In this time of superhero franchises, monstrous special-effect movies and the dominance of digital projection in theaters, it seems like now is the least likely time for anything “classically” Hollywood to exist. The concept of the cinema as a spectacle still thrives, though today it often takes much more to wow audiences than it did in the bygone period of black-and-white Hollywood capers and romances.
There has, however, been a recent increase in the amount of filmmakers who have opted to shoot on film rather than digitally. Quentin Tarantino’s decision to bring back the classic Hollywood roadshow for his 70mm screenings of The Hateful Eight have proven that a fondness for a certain era can still exist.
Though not quite as mainstream as Tarantino, sibling filmmaking duo the Coen Brothers have always maintained a particular fondness for the Hollywood of yesterday. Their films typically contain elements of the great classics, carefully blended with their own unique voice. A new Coen Brothers project hasn’t been on anyone’s radar since 2013’s Oscar-nominated Inside Llewyn Davis, but this February they’re set to return with Hail, Caesar! – a star studded, classic Hollywood caper.
For fans, this looks to be exactly in the vein of past Coen films, like Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. The story follows a 1950s Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) who sets off on what becomes a wild adventure to right a series of wrongs resulting from a movie star’s (George Clooney) kidnapping. There’s no shortage of talent on board, with a cast that consists of some pretty big names, such as Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Tilda Swinton (Trainwreck), Channing Tatum (The Hateful Eight), Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Age of Ultron), and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street).
The Coen Brothers have built a lengthy career that allows them a certain level of creative freedom and independence in a sea of Hollywood franchises and big-budget fare. Their reputation is similar to that of Woody Allen’s – actors strive to work with them, despite being aware that there won’t be a lot of money in return. Instead, what is received in return is critical acclaim, a devoted fanbase and the fortune of working on a project that will likely age well in the annals of Hollywood cinema.
Classic Hollywood might be long gone, but as long as filmmakers like the Coens keep creating the sort of original, witty, and complex material that the classics were built upon, films like Hail, Caesar! stand a chance of bringing in a decent enough box office to keep the old school Hollywood dream alive.
Hail, Caesar! opens February 5th, 2016.
Source: Universal Pictures