Tuesday, 18 February 2014



The War Of Art.

118 Minutes: Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Dimitri Leonidas, & Cate Blanchett. Director: George Clooney.

Oceans 2014, circa 1943. We've traded enough war stories over the years already without talking about art. So after taking the house in Las Vegas it's time for George Clooney and Matt Damon to team up once again-minus Brad Pitt and a few more 'Oceans'-and give something back. Still, don't expect these two who are as thick as thieves to not have some sticky hands on deck. Playing 'Robin Hood' they're tasked with stealing the art that Hitler and the Nazi's stole from the gallery culture rich European countries they invaded and occupied in World War II before returning them to their rightful owners. The 'Three Kings' Gulf veteran has a few more aces up his sleeve with two of the best tricks of the trade in legends Bill Murray and John Goodman, along with a french 'Artist', a 'Good German', some old friends and one monumental cast-list that makes this no old 'Dads Army' but a saving of the private collection of the greats from Da Vinci to Picasso. Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler, based on the 'The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History' book by Robert M. Edsel this is a 'Memphis Belle' of more simple, sweet and sincere films of a dark, dangerous and disturbing time with hallmark heart, wonderful warmth and even some divine comedy.

After his modern warfare call of duty team-up with Matt Damon in 'Syriana' and the aforementioned war faring films, Clooney is truly a veteran in this game. The modern day Cary Grant-who began his internship in the great American drama television series that started the great American drama televison series' trend 'E.R.'-has many leading man classics people forget even recently from 'Up In The Air' to 'The American', 'Michael Clayton' to 'The Ides Of March' and 'The Descendants' to of course the great and grand, Oscar bound 'Gravity'. As a director the likes of the historical television texture of the nostalgic newsroom 'Good Night And Good Luck' and the good ole days feel of the quaint and quirky 'Leatherheads' joins his epic acting and production credits to form a formidable filmography. He takes it back once again with the straight-forward, back-to-basics brilliant shooting of this film of it's time that feels of its type. Incredible direction is met in the middle by an even more inspired way to lead in more ways than one. Subtlety but strongly Clooney arms himself with a moustache and trademark mannerisms and gives one of the best performances of his career that will be remembered like it's 60 years in the making story decades later as an old classic of this legends lasting legacy.

His top recruit 'Private Ryan' is building quite the career catalogue too. One of Hollywood's most marketable men is also one of its most underrated and versatile. If you disagree just check out 'Bourne' and 'Good Will Hunting' star Matt Damon's call to arms in movies like western classic remake of a classic 'True Grit' and one of last years best and legendary underground blockbusters 'Elysium'. From 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' to 'The Adjusment Bureau' and 'The Departed' to 'Invictus' this leading, leading man has more classic credits to his Hollywood bright lights name than most critics would care to think to write. 'Contagion', 'We Bought A Zoo', 'Behind the Candelabra' and Christopher Nolan's forthcoming 'Interstellar' will beg to differ. Here from army fatigues to a badge of medals suit of honour, Damon has never looked better. From Paris to the front-line you can count on some scenes being the picture perfect look for his career resume portfolio and as for the inside job behind the look, it's more than just a great act. Just like Clooney and of course their friend Brad Pitt, Damon is still as strangely underrated as he is greatly the makings of something legendary. Perhaps its just the way of the modern day but in this war drama there are some real screen soldiers to see in a casting call as epic as the task in picture. These days actresses don't get their just deserves or awards until they reach Helen Mirren and Judi Dench status and age, but you best believe that Bafta winner and best tribute speech to Phillip Seymour Hoffman Cate Blanchett is quite possibly the best their is. Fresh off her Oscar ready 'Blue Jasmine' and previous wars fought with Clooney the chameleon, Australian actress shows she can play any age and stage.

Meanwhile Oscar winning artist, Jean Dujardin comes off his 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' inspired investment to show his charismatic and charming acting is more than just a one off French fancy. With 'Grandads Army' old vet Bob Balaban looking a little 'Fievel Goes West' and young in revolt newcomer Dimitri Leonidas showing both sides of the shiniest casting coin this battalion is brilliant all the way down to the scene and moving moment stealing British intelligence of the lord of 'Downton Abbey' Hugh Bonneville. All these greats and we still have two of the most popular and sought after in Hollywood cult circles in John Goodman and Bill Murray. The man that's in everything lately and the one who isn't in anything unless its 'Lost In Translation' classic or quirky show with every scene just what makes them, the movies and the people that love both of them tick. There's just so much about this film that it has the makings of something of momentous proportions in its sincerely sympathetic but hard handled historical storytelling. From bar-room recruiting banter and bumming cigarettes for health or harm to Christmas messages and real fatherly ones their is magic that moves in these 'Monuments' that you don't have to sculpt hard at to see how they're painted. As this 'Band Of Brothers' land on a eerie calmer Normandy shore that once was the wasteland of the bloodiest and brutal shooting gallery battle that today is horrifically witnessed as history on 'Saving Private Ryan' the moment is a message for not only the end of the war but the fact there was more to it. Like there is more to this film then getting its meaningful message of past peril to present promise across more subtly and sincerely than just using bullets, blood and bodies. Now in the name of Madonna, Michaelangelo and remembering Rembrandt remnants for a salute from the cinemas canvas that is truly art. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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