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February 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Berlin Film Festival — the Berlinale — mounted a glittery, red-carpet opening Thursday night worthy of a Hollywood premiere during (arguably) the industry’s heyday in the 1950s. Coincidentally the festival’s opening film was the Coen Bros.’ tribute/spoof to Hollywood’s 1950s’ excess, Hail Caesar!, starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich, Joseph Fiennes, and Tilda Swinton. An international throng of critics hailed it as, in the words of Berlin’s Spiegel critic Wolfgang Höbel, “a magnificent opening film.” In his review in the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan remarked that it was obvious that the Coen Bros. were “having the time of their lives, and we’re all fortunate enough to be invited to share in the fun.” Praise for the film was not universal, however — not even among reporters working at the same news outlet. While Caryn James in the Wall Street Journal commented, “The Coen brothers’ love of movies finally takes center stage in Hail, Caesar!,” her colleague, John Anderson observed: “A dispiritingly vitriolic, only sporadically funny satire of ’50s Hollywood, “Hail, Caesar!” verifies a suspicion long held here, that the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, really hate the movies.”