CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” is processed cheese. It is a film that has been rewritten, edited, and refined until it has lost all sense of purpose or identity. There’s no flavor left. It is a film that defies genre; not quirky enough to have a comedic personality despite a cast that almost always supplies edge and not engaging enough to work as drama or thriller.
CHICAGO – What a disappointment. You’d think with a cast this great and a premise this outlandish that this film simply couldn’t lose. And yet, the best things about “The Men Who Stare at Goats” are its title, its poster and its trailer that gives away nearly all of the biggest laughs. The actual film is a charmless slog that doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as it should.