John Goodman

The Monuments Men Review

If you’re wondering what kind of war film George Clooney has made in The Monuments Men, it can be easily summed up a third of the way through the film. Two American soldiers share a cigarette with a German solder and the only words they share in common is ‘John Wayne’. And that’s what this is; a John Wayne – 50’s style war film. Full of brave heroes with gallows humour wit, no dissent amongst the ranks and the loss of a fellow soldier is encapsulated by the short but sweet term “hell of a thing.” Don’t expect much in terms of the wider scale of the tragedy. Briefly mentioned in places, there really isn’t much time for that.

It starts out at a pace – like the Indiana Jones 4 we all wished we’d seen, a parade of Nazi’s driving through 1943 occupied Paris, arriving at the National Gallery and hand picking great works of art to be presented to the Fuhrer himself. A quick jump across the Atlantic and we are in a darkened government room watching slides of famous relics of art that have been seized by Hitler. The man giving the presentation,  jacket, beard and spectacles all in check is George Clooney. What does he want? To assemble a group of art historians, architects, and other likewise experts-come-unlikely-heroes, land on the frontline and save the western world’s most important cultural and historical artefacts before they are hidden away for good, or worse; destroyed.

Through the opening credits he assembles his team, who are basically some of the best actors to have worked in Hollywood over the past 30 years; Murray, Goodman, Damon are all plucked along for the ride. “You want to get in the war?” “Sure do!” Is the response and suddenly its feeling like a high art version of the A Team – and perhaps that isn’t too far off what the real Monuments men were like. But that’s where the similarities end, this isn’t an Indiana Jones movie where the Nazi’s are shooting at the protagonists all movie long, although there is a bit of that. This is a film based on real events, based on real people who risked their lives for the sake of keeping our culture and history alive and not eradicated into extinction by the Third Reich.

And because of this it’s a hard story not to like. This is an incredible chapter as yet to be told from the single most documented event in modern history. Clooney has set us a very important question; is art, is culture, is the expression of what makes us ‘us’ worth the price of a human life? It seems to me this is the crux of going to war when our freedom is threatened. If not for this, then what else? And Clooney has found a story which encapsulates this perfectly and turns it into a much smaller, neater story. The trouble is, it still isn’t small enough.

There were some 370 Monument Men in reality. Here, a stellar cast of eight try to tell that story, and although it’s a bit of a dream team of talent, by numbers alone, we don’t get to see enough of them. Split across Europe, in search of lost treasures, we are bounced about from one scene to the next, never with enough time to stop and indulge in their chemistry. I could have watched just a couple of these guys go at it for far longer. They are not together as a unit enough and in the scenes they are, the dialogue and chemistry is magical.

Stand out performances have to go to Bill Murray and Kate Blanchet. Just when you think everyone is playing to their strengths, Murray turns everything on its head with a moment halfway through the film that is just seconds long, but shows us something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen from him before. Blanchet, who seems to have a never-ending array of interesting performances up her sleeve, plays the mis-trusting Parisian gallery employee with brilliant initial distain for Matt Damon’s Monument Man; a women who needs him to prove he’s not just there to steal the artwork for the Americans. Of course he’s not and this is a big part of the film; this being the only time in history the spoils of war were not kept by the victors, but returned to their rightful owners.

And that’s what makes Monuments Men such an interesting and important film; if not the most remarkable.

UK Release:   14th February 2014

Director:          George Clooney (The Ides of March)

Written by:      George Clooney & Grant Heslov (The Ides of March), Based on a non-fiction book by Robert M. Edsel

Producers:      George Clooney & Grant Heslov (Argo, The Ides of March)

Cast:               George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Hugh Bonneville

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Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

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Inside Llewyn David Trailer

Here is the trailer for the latest Coen Brother’s movie Inside Llewyn Davis, after winning the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

As usual the Coen’s have brought together an amazing cast of performers in Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan (unrecognizable as a brunette), John Goodman (Coen’s regular and always amazing), Garrett Hedlund (looking very un-Tron-ish) and Justin Timberlake (who always makes interesting cinematic choices to star in)

I hated the TV show Numb3rs so not a huge fan of Oscar Isaac, although we’ve seen him on other things along the way, that show was just horrible and some of us he might always be the guy who had a penis drawn on his face in “10 Things I Hate About You”.

According to the synopsis: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.

The trailer looks hella depressing, even if the music sounds very soothing. The Coen’s have a great ear for music so defintely looking forward to this one when it comes out in January 2014.

 

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Hangover 3 Review

The marketing collateral and trailers for the The Hangover III all promised that this final chapter would be “…the epic conclusion to an incomparable odyssey of mayhem and bad decisions…”  As adverts always say the truth my expectations were set high.

 

The Hangover Part III reunites Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong as Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and Leslie Chow.  Now two years later all the members of the “Wolfpack” are settled in their uneventful lives… The only member of the pack who’s not content is Alan, who has been of his meds and seems to have lost all sense of purpose.   The events start when Alan’s father, played by Jeffry Tambor, died of a heart attack following his son being responsible for a highway pile up caused by his beheaded pet giraffe.

Following this hilarious event the three friends step in to make sure Allan seeks the help he needs.   This will take the boys on an unplanned road trip to Mexico and Vegas on the hunt for Chow and the lost gold of bad guy, Marshall, played by John Goodman.

 

This time around there are no crazy tattoos, unplanned weddings or drug fueled nights that lead to mass amnesia….

 

Unlike in the first two Hangover movies Helms and Cooper mainly have supporting roles. This allowed for Zach Galifianakis’s character to become the lead closely followed by Ken Joeng. Galifianakis hilarious unpredictability makes way to expose a sensitive and needy side that paves the way to an unexpected romance, while Chow evolves from a crazy cokehead into a full blown psychopath.

 

The character chances also mean that most of the slapstick humor, that made the first two movies a success, made place for a more robust, albeit predictable story. This makes The Hangover III, more of a comedy thriller that can be enjoyed on many different levels.

 

But let’s get back to what The Hangover’s spin-doctors want us to believe. Is this truly an “Epic Conclusion” to The Hangover Trilogy?  Well, it isn’t.   It isn’t Epic nor is it a “final conclusion” and I predict we will see a fourth installment in the years to come.

 

That being said, The Hangover III did not disappoint it was really enjoyable and at times even managed to make the entire theatre laugh in unison.  If you’re not into Leonardo di Caprio or Science Fiction then The Hangover III is probably your best bet if you’re looking for a movie that the whole family will enjoy on a rainy bank holiday weekend.

 

 

The Hangover 3 is in UK theaters now!

For the Epic conclusion of this film we had to bring in an epic fan of the movie to write this up,you can follow our guest blogger,  Stephane on twitter by clicking here.

 

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The Hangover 3 Teaser Trailer

The beard versus the Chinaman

The latest instalment of booze-fulled mayhem and its after-effects is here!  Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong & John Goodman, The Hangover III is released May 24th.

This time, there’s no wedding and no bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? When the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

Check out the trailer below!

 

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