First Hit: An odd film and despite the star power, lacks being interesting let alone good.
You’ve got Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill, yet the only part that stood out for me was Jonah Hill as Joseph Silverman, the finance guy.
Brolin as Eddie Mannix runs a Hollywood studio and is in the middle of a career crisis. Clooney is the bankable star who gets kidnapped for money. Fiennes plays a highly respected and temperamental film director. Johansson plays a single pregnant star who does swimming films (think Esther Williams). Tilda Swinton plays two roles, twin opposing gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Thacker. Frances McDormand as film editor extraordinary. Tatum was a dancing (think Astaire or Kelly) actor. The story is about the trials of running a studio, the communist edge of the 50’s, the behind the scenes stories about actors. There were some funny parts (Hill and Johansson).
Brolin was OK as the studio head, who had no time for his family. Clooney was fair as the kidnapped star who was highly influenced by his kidnappers. Fiennes was very good and the director stuck with an actor who couldn’t act. Johansson was mediocre as the swimming star. Swinton was good in her two roles. Tatum was OK as the dancing communist. Hill, in his minor role, was for me, the best part of the film. Joel and Ethan Coen both wrote and directed this film and I’m sure it sounded better as a discussion than written or filmed.
Overall: Mediocre film through and through.