‘The Monuments Men’ deserves at least a small monument of its own

The cast of 'Monuments Men' (from right to left): John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray
The cast of ‘Monuments Men’ (from right to left): John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray

In 1943, at the height of World War II, it became clear that the Germans were engaged in the systematic looting of every major art work in Europe.  It was up to the soldiers and civilians who worked in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program to recover and repatriate this stolen art back to its rightful owners.  That is the true story on which the film The Monuments Men, written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov and directed by Clooney is based.  If you know anything about the actual events, you know that poetic license is in play.  The choices to exercise such license are good ones in this case, as was the decision that the film wouldn’t take itself so seriously.  This allowed the filmmakers to poke fun at situations where humor works, and still display the high drama that is war right up on the enemy lines.

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Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ is as excellent as its five Oscar nominations would indicate

Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in 'Her'
Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in ‘Her’

[rating=4]Starring:  Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Matt Letscher, Chris Pratt and Kristen Wiig
Writer(s):  Spike Jonze
Director(s):  Spike Jonze

If someone could figure out a way to bottle and sell the whimsy of Spike Jonze, they would make an insane amount of money.  His fourth film, Her, is as imaginative as any of the prior three and a very thought-provoking movie.

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