Just ahead of Memorial Day, Sony is releasing a different kind of wartime tale, the George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men.
The movie ($30.99 DVD, $40.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo) stars Clooney, who also co-wrote the script, as the leader of a fictionalized version of the real-life teams of art experts who, during the waning days of World War II, tried to save major works from destruction in battle or by the retreating German army.
The film tries to be a thoughtful examination of the importance of culture — much the way Clooney has often looked at cultural issues in his directing projects — but it lacks much passion. It often seems as detached as Clooney's performances can be, even when the story itself calls for intensity.
But Clooney seems to be making an old-school movie, something that would have comfortably fit alongside military adventures in the '60s. It has the expected mismatched team (including John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin) and the soaring soundtrack of earlier films. But it is handicapped by tone, some obvious plot turns and an occasionally sluggish pace.
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Extras are two making-of pieces on DVD, then more on the Blu-ray, with the latter including deleted scenes.