By September 15, 2016 Read More →

RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE – Film Review: brilliant affectionate send-up of Hollywood in the early 1950s by the Coen Brothers – screened at the Axbridge Roxy

Woman in trouble: Scarlett Johansson as DeeAnna Moran

Woman in trouble: Scarlett Johansson as DeeAnna Moran

Hail Ceasar! Axbridge Roxy.

Eddie Mannix beats the Romans, the Romans beat their slaves, and the slaves continue to live on zero hour contracts and are exploited by the bosses. Or something like that. You certainly can’t trust an extra if they are a Red. Especially when they kidnap a Roman and extract $100,000 from the moguls of Hollywood.

The Coen Brothers’ (Joel and Ethan) movie Hail Ceasar! takes us back to the early 1950s and the world of Hollywood where their protagonist Catholic guilt obsessed Eddie Mannix worked as a fixer, producer and professional cover-upper. Except the Coen Brothers turn him into a hero who tries his best to keep the movie industry ticking over whilst resisting an easier job offer in the aviation business. What a pack of nonsense should you check out the real history of Mannix. But at the same time what an enjoyable romp through the dying days of Hollywood before the onset of TV.

Geezer: Josh Brolin as fixer Mannix

Geezer: Josh Brolin as fixer Mannix

Hail Ceasar! is pure satire as it pokes fun at all things lit and filmed by the movie industry of the time. Looking his age, George Clooney is the heroic idiot taken in by the ridiculously moustached Communist circle at the beach side house. Ralph Fiennes as the exasperated director Laurence Laurentz and Tida Simpson as the twin gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Thacker excel in their facial contortions, exasperated body language and elegant hats and cravats. And then there’s Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) the Roy Rogers parody who rescues Clooney from the Commies in a tightly packed plot filled with excellent set pieces including a Gene Kelly naval tribute.

On the town: Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) looked like Gene Kelly

On the town: Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) looked like Gene Kelly

So many beautifully work scenes, so many fabulous costumes and so many brilliantly observed slices of Hollywood in an age long gone. Just don’t believe the story and accept it for what it is, an affectionate send-up of Hollywood.

Harry Mottram

Four stars

More at www.harrymottram.co.uk and on Facebook, Twitter and God knows where else!

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