Hail, Caesar!


Joel and Ethan Coen's Hail, Caesar! is not exactly a motion picture. To me, it's more of an entertaining notion realized by Coen Brother cache and connections. I enjoyed both the idea and the execution of this movie about movies and moviemakers. They've written and staged dozens of hilarious moments -- a couple of mildly risible scenes -- and packed the story of movie producer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who's trying to make a movie about Jesus (this Ben-Hur) with crafty insights and commentary about power, faith, fidelity, communism and a half dozen other important issues but, interestingly, at least for this viewer, doesn't close the deal on any of them. And that's OK because I don't think they intended to. And I think they, self-referentially, make that point in the last reel when studio megastar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) as a Roman centurion (think The Robe) delivers what should be the crescendo moment at the foot of the cross on Mt. Calvary but, alas, it doesn't come off as planned. And that, in Coen Brother style (Think Blood Simple, Raising Arizona), is the way it goes. Sometimes you blow the line, lose the girl, drop the cash and the deal, but, because this is life, you carry one. Highly recommended for folks who love the Coen Brothers and/or the movies.

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