Ah…George Clooney. Allow me to man-crush swoon for a second….’The Descendants‘…ooooo…’Up in the Air‘…ahhhh…Gravity…okay, okay. That’s enough, or my wife might get suspicious. Anyway, Clooney is a classic Hollywood star, but beyond that, he’s a gifted artist with a specific vision – and better yet, the talent to realize it.
As an actor, he holds his Oscar. As someone behind the scenes, he has another (as producer of ‘Argo’) and has directed at least two terrific films (yes, I love ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ and ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,’ but ‘Leatherheads’ was ruined by Renee Zellweger and the less said about the cliched ‘Ides of March’ the better). Now he’s back again in the Academy hunt with ‘The Monuments Men,’ a World War II film about the Allies campaign to save priceless art from the Nazis cultural purge.
The first trailer for the film set it up as a kind of kooky combat comedy, Clooney in charge of a ragtag group of goofs set off to an otherwise serious and noble purpose. Come on, when you see Bill Murray and John Goodman in the cast, your mind is definitely thinking “laughs.” Now, Deadline.com has premiered a second preview for the film and now you can start smelling the Oscar bait in the air. While still a little slight in its set-up (Murray is an architecture specialist? Goodman as a sculptor? And both going through basic training? That’s the fact, Jack), but once the second act of the teaser takes over, we can see there more serious side to the storyline kick in. There’s also an unusually large concentration of Matt Damon this time around, which we don’t mind at all. See for yourself.
Unexpected Cate Blanchett sighting as well! Score! Again, Clooney is a gifted filmmaker. He gets period detail without going Coen-overboard into minutia and he certainly looks like a world weary WWII icon (think Clark Gable without the duck face). Yet it’s the tone that remains troubling. We are dealing with a very sensitive subject here, one that is often splashed across the contemporary media when a priceless work of art is uncovered that later turns out to have been pilfered from a Jewish estate. As I said up top, Clooney can do no wrong in my completely heterosexual appreciation book. If he delivers like he has before, ‘The Momuments Men’ will be a major year-end contender. If not, we may be seeing another ‘Ides’-like affront.