My Week in Movies – February 20th

So, this week did… not go as well as I’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean it was a complete loss.

That Awkward Moment
Zac Efron is joined by half of the upcoming residents of the Baxter Building, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. These three dudes deal with rom-com relationship issues, but from the (only in the rom-com genre) not-as-explored male perspective. The film revolves around Efron’s bro, but, counterintuitively, he was the character I liked the least. I empathized with Jordan’s failed marriage and with Teller’s discovery of his romantic feelings for his platonic friend. But it’s Efron’s movie, and his general demeanor and actions left me utterly disappointed that he was actually able to win over a girl like Imogen Poots. And then lose her and win her back again. But I suppose that was always the way it was going to happen, because there was never anything particularly fresh about this film’s plot. It was a mildly satisfying diversion with some laughs and a few touching moments and, unless you count the failed attempt to humanize a jerk, a complete lack of innovation.

Grade: C

The Monuments Men
Finally, George Clooney’s World War II Ocean’s movie, The Monuments Men, released to theaters after a huge, portentous delay! I didn’t care. I was so excited for this movie last year and remained excited for the day I could finally see it. Clooney gathers a band of misfit artists – and great veteran actors you always dreamed you’d see in a movie together – and leads them into World War II. Their mission: to protect and rescue Europe’s prized art and culture before Nazis and bombs leave nothing left to admire. The cast was an interesting choice, with the definite vibe of the Ocean’s series, but funnier. Yet the movie’s script moralizes and evangelizes so hard, trying to impart the import of art and culture, that it robs this interesting cast of its chance to do much more than hang out and josh around in uniform, criminally robbing them of their chance to stretch and make tough choices resonate with acting decisions. Tense moments (and how could there not be tense moments with how much the film tentatively evokes the Holocaust?) were cut with winking jokes a few too many times. I still enjoyed this movie on the whole, and will always come out to the theater when Clooney headlines a team-up film. I just wish this one had been better.

Grade: B-

So not a bad week, per say, but not nearly as good as I had hoped for, especially considering Clooney was in the mix. I’m not holding out much hope for next week, as I’ll likely only see one movie and it has no Clooney at all.