By Rick Bentley, Fresno Bee
“The Monuments Men”:George Clooney’s latest directing effort takes a look at the handful of out-of-shape artisans tasked with saving the great art of Europe stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The film isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a fitting tribute to the men who put their lives on the line in the name of saving culture. The film is based on a true story, but it takes some artistic license. A simple story about looking for art would have been cerebral if not for the heart this production shows. Grade: B
“3 Days to Kill”: Dying hired assassin agrees to one more job. Kevin Costner stars. Writers Adi Hasak and Luc Besson have given director Joseph McGinty Nichol (McG) three very distinct elements to work with in the new feature film “3 Days to Kill”: an espionage tale, a family drama and 1940s film noir. The problem is the three go together about as well as speedskating and a sandy beach. Generally, the parts of this film just don’t add up. Grade: C-
“Pompeii”: Slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love. Director Paul W.S. Anderson fails because his story of the love between Milo (Kit Harington), a slave turned gladiator, and the high-spirited Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of a wealthy merchant, has all the explosiveness of a high school volcano science project. Their actions mimic the kind of heat and intensity that should come with a great love story, but it ends up as a weak representation. Grade: C-
Also new on DVD:
“Call the Midwife: Season Three”: The midwives search for a new location.
“Nosferatu the Vampyre”: Werner Herzog’s 1979 film is now on Blu-ray.
“L.A. Law: The Complete Second Season”: Features 20 episodes in a five-DVD set.
“Duck Dynasty: The Duck Days of Summer”: Includes a trip by the Robertson family to Hawaii.
“The Moneychangers”: TV movie based on the book by Arthur Hailey. Christopher Plummer stars.
“The Revengers”: William Holden plays a Civil War veteran who seeks revenge for the death of his family.
“The First World War: The Complete Series”: Ten-part series based on the book by Hew Strachan.
“Happy Days: The Fifth Season”: Includes the episode that spawned the phrase “jumped the shark.”