Flash Movie Review: Hail, Caesar!

The first time I saw them on a small screen I thought they looked unusual, almost bizarre. Every Saturday afternoon there was a television show that showed old movies. I did not understand the point of a movie musical the first time I saw one. Why actors were breaking out into songs in the middle of their scenes baffled me. It was not until I paid attention to the lyrics that I realized the songs were explaining parts of the story. These films along with the others that got broadcast came from a different time. The screwball comedies, dramatic romances and other genres had movie stars that were, to use a cliche, larger than life. I was familiar with those who had a prolific career, churning out a new movie every year. These actors gave off an almost regal persona; it appeared the film studios kept each of them up on a pedestal to be admired and revered. As far as I can recall there was never any controversy associated with those actors, unlike the current actors of today. It seems as if more times than not actors are just as famous for their offscreen activities as they are for their acting roles. This however brings up an interesting thought: are current actors more out of control then the ones from years past? It would seem easy to say yes but upon more thought, I do not think there is much difference between the different eras except for the way we get our news presently. This comedy sheds some light on what the movie studios used to do for their actors.    EDDIE Mannix, played by Josh Brolin (Everest, Sicario), had one mission and that was to keep things running smoothly for the film studio. With the actors they had under contract it was a 24 hour a day job. This dramatic comedy written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (Fargo, True Grit), was set in the 1950s when movie studios was churning out movies like an assembly line. The cast which included George Clooney (The Ides of March, Gravity) as Baird Whitlock, Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Only Lovers Left Alive) as Thora Thacker/Thessaly Thacker and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike franchise, Foxcatcher) as Burt Gurney were all representative of past celebrities. For example Channing’s character was similar to a past star like Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. With the variety of actors in this film, each had essentially their own story going on. Though things kept moving along I felt most scenes were only offering a brief glimpse of a story before it was time for the next actor’s turn. The movie came across as little skits pieced together. I found the story amusing but nothing that warranted any major investment. Don’t get me wrong, this picture was fun to watch; however, if one is not familiar with movies that came out from the old Hollywood era, they may not enjoy this film as much.


2 3/4 stars for fans of old movies       2 stars for fans unfamiliar with the Golden Age of Hollywood





About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on February 8, 2016, in Comedy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I would be in the “I get the old Hollywood movie” camp (not that I necessarily was a fan of them all but I get the point of them).

  2. I think appreciating this film would be more a function of familiarity with Coen-style comedy rather than old Hollywood. There is a lot going on, and they switch from one thing to the next rather abruptly sometimes, but Eddie’s trails with his job and confirmation of it’s value is the real underlying theme. Good thoughts!

  3. I am quite the fan of the Coen Brothers and I was really looking forward to this movie…saw it last Friday and I must admit I was somewhat disappointed. The imagery and acting was gorgeous as always but the storyline could not capture me. I hate to say it but I was a bit bored. Fingers crossed for the next one, I’d say! Cheers form Ohio, Johanna

  4. I do enjoy the wit of the Coen brothers so I am looking forward to (eventually) seeing this movie, especially since I am a huge fan of classic Hollywood movies.

  5. Except for Burn after Reading I have enjoyed all the Coen Brothers film, including their semi musical, Ulysses reboot, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. I hope this is even mildly entertaining by Coen Brothers standards even if it is no Lebowski or Arizona – still my favorite.

  6. I am a fan of the Coen brothers, so that’s why I’ll still watch this movie even though the review doesn’t sound too encouraging, as well as some of the comments.

    • If you are fan you must see this film. I am a fan so I would have still gone to see it no matter what the reviews said about it. However, I probably would have gone to a bargain priced showing instead of paying full price. Thank you for the comments.

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