Latest Lifestyle

Latest from Lifestyle

May 17, 2019

Living with your dog

by Bethany Wilson
May 07, 2019

Common questions from dog owners before training:

by Bethany Wilson
May 02, 2019

Third Time’s the Charm.

by Jorge Perez
May 01, 2019

Free Angel Card Reading for May

by Annmari Love
April 30, 2019

4 Tips for choosing the right countertop

by Christopher Porikos
April 29, 2019

Free Monthly Horoscopes - May 2019 - Taurus

by Maya White
April 18, 2019

Managing an Additcted Parent

by Ask AC
April 02, 2019

Your FREE monthly Angel Card reading is here

by Annmari Love
April 01, 2019

Free Monthly Horoscopes - April 2019 - Aries

by Maya White
March 22, 2019


by Ask AC
March 15, 2019

My top three design elements

by Christopher Porikos
March 14, 2019

How to help teenagers manage their money

by Lillian Appleby
March 05, 2019

Free Angel Card Reading March

by Annmari Love
Friday, 12 February 2016 02:57

Reviews of Hail Caesar!; Bridge of Spies; The Big Short

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Hail Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ latest effort, works as both an affectionate homage to 1950s movie magic, as well as a nostalgic, if mildly critical look at major studio moviemaking efficiency.

While George Clooney is perhaps the biggest name in the ads, the film belongs to Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix, a production head and ‘fixer’ for, one who seems to spend more time keeping the various stars out of trouble than addressing issues of quality (the real-life Mannix functioned in much the same way). As portrayed by Brolin, Mannix wrestles with issues both spiritual and professional (as in whether to take that lucrative offer from Lockheed) as he juggles a number of equally pressing problems. These include the disappearance of major star Clooney from the set of the studio’s make or break biblical epic; Scarlett Johansson as a swim star not unlike Esther Williams who, out of the pool, is in hot water due to an unexpected “bump”—and not in her popularity; and Alden Ehrenreich as a Western star (think the looks of Audie Murphy and the voice of Pat Buttram) who has been shoehorned into a drawing room comedy—much to the chagrin of director Ralph Fiennes.

This all gives the Coens plenty of time to celebrate the movie genres so popular in the 1950s, as well as address of the social and political concerns, such as the advent of television, the power of the censors, and the Communist threat. The serious themes however, are reined in by the spirit of “play” that is prevalent throughout. A discussion among various religious leaders as to the content of Clooney’s Biblical epic gives way to insults and pronouncements (“God is a bachelor--and he’s angry!”); a ransom drop gives way to an uproarious musical number led by a spirited Channing Tatum in sailor attire; in perhaps the film’s funniest scene, a patient but increasingly flustered Fiennes tries to elicit proper line readings from the earnest, but befuddled Ehrenreich. Scenes like this are sprinkled throughout Hail Caesar!, making it an extremely likable throwback not only to 1950s filmmaking but also the Coens’ earlier, ebullient flights of fancy like The Hudsucker Proxy.

I didn’t review Bridge of Spies or The Big Short when they were first released, but if you haven’t gotten around to them, they are both well worth your time. The Cold War era Bridge of Spies has lawyer Tom Hanks negotiating the exchange of captured pilot Francis Powers with convicted Russian spy Rudolf Abel (a very good Mark Rylance). It’s a tense, well-paced, old-fashioned thriller that maintains the suspense even as one may already know the outcome. The same goes for The Big Short, a sharp, dark comic look at the banking and housing collapse, wherein savvy financial players (portrayed by, among others, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt) knew the “end” was coming and took risky steps to parlay that knowledge into personal gain. It’s fast-paced, intelligent, penetrating, funny (especially the use of celebrity interpreters of that labyrinth known as high finance); it perversely succeeds in given the viewer a rooting interest in the protagonists’ success—even though we know what the disaster that will result.

Read 2671 times
Mike Peros

Mike Peros is an author whose new book, DAN DURYEA - HEEL WITH A HEART, the first biography of classic Hollywood's iconic villain, was recently published by the University Press of Mississippi.  He is  also an educator with a passion for movies ever since he saw John Wayne riding toward the bad guys, reins between his teeth, in TRUE GRIT.  Some of his favorite films include THE BAND WAGON, THE WILD BUNCH, OUT OF THE PAST, THE SILENT PARTNER, IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER ( a great musical--if you're a Gene Kelly fan, what are you waiting for?), and KONGA with the great Michael Gough.

Leave a comment

Do you have an event, video or news to share?  Drop us an email and you may see it on