This offbeat movie about making movies is a bit different. It is directed by the Coen Brothers and features many movie stars like George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton. Set during the 1950's, the film follows a studio "fixer" who spends a day trying to fix a myriad of problems for his Hollywood studio. With a large cast and many storylines, the movie jumps around a lot and some of the big stars have little to do. The film looks fantastic and many scenes are very entertaining, but it often ends up feeling a little frantic and unfinished. The humour is dark, and the tone is quirky. I found it entertaining and amusing, but some people may find it baffling.
Unfunny. Unless you are a critic of the most pompous degree, you will not like this film. Pointless, dull, waste of time. I love old pictures, and I hate this film.
Rated 1/10. The biggest joke about this movie is the following phrase on the front of this DVD box cover: "A comedic tour de force."
I liked the movie, but it's not nearly as good as the finest of the Coens' work. If you're a fan of Old Hollywood, you're more likely to get the jokes. I don't know what was lacking for me exactly, but I'm not as tempted to rewatch it the way I am with The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, or Inside Llewyn Davis.
An excellent review of this film in the NYT. Maybe read before you watch if you're not up to speed with Coen brothers films. As always for me with Coen brothers films, a second or third viewing brings out the details I missed the first time around. (Yep, Alden Ehrenreich, AKA Han Solo aka Hobie Doyle really was the funniest character)
"It’s a typically sly, off-center comedy, once again set against the machinery of the motion-picture business. And, as usual with the Coens, it has more going on than there might seem, including in its wrangling over God and ideology, art and entertainment. Some of it is familiar and satisfyingly funny, even if there are laughs and bits that seem as if they were written to amuse only the Coens and the Turner Classic Movies crowd."
If you don't try to compare this to some of the Coen Brothers other great films, this one holds up rather well. It's 1950s Hollywood and movie studio executive, Eddie Mannix (James Brolin), has a lot on his plate. Spoiler alert - one of his big stars, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom by "Hollywood-10" type screenwriters. They "intellectualize" about their cause and Baird buys in, hook, line, and sinker. All is tongue-in-cheek here with Scarlett Johansson as a smart-mouthed Esther Williams type and Channing Tatum as swishy song and dance man turned Soviet sympathizer. Frances McDormand has a hilarious moment as film editor while showing dailies to Mannix. Mannix has a crisis of conscious which seems a bit forced as he goes regularly to confession, but it serves to give the movie meaning. Of course there is impeccable detail to time and place - the kind the brothers always deliver. This 2016 film serves as antidote to 2015's 'Trumbo' which takes a more serious look at the fallout that befell those who identified as communists in early Hollywood. Maybe I'm taking an intellectual leap here, but I think the brothers are saying - don't look to the group ("Study Group") to tell you how to see the world, instead, look inside yourself for the answers.
The Coen Brothers are pure geniuses when it comes to comedy. Hail, Caesar is my second favorite next to O Brother, Where Art Thou. I understood the plot perfectly: Eddie Mannix has his hands full trying to keep all the actors belonging to the movie studio in line while at the same time he's thinking about taking another job with more money and lesser hours. You get to see behind the scenes lunacy of yesteryear film making along with the recreation of all the different genres from cowboy to musical to Biblical Epic. There's nothing about this film I don't like. The casting was perfect, the comedy is the laugh-out-loud kind, and the creativity of the whole thing is majorly impressive. I'm buying a copy of my own as soon as I can!
It's not for everyone but I really enjoyed it. If you like irony and nuances this is for you.
Clooney plays the fool in this delightful commentary comedy.
De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum (Roughly translated, There is no disputing taste.) That said, I can see no point in watching this film.
An old bit of advice, If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all.
Into the pot, stir in some big names, snazzy setting, flashy dance numbers and wacky humour. It sure looks and smells good, but tastes a bit flat. Cheque, please.
Extremely dull, slow paced, with no real point. There's no message in the end, nor real explanation for half of what happens. A literal example of throwing famous people into minor spots in a movie just to sell it. Lots of characters just to fill time because there's no investment in any (even the main character was only partially developed). In summary, a waste of time.
I don't rate Hollywood product these days so I wasn't expecting much from this. I'm also not a big fan of the Coen Brothers, although I give them points for trying. (I did like Raising Arizona though.) But this was more entertaining than I expected. A satire on '50s Hollywood with its dumbo leading men and women, directors frustrated by dealing the those "actors" and communist intellectuals who found themselves writing scripts in that industry town. The best scene has Ralph Fiennes as a director, trying to get a performance out of a man who was, just the day before, a cowboy stuntman!
The Coen brothers should stick to creepy crime movies. Turned it off after fighting boredom for half an hour.
I fell asleep at the opening credits which I know is my fault but I'm sure I'm not the only one who would've like to do that in retrospect. Am I right?
For all the big names in this, I thought it would be better. It's pretty difficult to follow - I wasn't a fan.
This is an examination of Christianity/ies in Hollywood in the guise of a clever, but dense satire of 1950s film making based loosely on the real life of MGM's "fixer" Eddie Mannix. A secondary, intertwined subject is the role of communism in Hollywood in the same era.
The film is, at times, funny and revealing. The Coens et al. really nailed the look and feel of the era's films, too. You've got to love the little, yappy dog's name.
I think to enjoy this movie you have to be at least passingly familiar with all the old Hollywood elements (film noir, musicals, Biblical epics, singing cowboys, high-society dramas, etc) that appear in it as pastiches. The Coens do a great job shooting the movie in the same style as those old movies they affectionately pastiche. I didn't need it to have a big message, just be entertained (which, as the film suggests, is what movies are all about, one way or another).
Interesting for its attempt to recreate the Hollywood of the early '50's, with the "Red Scare" and the looming competition from TV, but ultimately a failure.
The many individual characterizations, though incisively written and broadly acted, don't add up to any thing. What undercuts them, as in most Coen Brothers films, is not merely the episodic plot, but even more the contempt for the characters. The film is all cheap sneering and sniggering over Hollywood hypocrisy and corruption, but with nothing underneath to redeem our attention.
In the end, rather than indicting Hollywood, it exposes the Coen Brothers' own lack of humanity.
This may be the worst movie I've ever seen. Boring, pointless, poor, campy acting. If you have done something wrong, and feel that you must punish yourself for penance, watch this movie. It's got to be good for at least an armed robbery or two.