George Clooney’s ‘Monuments Men’ Losing War With Film Critics

Monuments Men

Even George Clooney can run out of luck.

The man with the Midas touch when it comes to writing, directing, producing or starring in films could be hitting a rare rough patch with critics, as early reviews are looking negative for “The Monuments Men,” which he directed and stars in. The film opens Feb. 7.

The Sony/Fox co-production centers on a WWII platoon charged with rescuing art masterpieces from Nazi thieves. Despite a high-profile cast including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman, “Monuments Men” has only two positive reviews so far on Rotten Tomatoes.

Variety chief film critic Scott Foundas called the film “exceedingly dull and dreary.” Recognizing Clooney’s potential and capability, Foundas also added that “the movie never really springs to life, and that’s a particular disappointment coming from Clooney, who’s smart and tasteful and one of the only people in today’s Hollywood who could get a project like ‘The Monuments Men’ off the ground in the first place.”

Indiewire’s Drew Taylor called the movie “an unwieldy, overtly sentimental (but still emotionally distant) epic” and also pointed out that “despite its title, it’s tragically short on momentum and instead spirals out into a series of rambling, uninvolving subplots.”

Some have suggested that the length and format may be the issue. “Maybe ‘Monuments Men’ would have been better suited as a cable miniseries,” IGN’s Jim Vejvoda noted.

The delay of the film’s release date (originally scheduled for Dec. 18) has been a topic of discussion and speculation. When the film was first pushed back to a 2014 release, Clooney told the L.A. Times that the delay was due to visual effects work that could not be completed in time. As a result, “Monuments Men” wasn’t eligible to compete in the Oscar race.

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  1. required says:

    One of the worst movies Ive ever seen.

  2. Dunkin says:

    Big disappointment! I expected it because almost every time an actor tries to direct this happens. The directing and writing was awful and the film just couldn’t engage the audience. There were about three humorous moments and I did wake up for those. They should have stuck to more comedy, which might have saved this wasted effort. I believe that with a bit of re-writing and a seasoned “DIRECTOR”, the film could have been a mega hit.

  3. Sandra Enid Pagán Díaz says:

    I have seen the Monuments Men trailer and it doesn’t seem ” dull or dreary” at all. Maybe I’m
    not a renowned film critic but Argo was good, Gravity was good , so why this movie is not
    good to some people. Only to give some despotic names to a movie doesn’t make you a
    good movie critic . So I’m going to see this movie.

  4. Grace says:

    Comments are moderated, so you’re endorsing the illegal download site posted here?

  5. claudia says:

    I am actually looking forward to it.clooney may not have a recognizable “style” yet,but he has a clue when it comes about choosing stories almost noone knows .plus those critics are the same that said that wolf of w.s was a good movie so go figure

  6. Chris says:

    Instead of making a fictitious British officer they should have used the real life story of Ronald Balfour, an actual Monuments man that died in the war defending art from destruction. Too bad it did not fit the stereotypical Hollywood formula so they went with a fake guy. England is not happy with this disrespect.

  7. Digeridoo says:

    Send it to Soderbergh for an emergency re-edit.

  8. Mac Breck says:

    I probably won’t get the chance to see this movie in the theaters (I prefer waiting for the DVD these days due to convenience, use of remote, no annoying distractions, etc.), but from the trailer, it looks good and I’ll probably rent it (Netflix), and then buy it on DVD if it’s as good as it looks in the trailer.

  9. Mac Breck says:

    Re. “Midas touch? Goodness gracious Hollywood is truly an upside down bizzarro world of anti-reality.

    Flop after flop after flop is all this career has been the past two decade and the one film that did well at the box office recently, Gravity, he’s only a supporting actor in.”

    FWIW, I’m also in the Pgh PA area, but haven’t been keeping track of how well George Clooney’s movies have been doing in the box office over the last 20 years. I have better things to do. However, having him associated with a movie is NOT a movie turn off for me. He seems like a reasonably good actor to me. Ditto for Matt Damon and oft-ridiculed actor (unjustly, IMHO), Nicolas Cage.

    From the trailer, “Gravity” didn’t appear to have enough material to fill a movie without there being a lot of padding. I ~may~ rent it (Netflix), but my expectations are extremely low.

    Re. “The surest bet you can make in Hollywood today is that if Matt Damon or George Clooney is the start of a film it’ll crash and burn at the box office and if you are fool enough to put Damon AND Clooney in the same film it’s an instant straight to video candidate.”

    I think you meant to say Ben Affleck. If Clooney or Damon or Cage are in a film, and it looks good from the trailer, I’ll check it out if I can get to the theater, or WILL either rent it (Netflix) or buy it on DVD. If Affleck is associated with it, there’s a 99% chance I won’t even rent it.

  10. PaulInPgh says:

    Midas touch? Goodness gracious Hollywood is truly an upside down bizzarro world of anti-reality.

    Flop after flop after flop is all this career has been the past two decade and the one film that did well at the box office recently, Gravity, he’s only a supporting actor in.

    The surest bet you can make in Hollywood today is that if Matt Damon or George Clooney is the start of a film it’ll crash and burn at the box office and if you are fool enough to put Damon AND Clooney in the same film it’s an instant straight to video candidate.

  11. Jen says:

    I like how you say “Hollywood choose” like we all go into a huge boardroom and decide what films we’re going to make and who will be in what. There are 6 majors, around 9 mini-majors, and numerous independents. George Clooney, along with the producers, and execs at Fox 2000 Pictures, Smokehouse Pictures, Studio Babelsberg choose who will be in this film. It’s a small subset of “Hollywood”.

    And it’s pretty obvious that George choose to work with friends (Matt Damon) and people he admires (Dujardin). And it seems that everyone forgot “Leatherheads” that he directed/produced/starred/wrote(uncredited) which also bombed and he seems to be doing fine after that.

    And I don’t really like/hate George, but he did get “Argo” off the ground, so I think he will always have a spot when it comes to producing.

  12. Shut Up Twat says:

    He is a mediocre talent at best.

  13. Larry Fine says:

    Hall of Lame Actors at top of the list:
    Ashton Kootcher
    George KLoony
    Adumb Sandler
    Tory Smelling

  14. Doobie says:

    Only geezers >85 listen to “critics” anymore. Everyone else knows how useless these dinosaur critics are now with the internet/chat/word of mouth.

  15. Kess says:

    Cant wait to see it… if the critics are panning it, You KNOW its going to be good!

  16. maxsnafu says:

    Another NAZI movie??? yawn zzzzzzzzz

  17. Clooney is one of the worst actors in the history of cinema, on par with Val Kilmer and Owen Wilson.

  18. The Train,with Burt Lancaster and Papa Bull is the real masterpiece.

  19. Rich says:

    Clooney got his break through pedigree and looks. He’s not a bad actor as I liked him in “O’ Brother…” and “The American”. But, OTOH he’s not a great actor. As his looks fade and he appears in a few duds like this one, we’ll see if he continues to be as influential as he has been up until now.

    • JoshuaF says:

      Uh, yeah, sure. Go watch The Descendants and then try to write this same drivel. Clooney is a very good actor. Also, why bother to write such a withering and negative missive about someone you don’t know, and something -acting for film and what constitutes good acting- you clearly know nothing about?

  20. Joebob Hardy says:

    After seeing the trailer in a theatre, I’d rather watch paint dry.

  21. Frank Lee says:

    These are not bikers. They are thugs who use motorcycles and 4-wheelers so they can elude the police. Calling them bikers is an insult to real motorcycle riders everywhere.

  22. Kim says:

    I saw previews and the actual costumes and film looked odd to me….very unrealistic

  23. carlb says:

    usually i always go against critics. but in this case i will.i had never planned to go and this just seals the deal for allot of others also!

  24. Jepper99 says:

    Clooney is the worst actor ever! who would spend any money to see anything he appears in.

  25. Roger says:

    It’s a tough sell. In reality the group was underfunded, under-recognized and had way too large an operational directive. And given that today’s under forty crowd doesn’t even know what WWII was about or who Hitler was there may not be much interest in a film that isn’t excessively violent, sexual or profane… and besides, one would imagine that the Swiss don’t want this to succeed ;^)

    • John Barnett says:

      You mentioned that the younger generation doesn’t even know about Hitler or WWII, if they did they would understand why our country is in the toliet and they would look at Hitler and say, gee, he’s a lot like the guy in the White House now.

      • potatogirl says:

        Contrary to right-wing belief, a lot of us under forties DO know exactly who Hitler was and what he did. I didn’t know Obama was trying to take over Europe establishing a single race, or killing the Jews again. I must’ve missed the conference when he declared war on the world. Funny.

  26. It is an entertainment movie…The critics need to get ovet themselves….Such schmucks.

  27. DennisDee says:

    Clooney is just not that good. Best part of Gravity is when he floated into deep space.

  28. Right, so blame Clooney for the finished product. Out of the hundreds of people who were involved with this project Clooney is to blame if it flops.

    • eburke93 says:

      Josephus, I believe you are incorrect in your thinking. Mr. Clooney directed it right? He was the boss of the project so to speak. If it was a smashing success he would get a lot of the praise. If it’s a flop, why not the criticism? Mixing the roles of star and producer in one film seems to me risky business. It indicates a little too much ego for my taste.

  29. tb says:

    has been clooney is past his movie days.. maybe rosanne will start up again and help ego poor guy out.

  30. filmsharks says:

    Come on guys… you know the drill. Don’t expect to be educated on world history through cinema. Movie making has always distorted historical facts for dramatic effect.

  31. Rob says:

    Such is war.

  32. Ben Dover says:

    Nazi stolen art was hidden in caves, tunnels, cathedrals to be plundered by their henchmen after the war. Just last month the son of a Nazi war criminal was found to have thousands of art treasures plundered by the criminals from Jewish homes. He’d been selling them for decades out of his Munich apartments.

    • Miasmo M. Miasmo says:

      But they weren’t destroying them, were they?

    • Rich says:

      Ben, who is rewriting history now? YES, hollywood is almost as unreliable as CNN for communicating factual information.
      But you forget, (or swept under the rug) the fact that the wermacht and SS stole the art from all over Europes non-German cities BEFORE the allied bombing took place.
      And by the way, the NERVE of the allies for bombing a militaristic society while they are bombing us….and killing 6 million in camps….and killing everyone in many towns and villages as they went….Europe, North Africa, North Atlantic…

    • Dept.ofPropaganda says:

      Hey try your Nazi BS on some gullible person not me. Verstehen !

  33. See the Rape of Europa, great documentary on the subject.

    • Hubie337 says:

      LOL, the book “Other Losses” was a farce. Written by a guy with no previous historical research or writing experience and who conveniently ignored contradicting evidence to push his agenda.

  34. ernaldo says:

    Maybe many are ignoring King George, actually boycotting his films….like I am.

  35. Bill says:

    How come no one has compared this movie to Frankenheimer’s “The Train” starring Burt Lancaster covering the same subject matter from the French point of view? Terrific film from the mid sixties that was the last great widescreen black and white movie

  36. Berke Zane says:

    Film looks like it was a vehicle for pals to get dressed up in cool outfits and hang out together. None of these characters looked believable and the material needed to be a component of a bigger plot if anything. Or maybe it was eager financing to get in bed with this overbaked crowd.

    • Hubie337 says:

      Yeah and Clooney, at 52 is really close to the average age of an Army Major during that time frame, which was around 32 years old. Those of us that have served just laugh when we see a guy way too old to be in uniform pretending to be G.I. Joe in a movie.

      • potatogirl says:

        I think you’re really the only one that laughs. Others who have served don’t really care. After all, it’s just a movie. If you really care that much to laugh at an actor, either you’re jealous, or you really need help.

  37. Su Yu says:

    Not another Nazi film!……..Mr Clooney, Aren’t you aware that we’re in a temporary lull in Nazi movie popularity,…the trend currently is ‘Slave’ movies….they alternate….endlessly.

  38. boltuprite says:

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie because it is an interesting story that should be told. I just hope it hasn’t been turned into “The Artsy Dozen”, and that the critics are mistaken. I don’t particularly like Clooney et al, but I applaud him for at least making the effort to bring the story before the public.

  39. Unlike Percy Helton, not a one of those pseudo-heroes in the film served in the military and wasn’t it Clooney that mocked Charleton Heston and his disease when Heston was suffering from Alzheimers, Heston who really served in World War II and who supported and marched with Martin Luther King.

    Clooney is a self important punk

  40. Bob says:

    Did CNN close the comments early tonight?

  41. albert8184 says:

    I’m sure Hollywood will be glad when all the WW2 generation finally die off. That way they can get to work on a whole new generation of war movies that villify our participation.

  42. Datt Mamon says:


  43. Donald says:

    In reading all of the comments on this story I’m most shocked to learn that so many ignorant, inbred, hillbillies read Variety.

  44. Greg says:

    It’s a movie about inventory control. Even that cast can’t make inventory control into an exciting movie.

  45. Nel Tor says:


  46. Otis Campbell says:

    Clooney and Damon have been in a terd swirl for quite some time. This should be the last flush.

  47. Col. Angus says:

    I figured this would stink as soon as I saw the cast. ” Ocean’s Whatever Go To War And Save Some Art Treasures”!

    It’s a shame because it’s a wonderful and important story.

  48. Otis Campbell says:

    A 61 year old 350 lb soldier is a real stretch. Just would never happen.

    • Hubie337 says:

      Yeah, it is laughable that people actually believe something like that would happen.

      • potatogirl says:

        It’s not that people “actually believe something like that would happen,” it’s that it’s just a movie. The right wing cares too much about things they claim to not care about.

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