Movie Review: Hail, Caesar

11 Jul

MV5BMjQyODc3MTI2NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDMxMjU2NzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Up front confession: I didn’t finish the film. I tried. Maybe I was tired. Maybe the idea of taking out the trash on a Sunday night was more appealing than the movie. I don’t know. But I just couldn’t finish the film.

What was surprising was that it was tailor-made for someone like me. It’s a period piece, set in the early 1950s. It’s an inside look at Hollywood through the eyes of Josh Broil’s character, Eddie Mannix, an executive who is described as a “fixer,” a guy who does his best to cover up the real excesses of Hollywood celebrities in order to maintain the fiction of Hollywood itself as a golden paradise where everyone is always good. He actually did a pretty good job. I like the idea of following him around.

In fact, perhaps the neatest thing is when directors/writers Ethan and Joel Coen follow Mannix around the lot of Capital Pictures and the camera shows us various movies being filmed. Scarlett Johanssen is shown when one movie is staging one of those synchronized water dance pieces and she’s dressed as a mermaid. That was fun, until she threw her crown and struck the band leader, killing the scene. Now you realize that they’ll have to do the whole thing all over again because one person, the star, screwed it up. Another number I really enjoyed was Channing Tatum’s tap dance routine on the set of a picture about sailor’s about to ship out. I loved this sequence not only because it looked like the film itself, but, partway through the piece, Mannix walks in and we get a scene of the piece from behind the scenes.

Now, you might think that this praise on these set pieces would get me through the rest of the movie. Ironically, as I type this, I’m beginning to realize what the movie is going for. The overall story is that big star Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney (I will watch anything he’s in), has been kidnapped by communists. The commies have demanded a $100,000 ransom. When I turned off the film, Mannix had collected the dough and was prepared to meet the kidnappers somewhere.

But the movie was so disjointed. Ralph Fiennes, as director Laurence Laurentz, was frustrated by being told he had to work with cowboy star, Hobie Doyle, played by future Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich. I had the wikipedia page pulled up for him and learned who he was while watching his scenes. Suddenly, now that there was a Star Wars connection, I watched him intently. I could see Ehrenreich as a young Harrison Ford.

Argh! I’m digressing, but that’s what I faced last night while watching the movie. I’m beginning to think I was just tired. Maybe the pinot grigio relaxed me too much. Maybe I’ll give the film another go, at least finish it.

Anyone out there see the whole thing? Shall I get back to it or did I just miss point?

P.S., Okay, I just re-watched the trailer. I think I’ll try and finish it tonight. Still, anyone out there see this flick?

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