Sunday, 19 October 2008

Of Burn after Reading

Right I know I promised a review of Garden State this weekend but I guess that didn’t happen. I know naughty me. Anyway trust it’ll get 5 stars, I’ve seen that movie enough times to know it’s one of my favourite movies ever and is a sort of comfort food to me which I will never turn down an opportunity to watch.

So if you can read you might have noticed that the subject is ‘Of Burn after Reading’ and if you know your cinema, you’ll know that movie is in the cinema right now!!!! Gosh I am up to date aren’t I? Yes instead of reviews of television shows that won’t be out in the UK till god knows when (apart from Heroes on BBC 2 Wednesday’s at 9 and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 starts October 23rd), I’m reviewing a movie that you too can see for the price of a cinema ticket. Yes I know I did this as well for the Dark Knight but well I thought I’d point it out this time. Also this movie isn’t as good as Dark Knight, not by a long shot, however it is a great movie one I would heartily recommend despite the complete lack of plot. Well on with the review.

Burn after Reading is the latest movie from Joel and Ethan Coen, the two people who directed and wrote No Country for Old Men last year. You know the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture? Well if you don’t go and see it now! It is an amazing movie and again Burn after isn’t nearly as good (God it’s beginning to sound like I hated this doesn’t it?). Burn after Reading is a comedy…..sort of. It harks back to the Coen’s ability to blend film noir with comedy. This movie is defiantly more of a comedy than anything else, albeit with a couple of quite gory scenes (and I mean a couple, as in two).

The movie does take a little while to get into it but it’s necessary. We need to know all the characters and how they connect to each other, and believe me there are a lot of characters all of whom are played by a terrific ensemble cast including: John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton. If you none of those names you clearly need to get out from under your rock. Of all these actors the best would have to be Pitt. He brings so much energy to the role that it’s hard not to enjoy it. So much of Pitt’s humour comes from just expressions and movements that him just being on screen is enough to make you giggle. It is also clear that he had a lot of fun making the movie; especially since this is his first movie with the two brothers (the role almost makes me forgive from dropping out The Fighter). What’s even better is that none of the characters overstay their welcome, whilst it would have been nice if Pitt had had more scenes (I’m not going to say what happens, that came as shock even to me,) it was great to see that every actor played a role in the non-plot.

When I saw non-plot I really do mean that. This movie whilst having a story just doesn't have a real plot and it knows it as well. Whilst this would be a complaint for almost any other movie, the fact that some great jokes are made out of it is great. Whilst some of the action happens off screen it is used to great comic effect. I’m not going to spoil what does happens but I will say that it is one of the funniest moments I’ve seen in a while (up there with the fake trailers in Tropic Thunder and Kevin = mentally handicapped in the Office). The story is all about some stolen documents, a misunderstanding, plastic surgery, affairs and murder. However it all comes together in one of the most nonsensical ways ever. The plot is easy to follow but at the end you do come out wondering what it was you just saw.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Burn after Reading. The cast was great (again nods to Pitt), direction is of the normal Coen Brothers standard as was the writing. The movie isn’t the best thing to grace cinemas ever but it is a great movie albeit one that is not for everyone. I have a feeling I definitely enjoyed it more than my friends but whatever. I must say I do love a movie that can surprise me. There were two moments where I was genuinely surprised (although my friend did whisper the punch line to what could have been the funniest moment ever seconds before it happened). So if you like a noir comedy film with a slightly macabre sense of humour then this is for you. If you do go see it watch out for Pitt’s performance (you will love it trust me), and what George Clooney is building in his basement.

So I’m going to give Burn after Reading a 8 out of 10

I would also like to clarify my rating system now. I will only be reviewing TV shows and movies purely because it is easier to give them a score. TV will be out of 10 and then only based on an entire season (expect reviews of Veronica Season 1 and The Wire soon). Movies will also be based on scale of 10 (because 5 is just too constricting) and you expect reviews of Garden State and all of Darren Aronofsky’s films (God I’m sounding like a broken record). Everything I else will either be a recommendation (as in the case of Fables and The Neverhood) or a warning to steer clear of.

Well here is where I’m going to pledge to you what will happen in the future…I promise. I will be doing one post a day for the next week (and a bit). All of which will be movie reviews. So here goes:
Monday = Fargo
Tuesday = Garden State
Wednesday = Darren Aronofsky films
Thursday = Fight Club
Friday = Shoot ‘em Up
Saturday = The Matrix
Sunday = Donnie Darko
Monday = Serenity

After that is half term in which I will also be having a post a day. I haven’t decided what I’ll do then. I’m aiming to have my reviews of Veronica Mars Season 1 then as well as some more game recommendations. Book reviews and maybe even a rant. Also I would like to say that over half term I’m completely open to iasg14’s revenge. So until November 2nd I believe that I will have a blog post every day. If I fail feel free to send me emails telling me how much I suck.

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