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Burn After Reading (2008)

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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Burn After Watching

  • Jun 25, 2010
They say good things come in twos, and I can’t think of a more fitting justification for this platitude than the varied body of work that is the Coen brothers’ film repertoire. Time and time again, the duo has tickled our funny bones while offering that something extra for the finicky tastes of moviegoers whose palates desire a little “oomph”.

That being said,

I hated Burn After Reading.

I mean, I really, really hated it. I hated it for much the same reasons that I hated the film Juno, though that hatred exists on an entirely different plane (don’t even get me started on Diablo Cody’s dialogue). The hype circling these two movies was such that I expected nothing less that 4-star treatment. Instead, what I got was a lot of confused plotlines and too many character names, the combination of which left me yawning to high heaven for 2 monotonous hours.

Generally, I dig quirky oddball movies, but this was just boring with a capital B. I kept waiting for it to get better. To at least match the hilarious previews with which I was bombarded for several months. I'm lost - why did people think this movie was so great again? Maybe I just didn't get it.

The one thing I did enjoy was watching Brad Pitt rock it out as a dim-witted fitness trainer glued to his iPod. That one really got me. (always a sucker for Brad - how can you not be?)

Other than Brad though, well, this movie can go suck it.

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April 01, 2011
Great review! I like the Coen Brothers in general, but sometimes they just go a little weird for my tastes - and that's saying something. Sounds like this was one of "those." Thanks for telling it like it is!
August 13, 2010
I honestly barely remember this movie, because I could barely even focus on it. Although I do agree, the scenes with Brad were definitely the best ;)
July 02, 2010
Whoa. I don't usually miss a Coen Bros flick, but I haven't seen this one yet. Guess I need to now. I have to see what could possibly provoke a -3! How did you feel about BARTON FINK?
June 27, 2010
I'd agree this isn't the Coens best work and as I said in my own review, they followed up Fargo (serious drama) with The Big Lebowski (silly comedy) and they did it again with No Country For Old Men (Serious Drama) and again with this. I'd go into the realm of no, you didn't get it, but don't worry since i know MANY people out there who also don't like or don't get this movie and I agree it could have been trimmed in a few places.
June 26, 2010
I need to watch this one again it has been a while, excellent review. Also on a side note the Coen Bro's are about 20 minutes away from me filming the finishing touches on a film called "True Grit". They are using an old building in Burnet TX for some scenes.
June 25, 2010
LOL! entertaining review! I too thought that this movie was definitely overrated and while I wasn't exactly impressed with it, I didn't hate it like you did. Welcome to our community!!
More Burn After Reading (2008 movie... reviews
review by . April 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
After a mid-career dip, the CB are back! Burn represents the second consecutive strong showing, coming on the heals of their best ever No Country for Old Men. Burn isn't their best ever, but it is a return to their roots, and to what made them good.    The BL (Before Lebowski) movies were a tour of the classic genres of the Great Age of cinema, centered around the theme of identity:    Blood Simple was a great noir debut about misunderstanding identity.  Raising …
review by . July 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A throw-away effort by the Coen Brothers, but Tilda Swinton takes the prize for unlikable funniness
If you enjoy sour shaggy dog stories told for the enjoyment of clever, sour people, you might like Burn After Reading...a shaggy dog story if there ever was one. It takes the easy target of Washington's shallow denizens and mixes them into the equally easy targets of CIA paranoia and serial infidelities. And all these denizens, with one possible exception, are either numbskull boobs or nasty boobs.       The Coens have given us not only a sour shaggy dog story, designed …
review by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I would call myself a fan of the Coen Brothers. A pretty big fan actually. Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? are among my favourite films of all time, and I'm a huge admirer of their darker offerings like Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, No Country For Old Men and Blood Simple. Therefore, I sat down to watch Burn After Reading with great expectations. Those expectations even seemed justified by the clips I'd seen and the things I'd read about …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Coen Brother's zany comic follow up to No Country For Old Men has wacky goins on in DC with an alcohalic and his frosty wife, a philanthripist and his ornery wife and two dim gym employees getting mixed up over a lame MacGuffin. Maybe not a classic, but worth watching once.
Quick Tip by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen Bros lately give us characters to care about briefly. Then they die. This is wearing thin. Their satirical schtick feels increasingly bitter rather than entertaining, and this film shows their smug insularity. A few moments such as the deadpan CIA suits as they converse hit their mark, but the actors seem as worn out as their convoluted storylines now.
Quick Tip by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Intriguing and amusing at times, but overall, I could barely keep myself focused on the screen.
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A little disappointed with this one, great cast but expected a little more.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Very Underrated. One of the funniest movies I have seen lately
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen brothers are the master of surprises, and Burn After Reading definitely had some surprises I hadn't expected. An amazing cast for great film
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I expected it to be better but it was okay. Maybe i wasnt in the mood that night.
About the reviewer
lizzy ()
Ranked #114
I like beer, the shape of teapots, and kitschy diners. I tend to overuse commas. Piles of books can send my into a frenzy like nothing else.
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About this movie


With their overtly comedic follow-up BURN AFTER READING, the Coen Brothers return--about a third of the way--from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of FARGO and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, with 2007's NO COUNTRY retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart skepticism to the proceedings. In a more linear trajectory, BURN AFTER READING also stands as the third entry, after BLOOD SIMPLE and FARGO, in what could be an unofficial Tragedy of Human Idiocy trilogy, wherein characters make the most outlandishly moronic moves to devastating consequences simply by adhering to true human behavior. Indeed, Carter Burwell's emotionally weighty score, whic...

After the dark brilliance ofNo Country for Old Men,Burn After Readingmay seem like a trifle, but few filmmakers elevate the trivial to art quite like Joel and Ethan Coen. Inspired by Stansfield Turner'sBurn Before Reading, the comically convoluted plot clicks into gear when the CIA gives analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) the boot. Little does Cox know his wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton, riffing on herMichael Claytoncharacter), is seeing married federal marshal ...
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Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: September 12, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
DVD Release Date: December 21, 2008
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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First to Review

"Pretty Great"
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