'Hail, Caesar?' More Like 'Hail, Snoozer'
Judging by the rating of about 78% on Rotten Tomatoes it has, I have a little note to critics: You guys know that your darlings, like Martin Scorsese and of course, the Coen Brothers, can have a bad day, right?
Hail, Caesar! follows the story of a fixer named Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) whose job it is to prevent his studio's movie stars from getting bad press. But when one of his stars, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), gets kidnapped, things begin to take a slight downturn.
First off, I did like some of the actors. Josh Brolin was great as always as the fixer trying to hold everything together. But for me, the MVP of the cast was Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle, a Western movie star. Ehrenreich brought hilarity to a guy known for Westerns that gets miscast in a film based on a high-brow Broadway play. He also brings a lot of charm as well. After seeing his work in this, Beautiful Creatures, Blue Jasmine, and Stoker, I look forward to where his career goes in the future. Another person I want to give a shoutout to is Tilda Swinton who plays two twin gossip columnists that are like a fictional Hedda Hopper. After seeing her dual performance here, I'm convinced there isn't anything this woman can't do.
Another thing I really enjoyed is the way the movie star characters are introduced. When they are, it is when they are shooting films within a film and because the film is set during the 1950s, it brought a lot of nostalgia and I'm a huge sucker for that.
Now, I'd like to point out that even though the film has a large ensemble cast, I said some of the cast is good here. One would think that a film with a star-studded lineup like Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Scarlett Johansson would be amazing and they are amazing....in the 8 minutes of collective screentime they all have. Seriously, they do absolutely nothing and the only reason they are heavily advertised is because of their names alone. Ralph Fiennes and even George Clooney to an extent are underutilized. Frances McDormand is in this as well. But she was clearly just doing her husband a favor since she's married to one of the Coens as she only has one scene.
Also, another major problem is its execution. It had an opportunity to be a love letter to 50's cinema as well as something of a fun caper that the trailer made it appear to be. But it never went in those directions because it doesn't go in any direction at all. Nothing really happens in this film and as a result, I just kept slouching in my reclining theater seat. There's no big climax, no character arcs, no big turning point, no nothing.
Overall, Hail, Caesar! Is a major misfire by the Coen Brothers that I wanted to be a fun love letter to a golden age of Hollywood cinema, but turned to be a sad diary entry.