Film Review: Hail, Caesar!

Film Review: Hail, Caesar!

THE COEN BROTHERS GO META IN NEW MOVIE JUST IN TIME FOR THE OSCARS. V REVIEWS THE HOLLYWOOD SATIRE WITH EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY FROM JOSH BROLIN

THE COEN BROTHERS GO META IN NEW MOVIE JUST IN TIME FOR THE OSCARS. V REVIEWS THE HOLLYWOOD SATIRE WITH EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY FROM JOSH BROLIN

Styling: SAMUEL ANDERSON

At this point, poking fun at Hollywood is almost too easy. But with tinsel town’ s most orgiastic night of the year happening later this month, Hail, Caesar! seems expertly timed.

In the Coen Brothers’ latest satirical caper, a rag-tag group of Communists abduct actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) from the set of a bloated Biblical epic called Hail, Caesar! prompting hard-boiled PR guy Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) to go find him.

True to Coen form, the dark themes are laced with spellbinding action—from Scarlett Johansson’ s dazzling synchronized swimming routine to Channing Tatum’ s homoerotic tap dancing—heightened by the circus-like backdrop of old-time Hollywood. Newcomer Alden Ehrenreich charms as Hobie Doyle, a thick-tongued spaghetti western movie star whose equestrian skills and flick-of-the-wrist lasso work almost put Tatum’ s table dancing to shame.

Both longtime fans and those younger than the movie Raising Arizona will find much to marvel at; Tilda Swinton, who plays identical-twin gossip columnists with scene-stealing hat game, and fellow doyenne Frances McDormand round out the dazzling cast, while Coen Bros. virgins Alex Karpovsky (Girls) and Agyness Deyn make eye-catching cameos.

Visual pyrotechnics aside, the callousness of showbiz (as exemplified by Whitlock’ s kidnappers’ resemblance to the very real and very blacklisted Hollywood 10 permeates the film. Hail, Caesar! is rooted in reality, proving that even at its worst, Hollywood can still be kind of fun.

Here, in an exclusive from V98, Brolin offers his own words on the film, and the behind-the-scenes photo shown above:

In this photo, we are looking at photographs of all the skirt-wearing actors from years’ past and determining where George [Clooney] is on the all-time best-looking men-in-skirts category. [In the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!] I play Eddie Mannix, the Oz of Capitol Pictures. There isn’ t anything that happens on the lot without his okay: legal, illegal, debaucherous, communistic—anything. Every experience with the Coen brothers is now familial. We have a nice shorthand. We don’ t have a problem pointing out each other’ s defects and gloriously exploiting them to keep us all entertained. Other than that, it’ s simply nice to work with good storytellers, along with the visual artistry of Roger Deakins. When Channing [Tatum] was doing his dance sequence, George and I decided to dress up in sailors’ outfits as well, and surprise him by taking a couple of the dancers’ places. George and I learned the dance and when we did it, it turned out so well that they ended up keeping it in the film. I always had a premonition that George and I could shimmy with the best of ’ em.Hail, Caesar! is in theatres nation-wide February 5.

Joel and Ethan Coen, Josh Brolin, and George Clooney on the set of Hail, Caesar!. Photo: Jamie Trublood/Universal Pictures.

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