Thursday, December 25, 2008


“What made you exceptional, they said, was that you were a person who had achieved great fame without possessing any discernible quality.”

Sometimes it takes David to bring down Goliath. David Frost (Michael Sheen) was a likable talk-show host who mortgaged his future and career with an interview with former President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella). Nixon, in need of money and a change in his public perception, agreed to the interview with the man whom his aide (Kevin Bacon) stated simply “isn’t in your league.”

After an intial montage summing up the Watergate scandal, the film follows Frost on his journey to land, finance, and prepare for the interviews which would almost break him, all while the rest of the world looked on and laughed.

Sheen (The Queen, Music Within) once again gives a great performance on which the film rests. Over the last two years he’s become one of my favorite actors working today.

Director Ron Howard‘s choice to give us Frost through his own eyes, as well as seen from his compatriots (Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Matthew Macfadyen) and the Nixon camp, allows us to see the character as he was, and how the world viewed him.

Cut in throughout the film are remembrances of the characters years later. One of the best of these happens during Frost’s first interview on-camera with Nixon and involves an analogy about an eager young fighter who finds himself outclassed by a wily veteran. For most of the film Nixon plays with Frost as a cat does a mouse, controlling the interviews and using the situation to his advantage in an attempt to rebuild his reputation.

Ron Howard has a knack for taking stories about which we already know the outcome and still keeping us on our seats until the final scene. We know Apollo 13 landed safely, yet we become so caught-up in the story we begin to doubt the outcome, if only slightly. Much the same way the director infuses this tale with tension, increasing pressure, and gnawing doubt to the point, though we root for him, we’re still a bit unsure if this talk show host, this entertainer, is up to the task. As one of his confidants points out after that initial interview, the only solution when you’re so remarkably outmatched is to grow six inches. What makes the film work so well is we believe it’s possible for Frost to do so; we’re just not sure that he can.

I’ve mentioned Sheen’s performance, let me get to Langella. Nixon has been portrayed as everything from a villain to a buffoon in films over the years. Langella’s Nixon is presented as an incredibly smart, if flawed, individual with a large ego, and very much a man of his time. I was also taken with the dry humor with which he infuses the camera which knocks everyone, even sometimes his own entourage, off-guard.

The supporting cast is all top notch and imbue the film with some needed humor and a sense of perspective to the events as they unfold. Rebecca Hall is lovely in her small role as Caroline Cushing, and Rockwell and Platt are immensely enjoyable as “Crack 1” and “Deep Crack.” And yes, that’s how I’m going to refer to them from now on.

The film was adapted from the stage play (in which both Sheen and Langella starred). I haven’t seen it on stage, but if it works half as well as it does on screen I may have to check it out. From beginning to end I was engaged, entranced, and completely connected to the story which was unfolding in front of my eyes. The unlikely pair of an entertainer and a former President makes for some great storytelling (think Jimmy Kimmel attempting to illicit a confession of wrongdoing from Dick Chaney) and gives us more than simply a hero to root for or a villain to rail against.

Here is the struggle get to the truth and come to terms with the mistakes made during, at least until that time, the biggest scandal in Washington. I would recommend the film wholeheartedly to all fans of cinema as well as those wanting to relive an unusual event in the history of this country and one of the most unexpected events in the history of television.

Marley & Me

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star as John and Jennifer Grogan. She’s a well-known feature writer, while he tackles the small local stories which barely earn him a byline.

The couple’s lives are changed by two events. The first is the adoption of a cute, but troublesome puppy named Marley, and the second is John accepting a job as a columnist instead of a reporter. Although separate they intertwine as the more stories from misadventures with Marley wind-up in Grogan’s columns the more popular they become.

From the trailer you’d expect this to be your typical doggie misadventure film with praftalls, embarrassing situations and the like. Although there are plenty of those here, the film also takes us on a journey of growth from both John and his family. It’s the troubles with the dog which lead him to become ready for fatherhood. And its often love of Marley and that brings the pair back together after arguments.

In terms of tone the film jumps around quite a bit, probably more than necessary. And at nearly two-hours in length its story begins to wear thin long before Marley’s tale is wrapped-up. Performance-wise both Aniston and Wilson are fine and there are a couple of nice small roles for Eric Dane and Alan Arkin. I was less impressed with the over-the-top dog trainer played by Kathleen Turner.

For dog lovers Marley & Me might be a nice couple hours in the theater. For me it was about 30 minutes too long. I would caution those taking young children that the film goes to the end of the dog’s long life so be prepared to answer questions from inquisitive children about what happens to dogs after they die.


“God promised Abraham that he would not destroy Sodom if he could find ten righteous men. I have a feeling that for Germany it may come down to one.”

Tom Cruise stars as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg one of many Nazis loyal to the fatherland, but disatisfied with the Fuhrer’s running of the country. After getting blown-up in the early scenes the now eye-patched Stauffenberg joins a resistance group and begins planning the assassination of Adolf Hitler (David Bamber).

The film, written by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander and directed by Bryan Singer has so many issues not even Superman’s return could save it from disaster.

Let’s start with the Nazi’s themselves. A more honest good-natured group you’d be lucky to find anywhere outside a Hogan’s Heroes re-run. All the the conspirators are presented as noble, self-sacrificing men who might be handing out money to the poor and donating their time to work with the elderly if it weren’t for that Hitler guy. Were all these men tricked into joining the Nazi party?

Also at issue is the explanation of the noble cause everyone is fighting for. We get no context about Hitler other than that he’s a crappy leader. Now I’m far from George W. Bush’s biggest supporter, but I’m not spending my time on an assassination plot (I’m too busy with trying to get rid of Ron Marz). I think you might want to show Adolf as more than just an incompetent leader. It doesn’t help that he’s only seen briefly in two scenes as an elderly gentleman hunched over a table. I know that people walking in are supposed to know Hitler = Evil, but how about a little effort or context? Any at all? Instead I began to wonder why the eye-patched Tom Cruise was trying to kill that nice old man in the bunker.

Even those loyal to Hitler, what little we see of them, come off mostly as bland officers diligently doing their duty. The film lacks anything resembling conflict, moral ambiguity, hard decisions, or tough choices. It’s a film about good Nazis (in this movie that’s not an oxymoron) versus bland Nazis. Even the SS is turned into nothing more than faceless background officers on a Star Destroyer. And if all these bad Nazis are so lame why is Maverick so insistent they must to be stopped? Have they lost that loving feeling? Is it gone, gone, gone?

Story isn’t the only issue. Singer wastes a strong cast in throwaway roles better suited to unknowns. These include Kenneth Branaugh (who disappears for the middle two-thirds of the film and doesn’t have much to do when he’s on-screen), Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Terrence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard, just to name a few. I do like how the film plays on the divergence inside the group and layers of distust and inaction which lead to the plan’s failure. But I would like to know more about this group, and not just Cruise’s character. At least they’re all beautifully shot and have a few nice shiny new clips for their promo reels.

In a movie about Hitler’s evils and an assassination attempt to wrest control of the country from him phrases like “Jews” and “concentration camps” are hardly mentioned (if at all) let alone explored. After everything is said and done we have a film glorifying a small group of men who tried to kill the leader of their country without acknowledging the fact that these same men swore an oath to Hitler and have been carrying out his policies for years. Nor does it explore or develop the mixed feelings these men must have had in attempting to kill the leader of their country and stage a coup. Cruise and his fellow plotters instead are all presented as noble heroes, almost mythical in stature, above such petty concerns or doubts.

The script also fails to address the fact that the film’s hero is a bit of a coward. At least twice in the film he gets face to face with Hitler and has the opportunity to blow his brains out, stab him in the throat, or break his neck. This is in sharp contrast to the man we see in all the other scenes, pushing for the assassination and demanding action. Why doesn’t he take his chance when he is given easy access and direct contact to Hitler? The reasons (cowardice? fear? bad eyesight?) for his inaction in these moments if explored might have added another layer to the story. As they are ignored they simply become one misstep in a marathon of errors .

Monday, December 22, 2008

Death Race on DVD

“What we trained to do, very hard in the film, we tried to ground it in reality as much as possible”
—producer Jeremy Bolt

I was less than impressed with Paul W.S. Anderson’s remake of Death Race 2000. The film follows a group of convicts who race around the prison yard in armored suped-up cars with machine guns, all for the camera. For more on the plot of the film itself read the original review.

The film is available in both a one-disc DVD and Blu-ray. The regular DVD includes a commentary from director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Timothy Bolt. There’s some interesting stuff here including the 14 year path taken to make the film and the fact that Harvey Corman was onboard with the attempt (which does nothing to improve my opinion of Corman). Thought there’s some interesting tidbits about the prison itself and how different aspects of the race were filmed separately and cut-together, there’s nothing here which explains or apologizes for the sheer absurdity of the entire enterprise.

Also included are a trailer and two featurettes. The first, “Start Your Engines: Making of Death Race,” is your basic behind the scenes look with interviews cut between clips. The second, “Behind the Wheel: Dissecting the Stunts” you think would be more interesting as its geared to the one aspect of the film which really works. You’d be wrong. Although it shows a little behind the scenes on the making of the cars it doesn’t go into detail on any of the stunts themselves specifically, which is disappointing.

The other extra here is the ability to watch both the theatrical version of the film and the slightly longer “Unrated” version which includes a few deleted and extended scenes added back into the film. Do these unrated scenes make much of a difference or improvment to the film? No, not really.

The Blu-ray version also includes your basic BD-Live features including the ability to chat, create and share your own commentary for the film (here you might have fun with this in a MST3000 style), and tech-spces on the cars and races of the film.

Reading the review and watching the film and features show you just how large the disconnect was with the people involved in making the film and the final result. “Grounded in reality as much as possible.” Yeah, like Hancock. Death Race isn’t a total waste but it’s more of a cable flick to check out a 2am than something you’re going to want to put money down for - unless you simply want a mindless action flick you can get wasted to with your friends and laugh at, stare at the tame T&A, and enjoy the stunts. I think that’s actually the target audience for the film.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes Man

Carl Allen (Jim Carey) is a selfish bastard who never wants to get involved, often ignores his friends (Bradley Cooper, Danny Masterson), and still mourns the loss of his ex-girlfriend (Molly Sims).

One day he runs into a former co-worker (John Michael Higgins) who convinces Carl to check out a Yes seminar run by a guru (Terrence Stamp) who teaches his followers to say yes to everything. Carl agrees and finds his life suddenly awesome. He parties with his friends, meets a new girl (Zooey Deschanel), improves his relationship with his boss (Rhys Darby), and generally gets a more positive outlook on life.

Of course this covenant of “Yes” also leads our protagonist down some bad roads (though not as numerous, nor humorous, as you’d might expect). These include accepting sex from a senior citizen, attending a Harry Potter theme party, and throwing his best friend’s fiancee (Sasha Alexander) a bridal shower. All of this leads to the eventual revelation and understanding you’d expect (after the trademark romcom third act break-up).

Yes Man is your basic romcom with an extra dose of Jim Carey zaniness thrown in. The romance itself works alright, until the film falls back on basic romantic comedy conventions, though the age differences do lead you to think of Carl as a bit of a cradle-robbing perv. The funniest moment in the film, however, does not come from Carey but from Stamp who runs barefoot full-speed down an aisle during a seminar giving us one of the few unexpected laughs of the film.

Is it worth the $10 ticket price? For die-hard fans of Carey’s, yes. The rest of you may want to wait to check it out DVD, or even better yet, cable.

The Tale of Despereaux

“Reader, you must know that an interesting fate awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”

There is a skill to adapting a book into a movie. The rise and fall of action in a series of chapters often doesn’t translate directly to screen and the necessary beats of a feature film.

The Tale of Despereaux isn’t a bad film. It’s got an all-star cast, sharp animation, and a lovable protagonist. It also has too many characters, a convoluted plot, and a less than satisfying ending.

It’s 20+ minutes into the film before we even meet young Despereaux (Matthew Broderick), a small mouse with a big heart who takes instantly the notion of chivalry. Despereaux doesn’t fit into a society that wants mice to cower and run; he dreams of adventure, and even doodles drawings of cats.

Events involving a rat named Roscuro (Dustin Hoffman) years before have led to the banishment of both rats and soup in the kingdom. It is into this darker world Despereaux discovers a sad young princess (Emma Watson) and pledges to bring light back to the kingdom.

Now, there’s more than enough there to weave a plot for an animated film. Sadly the writers aren’t willing to let go of subplots from the book which keep getting in the way. There’s a dungeon guard, there’s a creepy Single White Female serving maid (Tracey Ullman), and there’s the on-again off-again narration by Sigourney Weaver making the whole enterprise feel more like someone is reading us a hastily condensed abridged version of the tale than showing us a finished feature film.

Fans of the book may also be a bit dispointed at changes to some of the characters. Roscuro is taken from the antagonist of the piece to a flawed but ultimately redeemable character and Botticelli, instrumental in the final act of the book, is one of the few characters not included here.

I also must discuss two important ideas which are presented but, sadly, neither developed nor resolved. The first is the conflict between individuality and conformity to societal norms (Desperaux’s ideals vs. those of the mouse community). And the second is a rather sly line about the absurdity of consensual crimes (after the King declares soup illegal). I applaud the film for including two high concepts like these (and coming out on the right side of each) but neither is adequately explored as the adventure and plodding plot take over instead. It’s too bad we don’t get more development along these lines instead of repeated scenes involving a rat gladiator arena and a crazy maid.

Young children, like those in the audience of the screening I attended, might grow bored with the somewhat unfocused tale (as will some adults), though older and more patient children may have an enjoyable enough time. It’s an okay animated action-adventure which feels like it should have been much more. The Tale of Despereaux may be a great book, but this movie isn’t good enough to make me want to find out

Vicky Christina Barcelona

“I was in love with the most incredible woman, and she put a knife into me.”
“That’s terrible!”
“Well, maybe you did something to deserve it.”

Two American women find themselves in Barcelona for the summer with friends (Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn). Our leading ladies, as our narrator (Christopher Evan Welch) informs us, are as different as friends can be.

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is responsible and rational, always making the smart call and against silly flights of fancy or taking chances. She is engaged to be married to a nice stable man (Chris Messina) back home in the States.

Christina (Scarlett Johansson) is a free spirit and dreamer unsure about life or her career (she recently wrote, directed, and starred in a a short film about the meaning of love which, by the time she finished, she hated).

One night the pair are approached by a local artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), still in love with his unstable ex-wife (Penélope Cruz), who propositions them both. Although Vicky balks at his offer Christina finds him charming and accepts. Separately both women’s lives will be turned upside down by Juan Antonio as they begin to look at life and love in an entirely new way.

Rather than the big murder mysteries he’s given us lately, such as the dramatic Match Point (read the review) and Cassandra’s Dream (read the review) and the humorous Scoop (read the review), writer/director Woody Allen creates this wonderful tale of love and provides opportunities for each of his stars to shine. Johansson gives her best performance since Lost in Translation, Rebecca Hall provides the quick dry wit so well-suited for Allen’s dialogue, and Penélope Cruz takes control of the screen as a force of nature. Longtime RF fans will remember I’ve been less than impressed with much of Cruz’s work in American films, but here she’s simply marvelous! Although she doesn’t make an appearance until well past the half-way point it’s impossible to discuss the film without praising her performance. And don’t forget Bardem who, in not an easy task, holds his own with each of these women in an understated performance.

Not forgetting his supporting cast Allen provides some great moments for Clarkson, Dunn, and Messina. And our unseen narator provides many of the films early laughs. But it’s Barcelona and the surrounding countryside which gives the film its feel and tone. From Gaudi to the Spanish guitar, to the rolling countryside, here is a location to inspire the types of love our characters yearn for, discover, and struggle against.

In another director’s hands this tale of love and lust could easily have become lurid or comical in the wrong way. Allen presents us with real characters dealing with choices and open to ideas not the norm. There’s a scene in the film between Johansson, Hall, and Messina in which Christina describes the life she’s chosen much to the shock of Vicky’s fiance. Such scenes can be found in countless B-movies dealing with the taboo subject matter, but here Allen adds a touch of class, humor, and thought, which makes all the difference.

Allen’s film is filled with many small, but important, choices. As Christina flees to Barcelona only to escape one reality for another, Vicky is there for a purpose, researching Catalan culture. It is in both Christina’s directionless search for direction and love of art, and the unexpected depth of Vicky’s love of the region and culture, that provides vastly different connections and relationships with Juan Antonio and his world. He is not a gigolo and they are neither saints nor tarts, but flesh and blood characters searching for love. What so easily could have been tawdry becomes romantic, even with some of the absurdities of its results.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this unexpected little film which is one of the year’s best. Allen breathes new life into his career and for the first time in years doesn’t feel like he’s plagiarizing himself or struggling with past themes. The Bohemian feel of the film mixed with the lush backdrop of Barcelona is an intoxicating mixture. Here he has provided something worth savoring with a film full of terrific performances and memorable moments.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

The film takes place over a period of many years through a series of flashbacks. In the present we see Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) interrogated for supposed cheating on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire by a Police Investigator (Irfan Khan) and his subordinate (Saurabh Shukla) who simply can’t believe an uneducated street kid like Jamal could actually know the answers.

In his attempts to prove his innocence we are granted glimpses at Jamal’s early life as a child (played by Ayush Mahesh Khedekar) with his older brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) through his performance on the show the night before.

What director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy give us is a thoroughly engaging and slowly unfolding tale as Jamal relates his story and the events which led to him learning the answers to the trivia questions he was given. Along the way we learn more about his life, his first love, and his tempestuous relationship with his brother

In many ways Ifran Khan (often cast in cop roles like this) is the eyes and ears of the audience. We discover Jamal’s story through his interrogation, and, like the Police Inspector, aren’t always given the answers we expect. The reveal of the truth behind Jamal’s appearance on the show, and his reasons for wanting to appear, give us more than we have any right to expect from a movie based on a multiple choice game show.

Given the darker turns taken through Jamal’s past it’s strange that the film’s one constant is a sense of hope. Jamal has been beaten down, disappointed, and had the one good thing in his life taken away, but he’s still standing. I can’t quite bring myself to call it a “feel-good movie,” but, even with its rougher story elements, the film has a life-affirming message of perseverance and faith which so many attempted “feel-good films” never deliver.

Slumdog Millionaire is a sweet, brutal story. In many ways it earns it’s R-rating, but at the same time it’s one of the most believable and heartfelt love stories of the year. I’m not always a fan of multiple time-frame flashbacks, but here they provide the proper structure to display the story, and still hold back one or two surprises as well. Filled from top to bottom with strong performances and well-paced engaging narrative Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of 2008.


“You haven’t the slightest proof of anything!”
“But I have my certainty.”

At the heart of the film written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, who adapted his play for the screen, is the issue of change vs. the status quo. Set in the Bronx during the 1960’s the film deals with the conflict between the more liberal priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and the older Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep).

Set between the pair is the good-natured Sister James (Amy Adams) who is the catalyst for the story when her observance of events causes Sister Aloysius to believe, with certainty, that Father Flynn has taken improper advances with a young black student (Joseph Foster).

Is the accusation real, or is it simply an excuse for the traditional nun to get rid of the crazy priest and his new-fangled ideas? Is there room, for doubt?

What the film attempts to do over the course of its running time is to present both sides, Sister Aloysius’ suspicions and Father Flynn’s insistent innocence, without proof either way. Had the film done this I, no doubt, would be giving it higher marks.

The problem is both arguments are not presented equally. Streep’s nun is is full of righteous furor and certainty but lacks anything resembling conscious thought or a single shred of something more substantial than idle gossip. Although the events shown in the film do suggest the possibility of such a relationship taking place there is nothing shown, or even suggested, to give equal weight to Sister’s Aloysius’ position.

Just as she questions Father Flynn, the film also puts Sister Aloysius’ faith itself on trial, which, in almost every single way, comes out more guilty than the priest. The final scene, which I won’t spoil here, would have been more powerful if equal credence, aside from her cocksuredness, of Father Flynn’s impropriety, had been demonstrated. Instead we are given the choice between an old crone who cares nothing for facts and a kind priest who cares about his flock. Who are you going to believe?

Of all the performances here Streep is getting the most acclaim, which I find a bit funny since it’s the most one-note, though still strong, performance of the piece. Personally I was more impressed with Amy Adams who was given the harder role to deal with increasing doubt on all sides, and Hoffman as an increasingly desperate man who sees his life attacked by a woman who feels her belief is more important than facts. The nun’s personal dislike solely fuels her crusade when a little more evidence might have helped. Had the film been able to remain a bit more balanced (and if sister Alosius was just a little less self-obsessed) I, no doubt, would have enjoyed the film more. I’m still recommending it for some fine performances and some nice and subtle camera work, but I’m certain it’s not the film it should have been.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Punisher: War Zone

“Who punishes you?”

Let’s start with the good, shall we? Ray Steveson is the third, and best cast, actor to take on the role of Frank Castle. In this latest version Frank is a former military officer whose family was gunned down when they witnessed a mob hit. Only Frank survived. Now, as the Punisher, Castle hunts down all members of organized crime in his never-ending quest for vengeance.

The latest name of his hitlist (Dominic West) gets himself thrown in a big vat-like glass recycler (Joker, anyone?) and is reborn as the tattered faced Jigsaw.

When the film plays it straight it works okay, although the scenes where the Punisher takes down rooms (or buildings) full of baddies who stand around waiting for him to first kill the guy next to him before taking action gets a bid old. I also liked the conflict within Frank over accidentally widowing the wife of an undercover agent (Julie Benz). There are pieces here which in better hands could have given us a halfway decent film.

The problems begin when the film tries to lighten the mood with mostly way over the top violence and simply ridiculous villains. Director Lexi Alexander can’t seem to decide what kind of film he’s making. You can be First Blood or Shoot ‘Em Up, but you can’t be both at the same time. We get meth-head jumping Jamaicans, the crazy Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchinson), and Jigsaw himself who is the worst on-screen comic book villain since Bane in Batman and Robin.

West’s Jigsaw seems to be a rather obvious homage to Jack Nicholson‘s Joker, but he’s simply not able to give the character the edge necessary for us to take him seriously. And when the bogeyman is little more than comic relief no conflict develops and a film like this simply doesn’t work.

Stevenson is well-cast in the role and with a better script he might have been able to carry the film. I do like how the script makes the local cops the Punisher’s complacent accomplices, and the action scenes, except with they get too cartoonish (such as punching through a guy’s head), are mostly well done. The film piles up the body count but it can’t decide whether it wants to be a fun shoot ‘em up or a tragic action drama. The result may be the best Punisher movie made yet, but it’s also the worst comic book movie of 2008.

Cadillac Records

“That mother fucker!”

The film, written and directed by Darnell Martin, tells the tale of Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) and the creation, tribulations, and successes of Chess Records which boasted now legendary artists Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Little Walter (Columbus Short), Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), Howlin’ Wolf (Eamonn Walker), Chuck Berry (Mos Def), and Etta James (Beyonce Knowles), all of whom are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Given these figures you might expect something more than your basic paint-by-number music biopic. If so, like me, you’ll be disappointed.

We get the basic stories - the cheater, the drug addict, the crazy one, etc. What we don’t get is any historical context about who these people were or their lasting effect on music.

The script overreaches in an attempt to tell multiple stories about the lives of each person involved in Chess Records. The end result tells us very little about anything. It might work as a primer for young kids, except it’s Rated-R for profanity and adult content.

There are some nice performances wasted here. I’m most impressed with Beyonce who is beginning to show some acting ability, even if she’s badly miscast. And everyone does a fair job performing the many musical numbers in the film, but once again there’s no stand-out performance or number which would make this film more than the sum of its parts. Plus you have to deal with the fact as passable as these performers are you’d rather be listening to the real musicians they are portraying than the attempts to cover their songs.

I’m not sure who the audience is for this film other than rabid fans of Def or Beyonce (neither of whom appear until half-way through the movie). Although Cadillac Records isn’t a hard movie to watch it is hard to discuss in terms of filmmaking because of its bland nature and unwillingness to create anything more than a collection of mildly amusing events and tunes. It’s like trying to critique the color toupe; you can do it, but what’s the point?