Trailer: Burn After Reading

Here is the first trailer for Burn After Reading, which is the new film from The Coen Brothers starring Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton.

The story is about the memoir of an ousted CIA official (John Malkovich) that falls into the hands of two gym employees (Pitt and McDormand) who then try to exploit their find.

You can download the HD trailer via iTunes by clicking here.

It is due for release in the US on September 12th and in the UK on October 17th.

> Official site at Working Title
> Burn After Reading at the IMDb
> More on the Coen Brothers at Wikipedia

DVD Pick: In the Valley of Elah

There were quite a lot of films about the current war on terror to come out last year but the best from a major Hollywood studio was In the Valley of Elah.

Written and directed by Paul Haggis it is the story of a retired soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) who is searching for his missing son, who has just returned from duty in Iraq.

When he arrives at his military base in Texas, no-one seems to know what has happened and he enlists the help of a local detective (Charlize Theron) to find out what exactly is going on.

Whilst it didn’t make any waves at the box office, it earned Jones an Oscar  nomination for Best Actor and managed to be a quietly subversive film about the effects of the current war on terror on those soldiers asked to fight it.

Based on true events described in a Playboy article by Mark Boal, the film explores many of the hot button issues brought up by the recent Iraq conflict such as: post-traumatic stress, the abuse of prisoners, the recording of the war by soliders and the nature of American patriotism.

Although the main plot ticks along like a procedural police thriller, it actually proves a clever way of uinearthing the disturbing fallout from the recent conflicts and how they relate to how wars are fought.

Optimum have done a nice job with the DVD putting on some extras which inlcude:

  • ‘After Iraq’ and ‘Coming Home’ Featurettes: These explore how Haggis approached the film by hiring real soldiers for certain roles, on set interviews with the cast and the parents of the real life soldier who inspired the film.
  • UK Exclusive Interview with writer-director Paul Haggis
  • Additional Scenes (including one startling sequence with a wounded soldier)
  • Trailer
  • 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DD2.0 and DD5.1 Surround

Back in December I spoke to Paul Haggis about the film and you can listen to the interview here:


You can also download this interview as an MP3 file by clicking here.

In the Valley of Elah is out now on DVD from Optimum Releasing

> Buy the DVD at Amazon UK
> In the Valley of Elah at the IMDb
> Death and Dishonour – The Playboy article by Mark Boal that inspired the film
> CBS article about the same events that inspired the film
> Paul Haggis at the IMDb
> Official website for In the Valley of Elah
> Reviews of the film at Metacritic

Rupert Murdoch at All Things Digital

Rupert Murdoch was interviewed at the All Things Digital conference yesterday by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

The News Corporation boss made some revealing comments about technology, the media and US politics.

Here is the video and some key quotes:

On movies and the future of distribution:

I would love to see all windows closed …but there are lots of people’s interest to consider.

The theater owners are powerful, but we will try and move to close that gap as much as possible.

On whether newspapers have a future in a digital world:

I’m totally technically neutral – I don’t care what platform our news appears on, if it’s on printed paper, or the web or mobile or whatever.

If you look at the last 6 months, the average newspaper is down 10 to 30 per cent in advertising revenue.

They [newspapers] are going to deteriorate tremendously

On the change that is needed at the Wall Street Journal:

Every story at the moment [in the WSJ] is worked on by 8.3 people [on average]. That is ridiculous.

On MySpace:

We came to [the Internet] late. We’d been asleep.

We found they [MySpace] were like 3 days away from being bought by Viacom, so we said ‘what does it cost for you to lock yourself in a room with us for the weekend?’.

They said ‘an extra $50 million’ and …we came out with a company.

Facebook came in an did a brilliant job – went past us all.

On Google:

Google is so good. They’ve established the best search engine by far.

It’s gushing money and you can see exactly why Microsoft is worried.

You’ve got all these bright people at Google with unlimited ambition.

On Yahoo:

There was a possibility at one stage that we’d add to the portal.

Here is the second part:

On Hulu:

It is changing every week. We are putting more and more [content] on each week.

As far as we were concerned we want to control our own copyrights and we thought this was the way to do it.

On choosing not to sue YouTube like Viacom have done:

We had mixed feelings about it. We felt it was doing more to promote our shows than it was to hurt them.

On Fox News:

People laugh when I say fair and balanced. All it does is give both sides, which the others (media) haven’t done in the past.

On Barack Obama:

I think you’ve probably got the making of a complete phenomenon in this country.

Politicians in Washington …are despised by 80% of the public.

You’ve got a candidate who has put himself above that and said he’s not the average politician.

And he’s become a rock star – its fantastic.

On John McCain:

He’s been in Congress a long time and you’ve got to make too many compromises.

What does he really stand for?

He’s a very decent guy. I say this sympathetically [but] I think he’s got a lot of problems.

On Apple:

They are brilliant marketers and beautiful designers.

On the recession:

The average family is [being] squeezed to death.

On the energy crisis:

I’d let people drill off the west coast. We didn’t buy Alaska to save a couple of elk.

You can read more detailed notes on the interview at the AllThingsD website here.

> All Things Digital conference
> Find out more about Rupert Murdoch at Wikipedia