Hail, Caesar! Movie Review

Genre: Action Comedy

Year: 2016

Rating: PG

Length: 106 minutes

Main Cast: Josh Brolin

George Clooney

Scarlett Johansson

Aiden Ehrenreich

Channing Tatum

Jonah Hill

Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

Distributed By: Universal Pictures

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMqeoW3XRa0

 

Written review by Nelson Cumming.

hail_caesar-2

The Coen brothers have had quite a résumé directing a variety of movies from Fargo, The Big Lebowski and No Country for Old Men. Hail Caesar! is a good film however it is not up to the Coen brothers very high standards of filmmaking. Think of it like Cars and Brave against the Toy Story franchise created by Pixar. Sure Cars and Brave are good movies but they don’t live up to Pixar’s standards. However, they were good movies nonetheless. With professional stage productions, witty dialogue, great casting, and subtle humor. Hail Caesar! works well and it was a pleasing film to see.

 

The Coen brothers have had quite a résumé directing a variety of movies from Fargo, The Big Lebowski and No Country for Old Men. Hail, Caesar! is a good film however it is not up to the Coen brothers very high standards of filmmaking. Think of it like Cars and Brave against the Toy Story franchise created by Pixar. Sure Cars and Brave are good movies but they don’t live up to Pixar’s standards. However, they were good movies nonetheless. With professional stage productions, witty dialogue, great casting, and subtle humor. Hail, Caesar! works well and it was a pleasing film to see.
Josh Brolin plays Edward Mannix: a Hollywood film executive who has to locate the famous Brad Whitlock (George Clooney) who has been kidnapped on set for a major film called, you guessed it, Hail, Caesar! Set in the 1950s this film pretty much makes fun with lots of things during that era like communism, capitalism, religion and most importantly the golden age of Hollywood in the film industry. The Coen brothers generate humour out of all of these concepts without making a mockery of them thereby making the whole film lighthearted.
The casting is great in this film. Josh Brolin’s character is a man who has to oversee all of his stars from a variety of different films and makes sure they are in check or covers up the scandals they are involved in from nosey journalists. His talent pool includes:
1. Scarlett Johansson who plays a Marylyn Monroe figure who has to hide her pregnancy while filming a visually beautiful scene.
2. Channing Tatum who plays an aspiring actor playing a navy sailor in a musical with great choreography and chemistry with a bartender and navy seal extras that was very entertaining to watch.
3. Aiden Ehrenreich (who steals the show with his charm) plays a young country and western actor who has trouble with his director (Ralph Fiennes) when he struggles to transition to romantic dramas to great comedic effect.
4. Finally, it is George Clooney, the golden goose who is involved playing a Roman centurion for the big budget film called Hail, Caesar!. He gets into trouble by getting abducted by a group called “The Future”
The Coen brothers also get the right ideas in terms of lighting, stage production and cinematography. They are bright, elaborate and well crafted respectively. These techniques help build the lighthearted humour and script that they are working off. They are the little things in filmmaking that go a long way. I thought the film was a little long and dropped momentum in some places but it wasn’t as damaging as it could of easily have been.
I feel I need to bring this up before people go see this film so they understand. I think it is crucial to say that this film requires the viewer to have some awareness of concepts of religion, Hollywood and political ideologies at the time. Just the general gist of it will do. There is no need to analyse these things. But some of the funny scenes involve a basic understanding of these concepts in order for it to be funny.
Overall this was a picture that was well made with good casting choices with nice subtle humour. I could see how this film will bore the casual audience who are into action and superhero films as Hail, Caesar! is built and structured around the spoken word (Like the Coen brothers other films ) instead of adrenaline-fueled action scenes with minimal dialogue. But I looked past that and saw it for what it was: An ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood. ***3/4

 

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