I'd been charmed by the trailer, so I yielded to curiosity and went out to see the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!
on the first day. I'm not inherently interested in 1950s Hollywood the way I am in the early 1960s folksinging of Inside Llewyn Davis
, but I was intrigued.
It's not like the trailer. Which isn't to say I wasn't entertained, it was just ... more different than I was expecting. There are a lot of amusing things in it, and it pretty much lacks the dark undercurrents of most Cohn Brothers films, but it's not really a comedy.
While Josh Brolin's Eddie Mannix is a fast-talking, fast-moving fellow, this isn't that fast-paced a movie. It doesn't really have a plot, either: the subject is basically A Day In The Life of Eddie Mannix. George Clooney's kidnapping is only one event in that busy day, and, judging by Eddie's reaction to it, not that alarming of one. Nor is it particularly dramatic, either. There is some tension in another character's taking the initiative to rescue him, but then it turns out he was about to be rescued anyway.
Of the people listed as stars, Frances McDormand and Jonah Hill actually have only brief single-scene cameos.
The Coen-style surrealism, with one big exception (the submarine scene), is mostly limited to a few scenes where it's not quite clear under what auspices you're watching one of the studio's movies. Considering the intense and vast detail put into several quite superfluous (plot-wise) scenes of movies being made, it appears that the real purpose of this film was to allow the Coen Brothers to indulge in re-creating the style and content of big Fifties genre movies.
Which is fine. You like those, you'll get a kick out of this.
Oh, and the familiar-looking actor in the trailer who says "Wondering what's going on?" Turns out to be this guy
, who has a much bigger part than some of the name cast.