Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
The Monuments Men
In the latter days of World War II, a band of charming, aging misfits (Bill Murray! George Clooney! Bob Balaban! John Goodman! Matt Damon! Plus that French guy and that English dude!) is tasked with designating, preserving, and ultimately, recovering the art looted by the Nazis during their European conquest tour. But director and star Clooney is much more interested making the case for the importance of Western Civ and deploring Nazi awfulness than he is in coherent storytelling, earned drama, or real detective work. Do you care about the fate of the altarpiece at Ghent or the Bruges Madonna? No? Well, you should. Because...well, lots of reasons, each with its own sonorous speech, courtesy of your cultured Uncle George. As a director, he bounces between gags and grimness, but mostly forgets to put any actual feeling up on the screen. The most mystifying and intrusive score in recent memory doesn't help matters. 2014.