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5 items from 2016


Joel and Ethan Coen on how they turned Hollywood history into the hysterical 'Hail, Caesar!'

8 February 2016 1:25 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

I still get nervous about certain interviews. It's human. I love movies dearly, and have since I was young, and when I talk to filmmakers who I respect enormously, I tend to either talk waaaaaaay too fast or just overcomplicate my questions. Once things start, though, a good conversation is a good conversation, and I relax into things. That's particularly easy when you're talking to someone who give back as good as they get, and that's the Coen Brothers in spades. Three quick points before we dig in. First, enjoy Backstory, a new video series we're doing here at HitFix in which I pull back the curtain a bit on the stories that went unreported or untold over the last 25 years while I've been working here in La. While I spoke to the Coens about To The White Sea during our interview, we didn't get into the impact that the film's implosion had on them, »

- Drew McWeeny

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Hail, Caesar! | Review

5 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Sign of the Cross: The Coen Bros. Revisit the Backlot Desires of Hollywood’s Golden Era

The Coen Bros., back with their first title since 2013’s Cannes darling Inside Llewyn Davis, step back to an even earlier era with Hail, Caesar!, a 1950s set allegory parallelizing movie studio heads with their supernatural equivalent—God. A rather stressful day unfolds on the backlot of Capitol Pictures, where a leading star currently set to film the final, important speech in a Biblical epic is kidnapped by a serene group of Communist writers. Meanwhile, the general cadre of hungry gossip columnists, disgruntled auteurs, and budding celebrities must be continuously juggled and groomed by the studio’s omnipotent figurehead. It’s an ideal environment for the duo, who seem to be consistently recapitulating earlier films and eras, like their rehash of True Grit (2010). There’s something about this latest effort which hints at the »

- Nicholas Bell

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Review: The Coens use 'Hail, Caesar!' to take a silly but smart look at Hollywood's soul

3 February 2016 4:05 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

As I was driving home from talking to Joel and Ethan Coen about their latest film, I called my parents, laughing about the way the film folds Hollywood truth into Hollywood fiction. I mentioned that the Loretta Young story was an obvious inspiration for one thread of the film, and my parents seemed confused by the reference. They knew who Loretta Young was, no doubt, but they had never heard the defining story of her personal life because back when Young was still an active movie star, my parents were part of the audience who were protected from the truth to help keep those movie star images squeaky-clean. Eddie Mannix, played by Josh Brolin, is officially listed as the Head of Physical Production for Capitol Studios, but what he really does is handle problems. He's a fixer. And there was an actual Eddie Mannix who worked for MGM. If you remember Hollywoodland, »

- Drew McWeeny

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Film Review: ‘Hail, Caesar!’

3 February 2016 6:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

If there’s such a thing as poker-faced exuberance, you can feel it in every loving, teasing frame of Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Hail, Caesar!,” an inside-showbiz lark that regards the 1950s studio system with the utmost skepticism even as it becomes an expression of movie love at its purest. Starring Josh Brolin as a hard-working industry “fixer” tasked with keeping big-budget productions on track and wayward stars in line, this gorgeously crafted romp through the backlots and Malibu enclaves of Hollywood’s Golden Age tosses off plenty of eccentric comedy and musical razzle-dazzle before taking on richer, more ruminative dimensions, ultimately landing on the funny-sad question of whether life is but a dream factory. Although it boasts enough marquee names and splashy, crowdpleasing angles to deliver good returns for Universal, this is as strange and singular an offering as anything the Coens have ever done, and as such its more thoughtful, »

- Justin Chang

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Four Men and a Prayer

9 January 2016 12:42 PM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

It's the John Ford film you never heard of, not because it's bad, but because it's a little confused. Richard Greene, David Niven and an emotional George Sanders (!) dedicate their lives to clearing their father's name of a smear by international arms smugglers! Their spirited companion Loretta Young behaves almost as if this were a screwball comedy. So does the director! Ford aficionados will be fascinated. Four Men and a Prayer 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives 1938 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 85 min. / Street Date December 15, 2015 / 19.98 Starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene, George Sanders, David Niven, C. Aubrey Smith. J. Edward Bromberg, William Henry, John Carradine, Alan Hale, Reginald Denny, Berton Churchill, Barry Fitzgerald, Chris-Pin Martin. Cinematography Franz Planer Film Editor Louis R. Loeffler Written by Richard Sherman, Sonya Levien, Walter Ferris from a novel by David Garth Produced by Kenneth Macgowan Directed by John Ford

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

We all »

- Glenn Erickson

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5 items from 2016


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