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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"They called and asked me to be Spanky the Dog in the Garfield movie and I said, 'No, I don't wanna do that'. And they said, 'Oh, Bill Murray's Garfield,' and I was like, 'Oh, then I definitely wanna do it'. So, I wound up doing a movie that I didn't want to do because you didn't know you were doing that movie... I never actually saw it." Comedian and chat show host Jimmy Kimmel signed on as the voice Garfield's pal after learning Murray was onboard the project. Murray recently confessed he agreed to be in the films because he thought the Coen Brothers were behind them. The screenplay for the 2004 movie and its sequel were actually written by Joel Cohen.
The cast of George Clooney's new film The Monuments Men proved they can take criticism during a recent appearance on U.S. late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! by agreeing to read foul and obnoxious tweets about themselves. Clooney, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman took the comments on the chin, while Matt Damon - the butt of comic Kimmel's jokes for many years - read out a tweet from the host himself.
Clooney kicked off the Mean Tweets segment, which aired on Thursday night's (06Feb14) show, by reading out comments posted by @seauxphie: "I'm very much looking forward to the day when the world stops sucking George Clooney's t**t. Lumpy faced b**tard."
The movie star responded: "F**k you, Seauxphie."
Goodman read a tweet from @sweet-toof, which suggested the butter film fans put on popcorn is made from his "ball sweat", and Blanchett turned on her Twitter critic, who wrote, "Can people stop saying Cate Blanchett is beautiful? Cate Blanchett is f**kin gross dude," stating, "That's the worst you can do?"
Murray was actually tickled by his tweet enemy, who wrote, "I find Bill Murray not funny. I was glad he got shot in Zombieland." The chuckling actor responded, "That's pretty good".
And I Bought a Zoo star Damon ended the segment by reading out Kimmel's tweet as the host stood behind him. It read: "Too bad they don't give an Oscar for blowing a** because Matt Damon would win every year. Go and buy another zoo and live in it, Bourne I-d**khead."
Matt Damon has taped a humiliating return to U.S. late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! with his The Monuments Men castmates, a year after he took over the show and tied the host to a chair. The movie star famously gagged and bound comedian Kimmel, who has poked fun at Damon on the show for years, when he took control of the programme on 23 January, 2013 and chatted to the likes of Sheryl Crow, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Gary Oldman, Amy Adams, Reese Witherspoon and Demi Moore as Kimmel watched on.
The Bourne Identity star's return to the show will air on Thursday night (06Feb14) and a leaked photo from the set suggests Kimmel hasn't forgiven his pal - Damon is featured at the very end of the row of his castmates, seated in a baby chair.
George Clooney, who convinced Damon he was gaining weight on the set of the film by bribing wardrobe assistants to tighten his pants, also appears on the show with The Monuments Men co-stars Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban and Cate Blanchett.
Eccentric actor Bill Murray has become an unannounced regular at George Clooney's villa in Lake Como, Italy after the pair bonded on the set of Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Ocean's Eleven star got along with the entire cast of Wes Anderson's stop-motion animation film in 2009 and invited them all to spend a summer with him at his Italian home.
However, Murray has since become a regular visitor, dropping in on Clooney whenever he feels the need for a European vacation.
Clooney explains, "We'd met a few times before but we really started spending time together after the Fantastic Mr. Fox... The whole cast came out, and then after that, Bill would just call me.
"I'd be in Italy, and I'd get a call - I hadn't talked to Bill in like, two or three months - and I get a call and he'll just be like, 'I'm here!' I'd be like, 'Where?' He'd say, 'At the airport in Milan' and I'd go, 'Oh OK, come on over!' He'd come over and we'd sit and watch TV and play basketball for a couple of weeks and then he'd say, 'OK, see you later!'"
Clooney and Murray have since reteamed for World War II movie The Monuments Men.
Director Wes Anderson makes his actors repeat every scene almost 20 times in a bid to get the perfect take, according to British star Ralph Fiennes. The Harry Potter regular was directed by Anderson for upcoming comedy-drama The Grand Budapest Hotel and admits the filming process was a challenge because The Royal Tenenbaums filmmaker had such specific ideas.
Fiennes tells Time Out London magazine, "He's very, very precise. He's very encouraging but insistent on exhausting the hell out of a moment of speech. Which I love, because you feel you've tried everything. We often went for at least 10 takes. Possible 15, 16. Again, again, again.
"He's written the script, so he has a very acute sense of what he wants in terms of tone, timing, rhythm, speed. He'd already done a moving storyboard of most of the film and recorded all the lines himself."
The Grand Budapest Hotel will be released in March (14) and also features Bill Murray, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan and Tilda Swinton.
Actor Bill Murray appeared to have suffered a painful mishap on Tuesday (04Feb14) when he attended a red carpet event with blood on his scalp. The Groundhog Day star was posing for snappers in New York at the world premiere of his new World War II drama The Monuments Men when onlookers noticed the injury.
Murray was sporting a wide patch of blood on his crown which was clearly visible as he turned his back to head into the cinema venue.
It is not known how the cut was caused.
Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch put his sleuthing skills to the test when he appeared in a video with Sesame Street's puppets on the PBS YouTube channel. The British actor - who plays famous detective Sherlock Holmes in the U.K. TV show - was given a puzzle by Sesame Street character Murray, dubbed 'Murray-arty', but he had to enlist the help of Count von Count after finding it too challenging.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Bill Murray must have taken a lot of phone calls as of late. The actor, who has famously done away with the standard Hollywood agent model, and instead created a 1-800 number where people can call and pitch their scripts to an answering machine, has a ton of projects lined up for 2014. From another adventure with Wes Anderson, to a secretive Cameron Crowe fantasy film, and even a television show, the actor has certainly kept himself busy. Here's the list of Murray's projects that are scheduled to come out in 2014, and the reasons we're excited about them.
The Grand Budapest HotelPlot: Ralph Fiennes plays a concierge who is framed for the muder of an elderly guest at his hotel.Why We Want to See It? - It's another chapter in the classic Wes Anderson/Bill Murray teamup - This movie somehow looks more...Wes Anderson-y than Moonrise Kingdom. - The cast offers a ton of great actors for Murray to bounce off of.
Olive KitteredgePlot: In this upcoming HBO miniseries, Frances McDormand plays a school teacher living in a costal Maine town filled with secrets.Why We Want to See It? - Bill Murray has never done a TV show so this is huge. It's a weekly dose of Bill Murray. - It's based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. - The cast includes McDormand, who had great chemistry with Murray in Moonrise Kingdom.
The Monuments MenPlot: A group of unlikely soldiers must rescue priceless pieces art from the Nazis before they are destroyed, and return them to their owners.Why We Want to See It? - It's Bill Murray vs. Nazis - It's like a mini Ocean's Eleven reunion, and Bill Murray decided to crash the party and no one bothered to stop him. - This is the closest you're going to get to a Bill Murray action movie so soak it up.
St. Vincent de Van NuysPlot: In this dramedy, Murray plays a grumpy misanthropic retiree who befriends a 12 year old boy.Why We Want to See It? - The cast is full of great comedians - Bill Murray plays a character named St. Vincent de Van Nuys and that's just ridiculous - The actor gets to play cranky and cantankerous old person, which is always something he does well.
Cameron Crowe's Comedy ProjectPlot: Bradley Cooper plays a defense contractor who's assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite in Hawaii , but he falls for an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) and decides to stop the launch of the satellite with the help of mystical forces.Why We Want to See It? - Because of the mystery. Cameron Crowe is keeping his cards close to his chest on this one, so we cant wait to see how it all unfolds. - Emma Stone and Bill Murray already shared some screen time in 2009's Zombieland. - What little of a plot summary we have sounds completely insane.
Australian actress Margot Robbie has donated a cash prize to charity after she won a bizarre radio competition in New Zealand. The Wolf of Wall Street star is currently shooting a new movie in the country and presenters at local radio station The Edge launched a contest offering $1,000NZD ($792/£495) to anyone who could convince the actress to call in.
Movie producer Murray Francis, who is working with Robbie on sci-fi film Z for Zachariah, phoned in to claim the prize with the star, who decided to donate the cash to local charities including the Port Levy volunteer fire brigade.
Robbie told the station she was overwhelmed with requests after the competition was launched, saying, "I was getting text messages, the crew members were coming up on set and telling me about it, I was getting tweets. I was inundated with requests.
"Everyone wants the 1,000 bucks. But I have decided to claim the 1,000 bucks myself... and as much as I'd like to donate it to crew drinks this weekend, I would like to instead give it to the Port Levy volunteer fire brigade and the local marae (Maori tribal meeting place)."