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Michael Sragow’s “Out of the Furnace” Flames Out

In response to Michael Sragow’s 647‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Orange County Register

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In his Out of the Furnace Michael Sragow seems to channel Martin Short’s SNL wannabe old-school agent cum acting coach while managing to find a bouncy C in its thespians, all the while consigning their vehicle to a well-deserved junkyard where it is the proverbial dog.

Add to this smarmy performance his apparent ventriloquism talents (his organ’s page features an alter ego of sorts, one Rene Rodgriquez of The Miami Herald, in lieu of his own work, found only with some effort) and you are left with a kind of mambo version of Billy Joel’s economics paean, ‘Allentown. ‘

Despite these borrowed talents(?), Sragow manages to spoil the child… ish dreamer in all who enter his hellish ‘dark’ recess of nowhere in America with variations on the theme of bleakness, again in the key of C, and it’s hardly bouncy.

In the most direct and fawning manner possible (did I forget to mention ‘clumsy’?) Sragow’s Out of the Furnace agonizingly milks the whole ‘hot as Hell’ metaphor irresistibly handed to him, with filthy fireproof gloves no less, deeming the performances, however momentary, of Casey Affleck, Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson ‘hot enough to melt the screen. ‘ I know, he’ll blame that appellation on Martin Short, no doubt.

Consign (with or without a bouncy C) this minor opus to the nearest conflagration.    

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