PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Monuments Men” (PG-13) — In the final stretch of World War II, the retreating German army had orders to destroy priceless works of art before they could be recovered by the Allies. The Monuments Men were an unlikely fighting force of curators and art historians tasked with going behind enemy lines to save these treasures. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin comprise the all-star cast.
Even with a dream-team ensemble and rich source material, the storyline limps along when it should sprint. The crew splits up into their own subplots, united mainly by droning speeches insisting that this is a super-meaningful mission.
“Vampire Academy” (PG-13) — At a secret Hogwarts-for-vampires located somewhere in Montana, supernaturally pretty vampire teens learn to master their powers. Lissa (Lucy Fry) is special vampire royalty. As a “Moroi,” she gets more magic powers — they’re the good witches of vampire world. Rose (Zoey Deutch) is Lissa’s protector, a Dhampir — another type of OK vampire. There’s trouble brewing with the evil Strogoi — that’s vampires who act more like, ya’know … vampires. However, most of the plot revolves around vampire best friends and their choices among the vampire boys. Why can’t the undead just be monsters again?
“About Last Night” (R) — Two couples in modern-day Los Angeles explore the ins and outs of love, romance, lust and friendship — all with a lot of comedic energy and frank sex talk. Danny and Bernie (handsome-man Michael Ealy and comedy live-wire Kevin Hart) are best buds playing the field when they both fall into iffy romances. Danny and Debbie (Joy Bryant) are the more virtuous couple. Is it love? Is it dating? Is it true that only fools rush in? Classic quandaries. Bernie and Joan (Regina Hall) despise love, ridicule each other mercilessly, and yet neither one can truly walk away.
DOG OF THE WEEK
“Pompei” (PG-13) — Swords, sandals, leather armor and lava. These are the things that Pompeii has plenty of. Engaging performances, non-corny dialog and originality — these apparently had not been invented yet. Milo (Kit Harrington, “Jon Snow” of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) is dreamy young slave gladiator who sure can swing a sword. He sets his sparkly blue eyes on an equally pretty noble girl (Emily Browning), who is engaged to an evil Roman senator. Then a volcano erupts, and they run from it.
Much of the film looks like it could be freeze-framed and then printed on the cover of a paperback romance novel. It just needs a better, more suggestive title — something about swords or heat or eruptions.
“Call the Midwife: Season 3”
“Warehouse 13: Season 5”
“LA Law: Season 2”
“Nikita: Season 4”
“Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 9”
© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.