Hail, Caesar!

Rated 4.0

The latest from the Coen brothers follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a studio enforcer at Capitol Pictures in the 1950s tasked with keeping stars out of trouble and assuring moving pictures stay on schedule. In the middle of filming a biblical epic, huge star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped by Hollywood communists, who demand ransom money. Mannix must figure out how to get his star back while dodging two gossip columnists (both played by Tilda Swinton in increasingly hilarious wardrobe), navigating the latest scandal of studio star, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) and comforting hot director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes), who has had a marble-mouthed stunt actor named Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) forced into his romantic comedy. The plot is paper thin, but it does give the Coens a chance to do their quick interpretations of old timey movie Westerns, screwball comedies, Esther Williams pool epics, overblown Bible movies, Gene Kelly musicals, and more. The film is comprised of short homages to all of these cinema genres, and each one of them is a total blast to behold. On top of that, the movie features communist writers in a manner far less serious than the recent Trumbo. The whole thing is a blast but, admittedly, will probably go over best with diehard Coen fans.