Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Alison Pill, David Krumholtz, Fred Melamed, Christopher Lambert, Wayne Knight
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Plot: Eddie Mannix (Brolin) is busy running a studio. He’s trying to launch the next big thing (Ehrenreich), deal with a pregnant star (Johansson), and locate a kidnapped actor (Clooney). He definitely has his hands full.
What Works: I’m so glad I finally saw this. I loved it. I was so pleasantly surprised, as I often am by the Coens. They’re definitely among the most consistent directors in Hollywood. This is a fantastic period piece looking at how studios used to function back in the day, and is led by an ensemble cast all doing great work. I was skeptical about the future of Ehrenreich, being pronounced the chosen one after landing the Han Solo film, but he deserves it. He manages to stand out despite being in an ensemble where the majority of the main cast have Oscar nominations, and a few even have the statues. He didn’t get swallowed up by them. He matched them. I thought Tilda Swinton was delightful, as usual, as was Scarlett Johansson. Josh Brolin does some great work. He’s really suited for this type of role, and George Clooney is delightfully dimwitted, yet wonderfully charming still. It’s really a terrific ensemble.
What Doesn’t Work: I wanted more from the talented supporting cast. More scenes. I felt like one scene from Hill wasn’t enough. Nor was McDormand’s screentime. Or Alison Pill. The problem with casting actors like them in only one scene is that we are going to want more. That’s really the only problem I had, but it’s because they were so great in just one scene. Like, I loved Hill’s one scene where he just says “bonded” over and over, and the proclamation that he and Johansson hit it off… I wanted to see that date. I wanted to see the worlds most awkward date, and how it could possibly have been successful.
Final Word: If there’s one “flop” you should see this year, its Hail Caesar! Definitely ignore the haters. It’s the Coen Brothers for crying out loud. Of course its going to be good.
Final Grade: A