Archives for posts with tag: Frances McDormand

“Burn After Reading” (2008) is a not-very-good espionage movie with George Clooney. It’s kinda stupid, actually. But it does have a lot of people I like in it (Brad Pitt, the dude from the movie about the guy who plays the drum, Frances what’s-her-face, John Malkovich), and there are some characters that made me laugh. It wasn’t like I thought two hours of my life had been stolen. But when it was over, I was like: “What was up with that?” Then I reminded myself it was a Coen brothers movie, which means that probably nothing was up with anything.

It’s a story about journalism hidden inside a story about rock and roll. If you ever wanted to understand the love triangle between sage, subject and story, re-watch “Almost Famous” (2000). For the masses, it’s a fun ride on the wild side of 1970s rock starring Billy Crudup, drugs, music, groupies, fashion and Cameron Crowe’s poetry. Just beneath the surface is a coming-of-age story – two of them – starring Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit. But way down deep, it’s really Fugit and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a story about a story and the friction between truth, friendship and exploitation. Impressive, huh?

A movie like “City by the Sea” (2002) makes you wonder whether there’s such a thing as free will. Some people are born into a shitstorm. Others have it thrust upon them. Some escape it and create a new life, only to have the shitstorm come roaring back when they least expect it. How you deal with things are your choice, but your choices are often so limited by circumstance that they aren’t choices at all. This is a gritty, gripping cop movie and human drama inside a hollowed-out skeleton of Long Beach, N.Y., that can’t help but whisper “Detroit.”