Finally saw HAIL, CAESAR; I love the way the Coens set all this up within Eddie Mannix’s mid-life crisis of conscience over what he does for a living (studio fixer), his religion, and politics, in Hollywood. Should he quit, what does he believe in, what’s worth a serious man’s time in life? It’s a mid-life crisis movie without the usual guy in his forties having an affair with a twenty-yr-old or throwing one last rager in his parents house or something. I don’t know that plot-wise it pays off that well – the pay-off was not that exciting or funny – but like other Coen Bros movies, the existential questions are the focus, and the real humor is all within that. They’ve been doing this sort of philosophical low brow comedy since RAISING ARIZONA (remember the Buster Keaton riff of Hy seeing the rest of his life flash before his eyes in the last few minutes?) and this is another, but without the manic pace of that one or O, BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? The Coens give the casting of Channing Tatum a now predictable twist (like HATEFUL 8, the pretty boy is secretly the bad guy!) so I hope that casting joke is done for a while. My favorite scene among many is Clooney finally back at the studio after his kidnapping by communists (who indoctrinated him) now pontificating on DAS KAPITAL to Josh Brolin’s Eddie Mannix. Clooney does a great job of sending his own self-serious politicking up, and Brolin’s building slow burn as he listens makes it the subtlest, funniest scene either has ever done. Like A SERIOUS MAN, it’ll probably require a second viewing, but it’s pretty good.