Blu-ray Review: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ Is The Coens Love Letter To Old Hollywood

The Coen Brothers latest movie, ‘Hail, Caesar!’, is possibly my favorite of their pure comedies. Which is difficult to say considering they’ve made comedies like ‘Raising Arizona’ and ‘The Big Lebowski’. Still, I am a huge fan of old school Hollywood and this movie is their love letter to the golden age of Hollywood and it gets almost everything right. There may be little to the actual story, but what actually transpires is a pure delight from start to finish.

In many ways, this is basically a day in the life of (enter character here) movie. The character whose day we are sharing our time with is a 1950’s Hollywood fixer (that’s a technical term if you look up the synopsis everywhere) named Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) and the day in question is a doozy. He’s trying to decide whether he wants to leave Hollywood to work for Lockheed Martin, but it’s a hard decision. You know, because all the keeping dames in line, finding missing movie stars, dodging twin journalists, and trying to not smoke is what he loves. 

The big story in the middle is about a celebrity named Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) getting kidnapped by a secret group and Eddie is trying to track them down. This section is quite fun once it’s revealed who these kidnappers are and Clooney is hilarious as a no nothing movie star. However, it’s all the individual scenes that take you behind the movie business of that era which make this movie worth watching. 

There are sequences of old westerns being made, art house pictures, prestige pics, and a musical. The musical numbers is the best by a mile. Channing Tatum sings and dances in an old school dance number that would even make Gene Kelly grin from ear to ear. I truly had a massive smile on my face for about 5 to 10 minutes. It was great. I also loved a sequence where a group of religious leaders are invited for a discussion about the depiction of Christ in a movie Capitol Pictures in producing. What transpires is unbelievably hilarious and something I can’t wait to see again. 

I could actually discuss nearly a dozen scenes that I remember from this movie, but I’d like to save some of them for you. Although, I do feel that I should mention how awesome Alden Ehrenreich is as the western star in this flick. He gets thrown in the arty world of a director named Laurenz (Ralph Fiennes) and comic magic ensues. Just thinking about it makes me laugh and you should let it make you laugh.

Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on June 7.

Nathan Ligon

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