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Entries in The Dictator (7)

Thursday
May172012

"The Dictator" Director Denies Film Is Offensive to Arab-Americans

Paramount Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy, The Dictator, has irked some Arab-American groups who feel his character, a fictional North African dictator named Adm. Gen. Aladeen, casts an unflattering light on them.

For example, Nadia Tonova, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, tells E! News, "I have not seen the film, but based on the trailer and interviews that I have seen him do in character, it really seems to be that it's perpetuating a negative stereotype against Arabs and therefore Arab-Americans."

Tonova previously criticized Cohen after he appeared on the Oscars red carpet as Aladeen and pretended to spill the ashes of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il onto Ryan Seacrest.

The director of the film, Larry Charles, rejects the notion that the character is offensive to Arab-Americans.

He tells ABC News Radio that Aladeen was inspired by several past dictators, such as Moammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Augusto Pinochet and Idi Amin.

"There's a wide range historically of dictators that you can draw from and they share many personality traits.  It's not an ethnic thing.  It's a personality disorder, in a sense," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Sacha Baron Cohen Fondles Clooney’s Ex for Latest ‘Dictator’ Stunt

Mike Marsland/WireImage(CANNES, France) -- The stunts just never stop with Sacha Baron Cohen. At the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday, he paled around on a yacht with Elisabetta Canalis, the Italian model famous for once dating George Clooney.

Dressed as the star of his new movie, The Dictator, Cohen oiled up Canalis’ legs, showed her what was inside his speedo, and eventually threw her overboard in a body bag. Photos of Canalis lounging at a Cannes hotel after the playdate confirm she was not actually killed and disposed of unceremoniously.

Cohen also arrived at a Cannes press conference for The Dictator on a camel. All of this comes as The Dictator, which opens Wednesday, is getting lukewarm reviews compared to the raves showered on Borat, Cohen’s first big-screen satire.
 
“What’s shocking this time is how tame Sacha Baron Cohen’s newest wild man is, for all the kerfuffle the comedian can stir up on the promotional trail,” Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Movie Review: "The Dictator"

Paramount Pictures(NEW YORK) -- We're going to keep this review short and to the point because I don't want to give away The Dictator's best jokes.  And when I started writing, I realized that's what I was doing.  So let's stick to the basics.

Sacha Baron Cohen is Adm. Gen. Aladeen, the tyrannical dictator of the Wadiya, a fake North African country sitting on a hefty supply of oil Aladeen refuses to sell. On top of that, he's trying to build a nuclear weapon and the whole world knows it. Aladeen has enough money to fly movie stars to Wadiya for sex: I refuse to reveal who we see in bed with him, but trust me, it's funny.

When the United Nations demands Aladeen's presence in New York to clear the air about his nuclear energy program, he takes with him his trusted right-hand man and uncle, Tamir, played by Ben Kingsley, but it turns out Tamir really is not to be trusted. Aladeen also has a body double whose sole purpose in life is to take a bullet for his supreme leader. Of course, Baron Cohen plays his own body double, a casting decision that's kind of genius.

Once in New York, Aladeen is abducted by a rogue security guard (John C. Reilly) who shaves off Aladeen's enormous beard, making him completely unrecognizable -- so much so that once he escapes, it's impossible for him to return to his hotel or the U.N. because nobody believes he's Aladeen.  As fate would have it, Aladeen meets Zoey (Anna Farris), a left-wing feminist who manages a food co-op in Brooklyn and who's the perfect "straight man" for Baron Cohen's extremely politically incorrect humor. Then enter Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas, HBO's Enlightened), the man once in charge of Aladeen's nuclear weapons program, until Aladeen had him killed.  As it turns out...actually, I don't want to spoil things by telling you how it turns out.  I do want to tell you that Mantzoukas, an under-appreciated comedy veteran, not only holds his own against Baron Cohen, he steals entire scenes from him.

Cohen's habit is to do press as his characters.  Frankly, I consider that not only a distraction but also unnecessary, especially since Cohen often repeats some of the movie's funnier bits and jokes, spoiling them.  So, points off for that.  And while The Dictator isn't the funniest or the most shocking of Cohen's three major releases (although like Borat and Brüno, he brings the shocks and the humor), it does contain what might be one of the most intelligent scenes we see all year in any film: a satirical speech to members of the international community in which Aladeen extols the benefits of dictatorship, in the process reflecting the climate in our own country. It’s a shining moment for Sacha Baron Cohen and a nice payoff for the audience who, up until that point, will have experienced inconsistent, though spirited, fits of laughter.

Three-and-a-half out of five stars. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" Opens Wednesday

Paramount Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy opens Wednesday. 

The Dictator stars the British comedian as Admiral General Aladeen, the cruel leader of the fictional North African country of Wadiya.

Aladeen comes to the United States to make a speech, but he's betrayed by one of his officials and is tortured by a U.S. agent.  Stripped of his thick beard, he's left to fend for himself with the help of a grocery store worker, played by Anna Faris.

Ben Kingsley and John C. Reilly also star in The Dictator, which is rated R.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May152012

"Anchorman 2" Sneak Peek to Play Ahead of "The Dictator?"

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Ron Burgundy himself took a mid-sip Twitter break to break some news about Anchorman 2 on Monday evening.

Will Ferrell's newsman alter-ego posted that fans' first sneak peek of the anticipated sequel will play in theaters before screenings of The Dictator starting Wednesday.

"Dont get Twirter," Burgundy posted. "Anchorman2 teaser w Dictator tom night. Dont know what a teaser is. World is crazy? Having a scotch."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

Sacha Baron Cohen Dressed as ‘The Dictator’ to Appear on the Red Carpet

Mark Seliger/Paramount Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- “General Aladeen,” the fictional Middle Eastern ruler who Sacha Baron Cohen plays in his upcoming film The Dictator, will be making an appearance on the red carpet at the Academy Awards after all.

“We’re thrilled to have him and he’ll be on the red carpet dressed as The Dictator,” Oscar producer Brian Grazer told entertainment television show Extra.

Earlier, Cohen spoke out against the Academy’s reported attempt to ban him from appearing in character at this Sunday’s Oscar ceremony.

In a video posting on his “official government website,”  Cohen as Aladeen, the ruler of the fictional nation of Wadiya, blasts the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists,” fumes that he’s “outraged” at the ticket snub and warns there will be “unimaginable consequences” if the Academy doesn’t “lift its sanctions” and give him his tickets back. “Furthermore, it is an act of aggression that no Wadiyan films have been recognized by the academy,” he adds.  “Where are the nominations for such classic movies as ‘When Harry Kidnapped Sally,’ ‘You Got Mailbomb,’ and ‘Planet of the Rapes?’”

In character, Cohen also skewers Hilary Swank’s recent PR misstep in which she claims she unknowingly took $2 million from a suspected war criminal to attend his birthday party, and director Brett Ratner’s anti-gay comments, which led to him stepping down as the producer of the Oscar telecast.

In closing, he screams: “Death to the West! Death to America! And good luck, Billy Crystals,” before asking someone off-camera, “How was that? Did I sound crazy enough?”

In reality, Cohen -- the actor, not the faux dictator -- has a reason for being at the Oscars this year.  He’s a member of the cast of this year’s most nominated film, Hugo.

Cohen also called into NBC this morning to plead his case, saying he had to delay “30 executions” and said the Academy has until midday Sunday to return his tickets.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Dictator' Threatens Oscars over Ticket Snub

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- "General Aladeen," the fictional Middle Eastern ruler who Sacha Baron Cohen portrays in his upcoming film The Dictator, is speaking out against the Academy's reported attempt to ban Cohen from appearing in character on the red carpet at this Sunday's Oscar ceremony.

In a video posting on his "official government website," Cohen as Aladeen, the ruler of the fictional nation of Wadiya, blasts the "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists," fumes that he's "outraged" at the ticket snub, and warns there would be "unimaginable consequences" if the academy didn't "lift its sanctions" and give him his tickets back. "Furthermore, it is an act of aggression that no Wadiyan films have been recognized by the academy," he adds.  "Where are the nominations for such classic movies as When Harry Kidnapped Sally, You've Got Mailbomb, and Planet of the Rapes?"

In character, Cohen also skewers Hilary Swank's recent PR misstep in which she claims she unknowingly took $2 million from a suspected war criminal to attend his birthday party, and director Brett Ratner's anti-gay comments, which led to him stepping down as the producer of the Oscar telecast.

In closing, Cohen screams: "Death to the West! Death to America! And good luck, Billy Crystals!," before asking someone off-camera, "How was that? Did I sound crazy enough?"

In reality, Cohen -- the actor, not the faux dictator -- actually has a reason for being at the Oscars this year.  He's a member of the cast of this year's most nominated film, Hugo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio