“Hail, Caesar!”: The Zany Slices of an Incomplete Pie

Joel and Ethan Coen have crafted a peculiar ode to old Hollywood in Hail, Caesar! The principal protagonist in the film is Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a producer and “fixer” tasked with making sure that everything runs smoothly at Capitol Pictures. He hops from fire to fire, and along the way gives us a haphazard overview of the Hollywood studio system by visiting the sets of different pictures. While different threads of his life entwine together into a coherent story by the end of the film, particular elements fail or succeed largely on the merits of the superb supporting cast of characters. Regardless, moments of hilarity exist in this mish-mash of tone and style, and the worst sin Hail, Caesar! can be accused of is failing to synthesize its zany parts into a cohesive whole.

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“Sicario” is a Tense and Grim Look at the Futility of the Drug War

Last week on Plot and Theme we had an entire week devoted to the feature films of Denis Villeneuve, and now we get a nice cherry on top: Sicario. Villeneuve’s seventh feature film stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio del Toro, and tells the story of a FBI SWAT agent Kate Macer (Blunt) who is whisked away on a special task force dedicated to hunting down the head of a Mexican drug cartel. The film is comfortable exploring gray areas and dwelling in the nooks and crannies of the legal justice system, but ultimately cannot find any effective answers.

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