Monday, February 22, 2016

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

IMDb plot summary: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.
Directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Aiden Ehrenreich, and Channing Tatum.

I have often preferred the Coens' broader comedies to their dramas, but not always (Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski do nothing for me). This is less an overt comedy and more a lighthearted love letter to 1950s Hollywood. That is when the film is at its best, showing us glimpses of all the different kinds of pictures that are so recognizably not-of-our-time, from Noel Coward-esque play adaptations to singing cowboy pictures to, of course, the titular religious epic.

The story as a whole is funny and engaging but my biggest problem with it is that, like most Coen movies, the ending seems like they just ran out of things to say more than like any kind of thoughtful conclusion. The tiny bits of resolution we do get are tacked on as apparent afterthoughts. I can never help feeling like the Coens always lose the final page of the script and don't end up shooting it, and even though this one tries a bit harder to wrap up the story, it doesn't quite work for me. Not a bad movie, just one that fizzles out.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Hail, Caesar! > The Kids Are All Right
Hail, Caesar! < Argo
Hail, Caesar! > Strictly Ballroom
Hail, Caesar! > Signs
Hail, Caesar! < Bend It Like Beckham (due a rewatch)
Hail, Caesar! < The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Hail, Caesar! < The Help
Hail, Caesar! > Frances Ha
Hail, Caesar! < Shaolin Soccer
Hail, Caesar! < Collateral
Hail, Caesar! > Liberal Arts
Final spot: #748 out of 2433.

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