TITLE: Hail, Caesar!
RATED: PG-13 for fast talking swagger
STARRING: Josh Brolin, The Honorable George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Tap-dancing Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Another Tilda Swinton, and the Godhead (not pictured)
NOTABLE CREW: Writers & Directors - Joel and Ethan Coen, Cinematographer - Roger Deakins
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A 1950's Hollywood "fixer" (aka: production manager) struggles to find meaning in his job as he works to keep the studio's stars in line. Also George Clooney gets kidnapped.
WHAT I THINK: First of all, horray for making a movie in praise of the production manager, one of the hardest working but underappreciated roles in filmmaking! Now that that's out of the way, I thought the movie was funny, beautifully shot, and thoughtful. It's a love note to the golden age of cinema. It's not the fast-paced slapstick that modern viewers might expect from modern comedies, but instead approaches its subject with an offbeat humor that had at least me laughing every minute whenever I joyfully understood the references. It also explores a running theme of the relationship between spirituality and art in some interesting ways that I'm still mulling over. Example from the movie: A bit actor in a Ben Hur-esqe epic is playing Christ on the cross. A production assistant walks up to him and asks him if he's a principal actor or an extra. The actor on the cross says, "Um.... I THINK I'm a principal." That scene pretty much sums up the biting humor behind this story.
WHO SHOULD WATCH IT: Cinemaphiles. You'll need to have watched AND enjoyed films from early days of cinema (including but not limited to biblical epics, spaghetti westerns, Gene Kelly musicals) to get half the jokes.
COOL FACTOIDS: George Clooney was actually slapped by Josh Brolin in several takes. His reactions in the scene are genuine.