Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Hail, Caesar!

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A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

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Cast

Josh Brolin – Eddit Mannix

George Clooney – Baird Whitlock

Alden Ehrenreich – Hobie Doyle

Ralph Fiennes – Laurence Laurentz

Scarlett Johansson – DeeAnna Moran

Tilda Swinton – Thora Thacker

Channing Tatum – Burt Gurney

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Keep Him

I understand Clooney’s character was destined to be abducted and then returned, but in all honesty I wished the kidnappers would keep him – and take him off screen for the remainder of the movie. Strolling around in a leather skirt and sandals with his shiny leathery face, Baird irritated the fuck out of me. Clooney brought nothing to the role but a clueless middle-aged actor who seemed to enjoy a knees up involving a pot of tea and dull conversation. This whole trait of enjoying being abducted drained any form of tension or mystery from his story instantly, ensuring my interest was lost as I focused more on the supporting characters instead – such as Hobie (Ehrenreich) who I was entertained by so much more.

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The complete opposite to Baird, Hobie is a cute, adorable character who spends most of his time swaggering around the screen in full cowboy mode. Ehrenreich plays it perfectly, adopting a deep southern American accent and performing some agile moves to go with it. Whether hanging from a tree branch or riding a horse across rocky mountain, the actor lit up the screen with great energy – different to that sad leathery energy of Clooney.

Fiennes also adds a spark as Laurence Laurentz, a stressed film director trying desperately to perfect Hobie’s acting skills for his period drama. The air of comedy between Ehrenreich and Fiennes is brilliant, one scene (line rehearsal) making much of the audience – and myself – laugh out loud. Ehrenreich isn’t bad to look at either; chiseled jaw, a sexy wide grin and lovely teeth make the actor comic – and eye candy – relief.

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No doubt fans of the Cohen brothers will all be punching the air with huge smiles on their faces, thinking Hail, Caesar! is one of their all-time best. But I’m not one to follow the crowd and from a completely neutral perspective (neither liking nor disliking Cohen brothers), Hail,Caesar! really isn’t all that. It’s just a simple movie about a production company staging a show and one of their cast going walkabouts. And although a dynamic cast ensemble light up the screen, the movie overall barely holds much substance – scenes swiftly jumping from one to the other confirm this. Swinton, Fiennes and Ehrenreich are sheer relief from an otherwise tedious movie. I would add Brolin to this list but he just spends his time strolling around the set delivering dialogue which is neither entertaining or inspiring.

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Cut Cameos

The main publicity poster for Hail, Caesar! is incredibly misguiding; it shows photograph stills of very famous Hollywood celebrities in a single line. Channing Tatum, George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill.

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But you may as well cut Johansson and Hill from the poster as they are barely even in the movie. The main plot involves Eddie (Brolin) and Baird (Clooney), with a wriggly, hip-gyrating (obviously) dance performed by Tatum thrown in – for all of seven or eight minutes – before he pisses off and isn’t seen again. And then a very enthusiastic mermaid routine performed by Johansson who starts to leave the movie just as her character begins to get memorable. And as for Hill.. theo actor is seen once during the entire feature and speaks less than ten words when he is. His cameo is possibly the shortest I have ever seen in a movie, and ultimately – pointless. His character could have been played by any other actor. It really wasn’t great. But hey, I’m sure the producers thought they were being creative with such quick ‘pop-in’s’. My point is though, the actors on the poster are hardly in the movie. Hill’s still could have been replaced with Ehrenreich, but I guess the producers needed to display the ‘big’ names in order to get the audiences in.

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Hail,Caesar! happened.
It started. Happened. And finished. I felt no more entertained as I exited than I did before I entered the auditorium. One or two moments had me laughing out loud, and those were down to the talent named above. Otherwise, this movie was nowhere near as capturing as I wanted it to be. Perhaps if released in cinemas back in the early 90’s it would’ve had a massive comical impact – but not now. Not in the days of breathtaking special effects and largely creative stories. We have so many more movies which outweigh the likes of this one massively, and in the end Hail,Caesar! was just a small cog lost somewhere in the colossal machine that is Hollywood.

Yes, I am aware the Cohen brothers produce movies. But at the end of the day, they are just movies – not fucking liquid gold. I went to see this one being unfamiliar with them and in all honesty, I just don’t see the appeal, I don’t get the hype. The Cohen brothers produce movies, the movies happen, the movies finish. And this one is no exception. It may fill a gap for an hour or so, but will probably be forgotten very quickly.
I wouldn’t watch it again, and by Christ – if I had paid to see it I would have wanted a refund after leaving the cinema.

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This entry was posted on March 24, 2016 by .
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