BURN AFTER READING: An all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich, come together in this outrageous spy comedy about murder, blackmail, sex addiction and physical fitness! When a disc filled with some of the CIAs most irrelevant secrets gets in the hands of two determined, but dim-witted, gym employees, the duo are intent on exploiting their find. But since blackmail is a trade better left for the experts, events soon spiral out of everyones and anyones control, resulting in a non-stop series of hilarious encounters! From Joel and Ethan Coen, the Academy Award-winning directors of No Country for Old Men and Fargo, comes this brilliantly clever and endlessly entertaining movie, nominated for 2 Golden Globe Awards 2009 that critics are calling smart, funny and original.
O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?: Disenchanted with the daily drudge of crushing rocks on a prison farm in Mississippi, the dapper, silver-tongued Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) busts loose. Except hes still shackled to his two chain-mates from the chain gang bad-tempered Pete (John Turturro) and sweet, dim-witted Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). With nothing to lose and buried loot to regain before its lost forever in a flood the three embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this hilarious off beat road picture. Populated with strange characters, including a blind prophet, sexy sirens and a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman), its an odyssey filled with chases, close calls, near misses and betrayal that will leave you laughing at every outrageous and surprising twist and turn.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI: The Coen brothers irreverent cult hit comes to DVD as a Special Edition, with all new bonus material. The hilariously twisted comedy-thriller stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Julianne Moore. Join the Dude and his bowling buddies on their journey that blends unforgettable characters, kidnapping a case of mistaken identity and White Russians. Enter the visually unique and entertaining world from the creative minds of the Coen brothers and remember: the Dude abides.
burn after reading - Norman Cousins would have loved the Coen Brothers' "Burn After Reading." The late great Saturday Review editor had treated his illness with Marx Brothers movies, having "made the joyous discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep."
I have never felt healthier than after 96 minutes of explosive and grateful laughter at the "Burn" screening, also marveling at the array of British-stage caliber acting from "Fargo"-invoking Frances McDormand, witchy-icy Tilda Swinton, a more-manic-than-ever John Malkovich, and a dozen major players, such as J.K. Simmons as the deadpan CIA boss and Richard Jenkins as the former Greek Orthodox priest, now running an upscale gym.
Others may lead the cast list with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but to me, their performances were just a bit on the self-conscious side, trying too hard. At any rate, it's a great cast, and while the plot might have turned into a dud in somebody else's treatment, the Coen Brothers' writing is hilarious, their zingers deadly.
A critic, probably with bad digestion, has decried this "very black comedy set in a blanched, austere-looking Washington, D.C. — an uninspiring and uncomfortable place in which everyone betrays everyone else, and the emotional tone veers from icy politeness to spitting rage and back again." If I had a chance to think, instead of enjoying "Burn," I would have contemplated Molière and Evelyn Waugh, their comedies of manners, psychological insight, and unbridled great humor.
Yes, there are betrayals (none better than the totally unexpected one at the end of the film), and there is rage, but all contained within a glorious bubble of writing-directing-acting excellence. "Burn" grips and holds, surprises and entertains, it is a virtuoso piece.
Don't be misled by the a "action-trailer" on TV, saturating the airwaves; it says nothing of the film. Malkovich punching Pitt over a compromising CD of spook stuff is not at the heart of this - the McDormand character's pursuit of cosmetic surgery is, what with her self-examination, a lengthy session with the surgeon (Jeffrey DeMunn, in a brilliant turn), her desperate quest for a way to pay for it. Funny and going deep at the same time, "Burn" presents a series of character studies (hence the thought of Molière), in the context of mannered yet true social interactions (Waugh).
Skip descriptions of the plot, reject self-righteous denunciations of smart skepticism and charming evil, go and wallow in life-affirming laughter
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