Fine art gets a fine tribute
In “The Monuments Men,” writer-director George Clooney looks to the grammar of World War II thrillers, caper comedies and standard sentimental uplift to tell the story of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, wherein a group of art historians, architects and artists sought to save and preserve artworks looted by the Nazis during the war.
Rather than a ragtag team of misfits and rejects, these were gentlemen and scholars tasked with preventing Adolf Hitler from amassing the masterpieces of Western art for his planned Fuhrer Museum. As the war came to a close, their mission shifted to saving those works from destruction — or confiscation by the Soviet army, which intended to abscond with them as early reparations.
It’s a pip of a story, and Clooney cuts a dashing, Gable-esque figure as the group’s leader, Frank Stokes (based on real-life Monuments Man George Stout), who rounds up a group of bookish, out-of-shape academics and professionals, sends them to basic training and sets them loose amid the wreckage of Normandy, St. Lo and the Bulge.
Extras on the DVD (Sony, $31) include two behind-the-scenes featurettes. The Blu-ray ($41) adds deleted scenes and two more featurettes.
Colin Covert says: This isn’t a flippant WWII “Ocean’s Fourteen.” Although George Clooney is leading an all-star crew through a daring heist, “The Monuments Men” is a sturdy, old-school, big-scale Greatest Generation war movie. It’s great escapism.
Also out Tuesday: “About Last Night,” “Call the Midwife” (Season 3), “Pompeii,” “3 Days to Kill,” “Vampire Academy.”
Top 10 Wii U games
1. “Mario Kart 8” • 2. “Child of Light” • 3. “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze” • 4. “Super Mario 3D World” • 5. “CastleStorm” • 6. “Lego the Movie Videogame” • 7. “Dr. Luigi” • 8. “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” • 9. “Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut” • 10. “Lego Marvel Super Heroes.”