Hail Caesar

Praise Be to “Hail, Caesar!”

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) works at the fictional Capitol Pictures in early 1950s Hollywood as an enforcer of sorts (think Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It or In the Loop). His job keeps him from his family, forces him to deal with petty press problems and leaves him to fix the scandalous personal lives of the actors and directors working under him. Indirectly, it causes him to smoke a lot too, at the moral expense of lying to his wife.

Todd Haynes Carol

Fall in Love with Todd Haynes’ “Carol”

The dinner scene is the bane of all screenwriters and filmmakers, and if it is not, it should be. Yet, there is such a scene near the beginning of Carol, the new film by the extraordinarily talented Todd Haynes, and it is wonderful. Elegant and refined housewife Carol (Cate Blanchett) is sharing a meal late at night in a secluded restaurant with department store worker and aspiring photographer Therese (Rooney Mara). In this scene, Carol asks Therese if she lives alone. Therese smiles for a second and says “No.” Then her smile fades a little, and she looks away as she begins her sentence: “Well, there’s Richard…”

Mistress America

Greta Gerwig Shines in “Mistress America”

An article I read on Indiewire heralded Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and Noah Baumbach’s/Greta Gerwig’s Mistress America as the revisionist screwball comedies of our generation, or at least of this summer. In these cases, I refuse to refer to Trainwreck as director Judd Apatow’s film. Though I found the film to be mostly devoid of laughs, any point during which the film could be even remotely funny is completely independent of him and due to Schumer’s so-so screenplay and Bill Hader’s wonderful performance.