Review: The Dictator

Review: The Dictator

You can’t go wrong with Sacha Baron-Cohen. Dominating cable tv with the Ali G show for years, when Borat went into wide release in the states, it launched an army of impersonators and Baron-Cohen became a household name. His follow up, Bruno, was decent, but not nearly as funny as Borat. Baron-Cohen’s latest creation, The Dictator, is the story of Admiral General Aladeen, the ruler of the North African Republic of Wadiya. Under threat of UN sanction, Aladeen travels to New York to address the council. His Uncle (Ben Kingsley) who was passed up for the throne, is conspiring to have Aladeen out of the way so he can take the reigns of the country. Shortly after arriving to New York, he is kidnapped by a hired hit-man, and is replaced with his buffoon of body double (also played by Baron-Cohen).

Aladeen, unrecognizable without his beard, is out on his own in New York – trying to reclaim his position. He’s helped along the way by Zoey (Anna Farris), a Brooklyn-dwelling owner of a co-op market.

Aladeen could vey well be Baron-Cohen’s most offensive creation. No one, and nothing is safe, from women, to Israel and 9-11, anything and everything is made fun of by Aladeen. Is the film crude? Yes. Is the film funny? If it’s your cup of tea, definitely.

The one thing that definitely bugged me was the casting of Anna Farris. I didn’t buy her as a Brooklyn-liberal-hipster. A short haircut and armpit hair just wasn’t enough of a transformation.

It was great to see Baron-Cohen in a film that isn’t focused on hidden-camera or unsuspecting interviewees – not that it was ever a question, but he definitely has proved that he’s able to pull of a traditional narrative.

Film Review: Hugo

Film Review: Hugo

‘Hugo’ is director Martin Scorsese’s first foray in a long while that is in complete unfamiliar territory. For starters, this is his first film absent of Leonardo DiCaprio in 10 years. Secondly this is the first Scorsese picture intended for all ages. Notice I didn’t say “intended for kids.” I don’t think Scorsese set out to make a kids movie, I think he definitely set out to make a movie that could be enjoyed by anyone of any age (kids included!).

Adapted from the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, the film tells the story of a boy who lives alone in a Paris train station, and a curious toy shop owner. Hugo (Asa Butterfield), orphaned at a young age lives in secret, running around in the background keeping the station’s clocks in order – a job he took over from his drunken Uncle who adopted him after the passing of his father.

The one possession he still has from his father is a mechanical man, an automaton. A project he was working on with his father. Hugo believes that the automaton holds a secret final message from his father, and is working tirelessly to fix it.

Hugo acquires parts by stealing them from the toy shop, owned by Papa Georges (Ben Kinglsey). When Papa Georges takes Hugo’s notebook as payment for what he’s stolen, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), Papa Georges goddaughter, begins to help Hugo – beginning their wonderful adventure.

Scorsese films are known for their amazing cinematography and camera work. Whether its the long tracking shots in ‘Goodfellas,’ or the swooping shots of planes in ‘The Aviator,’ Scorsese and his DP Robert Richardson love moving the camera. In the opening of this film, they use every trick in the book. It’s mind-blowing. The seamless movement through practical, and CG sets, all while closely following Hugo looked amazing – this scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Asa Butterfield proves himself to be a talented, wonderful actor. The emotions he displays, especially in the pivotal moments of them film are quite believable. Moretz, who at a young age already has a great catalog of work under her now has another amazing film under her belt. It was also great to see Sacha Baron Cohen in something other than his own characters.

I’m not the greatest proponent of 3D films. I don’t like it for a lot of reasons. But I have said, if there is any director who could do anything amazing with the medium, it’d be Scorsese. I was right. This film is hands down, the greatest 3D film I’ve seen. The way the depth and dimension is used exceeds what we saw in Avatar. Subtle things like dust in the train station, or light from a film projector surrounding a characters head – everything looked amazing.

When I first heard that Scorsese had signed on to direct this film, I was scratching my head. Having now seen it, its obvious why he was the perfect director for this film. Not just because of the advanced themes and amazing story – the film calls back to one of Scorsese’s greatest passions, the cinema of yesteryear. The film features, and is inspired by so many great films, from ‘The Great Train Robbery,’ and ‘Safety Last,’ to ‘Intolerance.’

There is no reason why every single person of any age should not see this movie. Amazing cast, amazing story, amazing cinematography, this film is a great reminder that, yes, there still can be great films that can be enjoyed all.

Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

I’ve been looking forward to the Scorsese’s adaptation of ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret” since I first heard about it. Despite my general reservations for 3D, if there is one filmmaker that can truly do something unique with it, its Scorsese. The film stars Chloe Moretz, Asa Butterfield, and Sacha Baron Cohen

Check out the trailer here.

The trailer is a little on the goofy/sappy side with its titles, but I’m not the target market for it. I do think this is going to be a great kids film, I get a great vibe from the sweeping shots in the trailer that if anything, it’ll be a beautiful looking film. I can’t wait!

Scorsese Talks Sinatra & Casting for Invention

Lonely Reviewer contributor Ben has been waiting as long as he’s heard about it for Martin Scorsese’s Sinatra biopic.The Oscar winning director said recently that the project is proving to be a difficult challenge due to the sheer size of Sinatra’s life.

He told Shortlist.com that “It’s very hard because here is a man who changed the entire image of the Italian-American. And that’s just one thing. Along with his political work, civil rights, the Mob.”

The film apparently will be much like “The Aviator,” by only focusing at certain points in his life.

He tells the site that you could “have three or four different Sinatras. Younger. Older. Middle-aged. Very old. You cut back and forth in time – and you do it through the music. See what I’m saying? So that’s what we’re trying for.”

I’m confident if anyone can build an amazing film out of an amazing life, its Martin Scorsese.

In other Scorsese related news, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley have been cast in his next film, an adapation of the children’s book ‘Invention of Hugo Cabret.’

Review: Brüno

BrünoBrüno. What can one really say about this movie? It stars Sacha Baron Cohen, the genius behind Da Ali G Show, and the hit film Borat. You’re either a fan of the humor, or not. I could praise the movie to no end, or damn it to hell, if you like Cohen, you’re gonna see it either way.
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“Bruno” Trailer Released

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest assault on the unsuspecting is coming this summer.  30 minutes were screened at the SXSW Film Festival and the reports coming out of there said it is funnier than “Borat.”  (Which was, in my opinion, pretty damn funny.)

Well, the trailer for his latest film, “Bruno,” has been released at MySpace’s Trailer Park.  Check it out, and ask how would you defend yourself?

‘Bruno’ Gets Slapped with NC-17

Sacha Baron Cohen and his latest film, ‘Bruno’ have been hit with an NC-17 rating reports say. The MPAA cited the graphic sexual content found within the film. The Universal spokeman said that it is far too early to say if there will be a struggle in achieving an R rating, as they are currently testing two different versions of the film with audiences.

I loved Borat, I was a huge fan of the Ali G show, I cannot wait any longer for this one.

Sacha Baron Cohen Sells ‘Accidentes’ Pitch

Sacha Baron Cohen has sold a brand new pitch to Fox Atomic called “Accidentes,” a film about an ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyer.

The film is co-written by Peter Baynham and Sacha Baron Cohen, who worked together on the ‘Borat’ feature.

The main character is a Latino lawyer who becomes a hero of the working class when he helps an immigrant win a court case against a wealthy employer after a landscaping mishap.

Being that Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the best comedic minds in film these days, one can’t help but have high hopes. Currently, he is only producing this pitch, but here’s hoping he stars.

Cohen will be seen next in ‘Bruno,’ another character from the popular ‘Da Ali G Show.’

Sacha Baron Cohen is Sherlock Holmes

Producer Judd Apatow is at it again, this time with Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell. Etan Cohen is writing a comic send up of Sherlock Holmes, with Cohen in the title role, and Ferrel as his partner Watson.

The last time we saw Ferrell and Cohen together was as rival drivers in the NASCAR comedy ‘Talladega Nights.’ This isn’t the only Sherlock Holmes film in the works, Guy Ritchie has his own version set up at Warner Bros.

This whole idea sounds extremely fun and entertaining to me, and I can totally see Cohen’s Sherlock Holmes, lets hope it lives up to expectations!

Universal Sets ‘Bruno’ Release Date

Universal Sets ‘Bruno’ Release Date

bruno.jpgUniversal has finally set a date for Sacha Baron Cohen’s next feature, ‘Bruno.’ The film is about a flamboyant fashion/celebrity journalist from Austria who interviews people (much like Borat) who believe he is a real person.

Universal is banking on the fact that ‘Borat’ was enough of a success that ‘Bruno’ is ready for a high-profile summer release. The date is May 15, 2009.

Personally, of Cohen’s characters from his show, Bruno was the segment I looked forward to the least, so who knows if I’ll be able to sit through a feature with him. Borat grossed $128.5 million domestically, so, perhaps he knows what he’s doing.