A hat tip to vintage Hollywood by the Coen brothers will cease to surprise viewers with signature eccentric humor and intense cinematography.
A star-studded cast is gracing the big screen in the film “Hail, Caesar!” written and produced by the famed Coen duo, Joel and Ethan Coen. The off-center comedy embodies 1950s vintage Hollywood, following a studio fixer that deals with more problems than expected. The famous cast is likely to bring Universal money to the box office, but reaching a wide-ranging audience may be tough due to intangible connotations and sly comic relief. Fans of the Coen brothers should expect attributes similar to past films, but with a unique, subverted plot.
“Hail Caesar!” will premiere overseas at the Berlin Film Festival after taking the screens nationwide since Feb 5. The Coen brothers wrote and directed this film as an ode to Hollywood’s glory Golden Age. The throwback to the 1950’s era encompasses the life of character Eddie Mannix, played by Josh Brolin, who is the head of production at Capitol Pictures. Mannix works as the industry’s damage control personnel to keep scandalous behavior of Capitol’s stars out of the press. Actress DeeAnna Moran, played by Scarlett Johansson, becomes pregnant and Mannix is the mastermind behind covering up the scandal while he fends off rival gossip writers, Thora and Thessaly Thacker, both played by Tilda Swinton.
Within this series of events, the studio is producing the film “Hail, Caesar!,” hence the movie title, debuting Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney. Whitlock becomes drugged by an extra during shooting and disappears after a group called “The Future” abducts him. Mannix becomes wrapped into saving Whitlock, adding to the aura of industry damage control. Other members of the dazzled cast include Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand and Channing Tatum. Tatum participates in a tap dance number that critics are calling one of the highlights of the film itself.
The idea of “Hail, Caesar!” was brainstormed in 2004, originally meant to take place in the 1920s. The Coen brothers saved the film for development in late 2013 and began to produce it fully a year later. The four-time Oscar winning Coen brothers are best known for their films “No Country for Old Men,” “True Grit,” “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.”
Critics across the board have favored “Hail, Caesar!” as an ode to old conventional film making with a twist. The Rotten Tomatoes website has rated this film with a 78 percent positive view.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times gave this film a positive review, saying the film is one of his “favorite movies ever made about making movies.”
Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly agreed with Roeper, rating the film as fresh.
“It is Coen lite, basically, but still filled with their best signatures,” Greenblatt said. “(It is) cracked humor, indelible characters and cinematography so rich and saturated you want to dunk a cookie in it.”
Opposing other critics, John Anderson of the Wall Street Journal, believes the film is purely rotten, verifying his suspicion long held that the Coen brothers really hate the movies.
The film, “Hail, Caesar!,” is currently in theaters in the United States. To purchase tickets, visit http://fandango.com/hailcaesar_187709/movieoverview.