Monuments Men Is Dull as Stone
Clooney's war romp fails to charm critics
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 7, 2014 1:42 PM CST
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(Newser) – It's safe to say critics would not venture into a war zone to save the last copy of The Monuments Men. George Clooney's latest outing as a writer/director/star is being widely panned as boring, shallow, and disjointed. Here's what they're saying:

  • The Monuments Men is a "dull slog" that "refuses to give in to the adventure underpinnings of the material," complains Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald. "The fact that the movie opens and closes with lectures, complete with slideshow presentations, is not an accident." What's more, it barely deals with "the question at the forefront of the viewers' mind—with all the atrocities that took place during the war, could the loss of life for protecting a statue be justified?"

  • "Sequences of the jocular male bonding we expect from director-star George Clooney collide with grave tales of war’s sacrifice and civics-lesson lectures on art’s cultural necessity," writes Chris Vognar at the Dallas Morning News. "None of it is particularly terrible; small pieces are quite compelling." But it lacks vision, cohesion, and urgency. "The movie feels a scattered as the Rembrandts, Picassos, and other art jewels strewn throughout Germany."
  • Manohla Dargis at the New York Times is indignant on the historical Monuments Men's behalves. "Monuments Men slices off a sliver of a great World War II story and turns it into a lightweight entertainment that doesn't ask you to think too hard," she writes. The real squad was a staggering collection of geniuses. Clooney "turns them into pleasantly innocuous caricatures." They might as well be called Cutie, Goofy, Starchy, Boozy, Frenchy, and Jewish Guy.
  • But Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle appreciated the movie's throwback style. "The movie has a certain gallantry and a spring in its step that's retro, appealing, and ever-so-slightly phony," he writes. Its plot is besides the point. "Mainly, it's just a series of incidents, there to remind you of the sacrifices of good people and of the importance of art in human civilization."

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Comments
Showing 3 of 12 comments
winterfairy
Feb 9, 2014 4:18 PM CST
Clooney directed it. Enough said. You can expect a preachy, politically correct, slog through the Hollywood Liberal Gospel.
George R
Feb 8, 2014 2:26 PM CST
I saw it yesterday and was a little disappointed. While I can't claim that it was a "bad movie" exactly, having read the book I honestly couldn't stop thinking about how all the actors were 25 to 40 years older than the people they were playing.
Grandpa_Timbo
Feb 8, 2014 9:52 AM CST
Saw the film last night and while some of the criticism is valid, it is, in the end, a Hollywood production. The casting was OK but Goodman seemed out of place. Bill Murray turned in a solid performance as did Clooney, Damon and Blanchett. A bit of humor is welcome in a "faction" presentation and my spouse and I somehow managed to enjoy the movie despite the critics and never once felt bored. It was a relief from the constant and unnecessary violence that seems to predominate films today. I really don't know what the critics were expecting but they stayed true to form in harping on this film.