February is traditionally a time frame where quality pickings are slim as far as movies go, but there are several potential diamonds in the rough that will hit theaters during the month in 2016. Among them is Hail, Caesar!, the latest offbeat comedy offering written and directed by Oscar-winners Ethan and Joel Coen. The cast for this Coen Brothers production includes many of the filmmakers’ previous (and most respected) collaborators like Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men), Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading) and the Coens’ frequent leading man George Clooney, along with big name actors like Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, and Jonah Hill.
Hail, Caesar! is set in 1950s Hollywood, as Eddie Mannix (Brolin) – a Capital Pictures “fixer” who makes his living by quickly and quietly solving the problems of Capital’s big name actors – finds himself faced with his greatest challenge yet: finding Capital’s own biggest star, Baird Whitlock (Clooney), after he is kidnapped by a mysterious organization that refers to itself as simply “The Future”. Much in the way of madcap comical mayhem ensues thereafter, as highlighted in previously-released TV spots and trailers for the latest Coen Brothers flick.
The second trailer for Hail, Caesar! (see above) focuses in particular on one comedy sequence from the film, as prim and proper Laurence Lorenz (Ralph Fiennes) attempts to instruct his movie’s leading man, Tobey (Alden Ehrenreich), though a line of dialogue that is… not ideally matched for Tobey’s drawl. Among other things, this clip is another reminder of just how good Fiennes is when it comes to the art of comedic timing (see his much celebrated performance in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel for more proof of that).
By the look of things, Hail, Caesar! isn’t too far off from the Coens’ previous work, as they’ve satirized Hollywood and/or the filmmaking industry before in such movies as Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. Nevertheless, Hail, Caesar! is the first of the brothers’ own projects to look at Hollywood’s Golden Age specifically, taking potshots at the various genres (technicolor musicals, prestigious swords and sandals dramas) that’ve come to define that era in Tinseltown history. Furthermore, the film was partly inspired by the experiences of the real-life “fixer” Eddie Mannix; depending on how much inspiration the Coens drew from the real Mannix’s story though, Hail, Caesar! may serve up more in the way of dark comedy than the trailers would lead you to believe, too.
All the same, between the Coens’ latest film, the X-Men spinoff Deadpool, and the long-awaited Ben Stiller sequel Zoolander 2, Hail, Caesar! will start off a February that has the potential to be a month of surprisingly solid quirky comedy movie offerings. At the very least, even if Hail, Caesar! proves to only be a so-so Coen Brothers comedy, it’ll still be better than your average film release this time of year.
Hail, Caesar! opens in U.S. theaters on February 5th, 2016.
Source: Universal Pictures/Working Title Films