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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: All hail "Hail, Caesar!"

Feb 06, 2016 09:01PM ● By Dan Metcalf

George Clooney in Hail, Caesar! - © 2015 - Universal Pictures

Hail Caesar! (Universal)

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking.

Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Alison Pill, Veronica Osorio, Emily Beecham, Heather Goldenhersh, Max Baker, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Patrick Fischler, David Krumholtz, Fisher Stevens, Alex Karpovsky, Clancy Brown, Robert Picardo, Natasha Bassett, John Bluthal, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Gambon.

Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.



There are only a few artists operating in contemporary world of cinema who have proven that they can consistently produce original, quality films. Two of them have the same last name (Coen). Joel and Ethan have done fine comedy in the past, having made their mark with the likes of Raising Arizona and O, Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Big Lebowski. The Coens are back at it with Hail, Caesar!, a superb homage to the golden age of Hollywood, complete with all its grandeur, simplicity, and – of course, Communism.

Josh Brolin stars as Eddie, the studio boss in charge of the fictional Capitol Pictures. When his biggest star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped while filming an epic film about a Roman’s encounter with Jesus, Eddie must do all he can to get him back while keeping the studio afloat. Some of the problems he has to deal with include a scheme to deal with the pregnancy of Deanna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), a beautiful swimming star (an Ester Williams throwback), changing Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) from a singing cowboy into a classic dramatic actor and making sure gossip columnist twin sisters Thora Thacker and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton) from spilling the beans about all the troubles going on at the studio. Some communist troubles may also be lurking at the studio, and even the tap-dancing, singing star Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) may not be immune to the red menace.

As the mystery unfolds, Eddie must decide whether he should continue to play ringmaster to his cinematic circus, or take on a more comfortable role in the corporate world.

Hail, Caesar! is a delight, and right up there with other Coen masterpieces like Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, and Burn After Reading. The film’s cinematographer Roger Deakins masterfully recreates a perfect world of post-WWII Hollywood, right down to the films seen within the film, including a western, a musical, a classic drama and the aforementioned religious epic.

The Coens also throw in plenty of slapstick humor with a satirical edge, including a few good-natured jabs at religion, capitalism, communism, economics and a little sex, albeit a very filtered 1950s version of things.

All hail the Coens.

Hail, Caesar! Trailer