Movie Review: Hail Caesar!

– by Cecily Knobler –

hail-caesar-quadWritten/Directed by the Coen Brothers

Starring George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin

First, let’s just get one thing straight. Caesar is the hardest word ever to spell. Even spell check is like, “please stop making me work so hard.” I finally asked Siri and she told me it was too complicated a question.

I digress. Let me just cut to the chase: the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen is absolutely delightful. Yes, it’s very “Inside Hollywood” and absolutely, it’s unapologetic for its absurdity, but this made me love it all the more.

Set in the 50s, when Hollywood studio heads and their contractual obligations still controlled every aspect of the “the biz,” this film pokes fun at the movie industry while simultaneously maintaining complete respect for it. I won’t reveal too much about each character as that would spoil some surprises. I will only say that Channing Tatum is everything. He is a triple threat, hearkening back to the days when movie stars couldn’t be just pretty.

Scarlett Johansson, who co-stars, is completely on her game, and this might be the most likable I’ve ever found Josh Brolin. (Side note to Josh Brolin’s agent: Not sure with Brolin’s track record if he should be slapping women in the face, even if he is just in character.)

But the real star of this movie (and there are so very many) is Alden Ehrenreich as the John Wayne-esque cowboy turned celebrity. He’s funny and subtle and also happens to be gorgeous, which never hurts. Clooney is probably the weakest link in the film––you can see his “comedy wheels” turning as though he’s trying just a bit too hard to make us laugh. He’s charming, sure, but the movie works mostly in spite of him, not because of him.

Rounding out this stellar cast are Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Frances McDormand. And while this may not be a huge box office success, it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you love to hate Hollywood.

A –