Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Movie Review - Hail, Caesar!

If you like the Coen Brothers, you'll love this.

We went to see this last Sunday. The theater was crowded with people seeing "Deadpool", I guess. There were not a lot of customers for "Hail, Caesar!" It looks like it will be a successful movie however. Since it's opening on 2/5/16, it seems to have already made back its budget.

George Clooney plays actor (I know a big stretch) Baird Whitlock, the star of a new feature coming from Capitol Pictures, "Hail, Caesar!". Clooney plays Whitlock with a goofball charm. Whitlock the actor isn't very good (as evidenced by the lines he delivers in the movie) and it appears that he's not quite sure of what's going on around him when he's not on set. Clooney spends the entire movie (2 days of film time) in a Roman centurion outfit.

There are a number of movies-within-a-movie going on here as most of the action takes place on an enormous studio lot in the early 1950s. Scarlett Johansson plays DeeAnn Moran, an Esther Williams type, whose getting tired of all the "swimming pool" movies she gets cast in. Especially since she's pregnant and is having trouble fitting into her mermaid costume. Ralph Fiennes is director Laurence Laurentz making a serious "drawing room play" and has to contend with the only studio actor available for the lead male role, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) who has only played the lead roles in singing cowboy movies. Ehrenreich has a very funny scene where he is using a piece of cooked spaghetti to do rope tricks. Channing Tatum plays Burt Gurney, song-and-dance man staring in a movie about sailors getting ready for sea.

The whole movie is held together by Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix, the studio "fixer", who spends his days and nights, getting the studio out of trouble. Trouble like pregnant un-wed actresses, actors going on benders, actors getting kidnapped (notice abduction on the poster), and bit actresses making "French postcards" on the side. Brolin is great in this and is in maybe 80% of the scenes.

It's what I call an adult comedy in that the humor mostly derives from the situations and not so much from fart jokes and the like. It plays like a enormous movie studio "in-joke" but if you're a movie fan you'll get the jokes.

We saw trailers for "Now You See Me II" and "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising". These two comedies, from the slapstick and fart joke school, had noting funny in the trailers and looked to be as enjoyable as fingernails on a blackboard.

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