Slick Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is pressed into action when superstar actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious group. Mannix races to quietly collect the ransom money without gossip columnists Thessaly and Thora Thacker (Tilda Swinton in a dual role) catching wind of the scandal. Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, and Channing Tatum co-star in this comedy set in Hollywood's golden age. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.~Daniel Gelb
The stars align
An era of glamour
Magic of a bygone era
George ClooneyBaird Whitlock
Josh BrolinEddie Mannix
Ralph FiennesLaurence Lorenz
Tilda SwintonThora Thacker
Jonah HillJoseph Silverman
Frances McDormandC.C. Calhoun
Scarlett JohanssonDeeAnna Moran
Alden EhrenreichHobie Doyle
Christopher LambertArne Slessum
Channing TatumBurt Gurney
Heather GoldenhershNatalie (Secretary)
Alison PillMrs. Mannix
Fisher StevensCommunist Writer
Patrick FischlerCommunist Writer
David KrumholtzCommunist Writer
Patrick CarrollCommunist Writer
Fred MelamedCommunist Writer
John BluthalProfessor Marcuse
Alex KarpovskyMr. Smitrovich
Max BakerHead Communist Writer
Allan HaveyProtestant Clergyman
Robert Pike DanielCatholic Clergyman
Geoffrey CantorSid Siegelstein
Robert TreborProducer of "Hail, Caesar!"
Michael YamaChinese Restaurant Maitre'd
Ming ZhaoChinese Restaurant Waitress
Basil HoffmanStu Schwartz, Accounting
Ralph P. MartinDirector of Action Western
Timm PerryStage 8 Man at the Door
Noel ConlonScotty at the Gate
Jon DalyCops at French Postcard House
Dennis CockrumCops at French Postcard House
Clancy BrownGracchus (In The Epic, "Hail, Caesar!")
The latest from storied writers and directors the Coen Brothers, Hail, Caesar!, is what some would label a zany comedy. It is a lark in many regards, a film where there seems no other intention by the filmmakers other than to create an amusing escapade and in this regard the film genuinely succeeds. The most outward thing one could say about the film in fact is that it is exceedingly charming and fun, that the Coen's have given themselves a set-up that allows them to explore all of their favorite genres of movies in Hollywood's golden age and that they take this opportunity and run with it. Casting the likes of current movie stars such as George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, and Channing Tatum and placing them within the context of what types of movie stars they might have been in the 1950's is an incredibly appealing idea and the opportunity to see Clooney channel bits of Clark Gable, Johansson essentially play Esther Williams, and Tatum do his version of a Gene Kelly number is what sells the film. These movies within the movie are what make the film worth recommending in a sense despite the fact Josh Brolin is doing a good job carrying the connective tissue between each even if, somewhat ironically, he doesn't have enough to do. If you've seen the trailers for the film then you know the overarching plot concerns Clooney's Baird Whitlock, the biggest star in Hollywood, being kidnapped and held for ransom by a group who refer to themselves as "the future", but this turns out to be not so much what the movie is about rather just a small piece. Instead, as most Coen pictures do, Hail, Caesar! wants to be about something more and this time the Coen's are exploring that very thing-the worth of the movies, of stories even. Words like frivolous, flippant, lighthearted, silly, and any other synonyms of sort are used consistently throughout forcing our protagonist, Brolin's Eddie Mannix, to search his soul to find a reasonable rebuttal to validate not only the movies he and his studio are making, but his livelihood. It's true that the movies have a platform like no other and that they have the power to influence certain demographics, but beyond the Coen's attempting to convince themselves of these same things as they grow older in age, there isn't much to grasp onto here or there is too much and none of it ends up making the impact it should. Either way, Hail, Caesar! is still a rollicking good way to spend an hour and forty five minutes even if it is a minor work in the Coen pantheon.
Wow I loved this film! The Hollywood undertones with communist undermining fears was so fun to watch! Ok when I watch films I do so on a 180" movie theater screen with full 7.1 surround sound and the Buttkicker transducer system. This is not to Boast but to give an idea of the clarity that I rate both 4k and 1080p films. 1st off regardless if you are huge into 4k or still collect Blu-ray; I will add that with today's (Oppo) upscaling technology along with upscaling technology on theater projectors that the difference between Blu-ray & 4k is minimal. I will say that going over 180" that you will likely see a difference and recommend 4k for 150"+ screens. I found the film to be Of great quality and very crisp picture. The sound lacked, however I really believe that was more due to the use of period sound. Regardless if you are a film buff and/or a collector this film is great! I will watch this yearly!
Upon viewing it a second time, I've decided that "Hail, Caesar" is a swell masterpiece for any discerning audience who's into masterpieces. Why did it take me two times to decide it's a swell masterpiece for the discerning? Largely because the trailer is a woeful misrepresentation of the final product, and thus my expectations upon my inaugural viewing were misplaced. This is not a movie about a group of people teaming up to find kidnapped George Clooney. The kidnapping of George Clooney (such as it is) is but one small story among several intertwining tales. Waiting for it all to gel at the end is a fool's errand, if your errand is to enjoy movies. And now you're thinking, "Hey, reviewer who takes too long to say things, if it's such a swell masterpiece, why only four stars instead of five?" Dear reader, it's minus one star because the blu-ray itself only has two special features. A dearth of special features is something I cannot abide, especially for swell masterpieces such as this.
The Coen Brothers can't seem to make a bad movie. Sure, not every one will end up being a classic that cements itself into the history of cinema like "No Country for Old Men" or "The Big Lebowski", but every single one is of an extremely high level of quality, regardless of how you might feel about the story (my mom hates The Big Lebowski, but does not question the quality of filmmaking, for example).
"Hail, Caesar!" may not become a classic itself, but its satirical view of producing classic films in old Hollywood is sharp, hilarious, and as ridiculous as it should be. Art/costume/set direction all feels accurate enough not to distract, genuinely feeling like it was shot at the time period in which it takes place. Performances are untouchable.
If you love the Coen Bros, this has everything they've built their names on other than a hefty dose of noir characteristics (although that's in there a bit, too).
Hilarious if uneven comedy. A lovely ode to cinema and specifically the old Hollywood studio system. I loved all of the stuff dealing with different films being made. I think the stuff with Brolin was a little heavier than it needed to be, but I guess those were the things the Coens wanted to explore the most. I think the movie's greatest weakness is that we never get enough of any one character (besides maybe Brolin's), I would have liked to see Tatum or Johansson or Fiennes or McDormand or Clooney or even perhaps the standout performance of Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle get more screen time. Actually, never mind about Fiennes; his scene with Ehrenreich is already in my mind classic, and I'm pretty sure will stay with me as among the best comedy moments of the year. I look forward to enjoying this even more on a rewatch; almost every Coen Brothers' movie gets even better after the first watch.
The two things I really needed a smart phone for were a good phone and a good camera:
No dropped calls. This phone also has a large clear keypad and a side-button to re-light the screen during/ending calls. The hang-up feature is clearly marked. Audio quality is good and I can control the contacts through my laptop.
The non-selfie camera is 13 Mpx, which gives sharp & clear focus (markedly less so in close-up). Very pleased with it for capturing things as I see them.The files are surprisingly small < 3 MB, generally.
Two disappointing features:
The phone doesn't seem to have a security/password function/capability.
It has no USB port, so exporting photos means that I am editing the 3rd generation image in my laptop software/storage.
If you haven't seen a Coen Brothers film yet, I'd recommend seeing 'No Country for Old Men,' & 'the Big Lebowski, immediately...run don't walk! However, if you're considering buying this whimsical piece, you've probably seen them. It's a really fun send-up of bygone days of megalithic studios, and some of the characters you may meet around them. The actors are hysterically funny, in a classic, Coen kind of way. The images are lush, colorful and almost dreamlike in an a way reminiscent of 'Barton Fink.' Do not hesitate to buy this blu ray, if you like funny spoofs on Hollywood!
What is it with trailers these days? Watching the trailer you might get the impression that it Is about George Clooney. In truth, it's a charming film about character, that of Eddie Mannix (played perfectly by Josh Brolin) a fixer for a 1950s film studio. Along the way it both pokes fun at various aspects of Hollywood while, at the same time, really paying homage to what made it great. Beautifully shot with exceptional performances and a funny, sharp script, this movie was, for me, one of the surprises of 2016.