Hail Caesar Review

hail cesear5Tonight I got to see the new Coen Brothers film Hail, Caesar in an early screening.  It was in my most anticipated of 2016, and what’s the verdict…

It’s ok.

I’d be lying if I came on here and said this is an uproarious comedy from start to finish.  It’s not. (I realize comedy is incredibly subjective so I can only speak for myself). But when it does hit, it hits, and I did laugh.

When I laughed, I chuckled.  But there were other times when I could tell they were going for a laugh and it fell like a thud.

Hail, Caesar stars George Clooney and Josh Brolin with basically glorified cameos from Scarlet Johansson and Jonah Hill- despite what the poster might lead you to believe.  There are also a ton of other actors including Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Alden Ehrenreich, and Tilda Swinton.  (It does feel at times that the Coen Brothers called in a lot of favors for this because great actors get such small parts).

hail cesearThe film is an homage to the studio systems of the 50s where a studio called Capitol Studios is making an epic film called Hail, Caesar about ancient Rome and the crucifixion of Christ.  George Clooney’s Baird Whitlock is kidnapped by a bunch of communists who want to extort the studio for underpaying them for their scripts.  Clooney is fine in the part and there are a few funny moments with the communists and on the set of the film but nothing that had me in stitches.

hail cesear4Josh Brolin is good as Eddie Mannix an executive who manages the studio and seems to have his finger in a million different pies.

hail cesear7I also liked Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle a country western actor who is put in a posh period piece directed by Ralph Fiennes.  Every scene Hobie was in I laughed.

Tilda Swinton is hilarious as two sisters who both write for Hollywood gossip rags and Frances McDormand has one scene that made me laugh.

hail cesear2I also liked Channing Tatum’s song and dance number spoofing musicals like On the Town, South Pacific and White Christmas about singing navy men.  A later sequence with him and a submarine, however, fell flat.

So all that stuff worked.  The problem is there needed to be more jokes.  There were a lot of subplots that weren’t funny and since the story didn’t matter on its own I grew a bit restless.  For example, the plot with Scarlet Johansson is not funny and like I said Jonah Hill is in one scene and it isn’t funny.

Some of the communist stuff feels weird and more like reciting a text book than telling a joke.  A plotline involving Eddie getting courted by Lockheed Airplanes didn’t need to be there and  wasn’t funny (and actually is spent a fare amount of time on).  Also some of the antics of trying to find Baird and Eddie listing off tasks to his assistant didn’t really make me laugh.

Overall, I’d say Hail Caesar is worth a rental but I don’t know if I would pay the big bucks to see it in the theater.  I laughed.  In the end, it was a mixed bag attempt at satire, not the great spoof I was hoping for.  Still, some definite laughs, so not a total loss.

If you get to see Hail Caesar let me know what you think.

It’s pretty clean content wise.  There are some gay jokes but most of it is pretty subtle.  There are also some pokes at religion and politics but nothing too raunchy or offensive.

Overall Grade- C

My youtube review

Tomorrowland Review

tomorrowland-posterIt’s very interesting that I would post about boring movies just last weekend and today I would see a movie that belonged on that list.  I’m sorry friends I keep it real but I fell asleep for about a minute in Tomorrowland. As a movie on my ‘So excited!!!- I’m on board and anxiously awaiting these films’ list for 2015 it was a big disappointment. Before I vent a little of my problems with the movie I’ll say a few positives.  The world building is beautiful and I admire Brad Bird in trying to tell an original story. tomorrowland2I also liked the little winks at the Disney park and original attractions like the Carousel of Progress song. tomorrowland7Raffedy Cassidy is very good as an AI recruiter of geniuses for Tomorrowland named Athena. She is the only complex character in the movie.  (My mind started to wander and I wondered if she is the child version of Ava in Ex-Machina 😉 ) That said- there are a lot of problems. First it starts out too episodic, like an episode of a TV show and not a movie.  We get a long segment with George Clooney as a kid and his introduction into Tomorrowland. We get all the awe and wonder of the land and learn it is a place for the brightest. tomorrowlandThe problem is when we get introduced to Casey played by Brit Robertson she goes through the same introductions which makes it again feel episodic and slow. Plus, with Clooney’s child character we see his invention.  It’s clear he is smart. With Casey we see her tell her father where to put an electrical wire and she can run a helicopter from her phone.  That’s about it.  People keep saying she’s a unique genius but I never saw it. The whole Savior trope is twaddled out and I had no idea why.  Why was she so special?  Most of the time she was either asking questions (seriously you’d think a genius could figure out a few things on her own) or shrieking at some shock. I normally don’t use gifs but this one was so perfect.  She’s like this the entire movie. tomorrowland5With a movie like this you have to feel emotionally connected to the characters and I didn’t.  Clooney is miscast as a reclusive genius trying to keep tabs on the world after being exiled from Tomorrowland. He’s just not nerdy enough.   He’s also missing for long chunks of the movie so we can’t feel that attached to him. tomorrowland3Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key are fun as novelty store owners but they are in the film far too briefly. tomorrowland6There are two long battle sequences I guess you’d call them with Casey and Frank dodging the robots and both are boring.  Even a long scene at the Eiffel Tower with a rocket which is supposed to be exciting was so repetitive of other scenes that it is where I fell asleep. tomorrowland8And then the ending is extremely trite and corny.  It just doesn’t work.  Hugh Laurie is okay as the bad guy but we don’t get to know him well and isn’t given much to do.  That might sound like a spoiler but it is so obvious he is the bad guy. tomorrowland4I am probably one of the few people who will give Tomorrowland a lower score than Jupiter Ascending.  Cry foul all you want but I was more entertained by JA.  It made me laugh.  It’s in on the joke.  It’s campy and ridiculous.  This is just blah. JA even has stronger world building than this.  I was really let down by Tomorrowland.

This is going to sound like a nitpick but another thing that bothered me is the sound mixing is very badly done.  Whenever there is a fight the sounds of a punch or kick was way too loud which had a jarring effect. All the sound effects were too loud. There is a segment that kids will like with the young Clooney but the blaring action will be too much for small children and older kids I think will be bored. Sad day.  Very disappointed in Tomorrowland.  🙁 Overall Grade- C-    Content Grade- B+