Tag Archives: Gene Kelly

Hail Caesar Review

An acute observer of Hollywood might say that a film’s success might rely on the reputation of the stars of the film.

In the new Coen Brothers film, Hail, Caesar, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is what is known around Hollywood as a “fixer”. His job is to make sure that his movie stars always have a spotless reputation. For his stars to keep that spotless reputation, Eddie may have to fudge a few facts or pay off a few people.   That means that his hands are always full.

First there is the missing leading man, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), star of the Roman epic with the religious message, Hail Caesar. Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) is the singing cowboy who suddenly switches genres and finds himself in the lead role of a sophisticated drawing-room drama with Lawrence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) directing. DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is the Esther Williams like star who finds herself in the family way without a husband. Not quite the ideal situation for a woman in the early 1950’s. Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) is the Gene Kelly like triple threat actor/singer /dancer.

If dealing with the talent is not enough of a headache, Eddie is also dealing with the twin gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton), who try to pretend that each is the only gossip game in town.

I wanted to see this movie because I adore movies from this era. In a satirical wink, wink, nudge, nudge to not just the films, but the politics of the early 1950’s, The Coen Brothers show that Hollywood and politics has not changed at all in 60 years. I went because the trailer was very funny. The film does not live up the trailer, sadly.

Do I recommend? Maybe.

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Still The King Of New York- My Thoughts On Newsies after 22 years

Imagine if you will, The Bell House, a non-nondescript bar in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn in the summer of 2011. It’s Friday night, the patrons are having a drink, unwinding after a long week. They are adults, mostly women in their 20’s and 30’s. They are educated, mature and grown up.

Then the movie starts. It’s Newsies, the 1992 Disney movie musical starring a very pre Batman Christian Bale as Jack Kelly. Newsies is the story of the newsboys strike in New York City in 1899. Jack Kelly is the unlikely leader of the boys who are fighting for their rights as employees.

Imagine, this group of educated and mature adults,  returning, if only for a few hours, to their childhoods, singing along to a soundtrack that has been part of their lives for nearly two decades. Premiering on April 10, 1992, Newsies was not well liked among critics at that time.   But the critics are not always right.

I’ve loved this movie for over 20 years. To be honest, it is bit flawed. While we all know that Christian Bale is an incredible actor, when it comes to the singing and dancing, Gene Kelly, he is not. But there is a heart to this movie, a genuineness. It speaks to everyone who sees themselves as the little person, who believes that change is impossible.

It is a little corny at times and a tad predictable, but it is a Disney movie.  Despite all of that, it is still Newsies and it is as good as it was back in 1992.


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