Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Brolin), head of production and all-around problem solver for Hollywood studio Capitol Pictures. When Baird Whitlock (Clooney), the world’s biggest star, is kidnapped in the middle of production on the studio’s latest swords-and-sandals epic, Eddie will have to recover his leading man while simultaneously appeasing cowboy star Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich), disgruntled Director Laurence Laurentz (Fiennes), swimming sensation DeeAnna Moran (Johansson) and song-and-dance superstar Burt Gurney (Tatum), all while horse trading information to keep his talents’ names out of the gossip columns written by a pair of rival siblings, Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Swinton). (Gary Reber)
Special features include the featurettes Directing Hollywood (HD 04:11), The Stars Align (HD 11:34), An Era of Glamour (HD 06:22), and Magic Of A By Gone Era (HD 06:01); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed on Kodak film stock and exhibits a warm and rich color palette, with numerous segments hued in a bronzed tinge, to suggest a 1950’s period. Hues deliver some punch, such as in red Roman capes, red swim highlights, lush greens, wooden interiors, and a woman’s yellow business suit, while maintaining naturalness. Fleshtones are rendered with a reddish-orange tint. Resolution is superb, with very fine detail visible in facial features, hair, clothing, and costumes, such as the leathery armor that Clooney wears and object texture. Period fabrics are a textural delight. Contrast is well balanced with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Film grain is virtually absent. This is a thoroughly engaging period viewing experience that never disappoints and hearkens back to glamorous Hollywood. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is largely dialogue focused, with consistently clear and intelligible delivery, with generally good spatial integration. The narration is nicely positioned and articulate. Atmospherics enhance the sense of realism pertaining to the variety of production sets and locations. Sound effects are minimal, but Foley effects are nicely executed. As such, the soundtrack is not particularly dynamic sounding, but there are a few instances of .1 LFE energy. The music score is diverse and appropriate for the scenes and various studio sets. The score is nicely recorded throughout and at times extends to the surrounds. But, otherwise, aggressive surround envelopment is limited. Still, the soundtrack is well executed and suitable to the storytelling. (Gary Reber)