Jun 012016

Hail, Caesar for me was a major misstep for the Coen Brothers even with what certainly passion behind their love letter to 1950s Hollywood. Outside of George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, the other cast members were more or less cameo appearances.



Hail, Caesar!


The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Universal | PG13 – 106 min. – $34.98 | June 7, 2016

Date Published: 06/01/2016 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by:
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Writer(s): Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (written by)
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 39.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

THE MOVIE – 2.0/5

There’s no doubt that the Coen Brothers are two of the most talented writer/directors working today having release many classics like Fargo and The Big Lebowski. Now their latest, Hail, Caesar! Might be the worst yet being absolutely unfunny (not even a chuckle) and a story that isn’t very interesting and feels disjointed.

Hail, Caesar is set in the 1950s and revolves around Capitol Studio fixer Eddie Mannix (JOSH BROLIN) who must deal with a variety of problems that occur over the course of a day: aloof movie star Baird Whitlock (GEORGE CLOONEY) is kidnapped by a group known as “The Future”, holding him ransom for $100k though he’s not entirely held prisoner; director Laurence Laurentz (RALPH FIENNES), with the push of the studio chief, is saddled with Western singer/actor Hobie Doyle (ALDEN EHRENREICH) to star in his latest picture; DeeAnne Moran (SCARLETT JOHANSSON) is a popular swimmer movie star who is pregnant and to avoid any tabloid controversies must find a husband though Mannix comes up with an unusual solution; twin tabloid writers Thora and Thessaly Thacker (TILDA SWINTON) hound Mannix about a story they’re pursuing, while competing with one another, and get wind of Whitlock’s disappearance; and singer/star Burt Gurney (CHANNING TATUM) plays an integral part in this haphazard plot. Oh, and forgot another subplot nugget where Mannix is being wooed by a company where he would work fewer hours and can be home with his wife and kid…

The film has a sprinkling of other recognizable faces from Jonah Hill as a lawyer who literally barely has one scene, Frances McDormand appears as a quirky film editor (again, one scene), Alison Pill plays Mannix’s dutiful wife, Christopher Lambert portrays a veteran director and character actors David Krumholtz and Fisher Stevens are one of many in Whitlock’s kidnapping crew.

The problem I had with Hail, Caesar wasn’t how the studio promoted it, in fact I can’t even remember the TV spots or trailers off-hand, but that for something that’s supposed to be a comedy, and it just wasn’t funny or clever. In fact, I couldn’t even manage a chuckle, something I was able to force from the awful Zoolander 2. Given it is from the Coen Brothers, whose lesser efforts still weren’t half bad (see: Burn After Reading or Intolerable Cruelty), and with the cast of characters they were able to assemble, albeit some were only in 1-2 scenes, and it should’ve been at least a middle-of-the-road kind of flick. Instead it has a haphazard of a plot, one-dimensional characters that I couldn’t have cared less about, though Clooney still has so much charisma to overcome a lack of character.

If I had one positive thing to say, there did seem to be passion in front of and behind the camera, in particular you can see that Hail, Caesar was a love letter to the golden era of Hollywood and seem to do a good job reproducing the making of those classic epic films from that time. On that front, I, and any fan of movies in general, can appreciate that aspect of the movie.

In the end, and speaking as a moderate fan of the Coen Brothers, though I don’t anticipate their next outings compared with others, I was vastly disappointed with Hail, Caesar which just came across as a movie where some celebs can gather together and have a good time, for some watching, it just didn’t translate very well.



This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover. Inside is the DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Directing Hollywood (4:11; HD) is a short featurette on the Coen Brothers and their cast heaping praise on the filmmakers.

The Stars Align (11:34; HD) covers the plot for Hail, Caesar and has more interviews and BTS footage.

An Era of Glamour (6:22; HD) – This focuses on the 1940-50s Hollywood and the production/costume designs in bringing it to life.

Magic of a Bygone Era (6:01; HD) finds the cast and crew discussing 1950s Hollywood and how it was re-creating for the film.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Universal releases Hail, Caesar onto Blu-ray shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). In keeping with the more comedic tone, colors tended to be bright and cheerful, having a nice pop off the screen while detail was pretty sharp and well defined. It’s nothing I’d consider reference quality work but pleasant looking nevertheless.


AUDIO – 4.0/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track isn’t anything amazing but at least gets the job done. Dialogue levels, primarily coming through the center channel, were clear and when the soundtrack kicked in, it did provide some depth however it’s nothing profound. Any ambient sounds came through the front and rear speakers so at least it was pleasant enough lossless track.


OVERALL – 2.75/5

Overall, Hail, Caesar for me was a major misstep for the Coen Brothers even with what certainly passion behind their love letter to 1950s Hollywood. Outside of George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, the other cast members were more or less cameo appearances. The highlight wasn’t any of the stars but instead Alden Ehrenreich who probably had the better character arc and more interesting than the lot. The Blu-ray released through Universal has good video/audio transfers and a so-so selection of bonus material.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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