I had huge expectations for THE MONUMENTS MEN based on a bunch of elements. George Clooney co-wrote and directed it. The cast is great. It’s about a little known history of World War II. I guess I learned not to raise my hopes. It’s not that this is a bad movie. it has some very interesting parts. A couple of scenes featuring Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon are quite good. It just feels kind of thrown together. The story is about seven art historians/collectors/architects/sculptors who are tasked with saving the cultural treasures of Europe from the Nazis. Clooney leads this band of non-soldiers as they race to the front to carry out their mission. See, the potential for a good story is there. But, it never all comes together. It never drew me in. It’s not that I didn’t care. The subject matter makes you care by default. I just never felt involved. I mean you’ve got Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Clooney, Damon and Blanchett. Each has a unique voice in film. Those voices are silenced here. Anyone could have played these roles. There’s nothing special or unique. Even reveals about what the Nazis did to the Jews and their possessions are passionless statements of fact. And the score comes in a little too brightly at the exact wrong time, distracting what should be heavy scenes and making them feel lighter. An interesting lesson in history, but frankly I’d rather read about it in the book the movie was based on. THE MONUMENTS MEN are less interesting than the art they are chasing. Too bad, because this should have been much better. — Alan Yudman

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