Posts Tagged ‘coen bros


Movie Review: Burn After Reading



No biggee.


Starring John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, J.K. Simmons and Frances McDormand. Directed by the Coen Bros.


The film kicks off with satellite imaging of the Earth, eventually settling on CIA Headquarters. The first of the cavalcade of characters is Osbourne Cox (Malkovich), a malcontent who is being fired for being an alcoholic. His wife is Katie, a woman pissed-off with her marriage to him and is secretly having an affair with Harry Pfarrer (Clooney), a guy who works for the Treasury Department and has such great stamina that after sex he goes on a 5-mile run. Harry is married to Sandy (Elizabeth Marvel), an author of children’s books.


Osbourne decides to shovel it back to the CIA and begins writing a memoir. Trouble is, his wife plans on leaving him and downloads it, along with his finances, onto a CD. That CD is left at Hardbodies, a physical fitness center.


Meanwhile, at Hardbodies… the disc is found on the floor of the womens’ locker room. Chad (Pitt) is a fitness nut: California “young and hip” personality, bleached hair, and always needing to find a place to park is bike. Linda is a woman pushing 40 and feels that her body has taken her as far as it can go, and if only she can get enough money to pay for multiple plastic surgeries, she’ll find someone and quit being lonely. When Brad discovers CIA info on the disc, he scams with Linda (McDormand) to try and get a reward for the contents. When Cox refuses to be extorted and blackmailed, they try to sell the disc to the Russians.


Tragedy, comedy, and plot twists ensue.


For a Coen Bros’ movie, it’s alright. I liked it. I’m not quite sure how others will fathom it, but I enjoyed it. It’s not “No Country for Old Men,” it’s not “Fargo,” and it’s not “The Big Lebowski.” This one is a creature all to itself.


It’s hard to point out any one certain part in this film. Maybe I can mention Chad and Linda calling Osbourne early in the morning, trying to get a reward for the CD. Maybe I can mention what exactly Harry builds in his basement. And maybe I can mention how it all wraps up in an expository scene with J.K. Simmons. But hey, if you’re intrigued, catch the movie.


The Coen Bros. are masters at blending comedy and tragedy, with suspense being an electrical current running until the end. My only complaint is that this serving was lukewarm.


My Grade: B


Movie News and Views June 20, 2008 Trailer Edition




“Diminished Capacity” – Matthew Broderick takes a vacation to see his uncle (Alan Alda) has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s but most importantly, a genuine mint baseball card. Along with Virginia Madsen they go up to Chicago to try and sell it. Opens July 4, 2008 View the trailer at:


“The Stone Angel” – Ellen Burstyn, Ellen Page, and Christine Horne in a movie based on a book by Margaret Laurence. Romantic stuff. Opens July 7, 2008 View the trailer at:


“The X-Files: I Want to Believe: – It’s been a few years, but Mulder is called back on a case and enlists the help of Scully. Also stars Xzibit, Amanda Peet, and Billy Connelly. The Truth Is Out There… Opens July 25, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Vicky Christina Barcelona” – Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Christina (Scarlett Johansson) are sisters who go to Barcelona, where they meet an artist (Javier Bardem). Bardem seduces them and when his ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) shows up, things really get out-of-hand. Opens August 15, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Death Race” – Briton action star Jason Statham is a NASCAR driver who is framed for the death of his wife. Punishment: he’s sent to a prison where the female warden cuts him a deal. If he can survive a no-holds-barred souped-up muscle car race, then he’s free to go. But will the warden let him survive? Also stars Ian McShane. Opens August 22, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Burn After Reading” – Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand work in a fitness club and stumble upon the memoirs of a CIA agent (John Malkovich). When they try to blackmail him, things get crazy. Opens September 12, 2008 View the trailer at:


“The Women” – Let me run down the cast list for ya: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Candice Bergen, Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman, Carrie Fisher… it’s endless. Opens September 12, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Choke” – Sam Rockwell is a re-enactor who sleeps with every woman that he can and elicits money from sympathetic people when he chokes on food in restaurants. Based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk (“Fight Club”). Opens September 26, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Eagle Eye” – Shia LeBeouf is a slacker who is being hunted down by a government agency who must team up with Michelle Monaghan to get some answers. Also stars Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Michael Chiklis. Opens September 26, 2008 View the trailer at:


“Punisher: War Zone” – Ray Stevenson plays the Marvel character who, this time, is taking on a New York underworld boss it wants to control it all. Opens December 5, 2008 View the trailer at:


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – Brad Pitt is the title character: a man who was born looking ancient and regresses in outward age as he progresses with his inward age. Complications arise when he falls in love with Cate Blanchett. Opens December 19, 2008 View the trailer at: