I Came Not To Bury Caesar (Movie Thoughts: Hail, Caesar)

hail_caesar_ver2There are some filmmakers whose work, more often than not,  I admire more than I enjoy. One of them is Wes Anderson. Another one is The Coen Brothers. For some reason, I just don’t emotionally connect with any of their films, and yes, I will tell them that old adage “It’s not you, its me,” because obviously there are a lot of people out there who enjoy their work.  I feel the same way about their new movie, “Hail Caesar.”  I am reading good review after good review, and the audience I saw it with this afternoon were very appreciative. Still, I ask myself, why didn’t I love it? There’s a lot to love here, too. Set in a Hollywood studio, it shows how a studio head – Eddie Mannix, played excellently by Josh Brolin – manages to dodge and put out fires while trying to keep everyone happy. There’s DeeAnna Moran, the Esther Williams prototype, there’s Burt Gurney(Channing Tatum) , the Gene Kelly, and Hobie Doyle, the singing action star. Add to that the kidnapping of Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney, who plays another one of his dumb hero roles in Coen Brother movies. There are great musical sequences here, too, and I particular loved ‘No Dames,’ a satirical, homoerotic musical number with Tatum, who here displays his dancing prowess (Cast him in a new version of ‘On The Town’ pronto!)  To me, there’s too many characters to connect with one particular one, and Mannix is too slick and unreachable to fully empathize with. So I leave the cinema admiring the wit of the screenplay, teh masterful direction, the universal great acting. And I don’t remember a thing about it five minutes after. It’s me, not you.

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