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The Monuments Men(Hollywood film about Lincoln Kirstein et. al.)


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#1 Natalia

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:35 AM

Coming soon to a movie theatre near you:

 

http://www.movieinsi...-monuments-men/

 

Actor Paul Giamatti is Lincoln Kirstein, one of the main characters in the film.



#2 California

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:46 AM

I would also highly recommend the book. I was thrilled when I heard that George Clooney had optioned it for a film.

http://www.amazon.co...&qid=1385570683

(And, as always, if you buy it, be sure to go through the Amazon box on this site.)

#3 sandik

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:55 AM

Oh golly -- I saw a preview of this a few months ago that looked very interesting, but didn't realize that the Giamatti character was Kirstein.



#4 abatt

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

Not a good sign that they moved the US release date from awards season (Dec 2013) into Feb 2014.  Jan/Feb is usually known in the industry as the time when studios dump bad movies into theaters.  However, I find it hard to believe that a movie starring Clooney and Blanchett could be bad, so I'll wait and see how the reviews are.



#5 pherank

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 01:29 PM

Having read two of Edsel's books, "The Monuments Men" and "Rescuing Da Vinci", I would say that Clooney was an obvious casting choice. We must simply hope that the the script treatment is decent. It's always depressing when an interesting subject is simply ruined by uncaring, greedy studio bosses and hacks.

 

But I hope for the best - it's a big story with a lot of room for drama.



#6 sandik

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:49 PM

The trailer I saw had a fair share of snappy dialogue, as well as some skulking around -- it certainly looked like I'd want to see it.



#7 pherank

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 03:39 PM

The trailer I saw had a fair share of snappy dialogue, as well as some skulking around -- it certainly looked like I'd want to see it.

 

I take that as a good sign, Sandik, since most trailers make everything look simply ridiculous.  ;)

 

I'm guessing Blanchett is tackling the role of Rose Valland whom she in no way physically/culturally/emotionally resembles, and so it will be a great acting challenge.



#8 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:12 PM

FANTASTIC news!!

IT's such a thrilling story --

 

Martin Duberman tells it very well, also, in his great bio of Kirstein [which is one of the best biographies I've ever read  about anybody anywhere].



#9 dirac

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:49 PM

Not a good sign that they moved the US release date from awards season (Dec 2013) into Feb 2014.  Jan/Feb is usually known in the industry as the time when studios dump bad movies into theaters.  However, I find it hard to believe that a movie starring Clooney and Blanchett could be bad, so I'll wait and see how the reviews are.

 

Indeed, since the subject of the movie is obvious Oscar bait. Giamatti as Kirstein is somebody's bad idea, I hope the movie doesn't have too many of them.

 

Thanks for posting the information, Natalia, I hadn't heard.



#10 pherank

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 09:12 PM

 

Not a good sign that they moved the US release date from awards season (Dec 2013) into Feb 2014.  Jan/Feb is usually known in the industry as the time when studios dump bad movies into theaters.  However, I find it hard to believe that a movie starring Clooney and Blanchett could be bad, so I'll wait and see how the reviews are.

 

Indeed, since the subject of the movie is obvious Oscar bait. Giamatti as Kirstein is somebody's bad idea, I hope the movie doesn't have too many of them.

 

 

Agreed - Only someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman could (maybe) pull off that kind of transformation of self. But safer to go with a large actor who looks like Kirsten to begin with. Hmmmm, Who would that be?

 

Know any actor that looks like this?

http://0.tqn.com/d/a...rstein-1930.jpg



#11 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 12:41 PM

The movie is out. Turns out Kirstein never made it into the movie - he's subsumed into a 'composite" character played by Bob Balaban. The reviews I've seen are mixed-to-negative, but if you're interested in the subject matter it sounds worth checking out.



#12 pherank

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:10 PM

The movie is out. Turns out Kirstein never made it into the movie - he's subsumed into a 'composite" character played by Bob Balaban. The reviews I've seen are mixed-to-negative, but if you're interested in the subject matter it sounds worth checking out.

 

I may still go and see the film in theatres (because I'm a glutton for punishment), but most of what I've read about the film makes me cringe. How could Rose Valland not even figure into this "treatement"? Sounds like all the characters are 'composites' of personalities and experiences. The Monuments Men and Women story really lends itself to a series/episodic apporach - anyone at HBO hearing this?

 

This does seem to reinforce the Hollywood rule that only inconsequential flops are released in the dead of winter, after the new year.



#13 California

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:08 PM

To its credit, the National Geographic Channel broadcast a wonderful documentary last week. I don't know when/if it will be rebroadcast, but it tells the story very nicely: 

 

http://channel.natio...vision-2077987/

 

In Clooney's film, the Cate Blanchett character is derived from Valland. As there was only one of her (no need for a composite), it's odd they changed her name for the film.

 

I would also recommend Edsel's book on this. http://www.amazon.co...ds=robert edsel

 

I haven't seen the film yet, but plan to, despite all these negative reviews and comments. 



#14 sandik

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:21 PM

I saw it this weekend, and I'm afraid that the reviews are fair -- it's not a terrible film by any measure, but it's certainly not as compelling as most of Clooney's personal projects. 

 

The difficulty with composite characters is that they can have a certain gloss -- we are all a collection of our attributes, but in this case the attributes are selected, and they don't always add up to a real, flawed human being.

 

I cannot remember which critic observed that by sending the men out in pairs to pursue different leads the film becomes a series of vignettes, more or less engaging, but not hanging together as an overall narrative.  It may indeed be the case that they worked in two-person teams, but what might have been effective detective work doesn't become compelling storytelling here.  Clooney has a number of speeches through the film that attempt to stitch things together, but again, they feel more contrived than historical.

 

Overall, the film feels very much like one of the formula WWII films made in the decade after the war, where stock characters ran through a series of predictable challenges to an obvious conclusion.  The fact that the characters here are drawn from a real group of people and that the tasks they are pursuing were involved in saving our cultural heritage makes the film interesting to me, but, alas, not likely to engage people who aren't already enthusiasts.

 

I'm still thrilled with the idea of art historians being shown as heroes, and raising the profile of their work -- I just wish it had been a better film.

 

Unhappily, it reminded me of the satirical descriptions that Robert Altman used in MASH -- the 'films' that were supposed to be shown in camp.  From IMDB:

 

P.A. Announcer: "So big, only the biggest of the screen can bring it to you all. Technicolor. Tell it to the Marines, those loveable lugs with wonderful mugs so we now love more than ever. Tell'em they're still the greatest guys in the world." Follow Lieutenant, Punchy, Limey, Babyface, Doc, The Poet, Pretty Boy and Slattery through some of the most interesting war films yet created.

 

P.A. Announcer: Attention. Attention. Friday night's movie will be The Glory Brigade. Rock'em sock'em kisses you never got. It's Uncle Sam's combat engineers charging side by side with Greek hand bags. Showing the world a new way to fight as they use bulldozers like bazookas, bayonnets like bazook - bullets. Starring Victor Mature. That is all.

 

P.A. Announcer: Attention. Attention. May I have the camps' attention? This week's movie will be When Willie Comes Marching Home. Uh... The biggest parade of laughs of World War II. All the love, laughs and escapades of the Willies who came marching home. This film stars Dan Dailey, Corinne Calvet, and Colleen Townsend.



#15 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:55 PM

Composite characters can work successfully - sometimes they're essential when telling a story involving a large group of real people, because trying to fit everyone in can diffuse the drama, making it hard for viewers not already familiar with the personalities and the outline of the tale to remember who's who. They just shouldn't be stock composite characters.

 

This does seem to reinforce the Hollywood rule that only inconsequential flops are released in the dead of winter, after the new year.

 

 

 In fairness they're not always terrible movies, just ones unsuited suited for release during Oscar season, when the competition among new releases is very tight. In the case of "The Monuments Men" the story was that they wanted to polish something that was already in splendid shape, but given the mixed critical reception, perhaps there were problems that needed fixing.




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