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August 27, 2008

Critics singe Burn After Reading


That possible "Burn After Reading" booing and hissing we mentioned earlier today? Gee, that didn't take long.

Critics turned out for the Coen brothers' follow-up to their Oscar-laden "No Country for Old Men" at the Venice Film Festival today, and they didn't much like what they saw.

THR's Kirk Honeycutt calls "Burn After Reading" "a minor piece of silliness with all the trappings of an A-list studio movie." That would be the Oscar-heavy cast of George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and past nominee Brad Pitt. For them, the decorated brothers have created "looney-tunes roles" in "an anti-spy thriller in which nothing is at stake, no one acts with intelligence and everything ends badly."

But how do you really feel?

Variety's Todd McCarthy is even harsher:

"Nothing about the project’s execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one. As it is, audience teeth-grinding sets in early and never lets up."

Even the not-so-brutal Guardian thinks that the Coen brothers film that "Burn" most closely resembles is "Intolerable Cruelty." Ouchie!

Unrealistic to think that the Coens, here wearing all the writing, directing and producing hats, could come up with back-to-back Oscar contenders? Maybe so. They don't look so hopeful in this photo, and it was taken before the screening.

Much shuffling of early Oscar predictions will now commence. And just think of it this way, if Clooney and Coens are out of the picture, there's more room for Leo and Sam Mendes!



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Did you even read the Honeycutt review? It was pretty positive. Probably not awards worthy positive but positive nonetheless and not even close to being categorized in the same light of McCarthy's rant against the movie.


"Even the not-so-brutal Guardian thinks that the Coen brothers film that 'Burn' most closely resembles is 'Intolerable Cruelty.' Ouchie!"

Since when is a four star review "ouchie"? Since when is a four star review "not-so-brutal?"

As I recall, four star reviews are near-raves.

What's "ouchie" is your intentional decision to not mention that the "not-so-brutal" review was a four star review, which then raises questions about your credibility, and also leads one to wonder if whether you didn't see the rave review from trade paper Screendaily and the four star review from Britain's The Independent, or you did and decided not to mention them for some personal reason of your own.

An unfair theory? Maybe, but it wouldn't be so way out. I mean, the best adjective you could come up with for a four-star-review was "Ouchie!"

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

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