Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
There is a certain level of enjoyment you are guaranteed when signing on for a movie that boasts a cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. And that's the precise level of enjoyment you'll get from The Monuments Men — that bare minimum smirk factor inherent the idea that your favorite stars are getting to play together. In FDR-era army helmets, no less. But what we also get from the film is an aura of smug self-confidence from project captain Clooney, who seems all too ready to take for granted that we're perfectly satisfied peering into his backyard clubhouse.
So assured is the director/co-writer that we're happy to be in on the game that there doesn't seem to be any effort taken to refine the product for the benefit of a viewing audience. An introductory speech from art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets up the premise straight away: the Nazis are stealing and destroying all of Europe's paintings and sculptures, and by gum we need to stop them! The concept doesn't complicate from there, save for a batting back and forth of the throughline question about whether the preservation of these pieces is "really worth it." Stokes rallies his own Ocean's Seven on a fine arts rescue mission, instigating an old fashioned go-get-'em-boys montage where we learn everything we need to know about the band mates in question: Damon has a wife, Goodman has gumption, Murray doesn't smile, Bob Balaban is uppity, and Jean Dujardin is French.
The closest thing to a character in The Monuments Men comes in the form of Hugh Bonneville, a recovering alcoholic whose motivation to take on the dangerous mission is planted in a festering desire to absolve himself of a lifetime of f**king up. When we're away from Bonneville, the weight disspears, as does most of the joy. Without identifiable characters, even master funnymen like Goodman, Murray, and Balaban don't have much to offer... especially since the movie's jokes feel like first draft placeholders born on a tired night.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
But wait a minute, is this even supposed to be a comedy? After all, it's about World War II. And no matter what Alexandre Desplat's impossibly merry score would have you believe (coupled with The Lego Movie, this opening weekend might be responsible for more musical jubilance than any other since the days of "Make 'Em Laugh!"), warfare, genocide, and desecration of international culture all make for some pretty heavy material. But The Monuments Men's drama is just as fatigued as its humor, clumsily piecing together a collection of mini missions wherein the stakes, somehow, never seem to jump. We're dragged through military bases, battered towns, and salt mines by Clooney and the gang — occasionally jumping over to France to watch Damon work his least effective magic in years on an uptight Cate Blanchett, who holds the key to the scruffy American's mission but doesn't quite trust him... until, for no apparent reason, she suddenly does. We never feel like any of these people matter, not even to each other, so we never really feel like their adventures do.
The Monuments Men doesn't have much of a challenge ahead of it. Its heroes are movie stars, its bad guys are Nazis, and its message is one that nobody's going to refute: art is important — a maxim it pounds home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, through countless scenes of men staring in awe at the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. And in this easy endeavor, Clooney decides to coast. How could it possibly go wrong? Just grab hold of the fellas, toss 'em in the trenches, and let the laughs and danger write themselves. "This is what they came to see," Monuments Men insists. "Just us guys havin' a ball." But we never feel in on the game, and it isn't one that looks like that much fun anyhow.
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In a perfect world, there'd be an entire television show dedicated to Haley Joel Osment's imitation of Rob McElhenney's character Mac on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But until that day happens, Will Ferrell has, thankfully, realized that the Sixth Sense star has some serious comedic chops and has cast him in his upcoming IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Osment's rep has confirmed the casting news to Hollywood.com.
Osment will star alongside Ferrell (who created the show with his frequent collaborator Adam McKay), Kristen Wiig, and Tobey Maguire in the six-part "adaptation" of the epic saga about the lives of a wealthy oil family the Morehouses over the span of centuries. Osment, now 25-years-old (if you want to let that sink in) will play Wiig's troubled son in the project.
The Spoils of Babylon, which is written by SNL's Andrew Steele and directed Casa de mi Padre's Matt Piedmont, is slated to air on IFC later this year.
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The 127 Hours star, who portrayed Harry Osborn and his alter ego villain Green Goblin in Raimi's trilogy, admits he wasn't a fan of Andrew Garfield's turn as the web-slinging superhero in The Amazing Spider-Man because the the only difference in the plotline was the baddie.
He tells MTV.com, "Eh, I mean, they could have strayed a little bit more from the original. It's like, 'Why?' Well, I guess they made a lot of money. Congrats. But good for them..."
Rhys Ifans played the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man, which raked in a staggering $752 million (£470 million) worldwide.
Webb is planning a second and third installment in the new franchise, which will see actor Dane DeHaan take on the part of Osborn in its upcoming sequel.
Tobey Maguire was cast as the titular superhero in Raimi's series.
Franco and Raimi have since reteamed to work on another big screen project, Oz the Great and Powerful, which is set for release in March (13).
Dunst was given a massive career boost when she landed the role of Mary-Jane Watson in 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man opposite Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging superhero, and she went on to play the part in two more films before stepping away from the franchise.
The film series was re-booted with a new cast in this year's (12) The Amazing Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield in the lead role and Emma Stone playing the superhero's love interest Gwen Stacy.
Mary-Jane will be returning for the next film in the franchise, with The Descendants star Woodley picked to play her, and now Dunst has spoken out to give her opinion on the casting.
She tells MTV.com, "I've met her a few times and we've talked about health foods, we know some of the same people... I think she's a sweetheart and such a good actress. I'm happy. If I had to pick someone, I'm happy she's following in my shoes."
The Chronicle star will take on the role in the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man.
Director Marc Webb confirmed the casting news in a tweet on Monday (03Dec12), writing, "Meet Harry Osborn. @danedehaan" and attaching a photo of the actor.
Franco played Osborn/The Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, opposite Tobey Maguire. Dehaan will star alongside Andrew Garfield. Shailene Woodley will also appear in the latest Spider-Man sequel as Mary Jane Watson and Jamie Foxx has been cast as the villainous Electro.
Remember back before he taught college courses and made films about himself making films whatever kind of nonsense is going on in Francophrenia, James Franco was the humble oddball pal of a New York photographer named Peter Parker? While Franco had his wonderful turn on Freaks and Geeks to his name, it was the Spider-Man trilogy that really launched awareness of the actor. Franco played second banana to Tobey Maguire's Parker as Harry Osborn, the affluent son of Spider-Man's first arch enemy in the series, Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).
When director Marc Webb decided to reboot the Marvel franchise in this year's The Amazing Spider-Man, he shot for the fresh young voices and faces of today: Andrew Garfield as the titular hero and Emma Stone as friend Gwen Stacy. And for the forthcoming second installment in Webb's series, he has announced a new Harry Osborn: 25-year-old Dane DeHaan, recognizable to fans of In Treatment (all two of 'em), religious viewers of True Blood (he had a small arc in Season 4), and this year's underrated found footage sci-fi flick Chronicle. The news was confirmed by Webb, who tweeted the below image of the young actor in character:
Like Franco, DeHaan has got both the traditional good looks and awkward charm of Franco to pull off the Harry we're expecting to see. But how will the actor make this character his own? DeHaan's range is exhibited by looking at his two feature roles in 2012: Lawless and Chronicle. The former, an adventurous period piece, armors DeHaan in a piercing sincerity and innocence, perfect for the early stages of the young Hosborn. But if Chronicle is any indication, we'll be seeing a darker, more tortured character than Franco was able to deliver in the largely fun, accessible Sam Raimi universe.
Whatever happens with DeHaan within the picture, let's hope he doesn't go all loony ten years later and start directing shoe commercials.
[Photo Credit: Twitter]
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Variety reports Shailene Woodley is in negotiations to join Andrew Garfield in director Marc Webb's follow-up to this year's (12) hit blockbuster.
The role has most famously been played on the big screen by Kirsten Dunst, who portrayed Peter Parker's girlfriend Mary Jane in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, starring Tobey Maguire as the webslinger.
The casting news comes on the same day as the cancellation of Woodley's TV drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show will be axed after its upcoming fifth season.
Movie studio bosses at Columbia Pictures previously revealed the summer (12) blockbuster would be given the trilogy treatment, and on Friday (28Sep12) it was announced lead star Garfield will slip back into his red and blue bodysuit to reprise his role as the webslinging superhero for the follow-up.
Webb will return to take charge of the project, which is tentatively scheduled to hit theatres in May, 2014, while Emma Stone is in talks to play Spider-Man/Peter Parker's love interest Gwen Stacy once again.
The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of Sam Raimi's original films, starring Tobey Maguire, smashed U.S. box office records in July (12) by raking in $35 million (£21.9 million) on its opening day.
The action movie has grossed $750 million (£468.75 million) worldwide since its release.
September 20, 2012 10:15am EST
The get-up Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield wore in the Spider-Man films between 2002 and 2012 has beaten out Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man suit in the ScreenRant.com list.
In announcing their winner, website editors state, "They were able to make Spider-man look like he walked straight off the comic book page and onto the screen - and for that reason, Spider-man crawls his way into our number one spot."
In an accompanying Worst Superhero Movie Costumes poll, sports legend Shaquille O'Neal's outfit in 1997's Steel beat out the green get-up Ryan Reynolds wore in The Green Lantern last year (11) for the top spot.
Watch out, Emma Stone: your boyfriend Andrew Garfield has just admitted he has what is possibly the cutest man-crush of all time, and the object of his affection is Ryan Gosling.
On Friday, Tonight Show host Jay Leno asked the new Spidey to clarify what he meant when he said he had a “proper man crush” on the Drive star. Garfield echoed the thoughts of every woman in America when he said, “He's just a dreamboat. It's undebatable. He's just stunning. Not only physically, but in terms of talent — a general sex appeal that he has.”
Is everyone keeping their fingers crossed for Spider-Man 2: Spider-Man Meets The Green Lantern? Take our poll and sound off on this interesting situation in the comments.
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