Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow Screen: Hail, Caesar!

It was back to Hollywood Thursday night for a screening of new Coens brother flick Hail, Caesar! A premiere for new action flick, Vigilante Diaries, starring Michael Jai White, Jason Mewes and Michael Madsen was being set up and we munched on delicious nachos, fries and sammiches at the cafe. Star studded affair Caesar! centers on President of Physical Production and fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin, who is crazy, hilarious, weird and slightly menacing in interviews) who balances big budget prestige pictures, out of line actors, job offers, a kidnapping plot with a secret society, trying to change an actor's image and legality of adopting your own child. George Clooney plays booze and lady hound actor Baird Whitlock who is drugged and snatched from the set and taken to a beautiful seaside palatial estate where he becomes chummy with his snatchers. The film employs stars galore in bit parts from a funny and well used Ralph Fiennes as a pretentious director, Alden Ehrenreich as a likable western star being dropped into a classy drama, Scarlett Johansson talks tough and smokes as a screen queen needing an image boost, Channing Tatum sings and dances while Tilda Swinton plays rival twin gossip writers. Genre fans' interest piqued when action icon Dolph Lundgren was lined up to play a Submarine Commander while Highlander stars Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown were also among the cast. Sadly Lundgren's role was completely cut out but hopefully his two days on set working with the Coens, cinematographer Roger Deakins and young gun Channing Tatum was a positive experience and he had fun at the premiere.

Like their previous comedic efforts I've seen like The Big Lebowski or O Brother, Where Art Thou? Caesar! is amusing if not laugh out loud funny. Like their previous films, the subtle sense of humor requires multiple viewings and time to percolate and I'm sure will be quoted years down the road. The Arclight's Cinerama Dome has a fancy new laser projector and the picture was incredibly clear. As in, people be looking old, clear. IMDB says Deakins shot the movie on film but it looked very digital and a bit fake outside the studio scenes with everything looking I'm guessing intentionally staged and created versus on location with depth and a touch of grain or grit. I was surprised at how little advertised "stars" appeared in the film as most have a quick scene or two if they're lucky. This is really Brolin, then Clooney and Ehrenreich's movie. It was nice to see Lambert on the big screen and he did the patented "heh heh heh" Christopher Lambert laugh. Hopefully Dolph's scenes end up on the Blu-Ray. Until next time, throw in a mirthless chuckle.

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