Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Overstreet

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Recommended Posts

I'm not inclined to make too much of the biblical/faith thing either... although that quote they gave Anne Thompson (at the top of this thread) is certainly interesting...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The pair's breakout hit, Barton Fink..."

Eh? What planet is Vox.com living on? In box-office terms, Raising Arizona had made almost four times as much money as Barton Fink four years earlier.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tyler wrote:
: New trailer. A lot of people seem more excited by it than I am. 

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't cracked up laughing every time I've watched it.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Tyler said:

New trailer. A lot of people seem more excited by it than I am. 

That trailer was funnier than any of the comedies (and non-comedies) nominated for the Golden Globe best Comedy/Musical.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is still near the top of my "most anticipated" list.

Mostly I'm curious to see how their attitude toward the business has changed since Barton Fink. That 25-year-old film thoroughly de-mythologized classical Hollywood; this one seems more like a celebration. But knowing the Coens as we do, we can be sure they have a few tricks up their sleeve. 

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

Twitter     Letterboxd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first clip, which already hints at themes that could make this movie verrrry interesting (to me, at least).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

The first clip, which already hints at themes that could make this movie verrrry interesting (to me, at least).

This is looking like it's shaping up to be one clever movie.  Lots of irony there.  It was also a wonder watching how small, fragile and tired Clooney's character became.

Edited by Attica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'm actually sympathetic to whoever it was who said that Clooney tends to do too much mugging in the Coen brothers' movies. You can kind of tell he's "acting" the part of an idiot or whatever. But I really like Brolin in that scene, and I get the feeling that the film will really be primarily about *his* character. (*He's* the one who goes to confession in one of the trailers, and the Coen brothers *have* said that the film is about "faith and the movie business".)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

You can kind of tell he's "acting" the part of an idiot or whatever.

Sure.  It was that one shot near the end when he was walking towards the door that really struck me.  Just his body language.

I think a film about Brolin's character would be much more interesting than another film about an actor.  Also, with the idea that he's the one with faith we get another factor.  Clooney's character was rambling on in what seemed to be a nullifying of spirituality.

Edited by Attica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This movie (which I have not yet seen) inspired me to come up with a list of movies about people making Bible movies. Billy Wilder (with an acting performance from Cecil B. DeMille), Pier Paolo Pasolini (with an acting performance from Orson Welles), Abel Ferrara and others made the list, among others. (Thanks to Matt Page for reminding me about the Pasolini and Ferrara films, both of which I have blogged in the past, but somehow they slipped my mind at first.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked it, not the Coens at their finest, but still very good. Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum are the MVPs, the majority of the cast are just glorified cameos all of whom are held together by Brolin's producer, and there's a major spoiler in the trailer which gives away the ending when you consider the trailer scene with an early scene in the movie.

It also has one of the most (the most?) straightforward, sympathetic, non-cynical portrayals of faith that the Coens have ever done.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paging M. Leary... paging M. Leary...

For some reason the more "philosophical" stuff in this movie makes me really want to hear M. Leary's thoughts on this film.

But there's an interesting motif regarding the "split" between master and servant that runs throughout this film... between the studio chiefs and the people who work for them... between the big-time writers and actors on the one hand and the mere extras on the other... between the Soviet masters and their Communist stooges in America... between the ancient Romans and their slaves... and so on.

The first time we hear the word "split" is when the studio chief, confused by the distinction the Catholic priest makes between "God" and "Son of God", asks the religious ministers gathered at his table whether God is "split". But we hear this word again later on when the Communist screenwriters talk about the "split" between the writers and actors on the one hand and the bosses who profit from their work on the other hand. (And then one of the more philosophically inclined members of that Communist bunch starts talking about man being a "unitary" creature, or some such thing.)

And oh, how I wish I had a transcript of that complete speech that Clooney is supposed to give. But it directly addresses some of these issues, too.

I think my favorite bit in the entire movie might be the one where the actor playing Jesus isn't sure whether he's a "principal" or an "extra" -- a distinction that affects what kind of meal he gets. It's all the more striking because of where the actor is when that scene takes place. For some reason that whole scene strikes me as very reminiscent of Pasolini's La Ricotta.

More later.

Oh, but this, too: I was pleasantly surprised, during one section of the end credits, to realize that I was hearing the 'Our Father' melody that we sing at my church -- and sure enough, the 'Our Father', as sung by some Moscow choir, is listed in the song credits at the end. I also got a kick out of seeing Jack Huston in one of the movies-within-the-movie, given that he's starring in the new Ben-Hur later this year. (The movie-within-the-movie that he appears in isn't a Bible movie, but still.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, PTC. I aim to indulge later this month, at which point I will have a hard time containing my thoughts on this.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, I wonder if we're going to see any complaints about the subplot in which the studio plots to hide a movie star's pregnancy and then arrange for her to adopt the child later. This is very clearly based on what Loretta Young did in the 1930s -- but Loretta Young, unlike the slutty movie star in *this* movie, was a devout Catholic who claimed years later (after a certain term had entered the vocabulary) that she had been date-raped by Clark Gable.

That's another thing about this movie, incidentally: the way it draws on various bits of Hollywood lore from across the decades. The whole movie takes place in the space of two days, apparently in 1951 (the copyright date on a movie premiere that the characters attend). But at least one of the movies is shown in widescreen, a format that didn't really take off until The Robe came out in 1953. The Loretta Young incident happened in the 1930s, so faking a movie star's "adoption" of her own child wouldn't have seemed like such a new idea. We're also told that this film is taking place "a few weeks" after the first hydrogen-bomb test, which might mean the tests that took place in April or May 1951.

It's also kind of funny how the movie studio gets an Orthodox *patriarch* -- not just a priest, or bishop, or even archbishop, but a *patriarch* -- to give them feedback on their Bible epic. I believe there are only nine EO patriarchs, none of them in the Americas.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My review: https://catholiccinephile.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/hail-caesar/

 

I would like to add, having just read Jeff's review, I did not read it until after I published mine.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I shouldn't care, but wow, has this review made me angry.

http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/hail-caesar.cfm

Any last semblance of respect I had for the Catholic News Service Movie Reviews has been completely destroyed. They can't even bother to get basic facts regarding the cast correct, much less assess the film thoughtfully or intelligently. (Read the review at your own risk.)

Also, for anyone who hasn't seen the movie, there's a fairly significant spoiler in the review.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This felt like a movie composed entirely of subplots. I guess Brolin is nominally the lead, and he's fleshed out a bit more than the other characters, but the movie still didn't give him enough to carry it. 

There are some nice moments, though. 


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts after seeing it a few hours ago (some of them kind of spoiler-ish):

Anyone else catch an obvious visual reference to Barton Fink (aside from the Capitol Pictures logo)?

Although we're only a few weeks into 2016, will there be a cuter couple than Hobie and Carlotta in any other movie this year?

"Have you heard the one about the rabbi, the Catholic priest, the Protestant minister and the Orthodox patriarch who all got together for a board meeting?"  That scene hearkened back to the best of rapid-fire Coen dialogue scenes.  It's like a well-oiled vaudeville routine. 

Tilda Swinton had fun with her double role.  I noticed that one of the sisters sounded more American than the other. 

Where was Dolph Lundgren?  Was he just a silhouette?  But I found it wild to see John Bluthal in this, a character actor who has been around since at least the 1960s, maybe earlier.

Some reality vs. illusion games toward the end of the film.  A climactic scene which was meant to be "real" looked like it was filmed on a soundstage!

I got a chuckle out of the notion of a Hollywood actor encountering leftist propaganda for the first time and instantly buying into it with no discernment whatsoever.  Not that that would ever happen in the actual Hollywood, of course.....

Did you like Jonah Hill's appearance in the trailer?  That's pretty much his entire performance!

Alden Ehrenreich's Hobie Doyle is maybe my favorite character.  We're led to believe he's a knucklehead, but.....maybe he's not so much.

Speaking of Hobie, the nuttiest bit for me is the "Lazy Ol' Moon" clip - especially the old prospector (or whatever he was) raging at the reflection of the full moon in a trough. 

As Justin Chang in Variety noted, Frances McDormand has a very memorable gag. 

Speaking as a loyal student of studio musicals of the period in question, I was not all that impressed with the "No Dames" number which is lethargic compared with most similar MGM dance productions.  But I liked the aside by the bartender concerning his "slow burn."

If this supposedly taking place in 1951, why do so many of the films within the film have wider aspect ratios than they should for the time?  "Lazy Ol' Moon" almost looks like it's in 'Scope!  But, perhaps like The Hudsucker ProxyHail, Caesar! is meant to be taking place in several time frames at once. 

I haven't seen any mention of her in reviews, but Heather Goldenhersh's loyal secretary to Josh Brolin's busy Eddie Mannix was nicely done, especially her line reading of "chippies."

I can't believe that Alison Pill, who played one of Steve Carroll's teenage daughters in Dan in Real Life is now playing Brolin's wife.  Time marches on, I guess.

I'm not sure what to make of one of the characters exclaiming "son of a bitch!," especially considering where he is located at the time.   As with other Coen brothers films, their satire often cuts on both ends.  It will be very interesting to read further theological (Jeffrey Overstreet has gotten things off to a nice start in his review) and political discussion of this seemingly innocuous and "light" movie. 

 

Edited by Mark R.Y.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was pretty tired this evening so I probably missed some things.  I still quite enjoyed it and plan to see it again.

13 hours ago, Mark R.Y. said:

I'm not sure what to make of one of the characters exclaiming "son of a bitch!," especially considering where he is located at the time.

I was actually going to comment on that line.  I thought it was funny at the time in its irony and I thought it fit the character.  My only real problem with that line was that it cut off a meaningful moment abruptly enough that some people might forget or overlook the moment.  I don't think that they were intentionally trying to undermine faith or Christ though, even if they are not necessarily of the Christian faith themselves.  I think this film is too serious about some of these aspects to do that.

14 hours ago, Tyler said:

This felt like a movie composed entirely of subplots.

It was a little episodic but I didn't have any problems with that.  I liked how it had segments from films they were working on, but then their real life also worked like fragments from a film, at times.  This was especially noticeable in the boat scene.

 

Edited by Attica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of those films where the trailers gave away so much that I found myself wishing I hadn't seen them. A fine film, nonetheless. The conversation between the clergy discussing the divinity of Christ might be one of my favorite scenes in a Coen brothers' film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...