of himself, has in reality aged drastically over this last year - a great-grandfather visage who appears to be suffering from both attention-deficit and glandular obesity - he could only have been on loan from an assisted living facility somewhere on the outskirts of Palm Springs.

      Outwardly laughable, viewers were somehow meant to suspend disbelief, and swallow whole, that Murray and Goodman could go through US Army basic training and become anything other than Mess Hall pastry chefs or potato-peelers.   Clooney, of course, has them 'running through the jungle'.

      That Matt Damon would stoop to take a part in this overlong TV drama will remain an enduring cinematic mystery down through the ages.   The only “performance” in a cast of dozens of well-knowns and not-so-well knowns, was Cate Blanchett, who single-handedly rescued this ‘feelm’ from being indistinguishable from dogfood.   There is no conceivable reason under Heaven and Earth this shouldn't have been a film about her character, Claire Simone, a female ‘Schindler of the arts’, with only a nodding mention-in-passing of the Monuments Men.

      Audiences are subjected to the tritest politically-correct homage to the evils of Nazism and of Jewish wartime suffering – all true, of course, but done so much better in every film made on the subject since 1945.   Nevertheless, Clooney –at his most ham-fisted- makes us understand we are in need of having our noses rubbed in it yet again.   The plotted action is stringy and nearly impossible to follow, killing any possibility of 'suspense-building' – dialog is often anachronistic and rife with Boy Scout-level 'war' camaraderie.

      I won’t go into how Clooney is yet again his usual self-absorbed ham, quite obviously impressed with his own cinematic brilliance – because if I were to do that, it would be beating an old drum, riding an old mule until its dick was dragging in the mud.

star out of five.

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