<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 21, 2016

Hail, Caesar Movie Review: The Coen Brothers Missed Again

THE TRACK record of the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan, as filmmakers is quite erratic. They can come up with gems like “Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski” and the “True Grit” remake (we believe their “No Country for Old Men” is quite overrated), but they also come up with duds like “The Hudsucker Proxy”, “The Ladykillers” and now, “Hail, Caesar”.

A tribute to Hollywood in the 50s, “Hail, Caesar” has some beautiful musical sequences with lavish sets: Scarlett Johansson in a dazzling water ballet extravaganza that Esther Williams used to do, Channing Tatum doing a show-stopping homoerotic song and dance number ala-Gene Kelly in “No Dames” and newcomer Alden Ehrenreich as a singing cowboy named Hobie Doyle doing tricks with his rope. But alas, these very entertaining individual parts come out much better than the totality of the whole film.

The central character is Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), designated as Head of Physical Production of a big film studio called Capitol Pictures. Actually, he is the official trouble shooter. His problems include Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the studio’s biggest star who is kidnapped by a communist group of screenwriters called The Future for a ransom of $100,000. Then there’s the swimming star DeaAnna Moran (Scarlett) who happens to be pregnant and is not at all keen to marry the father of her child, which is against her wholesome image.

Meantime, the cowboy star Hobie Doyle is being promoted from the cornball oaters he usually does by starring in a big budget romantic comedy helmed by the very demanding gay director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes.) There’s a twist in the character of Channing Tatum as song and dance star, Burt Gurney, that is reminiscent of his similarly surprise role in Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight”. Also a problem for Mannix is the rival gossip columnists, Thora and Thessaly Thacker, who happen to be twins and both played by Tilda Swinton. They will remind you of Helen Mirren in “Trumbo” as powerful writer Louella Parsons.

The movie also has religious overtones. The opening shot shows an image of Jesus on the cross and there are scenes showing Mannix, a devout Catholic, going to confession so often that the priest is somewhat annoyed with the frequency of his revelations, mostly centering on his inability to quit smoking.

The movie’s title is from the movie within a movie being shot by George Clooney, a Biblical epic ala-Cecille B. DeMille centering on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. We honestly can’t figure out what is the significant connection of all these elements in the movie and its mostly goofy characters to the Hollywood stories being parodied. This is presented as a comedy, but many of the inside jokes will surely be lost on local viewers. The Coens obviously want the movie be madcap, but it fails as there are so many “laylay/boringa” moments.

George Clooney must really love the Coens for he agreed to play another idiotic role for them (he played similar boneheaded characters in their “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “Burn After Reading”.) He is even garbed in an anachronous Roman centurion costume all throughout the movie. In fairness to him, he’s adequately dopey in his role and the rest of the cast also gives fairly rewarding performances. Brolin does a solid job in holding the various threads of side stories together while considering an offer from Lockheed Martin that will take him away from Hollywood. Also appearing in the movie is Christopher Lambert (who now looks so old) as the German director who is the dad of Scarlett’s baby.