Summer movie fun list

Here is a short list of stuff that I intend to enjoy for the month of June, some of them are already playing and others will be showing soon. I got the links to the trailers off of the FANDANGO movie site,  for some reason youtube no longer functions for trailers, so sad.

Any way, this is my movie wish list, so I hope you enjoy the trailers. Stay cool and enjoy a movie this summer, in air-conditioned comfort.

https://www.fandango.com/videos/player/Gotti-1055330883744?autoPlay=true

https://www.fandango.com/superfly-2018-210599/movie-overview

https://www.fandango.com/solo-a-star-wars-story-203806/movie-overview

https://www.fandango.com/oceans-8-208432/movie-overview

https://www.fandango.com/deadpool-2-200520/movie-overview

https://www.fandango.com/hotel-artemis-211142/movie-overview

Fluffy Puffy Hallmark Christmas

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2008)

lt’s that time again, time for those fluffy puffy, happy, sappy, hallmark Christmas stories. This time of the year, the Hallmark channel morphs into the most watched channel on cable and Satellite tv (yes satellite tv , it still exist for us poor folks).  The Hallmark channel has been a guilty pleasure of mine for three years and I look forward to binge watching, throughout the month of December.  There is a steady stream of re-runs and new movies to satisfy the most ardent fans of Holiday schtick, and they run all night long for the insomniacs.

If you are a veteran Hallmark watcher, then you will immediately know  Lacey Chabert or Danica McKellar or Lori Loughlin and of course Candace Cameron Bure. There are also appearances from familiar males, like James Van Der Beek, Colin Ferguson and some cool codgers like Bryan Doyle Murray and Henry Winkler. The plots can be redundant, but Christmas romances usually stick to a specific formula.  Be warned that Royalty might be involved in some stories. The Macguffin has to be saved, plot moppets have to be appeased,  widows and widowers must find love and the Christmas haters will find the true meaning of secular Christmas.

The main character usually has some tragic reason for hating the holiday spirit, or perhaps they are just a cynical jerk. A cliche group of friends, bosses and antagonist orbit around the protagonist, creating humor, tension and roadblocks. Fear not dear viewer, all will be resolved in the last ten minutes. Miss Scrooge or Mister Scrooge will will come to their senses, love will bloom, old wounds will be healed, the widow or widower will find a replacement spouse; this is also the point in the movie where the villain is vanquished.

In between the beginning and the end there are snowmen, snowball fights, tree trimmings and tree lightings all wrapped up in the trappings of the local town festival. these Shenanigans always occur in the most christmassy town in the midwest or northwest or the northeast; where the folks are simple and the snow falls on cue when ever attractive lady or man start to feel romantic, I forgot to mention that sometimes Magical Santa guy  makes an appearance to dispense wisdom. Santa Guy doesn’t always sport his signature red and white suit, sometimes he’s wearing natty looking business attire with red accents. Some times he hangs around the local diner or sits conveniently on a bench in the town park, or he could just  magically appear at the office Christmas party to grant strange wishes.

All in all, the Hallmark channel in December is a place to suspend your disbelief, chill out and let your everyday worries disappear. These movies may be sappy and sentimental,  even silly, but they’re good clean entertainment and an instant infusion of holiday fun.

TIMEY WIMEY LOOP DE LOOP (Terminator Genisys)

http://www.terminatormovie.com/#gallery

I love time travel movies, even the bad ones. The good ones are few and far in-between and I do consider the Terminator as one of the good ones, the franchise’s popularity proves my point. Right from the start it was more than just an action movie, because of the questions about fate, destiny and the intrusion of technology into our lives. The entire Movie franchise starting with the original The Terminator in 1984 has posed these same questions and technology and society has reflected the concerns in the movie. This series plays like a neo-Luddite treatise against the horrors of artificial intelligence. Technology can be scary, I personally hate the cloud I think it is useless.

All of that said; my reasons for not liking Terminator Genisys, has more to do with the fact that I spent the entire movie confused and trying to recap the previous installments of the series. In case you’ve forgotten there have been five movies and a television series in the franchise. without doing a synopsis of any of them, here they are; The Terminator, 1984, Terminator 2:Judgment Day, 1991, Terminator 3:Rise of the Machines, 2003, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television series, 2008, Terminator: Salvation, 2009. Now we have Terminator Genisys, 2015 Which felt like the beginning of a new franchise. If there’s a sequel to this movie I think I’ll avoid it, like I’ve avoided the TRANSFORMER and IRON MAN Sequels. One bad experience is enough and I really think that this series needs closure.

Almost the entire movie was a WTF moment, that’s not good; however that’s not the worst of it. Spoiler Alert! The vilification of John Connor was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I can’t understand why this was necessary to the story, other than to give Jason Clarke additional screen time; it also put a glaring plot hole in the movie. I wasn’t put off by the acting, I found Emilia Clarke tough but adorable, Jai Courtney adequate and macho, Jason Clarke was scary good and Arnold old but not obsolete. All in all this wasn’t a terrible movie just a terribly confusing one. There is lots of almost non stop action and some lighter moments which were not present in the other movies. I didn’t walk out on it so I will rate it as a solid popcorn Saturday matinee.

The Secret life of Walter Mitty: 2013

secret_life_of_walter_mitty

I never liked the James Thurber story, nor the 1947 Danny Kaye film. The Kaye film failed because his waking adventure, parallels his over the top daydreams, so it came off as just another daydream. I was still a child when I first viewed it, and it seemed implausible even to my adolescent mind. It was my least favorite Danny Kaye movie ever. As a kid I went to the matinees religiously and enjoyed a lot of Mr. Kaye’s movies, so the problem wasn’t Danny Kaye.

When I heard that there was going to be another incarnation of the Thurber story I cringed. Probably like so many other boomers that had been introduced to the Story of Walter Mitty in high school, I viewed him as the quintessential spineless milksop. He was the kind of guy that would end up in the nut house, because life had beaten him down and caused him to retreat into a permanent fantasy. In other words he was more of a tragic figure than a comic one. For this reason I avoided seeing the 2013 version of The Secret life of Walter Mitty.

Now for something completely different! While Channel surfing I stumbled upon the last part of the Ben Stiller movie; to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ben Stiller for me is a hit or miss proposition, mostly miss, but this film is one of his best and most human portrayals. The movies starts out in predictable Walter Mitty style, with a bunch of ludicrous and childish fantasies. But then something amazing happens, Walter is required to ditch his fantasies and live in the real world.

On a search for a missing negative, Walter follows a series of cryptic clues that take him on a journey, that is as much spiritual as it is physical. With the help of his assistant/fantasy girl, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, chasing enigmatic freelance photographer Sean O’Connell. He is forced to look within, for the inner strength that has always eluded him. Along the way he finds courage and confidence and enhances his E-Harmoney profile, no kidding, thats in the plot.

When he finally catches up with O’Connell, he discovers that what he was looking for was at home in the last place that he expected it to be, figuratively and literally. There is symbolism galore in this movie, but it’s symbolism that most of us can understand. I’ve watched this movie at least five times who’d a thunk it!

My Favorite westerns

It’s been about two years since I’ve added to my favorite List, so I think that it’s about time. Western Movies have been around since the beginning of the movie industry, beginning with The Great Train Robbery in 1903 I wasn’t around back then so it’s not on my list. However it was a ground breaking film in it’s day. I love old movies as much as I love the contemporary ones, probably more; so the list that I’ve compiled covers decades. They are the movies that I have grown up with and grown old with and continue to watch every time I see them on television. These movies are not in any numerical order, so here it goes.

HEAVEN’S GATE 1980 Directed and written by Michael Cimino. The reason this is one of my favorites is that I’m a history buff. Even though there’s a disclaimer in the credits stating it is not based on actual event, it actually is. The Johnson county range war is the basis for countless Movies,novels and tv shows. Although most accounts of the era blamed them darn squatter, or them darn rustlers, contemporary history judges the cattle barons as the bad guys. I love this movie’s atmosphere, cinematography and costumes. It’s a long movie, but I never get tired of watching it. The cast is an all star line up including Kris Kristofferson, Jeff Bridges, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Joseph Cotton, Isabelle Huppert, Sam Waterston and many others. Great action, engaging story, excellent cast.

JOHNNY GUITAR 1954: Starring Joan Crawford Mercedes McCambridge and Sterling Hayden, Directed by Nicholas Ray,also known for Rebel without a cause. Quite possibly this is the first feminist western. Don’t be fooled by the name, Johnny Guitar might as well be called Johnny McGuffin. The real story is the epic battle between two great female characters;Vienna, played by Crawford and Emma played by McCambridge. These two women are the perfect storm converging on a small town, bringing destruction with them. There will be blood.

THE LONG RIDERS 1980: Directed by Walter hill and starring just about every set of working siblings in Hollywood at the time. You can’t beat this line up: David Carradine, Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, James Keach, Stacy Keach, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid,Christopher Guest and Nicholas Guest. Only Sam and Timothy Bottoms are missing from this flick. They are supported by a cast of all time favorites. This is a cult classic far superior to the 2007 snooze fest (The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert ford). If you love westerns and shoot em ups, this is a must see film.

OPEN RANGE 2003: Directed by Kevin Costner, Starring Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall you Can’t miss with these two power hitters. This is a gritty, emotional, unflinching look at the old west, not your Granddad’s western. These are hard men but not hardened killers Their humanity unexpectedly shines through, relenting the death of their enemy.

THE OXBOW INCIDENT 1943: Directed by William Wellman, Starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn. This is a morality play in western dress, not a hell bent for leather, six shooter horse opera. It is disturbing and quiet and portrays the lynching of three innocent men, for the dastardly and despicable crime that it is. Henry Fonda is the voice of reason that everyone ignores. The unlucky drifters come to a a sad and sobering end and justice is denied.

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE 1946: Directed by John Ford, Starring Henry Fonda, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond,Victor Mature and linda Darnell. When John Ford calls all the big names answer. This is one of my favorite narratives of the famous Clanton Earp feud, that sparked the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral. It is gritty grim and dark just like the men that it portrays. The atmosphere of anger pervades the entire movie and it’s easy to see why these men clashed. This is the western that is the benchmark for all the Wyatt Earp movies that came after it, and most other westerns as well.

PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID 1973: Directed by Sam Peckinpah Starring James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. Sam Peckinpah has always been one of my favorite directors. He not only weaves a great story, he expertly integrates the action into the over all plot. Pat Garret and Billy the kid has some great character studies, that pull you into that world. Slim Pickens gives an extremely touching performance as an over the hill lawman, Who gives his last full measure of devotion to enforcing the law, even though he didn’t have to. Veteran western movie actress Katy Jurado, plays his wife who supports his decision, even though she knows that it might result in his death. The scene with Pickens and Jurado is one of the more memorable in western movies.

THE WILD BUNCH 1969: Directed by Sam Peckinpah Starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oats and Robert Ryan. This is a stark character study of really really bad men, who go out in a blaze of glory, in retaliation over the death of a friend. This is one of the bloodiest onscreen gunfights ever. Peckinpah set the bar so high that no one has been able to duplicate it. If you haven’t seen this movie it’s worth a try.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 1960:Directed by John Sturges, Starring Yul Brynner as the good guy and Eli Wallach as the bad guy. This was my first A-list western and it was a wonderful introduction to some of the best young stars of the day. just think Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn and Horst Bucholz all in one movie. When I found out some years later in high school, that the Magnificent Seven was based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic, Seven Samurai, it made me aware of the fact that Hollywood wasn’t the center of the movie universe. I also became a lifelong fan of Kurosawa. I’m so glad that its rousing Oscar nominated theme by Elmer Bernstein is remembered, it still sounds awesome. This film is a solid classic and is scheduled for a 2017 remake.

HIGH NOON 1952: Directed by Fred Zinnemann, Starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. This is the movie That Cooper is most remembered for, not the Fountain head or Sergeant York. This is the predecessor to the lone hero going against impossible odds trope, later exemplified by movies like Pale rider and high plains drifter.

TOMBSTONE 1993: Directed by George Cosmatos and Kevin Jarre (uncredited) Starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer with a strong supporting cast that includes Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton. Billy Zane, Powers Booth and Dana Delaney. This is another retelling of the famous gun fight in the empty lot next to that photo place, that is known as the gun fight at the O K Corral.

PALE RIDER 1985: Directed by Clint Eastwood, Starring Clint Eastwood, Carrie Snodgrass, Michael Moriarty and iconic television star John Russell. This is a classic lone hero yarn, where a gun toting, wandering preacher descends on a mining town and deals out death, like an avenging angel. Like most movies of this sort, the week kneed town folk turn their backs, as the local bully rides rough shod over everyone, doing whatever he pleases, because he’s rich, must be a conservative. I love this movie because revenge is a dish that’s best served cold.

MCCABE AND MRS MILLER 1971: Directed by Robert Altman, starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Rene Auberjonois. More of a north western than a western, filmed in British Columbia,that’s right it was filmed in Canada and you can feel the chill. It kind of makes you wonder why people would leave civilization to move to this wet, dirty, cold, desolate place. The answer is money of course. the lure of gold or silver. The town of Presbyterian church is a mining boomtown. McCabe is a gambler and wannabe pimp and Mrs. Miller is an English whore. Between the two of them they plan to make money from the miners. It is an engaging and atmospheric, dark and brooding, one of the truly great westerns.

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY:1966 Directed by Sergio Leone, Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach. A sweeping epic of a western that starts during the war between the states, and moves across the dusty western landscape like a rattle snake. It’s about greed, friendship and betrayal and a clash of wills that can only end badly. This movie is dirty, gruff and like the old west unpolished. Sergio Leone sees the old west through the eyes of a foreigner stripped of its white hats and nickel plated six shooters, he brings a taste of ugly realism to the screen. After this move American westerns were never the same.

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN 1939: Directed by George Marshall, Starring James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich and Brian Donlevy. Jimmy Stewart plays a peace loving law man who doesn’t resort to gun play to solve all of his problems. The son of a famous lawman helps out an old family friend. Other than the title, the movie bears no resemblance to the Max Brand novel of the same name. It’s a light hearted romp in a frontier town with Stewart as the towns moral compass. This was always one of my childhood favorites on TV.

JEREMIAH JOHNSON 1972: Directed by Sydney Pollack, Starring Robert Redford Will Geer and Delle bolton. A greenhorn retreats to the isolation of the mountains and becomes a mountain man.Friends in the wilderness are few and far in-between, but he prefers it that way. The lessons are hard ones, as he first learns to fight Indians and then learns how to coexist with them. His relationship with nature is just as rough, but he survives and even gains a native wife. In the end he is at one with nature, reveling in it’s solitude and stark beauty.

HONERABLE MENTION GOES TO

SILVERADO 1985: Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, Starring Kevin Klein, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner.

THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 1995: Directed by Sam Raimi, Starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, and Leo DiCaprio

QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER 1990: Directed by Simon Wincer, Starring Tom Selleck, Laura San Giacomo and Allen Rickman

The Edge of Tomorrow (movie review)

Ground hog day with big guns and aliens; that’s the impression that I got when watching yet another Tom Cruise action movie

Time loop movies are problematic by virtue of their enigmatic nature. No one really understands how they, (time loops) work. I’m so confused!

Let me start by explaining the main premise of the movie. Aliens called mimics invade Earth; after five years of a brutal plodding war of attrition the earth forces are on the verge of annihilation. Enter, Major Bill Cage (Cruise), a REMF public affairs officer, who stupidly offends a General (Brendan Gleeson) and is sent to the front lines for punishment.

Cage who is a Major, has never bothered to learn how weapons work and has never seen combat, is dropped into the thick of it totally unprepared.

Major Cage doesn’t even know how to disengage the safety on his high tech weapon, much use it. It is predictable that he should die in his first engagement with the enemy. By a quirk of luck, cage manages to kill one of the alpha aliens, the controllers of the alien forces. Before he succumbs to his wounds, he is infused with the alien’s blood and acquires the ability to reset. Just like a video game, Cage is re-spawned the previous day, before the mission starts. He seems doomed to replay the day over and over, each time surviving a little longer.

During one of his repeat lives Cage meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski, a hardened combat veteran known as the angel of Verdun. She is the embodiment of hope, because she was instrumental in the earth forces only victory. She tells him find me when you wake up. He does, and she endeavors to train him knowing that he will retain the knowledge with each encounter. With each reset Cage and Rita manage to get a little further off of the beachhead, but the Mimics seem to anticipate every move with every reset. Okay this is starting to get tiring! Enter the exposition fairy in the guise of crazy science guy, Doctor Carter, a disgraced scientist that everyone thinks is crazy. He actually knows what is happening to Cage and explains that Rita also had the gift, or curse to reset, which she acquired in a similar engagement with an Alpha mimic.She lost the ability to reset after being wounded and having a transfusion from a human.

What became confusing to me, is that even though Sgt. Rita realizes what Cage is and what his ability is, she has trouble believing him when he says, this is as far as we get. Her words “come and find me when you wake up, early in the movie prove that she is aware. This fact bugs me. why does she have to be convinced. But by this time, the boring repetition of getting killed over and over is quite taxing on my nerves. I was however committed to seeing this thing through, just to see how it would be resolved.

I guess that if you walk away from a movie thinking WTF for the rest of the day, the director and writer have at least achieved something of a victory.
Would I watch this movie again? Maybe I would, on television where I can channel surf and turn away from the boring or repetitive parts. Performances by Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson raise this movie above B movie schlock. Tom Cruise once again playing the savior of humanity gets old pretty fast.

Chappie

When I went to see Chappie I figured this movie was a rehash of Short Circuit, that goofy robot movie which featured Fisher Stevens. I was wrong! There are some similarities to Robocop and Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2, but there is much more heart. Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman give solid performances as the protagonist and the antagonist of the piece, with Sharlto Copley giving an engaging and funny performance as the title character. Yo-landi Visser plays Chappie’s adopted mother Yolandi. Her maternal instincts out shine the self serving attitudes of the males including Chappie’s inventor/creator, Dion played by Patel. Her values are more those of a concerned mother, than a hardened criminal. In spite of the bad influences of Ninja Played by Ninja and Amerika played by Jose Pablo Cantillo, Chappie manages to learn human compassion and a sense of right and
wrong. Sigourney Weaver gives another spot on performance as a wicked corporate boss, with a heart of stone and a head for business.Over all Chappie was great fun and a decent popcorn movie. Once again Neil Blomkamp has given us another good sci-fi movie to add to his repertoire. It’s worth a few bucks on a lazy day. I consumed six chicken tenders, a soft pretzel and a small soda.

The Giver

Snorefest, borefest,these aren’t two Minnesota festivals that occur between Septemberfest and Oktoberfest. When asked to describe the Giver, I actually had to make up new adjectives to do so. Unfortunately they weren’t good made up adjectives like fanfreakintastic,or exploderific or just plain awesome that came out; without much effort the words that came to mind were Snorefest and borefest. I have never fallen asleep in a movie theater, not even as a child at the late night drive in, where I had my blanket and pillow with me. The Giver had me nodding off like The Age of Innocence, the 1993 snoozer that’s more effective than NyQuil.

When I spend five or ten dollars on a movie, I expect to be entertained and not bored to sleep. A movie doesn’t have to be loud and stupid to entertain me, it just has to have a good plot and interesting characters, not caricatures. Not even the stellar presence of Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, both actors who I adore, could save this movie.

I love dystopian sci-fi, that’s why I chose to see this pic. I loved Snow Piercer and Elysium and many others, because I was entertained. I am not averse to Young Adult themes, even though I walked out of Twilight, because of the sheer sappiness, but I have seen both Hunger games and intend to see the third and forth. The giver was one of those movies where you get a slow build up, followed by an even slower let down. I hate survival movies where the landscape and environment dominate. The torturous trek across parched deserts and freezing mountain ranges bores the heck out of me, especially when it’s done badly. The opposite end of the spectrum is a Disney movie, Never Cry Wolf, Starring Charlie Martin Smith, (1983). My point is, that you just can’t tack a survival montage at the end of a movie and expect it to work. How did he and the baby survive, how many miles did he walk, what did he do for food and water and shelter, who knows?

the end of the movie is only one of the disappointments endured, the transition from black and white to color should have been glorious, as in Pleasantville (1998) another movie that starts out in black and white and slowly transforms for the viewer, both metaphorically and chromatically creating a visual treat. The acting by the young individuals is less than adequate, but I will give them the benefit of a doubt and blame it on the script and direction. However my guess is that unless a sequel happens, so they can redeem themselves this movie might have been a career killer for them. Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges will naturally survive, because they are awesome and so will Alexander Skarsgard but this was a bad comeback choice for Katie Holmes, may the odds be ever in her favor.

Since I brought up the subject of Minnesota Beer drinking festivals here are a few links to some fun festivals

https://www.facebook.com/septemberfest

http://minneapolis.about.com/od/eventsfestivals/tp/beerfestivals.htm

http://www.newulmoktoberfest.com

Mediocre Start to 2014 at the movies

I know that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks but I really haven’t had anything to get excited about. Okay here’s the thing. I’ve  been really disappointed about the recent fair at the movies in this first quarter of 2014. Here are the movies that I’ve seen so far this year and my some what flippant rating system.

47 RONIN: A trite American fantasy version of a Japanese classic; based on a real life tragedy, and a part of Japans cultural history. It would have worked better as a simple fantasy with out the disrespectful attachment to the actual story of the 47 RONIN. I rate this as a moderate disappointment.

I FRANKENSTEIN: A new take on an old story and yet another graphic novel screen adaptation. I hope that this wasn’t a career killer for Aaron Eckhart, who was great in Battle: Los Angeles. Disappointment moderate. I didn’t walk out on this one but I left the theater feeling empty.

AMERICAN HUSTLE:  I rated this one better than average, to very good with solid performances by the entire cast but it wasn’t great.

MONUMENTS MEN: My kind of movie intelligent, informative and based on historical events. I rated this one excellent.

THREE DAYS TO KILL: This was an adequate Kevin Costner vehicle in the action genre, with some sentimental hokum thrown in for good measure. I rated this one fair to middling in quality.

LONE SURVIVOR: Good action yarn based on a real life Navy seal’s fight for survival. As an ex GI I found this movie hard to watch because I feel for the families of the men that didn’t survive this doomed mission. I rated this one good.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE: This was for me the biggest disappointment of the year so far. In spite of all of the fancy CGI it lacked heart and pacing.  It was mostly mindless slaughter except this time it was on ships instead of on dry land. I didm’t root for the good guys or the bad guys. If you leave a movie with out an opinion on whether you like it or not then it’s probably a mediocre movie.  I rated this movie Blah.

NEED FOR SPEED: Movies based on video games usually don’t work and this movie was no exception. Poor Aaron Paul what a way to start a career as a leading man. I went to see this movie because I’m a fan of Breaking Bad and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman an awesome character. Unfortunately this movie lacked the depth of character and the intricate story line need to make it anything more than an adequate, but predictable popcorn movie.  I rate this move Okay I guess. 

NOTE: I purposely staid away from The Butler, Fruitvale Station and Twelve years a slave, because I am a thin-skinned old curmudgeon and I don’t go to movies that might raise my blood pressure, or rouse me to anger. So please take into account that my life has been hard enough and I really do get emotionally involved when watching well crafted movies about serious subjects. 

 

The Monuments Men (Movie Review)

Once again Actor/Director George  Clooney has raided the vault of history to bring  us another fine film. Unless you are a history buff, chances are you might not have heard of the pillaging of Europe’s art by Hitler’s SS organization. This is the story of the Monuments men, a small group of art experts appointed by FDR, to find and recover stolen art taken from the Nazi occupied countries. Even though the war is in the last stages, after the normandy Invasion, they are still in great danger. These are all middle-aged men who otherwise would be at home and not in harms way, doing their bit for America and the world at great cost. They get their name from the real life MFAA (Monuments Fine Arts and Archives) section of the United States Army. They aren’t stuck in the rear with the gear they enter some towns either on the heels of the Germans, or before the Germans are completely gone.

While the Monuments men are trying to recover the art, the germans are working to destroy it.The Russians who are fast approaching Berlin are busy trying to recapture as many priceless pieces as they can, for war reparations; that’s the official line anyway. It is literally a race against time to save the great art works of western civilization.

I found the movie to be very entertaining and chock full of character actor goodness. John Goodman, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray are always interesting guys to watch and this was a great vehicle for all three. George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett all put in respectable performances, as did Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin. This movie is not only informative but a welcome change from the usual mindless claptrap that spews forth from H-Wood. You can always count on intelligent works coming from Clooney, I’ve been a big fan ever since Good Night and Good luck (2005). The Monuments men is well worth the five dollars that I spent on the Matinee. If you haven’t already, go see it. If you want to know about the real monuments men check out this link http://www.monumentsmen.com