Watch: The face of Jesus stays hidden in behind-the-scenes footage from the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!

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“What do you think?” asks George Clooney after shooting a scene for the Bible-movie-within-the-movie in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!. “Is that enough awe?”

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Review: Hail, Caesar! (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 2016)

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Hail, Caesar! is the name of the new Coen brothers movie, a comedy of sorts set in and around a Hollywood studio in the early 1950s. It is also the name of a movie within the movie — though the full title of that other film is actually Hail, Caesar!: A Tale of the Christ. And there’s a lot we could start unpacking just with that title.

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Watch: Josh Brolin tells George Clooney to give a speech at the foot of the penitent thief in first clip from Hail, Caesar!

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Movies are a huge money-making industry — but they also offer moments of spiritual uplift. Actors often play noble, inspiring characters — but they serve the visions of artists and businessmen who sometimes treat them like cogs in a machine.

These and other tensions are captured in the first clip from Hail, Caesar!, a film that was once described by its directors, the Coen brothers, as a film about “the movie business and life and religion and faith. Faith and the movie business.”

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Watch: George Clooney stars in a Bible movie (sort of) in the trailer for the Coen brothers’ new film Hail, Caesar!

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The trailer for the new Coen brothers movie is here, and it seems that the film — titled Hail, Caesar! — may have a Bible-movie hook.

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The Monuments Men and the value of human life and art

Sixteen years ago, Matt Damon starred in Saving Private Ryan, a World War II movie that raised the question of whether it made sense for several solders to risk their lives just to save one ordinary man. Now he’s starring in The Monuments Men, a World War II movie about a bunch of soldiers who risk their lives — and, who knows, maybe the lives of others — to save classic works of art. And a question I’ve been wondering lately is whether the new film will even raise the question of whether it makes sense to sacrifice human life for inanimate objects of this sort.

The question isn’t really raised in any of the film’s promotional videos, which spell out the heroism of the main characters and the justification for their cause. As Damon puts it in the featurette below: “Ultimately, it’s a movie about people who are willing to sacrifice everything to save what is the very best of us, of humanity.”
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Gravity and prayers for those who travel by space

In Eastern Orthodox services, we regularly say prayers for those who travel “by land, by sea and by air.” I have often wondered if that prayer will ever be amended to include those who travel through space. I mean, if the prayer is as ancient as I think it is, then it has already been amended once before, to include those who travel by air, so it could easily be amended again, right?

In any case, I thought of that prayer while watching Gravity the other day — and not just because it’s a fairly realistic movie, set somewhat vaguely in the world of present-day space travel. (The Hubble telescope and the International Space Station are both in operation today, but the space shuttle program was mothballed two years ago — after Gravity had already gone into production — while the Chinese space station won’t be built for another few years at least.)

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