The Dictator: Down With Aladeen!

by Ethan Alter May 16, 2012 6:00 am
<i>The Dictator</i>: Down With Aladeen!

It's a real shame that Sacha Baron Cohen's rise as a comedy star occurred after Mel Brooks stopped making movies, because the two likely would have hit off both personally and professionally. Beyond their shared Jewish heritage (a background that both men gleefully skewer at every opportunity), both of them are fearless provocateurs, pushing the bounds of comic decency right up to their breaking point. For those younger audiences who only know Brooks from his latter-day kinder, gentler movie parodies like Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, it's hard to overstate just how revolutionary comedies like The Producers and Blazing Saddles were at the time of their release. The latter movie in particular tackled racial humor with a boldness that's still bracing and you can track a direct line from Zero Mostel's brash, unscrupulous theatrical producer to one of Cohen's comic anti-heroes. In fact, we like to imagine the elderly Brooks uncorking a bottle of Manischewitz and kicking back for a double-bill of Cohen's first two features, Borat and Bruno.

How The League‘s Jason Mantzoukas Met The Dictator

by Ethan Alter May 14, 2012 6:01 am
How <i>The League</i>‘s Jason Mantzoukas Met <i>The Dictator</i>

Sacha Baron Cohen may be the main attraction of The Dictator, but don't be surprised if everyone who sees the movie comes out raving about his co-star Jason Mantzoukas. Best known as the outrageous Rafi on the FX series The League, the Upright Citizens Brigade-trained comic actor steals almost every scene he's in as Nadal, a nuclear scientist that runs afoul of Cohen's dictator, General Aladeen, in their home country of Wadiya only to emerge as his equal when the tyrant is stripped of his identity and let loose on the streets of New York. On a recent press pit stop in Manhattan, Mantzoukas spoke with us about testing his improvising skills against Cohen, what scenes didn't make it into The Dictator and why he hopes that Rafi never gets his own spin-off series.

Up Close and Personal With <i>The Dictator</i>‘s General Aladeen

The secret to Sacha Baron Cohen's particular brand of comedy has always been its unpredictability. When you watch one of his signature creations -- be it Ali G or Borat or Bruno -- interact with an unsuspecting dignitary, celebrity or just a plain old Average Joe, you have absolutely no idea what he'll do or say... or what they'll do or say in response. His ability to improvise in the moment without breaking character is what makes him such a formidable talent. Even if a particular encounter doesn't yield many laughs, you have to admire the guy for his fearlessness.

Trailers Without Pity: The Dictator

by Ethan Alter April 23, 2012 12:55 pm
Trailers Without Pity: <i>The Dictator</i>

Guess who's back... back again.

NY Comic Con 2009: McG on Reviving <I>Terminator</I> and Christian Bale’s Rant

McG is certainly an unusual person. I wrote "insane" in big letters in my notebook, and underlined it, but I think it is actually enthusiasm. Anyway, he helmed the most rip-roaring panel that I attended this weekend at Comic-Con. He was in the biggest room, with a hugely critical crowd presenting eight minutes of his take on the Terminator franchise just days after the Christian Bale rant leaked out all over the internet and basically made it look like an out of control set. But McG strutted out in front of the masses who had waited hours on line to see this panel (OK, and Watchmen too) and right out of the gate started talking about why he wanted to make this movie, and when a bit of feedback interrupted his tale and an audience member shouted, "that's fucking unprofessional," he laughed it off, and said simply, "I'm good." At least this wild and unpredictable director who riled the crowd by calling Christian Bale at home via cell phone (Bale's wife answered and told McG he was crazy... he readily agreed), plucked a member of the audience out to ask his question on stage simply because he was wearing a Cyberdyne T-shirt and him screaming to the projectionist that the trailer had "better be loud" got this girl in the mood to see how Skynet takes over the world.

Bonham Carter lends a touch of class to Terminator

by DeAnn Welker June 30, 2008 4:42 pm
Bonham Carter lends a touch of class to <i>Terminator</i>

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Helena Bonham Carter is the latest casting coup for the producers of Terminator Salvation.

Swear To Blog! McG Says Terminator Spoilers Are Fake

by Kasey McDonald June 5, 2008 3:00 pm
Swear To Blog! McG Says Terminator Spoilers Are Fake McG is seriously over people making fun of his name, you guys. Oh, and he also totally wants you to know all those Terminator spoilers you've been reading about all week aren't true. I'm serious. He blogged about it. Kthxbye!

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

by Ethan Alter February 19, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ben Affleck strains to think up new "Argo [bleep] yourself" jokes.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

by Ethan Alter January 29, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time to figure out a different activity.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

by Ethan Alter December 18, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rush, rush -- hurry, hurry JGL come to us.

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