Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar! (2016) movie poster

directors Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
viewed: 02/07/2016 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

Before the turn of the millennium, the Coen brothers filmography was pretty much pure gold.  The 21st century, though, has been far less consistent.  I would posit that it’s garnered them two very good films, No Country for Old Men (2007) and True Grit (2010), several middling but interesting films, and one out-and-out stinker, The Ladykillers (2004).

As many have noted, with the Hollywood period setting, Hail, Caesar! echoes of Barton Fink (1991) and its apparent genre as a comedy, flecks of Intolerable Cruelty (2003) or Burn After Reading (2008)?

Increasingly, as I walk out of the theater from their latest picture, I am trying to sort out my reaction, which is often less than enthusiastic.  I don’t know how I feel, about Burn After Reading, about A Serious Man (2009), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), about Hail, Caesar!

Politics and Communism, the Studio System, Church and Religion, genres, genres, genres.

All the actors are good, playing glib cartoons on the whole.  There are a few great scenes, particularly  Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich — a stand-out) battling director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes), “Would that it were so simple?” and Channing Tatum’s “No Dames” dance number.

But I don’t know.  It hasn’t jelled yet for me.  Time will tell if it will.

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