Coens’ com­edy fast & far­ci­cal in star-laden spoof

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK -

Hail Cae­sar (PG) Di­rected by Joel and Ethan Coen 1hr 46min, ★★★ Re­viewed by Peter Lampp

There was a ropey scene in quirky farce Hail Cae­sar when a cow­poke at a din­ing ta­ble turns a long string of spaghetti into a lasso.

Then he clev­erly twirls the lasso over a woman’s fin­ger.

How do the Coen brothers think up this stuff?

The guy is Ho­bie Doyle (played by Alden Ehren­re­ich) who at one stage runs into a tree while on his horse, whirls him­self up­side down around a branch and shoots two pur­suers with his six-guns.

In an­other scene, a Euro­pean movie di­rec­tor (played by Ralph Fi­ennes) al­most has a seizure get­ting Ho­bie to re­peat his one line in a scene, to no avail. Ho­bie just can’t act. Hail Cae­sar is a star-laden spoof set in the 1950s mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try.

To at­tract the pun­ters there’s Ge­orge Clooney, Josh Brolin, Jonah Hill very briefly, Tilda Swin­ton play­ing two com­pet­ing gos­sip colum­nists who are sis­ters; Chan­ning Ta­tum as a danc­ing sailor, and Scar­lett Jo­hans­son as a sort of mer­maid turn­ing on a south­ern ac­cent which would have melted an ice­berg.

Ob­vi­ously Coen com­edy is in the eye of the be­holder. This one has colour to burn as it gal­lops from one film set to an­other.

Clooney is play­ing Cae­sar in an­cient Rome, that is un­til his A-list char­ac­ter Baird Whit­lock, is kid­napped from the stu­dio set by a bunch of com­mies.

It is a most strange, tor­tu­ous trip from wack­i­ness to amuse­ment.

Brolin plays stu­dio boss Ed­die Man­nix who has to man­age the mess, while mak­ing trips to church to con­fess about ly­ing to his wife about quit­ting smok­ing.

Given that, the movie could just as eas­ily been called ‘Hail Mary’.

For me, Ehren­re­ich out­did the big stars, while the clos­ing sound­track (yes, by the Red Army Choir) was as stir­ring as heck.

PHOTO: PARAMOUNT PIC­TURES/SUP­PLIED

Ge­orge Clooney plays 50s movie star Baird Whit­lock who is play­ing Cae­sar in the goofy Coen brothers spoof, Hail, Cae­sar!

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