Hail, Caesar!

Lights. Camera. Abduction.

Poster art for Hail CaesarIn the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, 1950s screen star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney, in fine comedic form) is kidnapped by Communists. While identical twin gossip columnists (Tilda Swinton, doubly magnificent) sniff around the story, Mannix, a Hollywood fixer (played with hard-bitten charm by Josh Brolin), gets down to business armed with a suitcase full of cash.

It’s all an excuse to roam through Capitol Pictures and watch dreams being made. Scarlett Johansson plays an Esther Williams figure; Alden Ehrenreich is charm incarnate as an aw-shucks Western star; Ralph Fiennes is priceless as an effete director; and Channing Tatum’s sailors-on-leave musical number is a jaw-dropper.

As a cinematic experience, Hail, Caesar! is dazzling. It obeys the first commandment of filmmaking, attributed to Billy Wilder: Thou shalt not bore.

– Rafer Guzman, Newsday


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