The Monuments Men

photo for “The Monuments Men” could have been an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thriller about an unlikely World War II platoon tasked by FDR to go into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from the Nazis but instead becomes a muddled mess in the hands of director George Clooney, whose previous helming duties have been spotty at best — aside from his debut behind the camera on “Good Night, and Good Luck.” The problem is uneven pacing, truncated and unfinished sequences, and an elliptical structure that never lets the viewer get a handle on the plot line or the characters. Which is a shame, because the true story of the seven museum directors, curators, and art historians who were part of the real-life Monuments Men is at once fascinating and awe-inspiring as they found themselves behind enemy lines in Germany to salvage 1,000 years of culture one step ahead of the advancing Allies and Russians. For a more involving and exciting look at an attempt to rescue a Nazi horde of art, check out John Frankenheimer’s 1964 “The Train,” starring Burt Lancaster. Extras: Two behind-the-scenes featurettes: “George Clooney’s Mission” and “Marshaling the Cast.” Blu-ray adds Deleted scenes, “The Real Monuments Men,” “A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men.” Vitals: Director: George Clooney. Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Drama, Box office gross: $73.881 million, Sony. 2 stars

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