Movie Reviews

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

borat-2-subsequent-movie-film-poster-2020Director: Jason Woliner

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu, Manuel Vieru

Plot: 14 years after the events of Borat (2006), our beloved Kazakh friend returns to America with his daughter in order to deliver her to Mike Pence, hoping that this gift will result in the two countries finding peace once again.

My Thoughts:  Just when you think 2020 can’t get any stranger, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a new Borat movie! How on earth has it been 14 years since the original?! It feels like only yesterday that I was at college and we’d all be saying “I like!” or “very nice!”. I got so confused with the release date though, I’ve been spoiled by Wednesday Netflix releases so assumed Borat would be Wednesday too…sad! Anyway -I’m giving you a spoiler warning from this point down because it’s impossible to talk about a movie of this nature without giving anything away.

It’s not as good as the original for the most part but it never could be, the character is too well known to have that level of anonymity ever again. But it has some absolutely cracking moments that more than makes up for it. A lot of the sequel is clearly scripted and those moments aren’t as strong, although Maria Bakalova as Borat’s daughter was a great addition, she’s genuinely really funny.  I still can’t get over the fact that so much of the movie was made during lockdown in Spring, though. It’s incredible really, and it’ll be fascinating to relive some of those moments years later.

What I enjoyed the most was seeing the very best and worst in people. The lady that Borat left his daughter with was trying so hard to do the right thing, and that little old Jewish lady? She’s the most wholesome lady on the planet, I swear. Then of course you have the two men that Borat quarantines with…wow! If you thought the song from the original about throwing Jews down the well was shocking…wait till the anti-lockdown protest! My favourite line has to be at the dress shop, “where is the no means yes section?”!

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Best Bit: Don’t even try to tell me that wasn’t one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history. Forget conspiring that China manufactured Coronavirus, stop burning down 5G masts…it was Borat himself who spread it around the world! I love it, I actually screamed a little at that part and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Worst Bit: I mean, Rudy Giuliani is all I need to say here. Look mate, no-one believes you were just tucking your shirt in. But let’s not give him our time. I’m all for gross humour but Borat’s daughter dancing at that ball was just too much for me!

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen sat nearly five hours in a toilet stall at the 2020 CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) until Vice President Mike Pence was about to appear on stage.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 baby shower cupcakes…please don’t eat the baby…

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Movie Reviews

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

the-trial-chicago-7-netflix-movie-review-posterDirector: Aaron Sorkin

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharpe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton

Plot: At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, what was intended to be a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War turned violent. The organisers of the protest were all charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, and this movie is the story of that trial that went on for months.

My Thoughts: Let’s file this under ‘movies that taught Allie about actual history’ because this is another historical event I was oblivious to until now. I guess that’s why movies like this are so important! Courtroom dramas can be difficult to get right I think, when they don’t work they can be slow, dull even, but when they’re done right? They are fascinating, frustrating, and compelling. I’m happy to say that The Trail of the Chicago 7 falls into the latter category for me. I haven’t been this engrossed in a movie since, well…possibly all year, to be honest.

I wouldn’t even pretend to understand American politics so I was a little lost at first but once the trial actually started I was in for the long haul, and it didn’t take long until I was shouting at the TV. It’s the Chicago 7, right, so why are there 8 men on trial? The 8th man was Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He was in Chicago during the riot for all of 4 hours, but was brought in essentially so that there was a black man to scare the jury. Think that’s bad? The man didn’t even have a lawyer present! That’s only the start of the shocking, dirty tactics at hand here, I’ll let you see the rest for yourselves.

The movies doesn’t stop outside of the courtroom though, we get to see what happens in between each day of the trial too, as well as flashbacks to what happened in the run up to and during the protest itself. This is where we get to see the relationship between the defense grow stronger but also strain at the seams. It’s a tough movie to sell to the average Netflix user, it certainly doesn’t scream ‘fun’, but I haven’t felt this way about a movie like this since Spotlight (2015). Each performance is on point, and if I’m praising Eddie Redmayne then you know I really mean it, because he normally just winds me up.

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Best Bit:  The cast is stacked, there’s no other way to say it, and everyone puts in 110% making it almost impossible to pick a stand out performance, I could write a whole post in itself just to talk about everyone. Eddie Redmayne reminds me that he’s actually pretty darn talented, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just a delight to see in new movies again but the actor who blew me away was Sacha Baron Cohen. I’ve only seen his silly, comedic roles which he’s great at, and I’ve never seen him like this. He still brings most of the laughs but when he takes the stand as a witness it genuinely shocked me.

Worst Bit: There’s nothing about this movie that makes me want to say “I didn’t like this bit” or “this scene kinda sucked”. Yes, the start confused me a little but that’s on me. But there was a moment that made me so uncomfortable that I felt quite nautious, and that was when *SPOILERS* Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was dragged out of court and brought back gagged and tied to his chair. Like, that ACTUALLY happened. 

Fun Trivia: As a method actor, Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin) begged writer-director Aaron Sorkin to get him teargassed as well as being thrown on the ground by an ex-cop portraying a riot police officer. Sorkin refused to have this happen on set.

My Rating:  A full 5 gavels, and it wouldn’t matter how loud Judge Hoffman smacked them, that room was never going to quiet down in the end.

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