HAIL, CAESAR! is cotton candy made by Michelin rated chefs

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I love Spielberg, Scorcese, Tarantino, Fincher and a hundred more.

But with every new film, I wonder if the Coen Brothers have been my unconscious favorites all along.

Who has a range as wide and a level of delivery like this:

O BROTHER! WHERE ART THOU?
TRUE GRIT
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
FARGO
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

I can’t think of anyone. Which brings us to their newest, HAIL, CAESAR!

It’s about studio head Eddie Mannix as he runs around 1950s Hollywood, trying to keep things on track. That’s it.

I know it may sound like a slight to say it’s minor-Coen Brothers, but for me that’s just what I like about it. It’s not heavy, not fantastically ambitious, has a strange wrap up, but is just so much fun.

Watching the Coens run Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and more through their paces is like watching a great athlete just mess around between big games. The stakes might not be high, but it’s still a thing of beauty to see.

Score: 7.5/10

Feel like arguing about this? Come over to my Letterboxd page and let’s fight. Or, if you only have time for 140 characters, find me on Twitter at @JettJergens

Sometimes the buzz is full of it. Thoughts on SICARIO

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Sometimes you have the experience of hearing nothing but good things about a movie whose trailer left you cold. People you trust say it’s great. The trailer, which before the hype looked generic and rote, suddenly seems like it’s something more interesting.

So you open your mind to the possibility that a hidden gem has been discovered. And then you watch it and discover your initial indifference was probably right on the mark.

Having now scene SICARIO, I find myself wondering what all the hubbub was. Or perhaps it’s that I’ve already seen CHINATOWN.

Watching this was having the strange sensation of seeing great directing, great acting, interesting performances put to almost no good purpose.

I have to say I really ended up disliking Emily Blunt’s character.

Her fantastic performance, and everyone’s good work here, seemed undercut by a hamstrung script.

Her character didn’t go through much of a transformation from her by the book frustration when first meeting Josh Brolin’s character, even after all of the horrors she ended up experiencing.

She was still intent on blowing the whistle, even after she realized the level of difficulty they were dealing with was of a whole different order than she understood from her previous work.

I found her to be a strange mirror of Tom Cruise’s character A FEW GOOD MEN. Upstanding, committed to the rule of law, leery of officials who go outside of the strict lines to get a job done.

But unlike Cruise, who was holding higher-ups accountable in a time of peace (when there extreme tactics were obviously overkill), she was working through a time of horrific war and still lecturing those around her about staying strictly legal.

But that’s a plot way of examining how her character did not seem to change all that much. From a storytelling aspect, it was weirdly inert.

She didn’t seem to be truly affected by what she encountered. I had a hard time empathizing with her when I was being affected by the implications of what she saw, and she seems trapped in her beliefs, like somebody who wanted to remain willfully naïve.

I have a difficult time empathizing for people burying their head in the sand as the world changes around them.

– This was dictated.

Score: 6/10

Feel like arguing about this? Come over to my Letterboxd page and let’s fight. Or, if you only have time for 140 characters, find me on Twitter at @JettJergens