Hail, Caesar! Hail, Coen Brothers!

Hail, Caesar! Blu-ray Cover

The new DVD/Blu-ray release Hail, Caesar! is unique, in that it could almost be seen as a collection of vignettes. Different movies are being made at the same time on the Capitol Pictures lot.

The film cleverly alludes to the communist witch hunt of the 1950s. Senator Joe McCarthy was convinced that Hollywood was full of secret communists, and so he and his committees started putting suspected communists under investigation. Those who opposed McCarthy were blacklisted in Hollywood.

The film also reflects the escapism of cinema at the time. The Cold War and the purveying certainty that World War III was on the horizon made Americans tense. This created a nostalgia for when things were simpler, and gave way to the popularity of westerns, as well as films about ancient times.

The year is 1951 and Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for Capitol Pictures. His job is to keep the image of the movie stars intact and to keep their personal lives out of the tabloids. When DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) gets pregnant out of wedlock, it becomes Eddie’s job to get her married before twin gossip writers Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton) become the wiser.

Capitol Pictures is filming what they think will be their defining achievement. Hail, Caesar! stars Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). The studio panics when Whitlock is drugged on set and kidnapped and a ransom note is found demanding $100,000.

What makes Hail, Caesar! work is the casting. My favorite moment had to be Hobie Doyle’s (Alden Ehrenreich) singing cowboy. I can’t get enough of him singing Lazy Old Moon.

Another highlight of the film is Channing Tatum‘s Gene Kelly-esque character Burt Gurney. His fancy footwork and soft singing were a welcome treat. He really is more than just good looks.

The Coen Brothers know how to make a great film and Hail, Caesar! is no exception. As critics we sometimes want to find flaws and nitpick a movie, but this was a welcome light-hearted comedy. The social commentary is there, but the film can be enjoyed on several levels.

Whether you want a clever satire or a fun 100 minutes, Hail, Caesar! is a triumph.

The Blu-ray comes with bonus features. These include Directing HollywoodAn Era of GlamourThe Stars AlignMagic of a Bygone Era. I loved An Era of Glamour, which tells the audience how the set and costumes were selected to be period appropriate. I also loved The Stars Align, in which the film’s stars tell us why they were drawn to the project and what it was like working with the Coen Brothers. It was also fun to see how the stunts, such as Hobie swinging off a horse into a tree and landing back down on another horse, were done.

Have you seen Hail, Caesar!, either on DVD or in theaters? Tell us what you thought in the comments and click here to write your own review. ~ Yanis Khamsi

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Sean • June 8, 2016 @ 10:36 AM

    Hail Yanis!

    Great review, Ill be sure to check it out this weekend!

  2. BERNADETTE • June 8, 2016 @ 2:42 PM

    I can not believe this review- as this was the worst movie we have seen in many years. There were people walking out of the movie ! That’s pretty bad concerning the cost of a movie these days! The worst acting- if I were George Clooney I would be embarrassed by this movie. The movie made no sense- was all over the place- you kept waiting for something to happen in the story. Just horible- what a waste of money.

  3. Adrienne • June 9, 2016 @ 9:35 AM

    I watched this with my family and we laughed so much. George Clooney is a complete clown in this, he’s so funny and the others were amazing as well. We all love old movies and movie musicals, so to see a spoof on them, it was really different and amazing.

  4. Shannan • June 9, 2016 @ 1:06 PM

    This is the WORST movie I have ever seen!!! I am actually disappointed such great actors took on these roles to do this terrible movie. I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch this awful movie. Everyone around me in the theatre had nothing good to say about this movie.

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