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Info 101: Movieclips 164: The unsung monuments men

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"THE MONUMENTS MEN" from Columbia Pictures opens Fri., Feb. 7, 2014.

STARRING: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville.

DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER: George Clooney ("The Ides of March", "Good Night and Good Luck").

SYNOPSIS: The true story of a hand-picked group of art experts chosen by the U.S. Government to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis.

This should be a riveting tale of a very important sequence of events relating to World War II, the defeat of the Nazis and the preservation of many important works of art. It's not--riveting, that is. Instead it's unreasonably boring with a great cast and a few scattered moments of humor and/or drama. The problem can be summed up very concisely--George Clooney does not know how to tell a story. He can only act in a story told by someone else.

It's too bad, too because he can be very entertaining when he applies himself. He should have chosen to direct but not star in this film or to star in but not direct this film. He clearly is not good at directing himself.

As a result, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Ms. Blanchett are wasted in what could've been far more interesting parts. Clearly, these events were very important to many, many people who survived the war. A better director could have done so much more with this material. Perhaps a remake will prove that.

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