There is a whole lot going on with Universal’s Scarface reboot. Today brought a few big announcements: first off, Joel and Ethan Coen, who are script doctors in their own right, have been tapped to rework the screenplay. The two have previously polished the scripts of Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. But we’re not done yet. While Antoine Fuqua exited the project to focus on the Equalizer sequel, the film is close to landing a new director, and Peter Berg and Hell or High Water’s David Mackenzie are frontrunners.
While countless football fans — myself included — embark on a stomach and liver-related training regimen for next weekend, there is more to the Super Bowl than just the game on the field. The Super Bowl has always secretly been a big day for cinephiles as well, featuring big trailers for much-anticipated movies and clever commercials from some of the best filmmakers of our generation. Directors such as Doug Liman, Ridley Scott, and Judd Apatow have all directed Superbowl commercials, and now you can add two more big names to the mix: Joel and Ethan Coen.
The prospect of a TV Fargo may not have been enough to lure the Coen brothers to TV, but one of their unexplored projects just might. Reports claim the iconic directing pair will write and helm a new western miniseries, perhaps taking a TV/film hybrid approach for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
In addition to writing and directing their own films, Joel and Ethan Coen have been known to provide scripts for other directors, like Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies). Granted, it’s always better when the duo directs their own material, but a new Coen Brothers project is a new Coen Brothers project, and their latest screenplay assignment is no exception.
In news that might make you go “Uhh…,” John Turturro is reportedly filming a secret spinoff to The Big Lebowski. Turturro is said to be shooting the new film, which is based on his salacious Jesus Quintana character from the Coens’ cult classic, under a misleading production title in New York. The only thing more surprising than this movie is its bizarre plot.
The Guardian tells me Hail, Caesar! is the Coen brothers’ “biggest bomb since Intolerable Cruelty” 13 years ago. CinemaScore, which polls opening night moviegoers and translates their reactions into letter grades, gave Hail, Caesar! a C-. Dirty Grandpa
In Hail, Caesar!, the new comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen, Alden Ehrenreich accomplishes a seemingly impossible task: He steals a movie from a cast that includes Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and two Tilda Swintons. (She plays twins.) Amidst that incredible array of talent, it’s Ehrenreich who emerges as the film’s breakout star, and shares (with Fiennes) its funniest scene, in which a Hollywood director (Fiennes) desperately tries to coax a believable Mid-Atlantic accent out of Ehrenreich’s dopey cowboy, Hobie Doyle. This extended riff, which was already heavily featured in the Hail, Caesar! trailer, is an instant classic from the Coen brothers, and will almost certainly go down in history as one of the best scenes of their entire career.
Brolin reunited with the Coens for their remake of True Grit, and now they’re back together again for Hail, Caesar! a hilarious comedy about 1950s Hollywood. Brolin plays Eddie Mannix, an executive at Capitol Pictures, a major studio with several major problems that need fixing. Chief among them: Capitol’s biggest star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) has been kidnapped, and a mysterious group known as “The Future” wants $100,000 for his safe return.
This is a good week. Not because tomorrow is Thank a Mailman Day (Thank you, mailmen!) and not because Saturday is Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (Thanks, whoever thought of this extremely unhealthy idea!). No, this is a good week because there’s a new Coen brothers movie. It’s called Hail, Caesar! and it finds the Coens working in full-on comedy mode, telling the story of a single day at a ’50s Hollywood studio named Capitol Pictures, where a drunken movie star (George Clooney) gets kidnapped and the company fixer (Josh Brolin) has to figure out how to get him back. You can read my full review here, but here’s the tl;dr version: It’s funny and awesome.
Over the course of their 30-year careers, the Coen brothers have made a lot of different kinds of movies; madcap comedies, period dramas, detective mysteries, bouncy musicals, thrilling Westerns, and biting satires. Hail, Caesar! is the first time they’ve made all those different kinds of movies simultaneously. Though it has an overarching story — a movie star gets kidnapped in the middle of a major production — Hail, Caesar!’s Hollywood studio setting offers the Coens the opportunity for a series of delightful digressions. As its protagonist, studio boss Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), wanders the Capitol Pictures backlot, the Coens’ wander through every imaginable style and genre from the American film industry’s Golden Age. Hail, Caesar! features so many different styles and genres, in fact, that it almost qualifies as an anthology film, one that finds the Coens at their most versatile and playful.