Station Update – The Monuments Men (2014, George Clooney)

A throwback to star studded guys on a mission war movies like The Dirty Dozen (67, Aldrich) and Kelly’s Heroes (70 Brian G. Hutton) George Clooney’s Monuments Men tells the true story of a group of veteran soldiers dedicated to hunting down missing works of art during WWII. Based on the book ‘The Monuments Men’ by Robert M. Edsel the film focuses on a disparate collection of middle-aged museum curators and art historians brought together during the last year of the War to recover rare artworks. The Monuments Men would eventually recover five million artefacts from the ruins of wartime Europeincluding pieces by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, & Vermeer. Star/director George Clooney has assembled an impressive cast led by Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, The Artist star Jean Dujardin, & Britain’s own Hugh Bonneville for this entertaining tribute to a group of unsung heroes.
 George Clooney – Director Profile
Nobody would have pegged George Clooney as a potential movie star back in the Eighties. Sporting an unflattering mullet hairstyle which obscured his good looks and emphasised instead his slightly goofy smile the young Clooney usually appeared in sitcoms like the Different Strokes spin-off The Facts of Life and the first season of Rosanne though he did make a rare movie appearance in Return of the Killer Tomatoes (88, John De Bello). A decent haircut and playing Dr Doug Ross in ER changed all this making Clooney a household name and leading to opportunities in Hollywood. Since then Clooney has built an impressive CV combining mainstream fare with more eclectic films. Less keen to play the clown despite his easy charm and adept comic timing Clooney is an increasingly statesmanlike figure these days heavily involved in political causes.
In 2002 Clooney directed his first film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind based on the autobiography of American game show host Chuck Barris. Though known for presenting trashy TV shows like The Dating Game Barris made outlandish claims about being a hired killer for the CIA in his biography. Bizarrely nobody has ever managed to disprove his claims and Clooney’s film retains this ambiguity. Clooney’s father worked in television as a news anchor and journalist and the film has an insider’s knowledge and affection for the medium. As does Goodnight and Good Luck (05) set against the backdrop of the McCarthy hearings in 1953 as a journalist defies government policy and risks being jailed as a Communist. Less successful was Leathernecks (08), an attempt to recreate the classic screwball comedies of the 30’s which continued the long tradition of films about American football bombing at the box-office. 

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