‘The Monuments Men,’ ‘The Lego Movie’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new releases, George Clooney stars in "The Monuments Men," a film he co-wrote and directed, while Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt lend their voices to the animated "The Lego Movie."


Sam Epstein, John Goodman, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bob Balaban star in director/writer Clooney's earnest "The Monuments Men." (Claudette Barius)

1/2 “The Monuments Men” (PG-13) “'The Monuments Men,' which Clooney wrote with producing partner Grant Heslov, starts out with funereal solemnity -- gunshots accompanying close-ups of a fine 15th-century painting turn out to be nails being struck while the Ghent Altarpiece is dismantled and spirited away for safekeeping. But soon enough the mood turns jaunty, as Stokes’s men fan out across the charred countryside to save what Stokes calls, in one of several why-we-fight speeches, “our culture and way of life.” – Ann Hornaday

1/2 “The Lego Movie” (PG) “The moral of this story is a sweet and uncomplicated one: Believe in yourself; everyone is special; there’s a time to follow the rules and a time to break them. Sure, those sentiments are cloying. In fact, they sound like something you’d see on one of those stupid, inspirational cat posters, don’t they?” – Michael O’Sullivan

1/2 “Hank: 5 Years from the Brink” (Unrated) “The documentary’s greatest strength is its ability to humanize [Hank] Paulson. It purports to be a historical record of the 2007 financial crisis, and it delivers in that sense, defining securitization, subprime lending and illiquid assets in ways the average American can comprehend. But the movie, by Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger, is also a character study of Paulson, who was asked to be Treasury secretary three times before he agreed and ended up in one of the world’s most thankless jobs.” – Stephanie Merry

The Attorney” (Unrated) “Fictionalized from actual events, 'The Attorney' shows the transformation of a character based on the late Roh Moo-hyun, who became a human-rights advocate and later South Korea’s president. Rather than a fevered riff on national paranoia or personal vengeance, like many Korean flicks released in the United States, the movie is earnest and instructive.” – Mark Jenkins

Macy L. Freeman is an editorial aide for the Weekend/Going Out Guide section at The Washington Post.
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