Capital Pictures’s “Fixer” is a man by the name of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). Eddie is the man responsible for shepherding and stewarding the various and sundry personalities in Hollywood through the motion picture machine; for example, finding a lawyer for a troubled femme fatal, hiding the sexual scandals of another, and keeping the proverbial wheels on a production that can barely stay on the tracks are just a taste of his daily challenges. Questioning his own wants and needs Eddie works to keep his nose above water, but what is it that will keep him whole or sane? Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the Coen Brothers, this snapshot of Hollywood circa the 1950’s brings to the forefront the absurdity of the film industry at a time when cinema and society were growing and moving at warp speed. Digging into faith and politics the Coen’s deliver another humorous look to the religions of the world and a skewed look at what exactly it meant to be a communist in Hollywood in the 50’s. Meanwhile, tributes to the film styles of the era provide a true to life look back to where cinema comes from featuring an all star cast including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Frances McDormand– this nutty ensemble is hot! And, while the dry and cerebral humor may not hit on all cylinders for mass audiences, those with a mild film history knowledge will find plenty to sink their teeth into. Worth your time, Hail, Caesar! is rated PG-13.
The arrival of an alien spacecraft has brought four waves of increasing death and destruction on earth whittling humanity to a tiny presence. Now bracing for the fifth wave of destruction the military, led by Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber), has separated the remaining children from the adults to weed out humans from “the others” to create a nimble army of foot soldiers. Meanwhile, survivor Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moritz) is on a mission to keep her brother (Zackary Arthur) from harm’s way, military or not. But in this extraterrestrial gambit, who’s fighting for who remains the big question. Based on Rick Yancey’s novel for young adults, all the typical hallmarks are present for the latest teen book to film conversion craze. Sadly, for relative newcomer Director J Blakeson having cookie cutter bits and pieces just isn’t enough to create a rich and compelling story, even with the star power invoked from the ensemble. And, while the film is clearly a setup for sequels it’s questionable whether that’ll be in the cards, throwing all the cliche turns, twists, and re-hashed scenarios at the wall the end result is a failure to spark the magic on an emotional level. Waiting for this to appear on the Syfy network is probably about right. The 5th Wave is rated PG-13.
A group of government hired security detail composed of elite U.S. soldiers responsible for protecting the C.I.A. in Libya is called in to action as the U.S. Ambassador is killed during an attack at his compound in Benghazi. This is the story of six men who stood up to protect Americans in need caught in a deadly war zone where the enemy looks just like a friend. Directed by the master of explosion and all things that go boom in the night, Michael Bay, this rock em sock em good guys vs. bad guys ensemble piece mercilessly thumps its way through Libya for 2 hours and 24 minutes blasting John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, and Max Martini from one burning building to another bombed out rat’s nest. Intense in its show of force and firepower but almost zero sense of political understanding and context is brought to the table, and forced emotional sentimentality rings hollow; so, one thing is certain, we’re not getting smarter from this film, but we are getting an eyeful of boom, if you can accept that, and take the film for its apolitical approach and display of America’s finest in action, here’s your race horse. Maybe a matinee but really a rental 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is rated R.