Once Upon a Time in Venice (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Once Upon a Time in Venice (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Remember when Hudson Hawk was considered to be (wrongly) a low point of Bruce Willis’ career?  Those helicon days feel like a LONG time ago. Yup his most recent ‘effort’, the cleverly (!) entitled Once Upon a Time in Venice, is quite frankly total and utter garbage and not even the presence of the usually fun Jason Momoa can save things.  In fact Once Upon a Time in Venice is so bad I couldn’t last past the hour mark – with Willis giving one of the worst and laziest performances of his now ruined career.  Can anyone really remember the last time Bruce Willis was good in a film?  Nope me neither.  Even free on Netflix this is one to avoid like… well… a free Bruce Willis film you found on Netflix.

Best Bit: Momoa is fine

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid

If You Liked this Try: Hudson Hawk, The Bonfire of the Vanities,  Color of Night 


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Blog: All Things Film – The Monuments Men Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

On paper – on canvas – this should really have worked a lot better than it did. The Monuments Men tells the story of a group of Yankee art lovers who quickly throw themselves through basic military training so they can get the OK from Roosevelt to recover a bunch of historic artifacts – or monuments – that Hitler is claiming for himself. Then you look at the poster – Clooney, Damon, Goodman, Murray – they’re all there, in a sort of exciting Oceans Eleven re-teaming, but this time, set in WWII.

Holy shit – did it have to be so boring and confused? This is more like ‘Leatherheads’ Clooney than ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ Clooney. Could it be that he’s spreading himself too thin in writing, producing directing AND starring? I don’t know – I think the issue here is that there’s plainly not enough story and certainly not enough happening in these events based on a true story. Sure, it’s important to keep art alive and out of the hands of the ‘do-badding’. Let’s put it this way; if the Germans do try it again, and decide to add great cinematic artwork alongside the Madonna and Mona Lisa, then if the original 35mm print of The Monuments Men is one of the ‘valuables’, I think we can probably just sit that one out.

The real crux of the problem is that this film is a mess. A pious, preachy mess. Oceans Twelve this ain’t. But then again, it’s hardly the Dirty Dozen, either. It’s just sort of – nothing. It’s bit part with teams of players, and none of them are used to their fullest. Bill Murray and Bob Balaban on screen in any other movie would be a real hoot, I’m sure. Here, they’re sort of standing around looking funny with their squinted eyes and shrugged shoulders. When that isn’t happening, gramophone music underpins their cause and any humour is vacuumed from the film. Goodman is one of the few that emerges unscathed – and in trying to scathe that vast canvas, it would seem anyone would fail – least of all Clooney.

Protracted, long and drawn-out and overstated beyond belief – much like its source material, The Monuments Men is a worthy cause of a story well worth telling. But Clooney and co. (who’d have thunk it?) prove not to be the team to do it.


Author: Andrew Mackay

Feature: Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like To Attend A Star Studded Film Premier?

Feature: Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like To Attend A Star Studded Film Premier?


Ever wondered what it would be like to attend a star studded film premier?

Me too.


That’s why I jumped at the chance to attend the UK premier of The Monuments Men, a film about a group of men tasked with finding art and other precious objects stolen by the Nazis.  The film is Produced, Directed by and stars George Clooney, able support is in the forms of Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchette.

Knowing that I was going to be walking down the red carpet gave me second thoughts about my attire, a ripped pair of jeans and a polo shirt. I then decided to go smart, only to be reminded by my partner that it didn’t matter what I looked like, people wanted to see George Clooney not myself. Undaunted, I smartened myself up and headed up to London.


past Trafalgar Square you could already hear the screams coming from nearby Leicester Square; I then had to barge past a horde of paparazzi outside The National Portrait Gallery as some of the recovered works of art were on display and would later be visited by the stars of the film.


Rounding the corner into Leicester Square I was met by a throng of people all screaming for Matt Damon who had just arrived. Thousands of people were pushed up against the crash barriers all wanting a glimpse of their idols and maybe an autograph or selfie. I have walked through the square when there have been numerous premiers but never had I seen crowds on this scale.

Pushing through the crowd I arrived at my destination, a nearby hotel where my ticket was waiting at reception. Ticket now in hand, I dually set off to circumnavigate the perils of an overcrowded square and find my way in to The Odeon. Spotting lots of bouncers in hi vis jackets at the entrance to the gardens I headed their way and presented my ticket, this was to be the first of 6 times my ticket was checked in the space of 100 metres.

I walked behind an outside broadcast vehicle and the next thing I knew was that I was on the red carpet, cameras were flashing in front of me and I realised that I was a couple of feet away from Hugh Bonneville.


I continued to walk along the carpet, ushered along by the security until I was almost pushed into Matt Damon, iPhone in hand I managed to grab a couple of pictures before being pushed forward by security again.

In front of me, Jenni Falconer was interviewing John Goodman up on the stage, his voice booming out across the square, it was at this point that I spotted George Clooney being interviewed to my right, I walked over closer to get a better look, “take a picture and make it quick” his wall of security said, photo taken, I had my ticket checked again and I was then inside.

Walking through the foyer, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye; it was Jean Dujardin just hanging around the foyer.  I went straight up to him and in my best GCSE French said “Excusez-moi Monsieur Dujardin, une photo s’il vous plaît?” he shrugged his shoulders and gave a slight nod. Happy with my French and with my photo I headed into the cinema to find my seat.


The cinema screen was showing all of the footage from outside and all of the interviews with the stars, I took this opportunity to wolf down the huge bag of complimentary popcorn and Lindt chocolates that were on each seat.

Thirty minutes later a troop of silhouettes were seen walking down the side of the cinema, the house lights went up and the stars of the film appeared on stage and thanked everyone for coming. There is a large round of applause for some of the surviving Monuments Men and women that are also in attendance tonight, Clooney’ speech is short and sweet and utterly charming, and with that he is done, he leads everyone off stage and back out of a side exit of the cinema.

The lights dim again and the curtain rises as I settle down to watch The Monuments Men.


(Back L-R) John Goodman, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, (front L-R) Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, real life Monument Man Harry Ettlinger, Dimitri Leonidas and Writer & Producer Grant Heslov

Visit the Telegraph to see the Red Carpet highlights video… 

Reporter: Matt Duddy

Review: The Monuments Men (Cinema)


The Review: The Monuments Men is the untold story of the men who protected and searched for stolen artwork and artefacts during the latter days of WWII. George Clooney plays Frank Stokes who is set the task by President Roosevelt to put a team of specialists together and go to German occupied France and Belgium to recover these valuable items. Needless to say, they are a rag tag bunch comprising of Matt Damon who is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum, architect Bill Murray, art critic Bob Balaban, sculptor John Goodman, painter Jean Dujardin and art historian Hugh Bonneville.

After having to go through basic training, the group are deployed across Europe, the majority of the time they are shouted at by senior officers who don’t care about protecting art, the rest of the time they seem to be chasing their tails apart from Matt Damon who goes to Paris where he meets Cate Blanchettes art curator who was employed by the Nazis to catalogue all of the stolen art and who may know its whereabouts.

Again Clooney proves that he is a solid director with this latest labour of love, it can almost be described as Oceans WWII as it focuses on a large cast of famous names stealing items from the rich and powerful albeit this time it’s the Nazis. The film itself is not without faults, the main one being trying to give each of the characters enough screen time to enable the audience to identify with them, some get too much (step forward Matt Damon and Cate Blanchette) and some are criminally underused (Bob Balaban and the always impressive John Goodman).

This is not the worst of it though, that is reserved for Cate Blanchette whose character is so wooden she could do with taking acting lessons from Keanu Reeves and Pinocchio. Blanchette phones the performance in and does not seem to be making any effort at all and it shows as each scene she is in seems to drag the film backwards.

The film is also disjointed in its narrative as it tries to balance the screen time for the characters as the months (and the viewing time) roll past. It is almost ninety minutes into the film that anything of real importance starts to happen.

In short, yes this is a worthy film as it sheds light on the role that The Monuments Men played in saving much of Europe’s art, however, like a school trip around an art gallery it soon becomes boring and forgettable.


Reviewed By: Matt Duddy

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Monsters University: A Quick Capsule Review

Monsters University: A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
So it’s fair to say with cars 2, Brave and now Monsters University the perception is that Pixar have lost a bit of their mojo.  And perception would be right.  Mostly.  The thing is by most people’s standards Monsters University is a good film.  It’s charming, well made and occasionally funny.  BUT the standards here aren’t most people’s and compared to Up or Wall-E, Monsters University is too light, too fluffy and too predicable to be seen as anything more than just good.  Still Pixar good is better than most peoples superb.

Best Bit: Escape from the human world

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Rent

If you liked this try: Up (9/10); Wall-E (9/10); Toy Story 3 (9/10)