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"Hail, Caesar!" is a goldmine for film buffs and anyone familiar with the 'old' Hollywood, a time when studios ruled and took care of their stars and kept them out of jail. It was a time when a baby born out of wedlock would be adopted by her movie star real mother. Was the story true about a director being fired because the actor had tricked with him before becoming a big time 'masculine' star? Who is the singing cowboy, (played by Alden Ehrenreich), the studio wants to turn into a drawing room star based on?

The best segment is a 'homage' to Gene Kelly, and films like "One The Town" and "Anchors Away", with Channing Tatum dancing up athletic tapping and acrobatic, flawless movements with homoerotic overtones to a song entitled "No Dames". The funniest segment is a scene with Frances McDormand editing this segment.

The story line of, possibly, the blacklisted 'Communist" writers kidnapping the star of the movie "Hail, Caesar!" ("Ben Hur" anyone?) played by George Clooney (Charleton Heston?) doiesn't really go anywhere but he seems to be having fun playing it for goofiness.

There are a few scenes that just don't work like Eddie Mannix, the 'fixer', played by Josh Brolin in a somber, fedora clad, going to confession and confessing he smoked 2 to 3 cigarettes and slapping a contract player. There is also a scene that falls flat where Mannix is trying to get approval for the film from 4 religious readers. None of this is Brolin's fault but of the screenwriting.

Scarlott Johansson as DeeAnna Moran, really Esther Williams at least in the roles she played, replicates the swimming routine choreographed by Busby Berkeley in the original "Million Dollar Mermaid" and though not given enough to do looks great doing in it.

Veronica Osorio (Carmen Miranda?) shines in a small role while Ralph Fiennes (Vincent Minelli?) and Tilda Swinton (Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper?) are given little to do but do what they can with what they are given.

Directed and written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen the movie is not up to par in either position. Though offering a few laughs "Hail, Caesar!" is more enjoyed for the guessing game that holds interest for those who know movies and/or remember the scandals of yesterday.


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