Four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an all-star comedy set during the latter years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.
1080p, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
2016, Rated PG-13, 1 hour, 46 minutes
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Hail, Caesar!, set in 1950s Hollywood, follows a day in the life of Hollywood “Fixer” Eddie Mannix, as he works through the problems of several of his studio’s major stars. Having seen only previews, I had expected the film to center on George Clooney’s Baird Whitlock character as he is kidnapped and held for ransom by a group of Communist writers, but in truth, that is only one of the several story arcs that make up Eddie’s day. He also has to get the Whitlock driven mega-pic Hail Caesar! (yes, the fictitious film has the same name) back on track, avoid a scandal involving his major female star, DeeAnna Moran, who has a child out of wedlock, and replace a classical thespian actor with one whose range is limited to mostly a singing cowboy. All in a day’s work for Eddie Mannix.
The beauty of this film is that it both tells the story of a Hollywood fixer, while at the same time providing a view into the film industry itself from the 1950s era. A great example is when Eddie goes to the Editor, C.C. Calhoun of the Hail, Caesar! film and asks to see the dailies. The viewer is treated to the bygone era of watching developed film that had been hastily spliced together with sound to create the preview. At the same time, we get some excellent comedy as Calhoun gets her scarf caught in the projector and almost chokes to death, then after she’s rescued by Mannix, goes right back to smoking her cigarette in the film room. Not something you’d ever see today!
As with most Coen Brothers films, the colorful characters are key to the success of the film. The ensemble features so many wonderful actors and actresses that it’s almost a shame how little some of them get to be on the screen (Jonah Hill is the prime example). Still, their performances are top notch throughout, especially from Josh Brolin as Mannix. You can tell that the cast had fun bringing these characters to life.
As far as the Blu-Ray copy of this film goes the transfer looks great. The colors and overall design work well to bring the 1950s to life. Scenes that exemplify this include the water ballet scene, the shots of Mannix walking around the studio, and the ballroom party scene. The era is conveyed perfectly and the visuals are essential to that. The sound quality was good as well. While this movie may not possess the monster audio track or a ton of digital effects, it looks and sounds great, and can still show off one’s system nicely.
I will admit that I am a Coen Brothers fan, and the intricacy, humor, and subtext of their films, may not be universally appreciated. This movie is not my favorite of theirs, but it still hits all the right notes for me. I would definitely recommend it and plan on giving it another viewing down the road.
- Digital Copy of Hail, Caesar! (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
- Includes UltraViolet (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
- Directing Hollywood
- The Stars Align
- An Era of Glamour
- Magic of a Bygone Era