'Monuments Men' trailer finds George Clooney and Matt Damon on the hunt for stolen art

Well...that sure looks like a player

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How is George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" going to shape up this season? Frankly, this "movie" movie is starting to looking like another "Argo," potentially, a middle-ground choice that entertains with a slice of history but has a populist edge to it that will draw in audiences, not just the industry.

Or at least that's my take after getting a look at the first trailer for the film, which is handsomely and, for a studio film, surprisingly mounted. The film stars Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett, among others, in the little-known story of a team of museum curators and whatnot tasked with saving pieces of art and culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II. Goodman, in particular, looks like someone to watch out for (particularly between this and the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis").

"It's an extraordinary story," Blanchett told me about the film last month. "I mean, it's one I wasn't particularly familiar with, this group of architects, curators, historians who go in and locate and save this stolen art that the Nazis were amassing, and with the Nero Decree, it was about to be destroyed so it's a ticking time bomb. And talk about absurd. I mean you've got Bill Murray and Matt Damon and George all trying to locate the art, so it doesn't always go to plan."

Check out the first trailer for the film, originally dug up by The Playlist, at the top of this post. I think this one will end up landing in a big way. Two-for-two for Clooney? We'll see.

"The Monuments Men" arrives in theaters on December 18.

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Kristopher Tapley
Editor-at-Large
Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.
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UPDATED: MARCH 2, 2014