Movie Reviews: Hail Ceasar




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     Universal Pictures (1 hr. 45 min.)
     A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.
     Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Alden Ehrenreich, Channing Tatum
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

Mildly entertaining, this latest offering from the Oscar-winning filmmaking brothers Ethan and Joel Coen offers a few chuckles.

The star-studded film explores a day in the life of a Hollywood “fixer” Eddie Mannix (played by Josh Brolin). The Head of Physical Production at Capitol Pictures, Mannix spends his days trying to protect the studio from scandals and lawsuits. From keeping at bay two gossip columnists (twins played by Tilda Swinton) seeking dirt on his A-list acting talent, setting up a fake marriage for his single-mother starlet (Scarlett Johansson), to finding a speaking role for his best Western star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), Mannix always has his hands full.  His most important task, however, is overseeing the production of the historical epic, “Hail, Caesar!,” which is headlined by the studio’s prized actor, the charismatic Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), but when Whitlock is kidnapped by a Communist group called The Future, Mannix is forced to pay a hefty ransom to get him back.

Set in the ‘50s, the Golden Age of the Hollywood film industry, the film which marks Clooney’s fourth collaborates with the Coens aptly pays homage to that era.  The cinematography and the acting is brilliant but that’s where it all ends.  With a lot going on in the film, it feels littered with ideas that don’t quite connect with each other, and it’s so overloaded with good actors that a lot of them don’t even get to speak. Even Channing Tatum barely gets a speaking role although he does have a decent tap dance routine as part of a musical the studio is recording.

There are few chuckles here and there, but no gut wrenching humor. The funniest scene is when Mannix arranges a meeting with a rabbi, priest and reverend to discuss how God should be portrayed on the religious picture the studio has green lit.  Beyond that, “Hail, Caesar!” is a disappointing film.

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