Director(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), head of production and all-around problem solver for Hollywood studio Capitol Pictures. When Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the world’s biggest star, is kidnapped in the middle of production on the studio’s latest swords-and-sandals epic, Eddie will have to recover his leading man while simultaneously appeasing cowboy star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), disgruntled director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes), swimming sensation DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) and song-and-dance superstar Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), all while horse-trading information to keep his talents’ names out of the gossip columns written by a pair of rival siblings, Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton).
‘Hail, Caesar!’ follows a rather typical day in the maddening and time consuming career of Hollywood studio fixer Eddie Mannix (Brolin) as he is tasked with handling numerous issues the studio has on its plate. Today that collection of dilemmas includes everything from investigating the random disappearance of star actor Baird Whitlock (Clooney) who has vanished after being kidnapped following a typical morning on the set, balancing an ambitious young Cowboy superstar who can’t quite seem to the find the knack for more serious and dialogue based work, in addition to dealing with his family life and whatever else is thrown his way throughout the remainder of the day. It’s just another average day in the golden age of Hollywood.
Written, produced and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (possibly better known as the filmmaking duo The Coen Brothers who brought us such fantastic films as ‘Fargo’, ‘No Country for Old Men’, and many more) and the two do a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Hail, Caesar!’ guiding their own goofy, enjoyable and parody-like tale of Hollywood during the golden age with their notable offbeat touch. The film also owes a share of the credit to the all-star cast which includes an impressive collection of talented individuals including Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill and a number more, all of whom deliver wonderfully silly and fitting performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Hail, Caesar!’ is a wonderfully hilarious, goofy and odd tribute, as well as a parody that captures the golden age of Hollywood with a strange and erratic charm and filled with a collection of extravagant characters, many of whom are more off kilter than the world in which they occupy. It’s not by any means the finest work the talented Coen Brothers have provided us throughout the span of their impressive careers, yet is nonetheless far superior to the majority of films we are privy to in recent times which is just another part of the charm that contributes to making ‘Hail, Caesar!’ so ridiculously fun and the powerhouse cast which includes a plethora of well know and highly talented folks perfectly complements this strange and gorgeous film. Any fan of the Coen Brothers’ work or the golden age of Hollywood that it focuses upon will definitely want to make a point of checking this one out when you have the opportunity to do so, it’s certainly well worth the cost of a rental at the very least for those who might be hesitant to make a blind purchase.
Overall, ‘Hail, Caesar!’ is an incredibly offbeat, goofy and fun film, both parody and homage to the golden age of Hollywood and providing no shortage of laughs, some hilarious song and dance numbers and an erratic charm that only the Coen brothers could deliver. Guided with fantastic vigor by the talented duo and featuring a cast brimming with talented stars including Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Tilda Swinton along with a great deal more, anyone who enjoys the films of Joel and Ethan Coen will definitely want to make sure and give ‘Hail, Caesar!’ a whirl, as will those with a passion for the era of cinema it focuses on.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hail, Caesar!’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful, providing a consistently sharp, detailed and colorful presentation with no notable faults of any sort to be found within. It holds up admirably at every point, even during the fast moving and/or heavily populated sequences, never for a moment resulting in anything becoming negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is a more than competent lossless multichannel soundtrack that delivers a clean and crisp audio presentation from start to finish. It’s not by any means an overly active soundtrack, yet still utilizes all five available channels on a number of occasions, such as to fully immerse the viewer within the goofy musical numbers and providing common ambience throughout. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hail, Caesar!’ includes a few behind the scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Directing Hollywood’ (running approximately 4 minutes in length), ‘The Stars Align’ (running approximately 12 minutes), ‘The Era of Glamour’ (approximately 6 minutes), and ‘Magic Of A Bygone Era’ (6 minutes).