Box Office Buzz: Newbies Take Top 4

After weeks of lackluster box office performances, and new movies struggling to make it even into the top 5, the box office reports from this past weekend show a much happier tale. All four of the movies that opened this weekend (in more than a thousand cinemas) appeared in the top four and all earned over $10 million. A much better weekend for the box office, considering last week’s top earner managed only $7.7 million.

Taking the top spot was Burn After Reading, starring George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and John Malkovich coming in with $19.4 million. Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys took second spot close behind Burn, with $18 million.

Third spot went to the movie I was anticipating for this weekend, the crime thriller starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Righteous Kill, coming in with $16.5 million.

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Movie Review: Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
Rated R
Release date: September 12, 2008

Burn After Reading opens with a view that seems to be from outer space that pinpoints the east coast of America (the land of opportunity). As it slowly descends and creeps closer, eventually delving into a Virginia CIA headquarters, we realize that this view might be from a bomb; a Coen bomb that has the tendency to extract moral values from its characters, twisting and turning them before they’re all led blindly to a state of misanthropy. Humans have no regard for each other’s emotions; what means the most to one person means absolutely nothing to the next. An evil world indeed, but it is a Coen world where the outside world pales in comparison as far as evil goes.

What the Coen Brothers have done throughout their career is pit casual people against odds and ends that are much more lethal and powerful than they could possibly be. This is their formula, though they’ve been constantly changing venues, the ramifications that follow have always stayed true to their original formula. But there’s something of an awe with this new venue that is found in Burn After Reading. I can’t quite put my finger on it. The brothers turn in a movie that contains 96 minutes of pure comedic delight and, strangely, the same amount of dread that I can’t recollect seeing anywhere else in recent cinema; it’s something rare, something that can’t possibly be missed.

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