Currently browsing the "Satire" tag.

Review: Borat Subsequent MovieFilm

I’m just not that into Borat. I wasn’t in 2006 when Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan put Sacha Baron Cohen’s unique brand of political satire on the cinematic map, nor now, 14 years later, with his admittedly timely “sequel”, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Fortunately for the British actor and comedian (who I thoroughly enjoyed as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and “Master of the House” in Les Miserables), he does not need me to like his Borat character. Enough others do. And they will surely lap this up – in all its crude glory. Ironically, I was about to dump out of the movie – until Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani began firing off obnoxious preemptive tweets about Giuliani’s rather embarrassing “cameo” and how the film surely manipulated his actions. So of course I had to keep watching! Sure it’s a set-up, but hey, you reap what you sow. Ick.

Review: Jojo Rabbit

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a new way to tell a World War II / Nazi story on film, along comes Jojo Rabbit, to serve as both a reminder of a twisted chapter in our not-so-distant past, and a contemporary cautionary tale. In some ways, there’s more to unpack here than in the controversial Joker, though I suspect way fewer people will see it or ‘get it’. Yes, Jojo Rabbit is a strange flick. But it’s also quite thought-provoking and weirdly entertaining, thanks to the direction of Taika Waititi (who pulls triple duty as screenwriter and actor) and a first-rate cast.

Quickie Review: The Hummingbird Project

If you’re looking for something thought-provoking, but less terrifying than US, The Hummingbird Project is the smart person’s financial thriller. That means, it helps to be somewhat of a geek to embrace what is surely meant to be a cautionary tale for our modern, digital world. The movie, from writer/director Kim Nguyen (War Witch) grew on me as it went along, even though the subject matter didn’t exactly thrill me and I didn’t particularly like the ending. Perhaps if it were based on a true story – which it seems like it would be, but isn’t – I’d have felt more invested in the characters and the plot, about two cousins who concoct a plan to build a fiber-optic cable line from Kansas to New Jersey to shave a millisecond from the transfer of stock information, thus enabling traders with access to the line to make millions. In case you’re wondering, one millisecond is the speed of a hummingbird’s wing-flap (at least, I think that part is true!).

While We’re Young

While We’re Young is a solid indie that many adults (even of the mainstream variety) should be able to relate to. It’s a comedy/drama about a middle-aged, childless couple named Josh and Cornelia Srebnick (Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts) whose best friends have just had a baby and seem to be drifting away. Then they meet Jamie and Darby (Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried), a pair of twenty-something hipsters who become their new besties and inject new life into the Srebnicks’ otherwise stagnant personal and professional lives.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone won’t blow you away any more than (or even as much as) Oz the Great and Powerful. But if you’re looking for a generally innocuous, sometimes funny, and occasionally gross cinematic outing, Wonderstone does the trick. Even more so if you grew up with one of those magic kits that came with a long multi-colored handkerchief, fake quarter, top hat, and a loaded deck of cards. That will kick the nostalgia factor – and enjoyment factor – up a notch.

Johnny English Reborn

I didn’t see the first Johnny English movie in 2003, so I have no basis for comparison. But I think I can safely say if you liked that one, you’ll probably like the sequel as well. It is, what I like to call, harmlessly stupid entertainment. As you can probably tell from the movie poster, the Johnny English “franchise” is a spoof on the spy genre (especially the iconic James Bond films) so it’s laden with gadgets, gals and gallantry – all gone shamelessly awry.

The Other Guys

Hmmmm. This movie isn’t bad. But it sure is weird. My inclination is to say “skip it”, but a lot of people laughed, a lot, during the course of this movie. They also groaned a lot, “ewwwwww”ed a lot, and said “Say Whaaaat?” a lot. So who am I to judge?

In the Loop

If there were an Academy Award for the best profanity laden insults in a film, In the Loop would be the winner hands down. There are more barbs thrown in this movie than any other I can remember. But they are wickedly written and perfectly delivered in one of the most taut political comedies I have ever seen. You really have to listen to the dialogue and keep up with a fast paced story. It is set in the British and US diplomatic circles and concerns a rush to war somewhere in the Middle East precipitated by an off hand remark made by British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster. He is on a talk show discussing aid and mentions a “war on disease,” when the interviewer asks him out of the blue if he is for war. He is thrown and answers that war is “unforeseeable” which is immediately spun by those who want a war as the Prime Minister endorsing the idea. The Americans jump on it, too, with State Department hawks and doves each trying to use him to push their aims. Next thing he knows he is in Washington.