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What We Know So Far: In 1950’s Hollywood, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) works as a ”fixer” for a major studio, struggling to keep the company’s big star’s scandals out of the paper. When their biggest money-maker, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped by a group called “The Future”, he becomes desperate, trying to secretly round up the $100,000 ransom and keep the story from going public.
The Trailer: (Official #1)
David: The Coen Brothers have built a solid reputation on creating high quality, off-beat films, whether they are comedic or high drama. With Hail, Caesar!, they look to be giving a bit of both with an impressive lineup of top stars and regular Coen Brothers actors, including Brolin again, whom they helped kick start his comeback of late after No Country For Old Men (2008). While the clip reveals a lot, it still feels ambiguous enough to keep it curious and there’s a lot to like about it, especially the aesthetics, which are crisp, colorful, and just enough “out of time” as to be familiar fantasy. The dialog, as usual, is sharp and witty, and I like the use of close-ups with the actors, especially Clooney, giving exaggerated expressions, making the trailer look a bit more silly but also a lot more funny. The tone is obvious, and as always, the Coen Brothers are committed. Clearly, this is going to be a shot at the corporate-run Hollywood in this era, and the fun will stem from how out of control it will become as Mannix loses his grip on the situation. Of interest is the lack of even implied violence, which has pretty much been a standard for Coen Brothers movies and I am curious to see how that pans out. This looks to be a fresh, funny, and good time at the theater.
Dan: The Coens bring us another story based around a kidnapping . . . and it’s worked out well before. Josh Brolin leads the way, in a very different role. He’s done everything lately and is really making a name for himself. Brolin’s definitely come a long way since The Goonies. Instead of hiring private investigators to solve the kidnapping of his star actor, he employs his cast. This is sure to lead to lots of fun. Scarlett Johansson could steal some scenes away from Brolin, as a Film Noir Femme Fatale / Mermaid. This time out it looks like the Coens focused on laughs. They seem to take turns making a serious film then a comedy. I’m looking forward to this satirical look on Hollywood and Coen’s humorous take on criminality.
David Says: Of course it’s George Clooney. For the entirety of the clip (and I’m willing to bet, the film) he is dressed as the eponymous Caesar. The Sneak Peek Moment comes when, after a voiceover by Mannix explains that the latest picture will be a prestige film brought together by the studio’s finest, there is Whitlock about to spout what appears to an epic line, stumbles on the word “faith” and is clearly out of his element. Meanwhile, his confidant, played by Clancy Brown, looks on in obvious dismay as this “renowned” actor can’t deliver the goods. It reminds me of how good Clooney was in the Coen Brother’s O, Brother Where Art Thou? and has me really excited for what he’s going to do here.
Dan Says: There are quite a few highlights in this Sneak Preview, a lot of them performance based. George Clooney looks to be hamming it up big time. Channing Tatum looks perfectly cheesy. Scarlett Johansson steams it up. For me, it’s Josh Brolin’s dry comedic delivery that works best. His subtle physical gestures sometimes go unnoticed. However, my choice for the Sneak Peak Moment is a rather obvious joke, that works so well. Tilda Swinton’s journalist tries to pry some information out of Brolin’s character. He tries to slip past her. She persists, “Millions of readers want the truth, Eddy.” Brolin stumbles by, fumbling on his words, “The truth… Yes.” In the same instance, he brings his briefcase close to his chest. Embraces it, as he turns the other way and does his best version of a running walk. Swinton is left hanging, “Eddy?” The awkward physical comedy really got me laughing. I’m looking forward to busting my gut in 2016 when this debuts.