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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

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A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.

Directors:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
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Popularity
1,840 ( 288)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Brolin ... Eddie Mannix
George Clooney ... Baird Whitlock
Alden Ehrenreich ... Hobie Doyle
Ralph Fiennes ... Laurence Laurentz
Scarlett Johansson ... DeeAnna Moran
Tilda Swinton ... Thora Thacker / Thessaly Thacker
Channing Tatum ... Burt Gurney
Frances McDormand ... C.C. Calhoun
Jonah Hill ... Joe Silverman
Veronica Osorio ... Carlotta Valdez
Heather Goldenhersh ... Natalie - Secretary
Alison Pill ... Mrs. Mannix
Max Baker ... Head Communist Writer
Fisher Stevens ... Communist Writer
Patrick Fischler ... Communist Writer
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Storyline

Hail Caesar! Follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capitol Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix. Written by Warren D'Souza

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lights. Camera. Abduction.

Genres:

Comedy | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hail, Caesar! A Tale of The Christ See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,355,225, 7 February 2016, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$30,080,225, 26 April 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$62,429,013, 29 April 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cast includes four Oscar winners: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Fisher Stevens and Tilda Swinton, and three Oscar nominees: Josh Brolin, Jonah Hill and Ralph Fiennes. See more »

Goofs

The opening credits to Hobie's Western movie-within-a-movie that he attends with Carlotta state that it is filmed in VistaVision. But VistaVision was not introduced until 1954, and the events in "Hail, Caesar" itself apparently take place in 1951, according to the date listed on some literature shown at the secret Communist meeting, and according to the comment made by a studio executive that television was just beginning to catch on with the American public (true in 1951, already an established fact in 1954). See more »

Quotes

Natalie - Secretary: Check! Thessaly Thacker called, said you promised her an interview with Baird today. Check that, it was Thora Thacker.
Eddie Mannix: No, it was Thessaly. Tell her he was at the doctor longer than expected and she can see him on the set bright and early tomorrow.
Natalie - Secretary: Check! And is that last part true?
Eddie Mannix: Let's hope so.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits there is a disclaimer that reads "This motion picture contains no visual depiction of the godhead." See more »

Connections

References It's a Wonderful Life (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Varchavianka
Written by Waclaw Swiecicki (as V. Sventsistski) & Gleb Krzhizhanovsky (as G. Krjijanovsky)
Arranged by Boris Aleksandrov (as B. Alexandrov)
Performed by The Red Army Choir
Courtesy of Silva Screen Music America & FGL Productions
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Would that it were so simple
7 March 2016 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

In the Coen Brothers latest "Hail Caesar" we have exactly the same Hollywood-based mix of communist writers and Hedda Hopper-style gossip columnists as recently seem in "Trumbo": but the films could hardly be more different.

"Hail Caesar" is the film within the film: the latest Victor Mature style 'God and Sandals' epic for Capitol Pictures, starring the megastar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). Trying to keep this movie on track - together with all the other movies being concurrently filmed - is tough no-nonsense fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). These other movies include an Esther William's style water ballet starring gal-in-trouble DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson); an Anchor's Aweigh-style musical starring Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum); and a pot-boiling drama featuring non- acting singing-cowboy Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich).

To add to Mannix's tension, Whitlock is drugged and kidnapped before the final climactic Crucifixion scene can be filmed. Who's behind the plot and why, and can Mannix restore order while keeping the story out of the eye of voracious journalist twins Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both Tilda Swinton)?

The film plays out as a series of loosely connected vignettes, some much more successful than others. Johansson's water ballet, and indeed her entire sub-plot, is all rather dull and irrelevant and in my opinion could happily have been ditched.

Channing Tatum however is a revelation as a song and dance man in a Gene Kelly tribute. His song and dance number was for me the best part of the film and I could watch this stuff all day: I would personally LOVE IT if someone would make a complete retro-feature film in this ilk. Watch out too for Christopher Lambert ("Highlander") as his almost incomprehensible Swiss director.

Capturing the most attention though is young Ehrenreich as the upcoming star without a clue. Many of his scenes, especially those with classical director Laurence Laurentz (a brilliant Ralph Fiennes) are hilarious.

Popping up in cameos are Jonah Hill (as the fixer's well paid 'man to take the rap'); Frances McDormand ("Fargo") as a dottie film editor who really shouldn't wear scarves; and Robert Picardo ("Star Trek Voyager") as the Jewish representative in a contentious meeting of religious representatives discussing Christ's portrayal in the film ("So, a priest, a Protestant, a Greek Orthodox and a Jew walked into a studio...").

Having last year enormously enjoyed the studio tour at Warner Brother's studios in LA (HIGHLY recommended if you can book ahead for when you are in town) it was great to see the studios making an actual film there again (as opposed to TV). Cinematographer Roger Deakin has great fun suffusing the studio and everything else with a 50's glow, an effect extending to the old 4:3 screen format (which I can see generating some "my DVD is defective" returns in a few months!)

Is it any good? I think it's fair to say that this is a 'Marmite' movie (which if you are non-British is a way of saying that the film will massively divide opinion). I've not seen as many people walk out of a film at the cinema in recent years.

I personally found it a light-hearted and nostalgic trip into a golden age of studio-management, show-casing again the comic gurning talents of Clooney (particularly prevalent in the scene where he gets slapped around a bit and which demonstrates his range - as if we needed reminding after "The Descendants"). Brolin is great as the straight-guy Mannix and most of the rest of the cast add value, though Johansson seems Ill at ease with her role. I'm also afraid 2 x Swinton is not equal to 1 x Mirren in "Trumbo". But it is Alden Ehrenreich that is the real acting find of the film - a breakout role for him after more minor roles in films like "Stoker" and "Blue Jasmine".

This is not the best Coen brothers film, being patchy and spasmodic and, in places, rather too clever for its own good. I got the same feeling watching bits of this (for example, the writer's meeting scene) as I do in many Woody Allen films: that I am not politically / philosophically intelligent enough to understand the niceties of the script (and I'm considered quite bright!). This can be a bit alienating for an audience.

If I think back to all its numerous sub-parts it was often in 4-Fad+ territory.... but overall it's lack of cohesive story arc brings the overall confection down a notch or two.

(Please visit bob-the-movie-man.com for the graphical version of this review. Thanks).


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