Wednesday, February 17, 2016
HAIL CAESAR! (2016)
Written & Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cinematography By: Roger Deakins
Editor: Roderick Jaynes
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Clancy Brown, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Christopher Lambert, Robert Picardo, Fisher Stevens, David Krumholtz, Alex Karpovsky, Alison Pill, Fred Melamed, Wayne Knight, Jack Huston, Agyness Deyn
Hail Caesar! Follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capitol Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix.
I will let you know right now I am a huge fan of the cone brothers. As I can't say that I believe they can do no wrong, but it is few and far i between in my Eyes. Their films are always so idiosyncratic. That even scenes that seem like throwaway and would be in another filmmakers hands. Usually help to enrich their films.
Like a bunch of side characters given their own story lines. Including the main character who would normally be a supporting character. Here we are just following him through his day. As after all when all is said and done. Though their boss he is mainly a side character a minor figure in the characters lives of the people he tries to protect. The other characters have such limited lives or things that we get too ow about them. That while the film splits it's time between them. They seem more like comic generalizations getting their time in the sun to have stories all their own.
The fictional film studio "Capitol Pictures" previously appeared in BARTON FINK, another Los Angeles period film from the Coen Brothers.
There are Cameos by actors they have worked with giving them Something different and new to work with and return favors. Also as they are becoming more successful actors gives the directors more of a reason to write for them as a fun reunion.
You have George Clooney as the pampered movie star. Getting awoken to the plight of the little guy. You have Scarlett Johansson as the foul mouthed diva who is knocked up and has to find a cover story for how she wound up that way. You have gossip columnists both played by Tilda Swinton threatening to expose a star secret unless given an exclusive. You have Alden Ehrenreich as a cowboy heartthrob who the studio wants to make a star, but he has a problem with dialogue.
They all cross paths to make the story keep taking on levels and perplex Josh Brolin's Character, As a another company that tries to woo him away from The studio. He is like a ringmaster at the circus always trying to keep the show going with as little as the public knowing what is really going on. It is a circus one you can't help but find fascinating.
The key to the film Is all the little details that run throughout the film. They might not matter in the grandness of the story though without them, the film would feel empty and less informed. Here not seems more all knowing. Which might be a weakness for the film. As it's not as mainstream silly and slapstick as the advertisements make it look. It is more focused and structured. A farce at heart bit one that is aiming at a theme. As the film seems to be a valentine to the times and those movies made in the 1940's. That this film seems more aimed at or a personal love letter to crowds who really are Into writing and those who are cinephiles at heart and have a weakness for classic cinema. As the film goes for The board approach, yet comedically distinct scenes that revolve around dialogue.
The film also surprisingly at times has a strong sense of Religious beliefs and longing. As one of the truly hilarious scenes involves the studio trying to tell the story of Jesus and has religious leaders all read through the script and give notes where they all disagree except for the fact that there is nothing too offensive.
More a minor work, seems like a lark and more interested in ideas and telling jokes the. Anything but manage to tie everything together
Usually don't enjoy their more comedic farce works especially with George Clooney Not that they are bad films they are usually Filled with ideas and fun jokes, I just usually don't find them As enjoyable and fun as I should. Though they do have memorable Scenes that leave you shocked and amazed by what they choose to do
Alden Ehrenreich in a major talent and quite handsome. This is one of his first leading roles. The audience is left to really fall in love with his character. Though just like his character in the film. It feels like this role was designed for the actor. As he is one of the characters who is the most charming and easy going. As well as one of the funniest. He might not be the smartest but he is the one with the most sense. As well as displaying his singing, acting and comedic skills. Which i think is genius showing how to create a heartthrob while the movie does it itself.
Eventually the film Ties all the characters together from each of their separate storylines. Which seems like a Bunch of mini-movies. Or an overarching anthology involving the same characters. Ralph Fiennes proves once again a refined dignified comedic genius. As a very dry English director of romantic melodrama forced to break in a cowboy heartthrob as his newest star.
Channing Tatum is fun in his role that combines dancing and comedy. In a role we have never seen him play before, only wish they let his dance sequence be all in one so it is a set price in of itself As all the stars they all get huge spectacular introductions from the film genres that they are in.
That makes the film seem like a overview of a season you wished you could have seen of a time period series. They all tie together which means some get tied up rather quickly and one which seems like a random cameo ends up being a pivotal puzzle piece in the grand scheme of things.
Watching the musical sequence. You wish that there had been either more sequences like that or for the whole Film to be a musical. Which seems to be the spirit it tries to invoke.
It might have been more interesting casting if Josh Brolin and George Clooney played each other's roles. Though we are used to seeing them In each other's shoes that makes the roles they play in this film an interesting choice that ultimately doesn't play with the strength it should have.
The film delves into the Coen's brothers favorite past time of philosophy and her the question is raised do movies matter. While watching the film I found it coincidental they are working on a religious film And Brolin's character is a huge catholic and we see the behind the scene of movies and what it was like to make a studio film, but also essentially making dreams a product that will be worshipped by audiences that for some it is their own unrealized religion. Though accepted and praised by the masses. We see what it takes to get these films made and out there. All the dirty dealing a behind the scenes. Here it plays more like a film from that era with all the speed of scenes and slapstick humor. Where the stars are more invested in character rather than plot.
To show you the skill The Coen Brothers as you watch the film it's hard for you to believe these are the same filmmakers from one movie to the next. As each of their films has a different power to them, yet a similar Vision. Where the visuals are as strong as the dialogue. As you
Look at their resume it is hard to believe the filmmakers of RAISING ARIZONA made NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Or the directors of FARGO made this film. Even though they are all great movies in their own way.