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Blu-ray Shopping Bag: The Monuments Men

A different piece of history

By Robert T. Trate     May 26, 2014
Source: Mania.com


The Monuments Men (2014)
© Sony Pictures
I’ll always check out a World War 2 movie. It was such an insane time when the world was at war. The history, both grand and personal, is ripe for storytelling. Hollywood has gone to this well for decades. They even had a few stories about the war before the Americans will technically in it (see Casablanca and the recently released Blu-ray of Flying Tigers). The flip side to making World War 2 films is that the men who fought it and survived were young men, most barely in their early twenties. So when you have the likes Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Jean Dujardin, they aren’t going to be exactly storming the beach at Normandy. More than likely, they’ll play Generals barking orders. Hell, Clooney and Damon both did World War 2 pictures already, but that was 16 years ago. Enter The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men marks George Clooney’s fifth directorial effort. Clooney picked a little known piece of history, but one that has a lasting impact to this very day. The story revolves around LT. Frank Stokes (Clooney), a man determined to save what is left of Europe’s greatest art treasures. Stokes collects a team of artists, dealers, and architects to go into the heart of the fighting (after D-Day) and steal back or rescue everything the Nazis have taken. There are some like Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) who believe these men are only doing what the Nazis did. James Granger (Matt Damon) must convince her to help him to locate all the stolen art and prove they have good on their side.

This is one of those stories that clearly could been told in different ways. It could have been an Ocean’s 11 type tale with Clooney and crew laughing it up and thwarting the Nazis at every turn. It could have been told in 10 parts on HBO allowing the audience to really understand who these men were who risked their lives, lives that several sacrificed for the greater good of all humanity. Finally, the History Channel could do a piece on it. They probably already have. Thankfully, the film is a combination of all three. The downside to the whole film is time. Clooney not only races against the Germans on the run, but tries to make this a fun, historical piece, too. We aren’t given as much as we would like about each character. However, the performances are outstanding. Clooney cast each role perfectly allowing this group of actors to play accessible characters for the audience to connect with. 

At the film’s conclusion, you simply want to know the whole truth. It is “based” on a true story, but the line between fact and fiction gets easily blurred when Hollywood comes to telling stories. However, with The Monuments Men, true or not, I came to appreciate what the real heroes did during World War 2. Now all I have to do is pick up “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” and do a little homework. You know, the fun kind. The kind you want to do. 

Final thought: Best Cameo of the Year.

Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
2. Doctor Who: An Adventure in Space & Time (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Bonus DVD)
3. Red River (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
4. Cheap Thrills [Blu-ray]
5. How to Train Your Dragon (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

Releases for May 26th, 2016:

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Blue Movie 1978

Cheap Thrills [Blu-ray]

Cheap Thrills

Eastern Bandits [Blu-ray]

Eden and After [Blu-ray] 1970

The Man Who Lies [Blu-ray] 1968

Razorback [Blu-ray] 1985

ANIME

Aquarion EVOL - Season 2, Part 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Dears Complete Series

Love Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Complete Collecti

Lupin the 3rd: Hemingway Papers

Lupin the 3rd: Complete Original Series

Motto to Love Ru: Season 2 [Blu-ray]

Super Robot Wars OG: Divine Wars

CARTOONS

Dragons: Defenders of Berk Part 2

Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury

How to Train Your Dragon (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

How to Train Your Dragon

Tenjho Tenge Complete Series 2014

CLASSICS

Endless Love (1981)

Whispering Smith (Great Western Collection) [PAL]

Criterion Collection

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Red River (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) 1948

HORROR

Dan Curtis' Dracula [Blu-ray]

Death Spa [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]

The Evil Within

Ghostquake

House in the Alley

Sleepaway Camp (Collector's Edition) (BluRay/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray] 1983

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

The Dinosaur Experiment

Independence DaySaster

Super Collider

TV LAND

The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series

The Bridge: Season 1 (Bron/Broen)

Doctor Who: An Adventure in Space & Time (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Bonus DVD)

Cimarron Strip: Complete Series 1967

Covert Affairs: Season 4

Jack Irish, Set 2

Longmire: Seasons 1 & 2 (Blu-ray)

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 2

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 2 [Blu-ray]

Suits: Season 3

Wallander: Season 3
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
hanso 5/26/2014 11:47:45 AM

Walmart had the re-release of How to Train Your Dragon about 2 weeks ago.  It has a nice slipcover and brings movie $ for How to Train Your Dragon 2.  I picked it up last week.

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