The Monuments Men and the value of human life and art

Sixteen years ago, Matt Damon starred in Saving Private Ryan, a World War II movie that raised the question of whether it made sense for several solders to risk their lives just to save one ordinary man. Now he’s starring in The Monuments Men, a World War II movie about a bunch of soldiers who risk their lives — and, who knows, maybe the lives of others — to save classic works of art. And a question I’ve been wondering lately is whether the new film will even raise the question of whether it makes sense to sacrifice human life for inanimate objects of this sort.

The question isn’t really raised in any of the film’s promotional videos, which spell out the heroism of the main characters and the justification for their cause. As Damon puts it in the featurette below: “Ultimately, it’s a movie about people who are willing to sacrifice everything to save what is the very best of us, of humanity.”
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Hebrew Hammer sequel: time-traveling into both testaments

The Jewish Journal reports that writer-director Jonathan Kesselman is looking at making a sequel to The Hebrew Hammer, the 2003 “Jewsploitation” flick that starred Adam Goldberg as an Orthodox private detective who saves Hanukkah from the evil son of Santa Claus.

In the new film, that detective, whose name is Mordechai Jefferson Carver, would have to deal with a time-traveling Adolf Hitler — and since the movie’s characters will be jumping around from era to era, the film will feature characters from the Bible, too.

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Interview: Barry Pepper (We Were Soldiers, 2002)

Barry Pepper is going back to the battlefield. The 32-year-old actor, who grew up in the Gulf Islands after sailing the South Seas with his family for five years, and who got his start working in Vancouver’s film and TV scene, became internationally famous four years ago when Steven Spielberg cast him as a Bible-quoting sniper in Saving Private Ryan. Pepper’s career since then has included some box-office hits (Enemy of the State, The Green Mile) and one huge flop (Battlefield Earth), but he bounced back with an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated performance as baseball great Roger Maris in 61*. Now Pepper is back on the big screen in another ultra-realistic war movie. This time, in We Were Soldiers (now playing at the Capitol Six), he plays a photojournalist named Joe Galloway, who witnesses first-hand the first major battle between American and Vietnamese troops in 1965. The film is based on a book by the real Galloway and Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, the commanding officer played in the film by Mel Gibson.

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