Movie Reviews: Winter’s Tale and The Monuments Men

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“Winter’s Tale”

Winters TaleColin Farrell (Peter Lake) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Beverly Penn) sell a fated tale of star-crossed lovers in the 19thcentury. She is a dying heiress falling in love with a thief trying to rob her family’s mansion and on the run from his master. After her death, the story leaps to 2014 where amnesiac Peter runs into a sick child and her mom (Jennifer Connelly) and bonds with them. But the most sentimental moment happens when someone from his past appears and validates his existence.

Directed by Akiva Goldsman, “Winter’s Tale” is marketed as a fantasy romance that endures through a century, touching themes like miracle, fate and destiny, mixed with mythical white light, time-travel and reincarnation, against the backdrop of a wondrous wintry wonderland.

If you’re drawn to the film based on the romantic trailer and A-listers (Farrell, Connelly, Russell Crowe, Eva Marie Saint), know that the movie is something else. Sure, the love story is there, but it’s not the core of the story. It’s good versus evil – with a flying guardian horse, Satan and demon in tow – and fulfilling one’s life purpose.

While it’s a noble theme, the demon becomes a central character (not to mention the unnecessary appearance of an unintentionally laughable Lucifer) and the connections between Peter and present-day characters are not adequately established for us to care. The film would have been much better off sticking with an eternal love story or having the protagonist fulfill his future destiny that is connected to his past.

“Winter’s Tale” feels distant and disconnected.  It should have been magical.

Copyright (c) 2014. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, film columnist and travel/lifestyle writer. She can be reached at  Nathalia owns a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter:


“The Monuments Men”

MMIt should have been momentous, even monumental.

Based on true events, directed by George Clooney (“The Descendants,” “Ides of March,” “Up in the Air”) and starring an A-list cast (Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin), “The Monuments Men” is a World War II drama filmed from a unique angle: art scholars in a search for priceless artifacts; historical and cultural treasures stolen and hidden by the Nazis.

However, instead of letting the audience invest in their journey, we don’t know any of these characters.  They’re not recognized by their specialties, we don’t know why they’re picked, why they’re paired off, split up or reunited during their sojourn.

It could have been a dramatic story where the stakes are high and the team is racing against the clock to locate and protect these masterpieces, with lives lost in an effort to preserve our cultural heritage. It could have present that heritage as representing human existence and society’s way of life, and thus worth saving for future generations.

Instead, the film plods from one scene to another without any real direction, underlined by a jovial tone.  The comedic snippets are entertaining enough, but that’s what the film will be remembered for.

“The Monuments Men” feels like a monumentally wasted opportunity.

Copyright (c) 2014. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: She can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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