Hail, Caesar! Review

   Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 8.40.48 PM
Hail, Caesar! was placed as the sixteenth film on my most anticipated of 2016 list, and I thought that was pretty low for a Coen’s Bros. film, but apparently past me had a hunch because this film is dull. Coming off the success of Inside Llewyn Davis and having just written Bridge of Spies, Hail, Caesar! does have its moments but is ultimately forgettable in the end. One of the things that had so interested about this film was its amazing ensemble cast which the Coen’s bragged about in the trailer, except most of these amazing actors are reduced cameo status in the film, Tilda Swinton plays two characters who probably make up a minute and a half of screen time together. Ralph Fiennes is great for a minute and Frances McDormand is probably the best part of the film as she takes fort-five seconds from the films extensive runtime. The sad thing is Josh Brolin’s character could’ve been played by almost anyone, George Clooney is just reduced to the role of a goofball like in every other Coen Brothers film and the only main actor who shines out of the leads is surprisingly Alden Ehrenreich of Beautiful Creatures fame. Channing Tatum has also been doing something recently in which he’s been taking some really small but really different and cool roles with really good directors, and he does it here again, alongside McDormand and Johansson (kind-of), Tatum is another of those valuable glorified cameo characters that pays off. The problem I noticed with Hail, Caesar! goes back to the issues I had with Raising Arizona, they’re trying to add another layer of inane weirdness and craziness with places we already know therefore if executed wrong instead of feeling like an extension of fun silliness of that location, everything falls flat as it contradicts our prior knowledge of that location. The concept is great and absurd, giving the Coen’s the ability to satirize and poke holes at the Hollywood machine of back then and now, yet it gets so thrown off its path that it ignores this position it has to do all of that and thus all that spare time that could have been used to satirize the industry feels wasted, killing the film’s pacing and making way too slow to be enjoyable. But those small little moments it takes to jab at the Hollywood and the way movies were made in the past are priceless, there is a whole conversation in which Brolin gathers a bunch of church representatives just to see if the studio’s film doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way but instead a conversation about who’s the right God ensues, it comments about the writers of the time and thats about it, actor’s trying to change their image, and then it just stops. The same can be said about the homages the Coen’s do to all these classic Hollywood films such as the aquatic pictures which is handled perfectly by Deakins, the Coen Brother and Scarlett Johansson, as well as the grand aspect of the sets from epic sword and sandals tales, and the wonderfully handled musicals of the times, but those just serve as a display of wonderful imagery and don’t forward the plot in anyway. As a positive of the film, Roger Deakins really helps bring this film and all the films in it to life via his amazing cinematography, choosing to shoot on film with a lot of light really gives you the feeling you’re in the 50’s. All in all, Hail, Caesar! isn’t terrible, its just awfully lousy and disappointing, marking it at a 61 out of 100 because of those priceless little moments hidden in-between all the senseless shenanigans.

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