Flash Movie Review: The Monuments Movie

Carefully with a crayon I would outline the picture in the coloring book, using a heavy hand. Once done I would shade in the different segments of the page. This was the way I created art when I was little. The first time I was taken to an art museum I was amazed by the artwork. Up until that time I was only familiar with paint by number paintings. It was not until I matured that I realized art was an expression or application of a human’s creative skills. Art pieces can move us to tears, laughter or reflection besides being a mirror to our souls. To this day I find it unsettling when a room has no art in it. I first became aware of the historical theft of famous masterpieces during World War II in the startling documentary, “The Rape of Europa” which I reviewed here some time ago. The idea of systematically stealing the world’s art treasures from museums, churches, even people’s homes was something I could barely comprehend. Whether you enjoy art or not; you would have to agree it plays an important part in a society’s culture. This dramatic action film was based on Robert M. Edsel’s book about a small group of artisans who were chosen to track down and retrieve stolen masterpieces, that were being amassed in Germany during World War II. George Clooney (Gravity, Up in the Air) wrote, directed and starred in this film. Playing Frank Stokes, it was his responsibility to bring together art experts and craftsmen from around the world, who would have to survive basic training before they could start their mission in Europe. Among the members he chose were Matt Damon (Elysium, The Departed) as James Granger, John Goodman (Argo, Inside Llewyn Davis) as Walter Garfield and Bill Murray (Moonrise Kingdom, Lost in Translation) as Richard Campbell. Now with a cast like this one would have to wonder if the movie was a drama or a comedy and this was one of my main issues with the story. The screenplay was dreadful; I did not understand why there were cheap bits of humor placed in what could have been a tense exciting film. Casting Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Hanna) as Claire only proved that she was a better actor than the rest of the cast. I am afraid George Clooney took a light hand in creating this loose and confused movie. It really did not do justice to the actual people who saved the artwork and in turn saved a piece of our humanity. A couple of scenes had blood in them.

2 stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on February 11, 2014, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Very nice review. My review for this went up yesterday and I definitely liked it better than you did (and most everyone else). LOL

  2. It’s also been criticized in the UK for erasing the key British member of the team out of the story: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/19/george-clooney-monuments-men-ignores-british-hero . It’s good to know it’s also rubbish so I don’t have to waste my time watching it!

  3. Really mixed reviews about this, which considering the cast, is a massive surprise. I wish it had been a cross between Inglorious Basterds and an Indiana Jones movie, that would have been awesome!

  4. Most don’t care for it, a few loved it. I’m waiting for it to be released for home viewing. Nice review.

  5. Too bad the screenplay was lacking (loose and confused)….
    good point with this:

    “Whether you enjoy art or not; you would have to agree it plays an important part in a society’s culture.”

    and regarding a room without art – well I would rather have NO art than the wrong art… but that’s just me.

    nice review – thanks.

    • Thanks for your comments. If you could elaborate, what do you consider “wrong art?”

      • Just a total “personal” reference on that- like in my own home I had a room with nothing hanging on the walls for a long time- until I could find the “right” art piece for moi – a piece that matched my taste, the decor of the room, proportions fit in with the scale of the room, etc. – and in that case – no art was better than the wrong pieces forced up just to add art (make sense?).

        Being a person that loves all kinds of art, I have been surprised by how few pieces I hang or display in my own home – and with a small collection of originals from a handful of artists, I hope to hang/display more pieces eventually one day. Like maybe when we move in a couple of years (which will likely be our last move – but you never know….) well I hope to design a room around the art from the get go – and I may actually get an interior designer to help with that one – I have an eye for some things decor – but nothing like the pros – and it is a desire of my heart to have some collected pieces on display in a way that feels right to “moi” -and so I would rather have no art hanging or displayed rather than have it all clash – feel forced – and give me a headache each time I walked in the room – I mean – there is enough stuff to make us grumpy – ha ha 😉

      • Now I have a better understanding, thank you so much for explaining it to me. My mother was an artist so we grew up with her art pieces hanging on the walls of our apartment. I hope your dream comes true and that you find beauty in every room you enter of your home. Thanks again.

  6. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie!
    Thank you for the review!
    The last movie I saw was August: Osage County. Then I got to go see it on stage…which was very cool!

    • Awesome you were able to see the play of August: Osage County. If you see this film I would enjoy hearing your thoughts of it. Thanks for coming by to leave your comments.

  7. I just saw this one today! I actually liked it quite a lot. I felt very moved by the sacrifices made by the “Monuments Men” and felt very drawn into the story. Even the old coot who came in about 3/4 through the movie and loudly told his companion that he “couldn’t see sh** in the dark” wasn’t enough to detract from my enjoyment.

    This is probably why I’m not a movie critic. I think I’m too easy on films. And too easily swept into stories that others feel are flawed — ha, ha!

    • I think it is wonderful that a film can easily sweep you into it. Hearing about the person who came in 3/4 through the film is odd, unless they were using it as a rest stop before seeing the actual film they had planned on. Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate it.

      • It was so weird to have someone come in that far into the movie. If they wanted to see this particular film, you would think they would just go to the next showing. But you are probably right: they were killing time before whatever show they had actually come to see. Which is fine. I just wish they had killed time quietly. LOL!

  8. The Dancing Rider

    I had a very different take on this movie. What is new? I think the point was lost on the public, as it may be that mainstream viewers are not art lovers (in terms of the art in this movie). I think the attempts at humor were designed to give one the feeling of some of those old WWII movies – which had the ensemble characters, often stereotypical, sharing one experience. While TMM was only “based on a true story”, I am sure as with most of these sorts of films, much artistic and historical license is taken for entertainment’s sake. Despite that, I thought it was a more charming movie than most people did. I enjoyed watching it, and might even add it to my collection when it goes extra cheap. Which will probably be very soon! 🙂 Nonetheless, I appreciated your points very much, and I must admit they were well taken. Bottom line though, I still liked the movie.

  9. Theatre of Pain

    Slow and plodding. I struggled to stay awake while watching this film. How can a story that uses World War II as a backdrop be so boring? I rarely stop a movie before it finishes but after roughly 45 minutes of this film, I just couldn’t take anymore and decided to watch an episode of Jeopardy instead.

    • well I had to chime in on your comment here – regarding this “How can a story that uses World War II as a backdrop be so boring?” – well they also had the back drop of ART!!! so even more of a surprising fail. but I liked your comment 🙂

      • Thank you for the comments. The documentary was so much better.

      • well thank you Mr. Moviejoltz! you do some great work with all of this – but whew- I can’t imagine watching all those movies – and I just wonder how many THOUSANDS you have seen – have you ever counted?

      • I never count since it is a continuous loop of film in my mind. I will say at one time my DVD queue was over 350.

      • Theatre of Pain

        I’ve often wondered how MJ finds the time for all the movies too. I enjoy and watch a lot of movies and television, almost anything with the exception of reality tv and musicals but I shudder to think about trying to keep up with MJ.

      • It has been one heck of a ride seeing all these movies. On the down side my house now looks like it is auditioning for an episode on Hoarders. Truthfully it takes a lot of logistic planning and getting up early to watch DVDs while eating breakfast.

      • well “theatre of pain” now I see where you get your seasoning from as well – it takes a good mind – and EXPOSURE as well! (((and I was laughing that you switched to Jeopardy – because that is when you know a movie is painful…. ha!)))

        and for MJ – not sure how you find the time – but so glad you also find the time to keep a blog review going – it’s a gift –

        have a great week

      • Thank you so much. I love doing this more than when I started it a few years ago.

      • well your hoarders comment made me laugh – and whew- I used to love the show way back when – but it seems like a couple of years ago the episodes were making me want to throw up – some were just that bad – and well, we never watch it anymore – but that is funny about the dvd que too –

      • Glad you got a laugh. I only saw the show for a brief time and had to stop…but the memories still linger.

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