Larry Charles

KinisonBiopic

Seeing as Sam Kinison was one of the most influential and legendary standup comedians of all time, and also a man who engaged in a crazy, tumultuous lifestyle outside of his professional accomplishments, it seems like he would make a great subject for one of those melodramatic Hollywood biopics where some hopeful actor sports a ridiculous hairdo and apes said subject’s iconic affectations in order to make a play at golden statues and the accolades of their peers. At least that seems to be the hopes of director Larry Charles (Borat) and actor Josh Gad (1600 Penn), as Deadline is reporting they’re about to team up to bring a Kinison biopic to the big screen.

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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Every bit of movie news has to be taken with a fistful of salt. With so many moving parts, even the biggest players in the game sometimes see their work fall into the tall grass of development hell. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all of those times you shake your fist at a new project (be it remake or reboot) are warranted, but they don’t always get made. Sometimes, the stuff we’re dreading goes down in flames too. So it’s with that bittersweet spirit that we look back on a few announced projects that still haven’t been made. And might never be.

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What’s maybe most fascinating about Sacha Baron Cohen‘s newest movie is that he won’t be playing himself via one of the characters he created for his television show, and he won’t be acting alongside people that don’t know what kind of movie they’re in. It’s a welcome change because even with its successes, the schtick had a shelf life, and Cohen is smart to move away from it before it got completely stale. The natural next step for him and director Larry Charles? Basing a narrative feature off a novel written by Saddam Hussein. They’ll be mocking Hussein in The Dictator, and a few clips from the set have already come out, but this is the first one that’s any fun to watch. At first, it’s a little jarring because the mind wants to see that crowd as a group protesting something legitimately that Cohen has wormed his way into instead of a set full of extras. It’s still a fun, quick little look into the film as Cohen protests himself.

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The next movie from progressive, freak-people -the-hell-out filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen will see him playing the deposed dictator of a Middle Eastern country who gets repeatedly horrified with his experiences during a trip to the United States. Larry Charles, the director of both Borat and Bruno, is returning to direct this Cohen joint as well, so you have to imagine that it will retain elements of that attacking an unsuspecting public with a controversial character gimmick that Cohen has relied on for laughs so far. But interacting with Midwestern intellectuals and coercing them into saying ridiculously racist and homophobic things doesn’t seem to be all that this one has to offer, if it goes in that direction at all. Charles and Cohen are looking to fill some key roles with seasoned, recognizable actors, so this may prove to be a much more tightly scripted story than anything we’ve yet seen from the duo. While the hunt for the female lead is still ongoing (with Kristen Wiig, Anna Ferris, and Gillian Jacobs’s names being thrown around as front-runners), one of the other big roles of the film has been filled; and filled by an Oscar winner. Ben Kingsley has signed on to join Cohen and whoever the heck else in this satirical look at power-mad rulers. The details of the story are still unclear, but it is said that Kingsley will be playing one of two Middle Eastern characters. Even though he does some real crap every once in a while, […]

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Perhaps the most famous rendering of Saddam Hussein on-screen was as a bowling alley shoe attendant in one of The Dude’s vivid daydreams. Now, that’s about to change. Although he won’t be playing him directly, Sacha Baron Cohen will be playing a courageous dictator fighting tooth and nail to keep democracy from infiltrating the country he’s severely oppressing for The Dictator. The tongue-in-cheek treatment of the bad guy and the title are obvious callbacks to Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, which mocked Hitler with wondrous dance sequences and gibberish. Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles is back, but this is an entirely different animal. It’s great to see this kind of comedy being made, and it’ll be interesting to see how well Charles and Cohen can pull it off. According to the press release, the movie is set for release through Paramount May 11, 2012.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Brüno, I Love You Beth Cooper and Moon.

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bruno-header2

The sudden death of pop star Michael Jackson on Thursday has caused some discussion in the halls of Universal Pictures, which resulted in the studio cutting a Jackson-centric bit from the upcoming comedy Brüno mere hours before its Los Angeles premiere.

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Bill Maher in Religulous

Bill Maher’s upcoming documentary probably has a lot of ambitious goals. And whether it accomplishes any of them is yet to be seen. One thing it is sure to do, though: make some people very, very angry.

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Disbelief Net

Lionsgate has launched a new viral marketing website for the upcoming documentary Religulous, which features HBO talkshow host and famous non-believer Bill Maher taking on the world of religion.

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Bill Maher in Religulous

Our friends over at Cinematical have unleashed the latest poster for Bill Maher’s upcoming film Religulous, which is directed by the always comedic Larry Charles (Borat, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm).

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