To start off my weekend, I clocked off at work, headed down, picked up my tickets and girlfriend and immediately headed into the theater to watch Hail, Caesar! a film I’d been excited for all week. After finding my seats early, I waited about 15 minutes for the pre-show (commercials) to start, and it didn’t. I immediately became worried and told one of my managers to fix it! (on an off-topic note: I worked as a projectionist in this same movie theater and I can tell you from experience, if the pre-show doesn’t start 15 minutes before the movie is scheduled to start, let a theater staff member know, because this is a big sign that the movie will not start.)
Turns out the projector was having trouble downloading the new trailers onto the playlist, so as a result the film had to be started manually. This means it suddenly started, very abruptly, without any trailers. Little did I know, this would be the best ways to start the Coen brothers movie.
Sorry, I’m not very good with Introductions, so let’s get to it!
If this is your first time reading one of my reviews, don’t forget to check out my Rating System.
And don’t forget that if any spoilers come your way, they’ll be in bold red letters like this! Bold & Red= Spoilers.
Hail, Caesar! is set in the 1950’s with our main character, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a fixer in a giant Hollywood studio which has several major productions, with several major stars going on at once. He’s the man who handles publicity and keeps the media at bay. He also keeps the studio in order by being the middle man for the studio heads and the actors/directors of the projects. The plot starts moving when Baird Whitlock, the biggest actor the studio has (played by Clooney) goes missing from the biggest production the studio has set up. This sets a chain-reaction of hilariousness.
What Should Attract:
If you haven’t watched a Coen Brothers comedy yet, then you don’t know what’s in store. Watch Big Lebowski, Fargo, and maybe Burn After Reading and then judge if you want to watch this. If, however you have watched a Coen Brothers comedy before and are a fan, then I shouldn’t have to say much other then “this is a Coen Brothers comedy.” Another attraction is the huge cast! this film is rocking with Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes, and Tilda Swinton, among others. It’s sure to catch your attention, specially if you know the Coens previous work.
While the cast is so large and starry, the film is only one hour and forty minutes. This makes the film suffer for the fans who where looking for one of the actors in the trailer to show up, only to find out that they’re only in one or two scenes. This also makes certain characters inevitably under developed. The humor is often great, but only for people who know the era the film is taking place, and the film industries history at the time. Movie buffs and historians will love the satiric portrayal of the movie business in the 50’s. If you’re neither a movie buff or historian however, some great jokes will go right over your head. Another inevitability is that this film is not as good as the Big Lebowski. Why would you think they would ever top that masterpiece!? lower your expectations please.
Josh Brolin gives the Coen Brothers another great leading man performance as the crazy fixer trying to keep the studio he loves afloat. The rest of the cast, no matter how small their parts, is also great and very funny. The Coen Brothers pay a great homage to the 50’s films, showing us everything from Avant Garde, Ancient Rome and Religious epics, action packed Westerns, and tap dancing, catchy-tune-singing musicals; all this spread out across the studio. On the other hand, it also satires the same era of film making, showing us the overpayed incompetent actors, overly demanding directors, diva actresses, annoyed underpaid writers, and communists with an evil plot to take over the movie business, among others. The film also has a great many things to say about film as an art and as entertainment, and the collaboration of the people that make it while all having different opinions of it. This, in the end, makes it great to watch.
There is many parts in the film which are great when it comes to the satire, but two great parts come out of Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich. Fiennes plays the demanding well respected director, who is stuck with Ehrenreich, an actor that’s used to playing the western hero who doesn’t show any emotion. This is all the character knows, and so Fiennes goes hard on him to say just one line right, and fails. The second part has to do with Brolin and Tilda Swinton, who plays two twins, both running gossip columns in famous magazines. They constantly bully Brolin to get information. He gives them information and tries to make believe they are great, hard working selfless people. He tries very hard to lure them to other light gossip, while unbeknownst to the twins, his main actor and actress are an alcoholic playboy who was kidnapped from the studio by communist, and a smoking pregnant woman who doesn’t know the father of her child.
Another plus for the movie is definitely the sets and costumes which both lend extra authenticity to the actors, and make the films being shown inside the film feel like they belonged in the era.
-Although there is too many characters to count and some characters you wish you saw more get smaller parts then expected and vice/versa, the entire cast still delivers hilarious jokes and good scenes. Specially the funny performance Alden Ehrenreich gave.
-The movie feels very short and ends as abruptly as it starts, but I feel as though the length and abrupt ending are both part of the theme the movie is portraying.
-The music/sound doesn’t stand out and neither does the editing, but both don’t call attention to themselves in any negative way either.
-What really captured the era is the costumes and sets which are so well done you’ll feel as though they just went into a 65 year old studio set, dusted it off, and used it to film.
-The film is not as good as the films praised by fans AND non fans of the brothers, but it definitely can be added to their resume as another piece of great work. for the fans of their other comedies, this is a keeper.
“Fan Boy” Review
-As a fan and lover of all Coen movies so far (Yes, even Ladykillers. Don’t judge.) I loved this film! I can’t but feel that the only reason it felt short to me was because I wanted more. The Coen brothers have a great way of showing their characters through scenes, lighting and line delivery unlike any other. They’re just so unique when it comes to style that they’re up there with Tarantino and Spike Lee to me. As an aspiring film maker, it’s hard not to love them unconditionally. And I do! I got everything I wanted out of this film because I just wanted another Coen brothers flick to watch.
If you watched Hail, Caesar! and liked it, I recommend these films:
Other movies I watched this week: The Finest Hours
“This movie was very good, with stunning computer effects. However, it brings nothing new to the table. The trailer sort of ruined the film, and the tension runs too low for how much danger the characters are in. It’s basically the Perfect Storm stripped of the question ‘are they gonna make it?'”