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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

5 reasons I’m psyched for ‘Burn After Reading’

All this week! 5 movies I’m psyched for in September, and 5 reasons why. No. 1, my current official psyched-for flick: Burn After Reading [opens wide September 12].
1. It’s September. You know what the state of comedy is going to be in September? Another Tyler Perry movie. I kid you not. We’ll be desperate for something clever.

2. It’s Joel and Ethan Coen. With another comedy… which looks outrageously funny from the trailer. And this after their last movie, the deadly serious No Country for Old Men. What other filmmakers can so easily and brilliantly swing back and forth between pitch-black drama and wild, subversive comedy?

3. How did they anticipate that this flick — about a CIA agent who accidently leaves his top-secret memoirs on a disc in a gym locker room, where they are found by a dumb-bunny gym employee who tries to sell them to the highest bidder — would actually echo reality? Because a British intelligence agent recently forgot a big fat folder of secret Al Qaeda intel on a train. It sounds an unbelievably boneheaded move… unless that was, in fact, a publicity stunt for this flick.

4. Oh my god, the cast: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, J.K. Simmons. A movie with just one or two of these folks is cause for celebration, but all of them? How did the Coens manage that?

5. The tagline is “Intelligence is relative.” Smart people — like the Coens — making fun of stupidity is always good, but even better is when smart people make fun of how stupid other smart people can sometimes be. Which is what it looks like BAR will be about… and be very very funny about it in the process. We can hope so, anyway.

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  • Mo

    “Because a British intelligence agent recently forgot a big fat folder of secret Al Qaeda intel on a train. It sounds an unbelievably boneheaded move… unless that was, in fact, a publicity stunt for this flick.”

    Oh, I wish that was true but I’m sure it happens a lot. More than the public ever hears about. Our foreign affairs minister just resigned for forgetting a sensitive file at his ex-girlfriend’s…whose other ex boyfriends are Hells Angels. Then there were those other classified documents blowing around on a street corner a couple of weeks ago… http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jGg1TtNLpNrehzUwuFDirqmzivnA

    Sounds like a fun movie.

  • e

    The Coen brothers get a lifetime pass for me seeing their movies in theatre, no matter what the reviews say.

    I used to not have an answer for who was my favorite director, and now I always go to them. Just… felt like sharing that.

  • e

    Doh, forgot to say that their ability to shift all around the spectrum is probably what draws me to them. I think it shows amazing skill to be able to do that successfully.

  • I generally like Coen Brothers comedies, but the dramas…yikes. I still haven’t seen No Country for Old Men. But their movies like Raising Arizona…wow. I’ve laughed all the way through the [i]Burn After Reading[/i] trailer a few times now.

    And don’t forget that Richard Jenkins is in it too, and he’s usually good for a few laughs.

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