Coen brothers back in action

Movie: "Burn After Reading"

When: Opening Friday at local theaters

Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

The story: Two Washington, D.C., gym employees (Pitt, McDormand) concoct a harebrained blackmail scheme when they find a computer disc containing the "classified" memoirs of a disgruntled CIA agent (Malkovich).

The buzz: After a walk on the dark side with the Oscar-winning "No Country For Old Men," filmmaking siblings Joel and Ethan Coen return to the screwball side of the street, reuniting with George Clooney and Frances McDormand, whose six Coen collaborations include the Oscar-winning "Fargo." (It helps when you’re sleeping with the director; McDormand has been Mrs. Joel Coen since 1984.) Pitt, Clooney’s co-conspirator in "Ocean’s Eleven" and its two sequels, crashes the party, as does Swinton, who won an Oscar opposite Clooney in "Michael Clayton."

By CAROL CLING

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