Tag Archives: John Goodman

The Monuments Men

Director: George Clooney, Main Cast: George ClooneyMatt DamonCate BlanchettBill MurrayJohn GoodmanJean DujardinHugh BonnevilleBob Balaban;


George Clooney as a director has an uneven record, it’s kind of one hit and one miss. This film is, unfortunately, a miss, stellar cast notwithstanding. It is a story set during the last true “good” war: between the ever righteous Americans (with some help from those nice English chaps) and the evil Nazis! It is about a group of men who are not soldiers but art experts (being museum curators, art historians, architects or artists) and whose mission is to rescue artistic masterpieces stolen by the Nazis from museums and churches around Europe and return them to their rightful owners. Strong of a mandate from FDR himself, Frank Stokes (Clooney) puts together a band of unlikely heros to rob three casinos in Las Vegas…oops no, sorry, that was another movie! They arrive in France, not long after D-Day and, with barely any training as soldiers, venture to the front and split in groups trying to reach precious artifacts before the Germans have time to smuggle them away. Naturally, they are too late! Nazis are not only evil but real devils when it comes to organisation and logistics. From this point on, it is a giant treasure hunt through Europe and a race against time, since the prime directive from the Fuhrer is to destroy everything if the Reich falls (and the Germans aren’t doing so well by the end of 1944). Instrumental in helping the Monument Men is Claire Simone (Blanchett), curator of the Jeu De Paume museum in Paris, who kept a detailed record of all the works of art that came to the museum and that were later moved to secret locations by the Germans. She is the most interesting character of the film because she is the only one the audience has the chance to know a little better, the others are just one-dimensional cardboard silhouettes, devoid of any character development, which is a great flaw in a movie that is supposed to be about these happy few men who chose to risk their lives for what they believed in. Yes, yes, the message is very uplifting (prevent the destruction of centuries of culture and history and save what really makes us human) but the delivery is rather clumsy. There are a few funny one-liners, some banter and witticism in a “brotherhood of men” kind of way, but it all feels flat and without pathos. It is not enough to cast Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Matt Damon, if the script is uneven, lacking a clear direction and credibility (none of these men of culture is fluent in a foreign language or two, really?!? Damon’s character pitiful attempt at speaking French doesn’t count!). It is a pity because this movie could have been quite something considering the cast. Unsatisfying and ineffective —5/10


Filed under Seen at the cinema

Inside Llewyn Davis

Directors:  Ethan CoenJoel Coen, Main Cast: Oscar IsaacCarey MulliganJohn GoodmanJustin TimberlakeGarrett Hedlund

I’m quite partial to movies about music and I just love the Coen brothers, so this film had all the premises for a great treat. It doesn’t disappoint at all: it tells the story of a down-on-luck folk musician, Llewyn Davis, in New York, in the sixties. We follow him around for a few days while he tries to make a living with his music and everything that can go wrong does. He’s so broke that he sleeps on the couch of friends and acquaintances, he makes a mess or find himself in one at every turn, even when he finally decides to give up and go back to a regular job. Lot of humor, sometimes dark humor as it is the Coens’ wont, few memorable secondary characters (e.g. Johnny Five and Roland Turner) and a bittersweet story with a pretty darn good soundtrack. Impressive. —8.5/10

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Monsters University

Director:  Dan Scanlon, Main Cast:  Billy CrystalJohn GoodmanSteve BuscemiHelen Mirren;


How Mike and Sulley became the best scarer team at Monsters Inc.? Well, this prequel tells you how it happened. This time the focus is more on Mike, who grows up with a dream: be the best scarer ever! To do that he enrolls at MU and there meets Sulley, who comes from a long line of scarers and behaves like a jerk. We get the college experience with monster flavour, including the underdog team of outsiders (the OK fraternity). The duo is not yet what we are used to. They get into troubles, they try hard and, after failing in school, they find themselves and each other.Plenty of humor and flawless animation, nice to hear again Crystal and Goodman as the main characters and Helen Mirren is a great addition. Fun to watch and a positive manifesto for dropouts. —7/10

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Filed under Animation, Seen at home