Playing Catch-Up With The Films of 2016: Alice Through The Looking Glass, Gods of Egypt, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Me Before You, Mother’s Day, Risen


Here are six mini-reviews of six films that I saw in 2016!

Alice Through The Looking Glass (dir by James Bobin)

In a word — BORING!

Personally, I’ve always thought that, as a work of literature, Through The Looking Glass is actually superior to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  That’s largely because Through The Looking Glass is a lot darker than Wonderland and the satire is a lot more fierce.  You wouldn’t know that from watching the latest film adaptation, though.  Alice Through The Looking Glass doesn’t really seem to care much about the source material.  Instead, it’s all about making money and if that means ignoring everything that made the story a classic and instead turning it into a rip-off of every other recent blockbuster, so be it.  At times, I wondered if I was watching a film based on Lewis Carroll or a film based on Suicide Squad.  Well, regardless, the whole enterprise is way too cynical to really enjoy.

(On the plus side, the CGI is fairly well-done.  If you listen, you’ll hear the voice of Alan Rickman.)

Gods of Egypt (dir by Alex Proyas)

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to describing the plot of Gods of Egypt.  This was one of the most confusing films that I’ve ever seen but then again, I’m also not exactly an expert when it comes to Egyptian mythology.  As far as I could tell, it was about Egyptian Gods fighting some sort of war with each other but I was never quite sure who was who or why they were fighting or anything else.  My ADHD went crazy while I was watching Gods of Egypt.  There were so much plot and so many superfluous distractions that I couldn’t really concentrate on what the Hell was actually going on.

But you know what?  With all that in mind, Gods of Egypt is still not as bad as you’ve heard.  It’s a big and ludicrous film but ultimately, it’s so big and so ludicrous that it becomes oddly charming.  Director Alex Proyas had a definite vision in mind when he made this film and that alone makes Gods of Egypt better than some of the other films that I’m reviewing in this post.

Is Gods of Egypt so bad that its good?  I wouldn’t necessarily say that.  Instead, I would say that it’s so ludicrous that it’s unexpectedly watchable.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (dir by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)

Bleh.  Who cares?  I mean, I hate to put it like that but The Huntsman: Winter’s War felt pretty much like every other wannabe blockbuster that was released in April of last year.  Big battles, big cast, big visuals, big production but the movie itself was way too predictable to be interesting.

Did we really need a follow-up to Snow White and The Huntsman?  Judging by this film, we did not.

Me Before You (dir by Thea Sharrock)

Me Before You was assisted suicide propaganda, disguised as a Nicolas Sparks-style love story.  Emilia Clarke is hired to serve as a caregiver to a paralyzed and bitter former banker played by Sam Claflin.  At first they hate each other but then they love each other but it may be too late because Claflin is determined to end his life in Switzerland.  Trying to change his mind, Clarke tries to prove to him that it’s a big beautiful world out there.  Claflin appreciates the effort but it turns out that he really, really wants to die.  It helps, of course, that Switzerland is a really beautiful and romantic country.  I mean, if you’re going to end your life, Switzerland is the place to do it.  Take that, Sea of Trees.

Anyway, Me Before You makes its points with all the subtlety and nuance of a sledge-hammer that’s been borrowed from the Final Exit Network.  It doesn’t help that Clarke and Claflin have next to no chemistry.  Even without all the propaganda, Me Before You would have been forgettable.  The propaganda just pushes the movie over the line that separates mediocre from terrible.

Mother’s Day (dir by Garry Marshall)

Y’know, the only reason that I’ve put off writing about how much I hated this film is because Garry Marshall died shortly after it was released and I read so many tweets and interviews from people talking about what a nice and sincere guy he was that I actually started to feel guilty for hating his final movie.

But seriously, Mother’s Day was really bad.  This was the third of Marshall’s holiday films.  All three of them were ensemble pieces that ascribed a ludicrous amount of importance to one particular holiday.  None of them were any good, largely because they all felt like cynical cash-ins.  If you didn’t see Valentine’s Day, you hated love.  If you didn’t see New Year’s Eve, you didn’t care about the future of the world.  And if you didn’t see Mother’s Day … well, let’s just not go there, okay?

Mother’s Day takes place in Atlanta and it deals with a group of people who are all either mothers or dealing with a mother.  The ensemble is made up of familiar faces — Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and others! — but nobody really seems to be making much of an effort to act.  Instead, they simple show up, recite a few lines in whatever their trademark style may be, and then cash their paycheck.  The whole thing feels so incredibly manipulative and shallow and fake that it leaves you wondering if maybe all future holidays should be canceled.

I know Garry Marshall was a great guy but seriously, Mother’s Day is just the worst.

(For a far better movie about Mother’s Day, check out the 2010 film starring Rebecca De Mornay.)

Risen (dir by Kevin Reynolds)

As far as recent Biblical films go, Risen is not that bad.  It takes place shortly after the Crucifixion and stars Joseph Fiennes as a Roman centurion who is assigned to discover why the body of Jesus has disappeared from its tomb.  You can probably guess what happens next.  The film may be a little bit heavy-handed but the Roman Empire is convincingly recreated, Joseph Fiennes gives a pretty good performance, and Kevin Reynolds keeps the action moving quickly.  As a faith-based film that never becomes preachy, Risen is far superior to something like God’s Not Dead 2.

 

 

Film Review: Les Miserables (dir. by Tom Hooper)


I was recently talking to one of my fellow film bloggers when the subject of this year’s Oscar nominees came up.  After I told her that I thought that Beasts of the Southern Wild was the worst of this year’s nominees, she rather vigorously shook her head and said, “No film this year was less deserving of a nomination than Les Mis.”

Now, I have to admit that it’s rare that her and I ever agree on anything.  For instance, she thinks that Barack Obama is going to save the world whereas I … well, let’s just say that I don’t.  She watches Glee and I would watch Community if it would ever come back on the air.  However, we do usually agree about films and, in fact, our friendship was initially the result of our shared loathing for Avatar.  So, I was curious why her reaction to Les Miserables was so different from mine.

In her own words, Les Miserables was “bombastic” and over-directed by Tom Hooper.  She complained about Russell Crowe’s singing and she felt that Sacha Baron Cohen appeared to be acting in a totally different film from everyone else.  The term “style over substance” came up more than a few times and she felt that even the things that did work — like Anne Hathaway’s draining performance as Fantine, Samantha Barks’ poignant work as Eponine, and Aaron Tveit’s charismatic performance as Enjorlas — simply served to highlight how uneven the film was when taken as a whole.  Finally — and I think that this is actually the key behind a lot of the online backlash against Les Miserables — she admitted that a part of her reaction was due to the fact that she still resented the fact that Hooper’s previous film, The King’s Speech, defeated The Social Network for Best Picture way back in 2010.

What’s ironic is that I found myself agreeing with a lot of what she was saying.  The fact of the matter is that Hooper does over-direct Les Miserables and the frequent jump cuts do tend to detract from the film’s performances.  It’s not a coincidence that the film’s best performance is given by one of the few performers (Anna Hathaway, of course) who is actually allowed to sing an entire song in close-up without Hooper cutting away to distract us with something else.  And yes, Sacha Baron Cohen does feel out-of-place and yes, Russell Crowe is a bit miscast in the role of Javert.

And yet, despite those not minor complaints, I still loved Les Miserables and I think it’s more than deserving of its nomination for Best Picture of the year.

Les Miserables in an adaptation of the Broadway musical that was itself an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel.  The plot will be familiar to anyone who has ever taken an English class.  In 19th century France, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) serves 19 years in prison for stealing bread.  When he’s paroled from prison, he adopts a new identity and starts a new life.  Eventually, he becomes a factory owner and a local politician and is known for his kindness and honesty.  When the tragic prostitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway) dies, Valjean adopts her daughter, Cosette.  However, when the obsessive Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) learns of Valjean’s true identity, Valjean and Cosette are forced to go into hiding.  Many years later, the now grown Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) has fallen in love with the revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne, who gives a performance that is just as good as Hathaway’s much more lauded work). As France descends into revolution, Javert again discovers Valjean, much blood is shed on the streets of Paris, and Sacha Baron Cohen keeps popping up and offering some awkward comedic relief.

Yes, Les Miserables is all about style and yes, it is a bit bombastic but is that necessarily a bad thing?  I loved Les Mis specifically because it was such an old school spectacle.  There have been several very serious, very sober-minded adaptations of Les Miserables and most of them, especially the nearly 5 hour French version from 1934, deserve to be seen.  Both the Broadway musical and Hooper’s adaptation play up the story’s inherent melodrama and the resulting show is one that is designed to get more of an emotional response than an intellectual one.  Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables is a film that has specifically been made for those of us who aren’t ashamed to shed a few tears at the movies.  When I walked out of the theater after watching Les Miserables, I had mascara everywhere and I can’t think of a higher compliment to pay this uneven but ultimately triumphant film.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #64: The 70th Annual Golden Globes


Last night, I watched the 70th Annual Golden Globe awards.  Judging from twitter, so did a lot of other people.  All I can say is that I hope my golden globes are as popular as this show when they’re 70 years old.

Why Was I Watching It?

I have to admit that I nearly didn’t watch it because I was in kind of a crappy mood on Sunday night.  Seriously,that night,  my twitter timeline was a testament to just how annoyed this little redheaded Irish girl can get.  But, in the end, I decided that I had to watch the Golden Globes because, even though I don’t care much for rich celebrities, I do love movies, I love TV, and I love award shows.  Add to that, I knew that if I didn’t watch the Golden Globes that would mean missing out on a chance to make countless references to my boobs and I just couldn’t do that to my followers on twitter.

What Was It About?

It was about celebrities getting drunk and winning awards and getting bleeped while delivering their acceptance speeches.  It was about the fact that the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will do anything to get George Clooney to come hang out with them.  It was about Tommy Lee Jones glaring, Jodie Foster rambling, and Quentin Tarantino using the n-word backstage.  It was about Ben Affleck winning Best Director and Argo beating Lincoln for best film.  It was about star fucking and star mocking.  It was the best of award shows and it was the worst of award shows.  In short, it was the Golden Globes.

What Worked?

To be honest, the 70th annual Golden Globes were a lot of fun.  The show moved quickly and most of the jokes were actually funny.  The assembled stars started drinking early and I think that helped out a lot.

Among those who won Golden Globes, the best acceptance speeches were given by Lena Dunham, Christoph Waltz, Ben Affleck, and Daniel Day-Lewis.  A lot of people were critical of Anne Hathaway’s acceptance speech but I thought it was sweet and genuine.

My favorite winner was Jennifer Lawrence, mostly because she specifically started her speech by mentioning that she had beaten “Meryl.”  Some people on twitter felt that was a bit rude but, quite frankly, I’ve grown tired of Meryl Streep showing up at every awards ceremony looking like grandma in a prom dress.

(Meryl, incidentally, was not at the Golden Globes last night because she had the flu.)

I thought Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig were funny when they did their little introduction for the Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) award but I thought Tommy Lee Jones’ annoyed glare was even funnier.

Tina Fey (who looked great) and Amy Poehler (who did not) were both great hosts and I loved Poelher’s joke about how torturous it must have been for Kathryn Bigelow to be married to James Cameron.  That’s one of the great things about the Golden Globes.  Unlike at the Oscars, people are willing to make jokes about James Cameron.

Unlike a lot of people, I found Jodie Foster’s “coming out” speech to be funny and wonderfully human.  That said, I wasn’t aware that Jodie Foster was ever in the closet.  Seriously, worst kept secret ever.

It was a genuinely exciting and nice moment when Argo was announced as the winner for Best Motion Picture (Drama), defeating the heavily favored Lincoln. While I liked both of those films, there is a definite backlash brewing against the seeming inevitability of Lincoln’s victory.

Finally, Sacha Baron Cohen was pretty annoying but, on the plus side, he did take the time to insult Russell Crowe’s singing.  As anyone who has ever watched South Park knows, this means that Crowe is going to jump in his tug boat and head off on a quest for vengeance.

And that’s the way things should be.

What Did Not Work?

A lot of people on twitter were really excited when Bill Clinton came out on stage to introduce the clip for Lincoln.  Myself, I hit mute as soon as I saw him.  I don’t watch awards shows to see redneck politicians.  Add to that, having Bill Clinton introduce Lincoln was yet another example of the nonstop hype that has led to people resenting both Steven Spielberg and his latest film.

The Golden Globes used to be a fun precursor to the actual Oscar nominations so it was hard not to be disappointed that, under this new schedule, the Golden Globes were awarded after the Oscar nominations had been announced.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moment

"I'll show you some Golden Globes!"

“I’ll show you some Golden Globes!”

Lessons Learned

None.  I was too stubborn last night to learn any lessons.

Trailer: Les Misérables (International)


With all my attention on horror-theme last October I had forgotten that the latest trailer for this holiday season’ upcoming feature-length film adaptation of the musical Les Misérables has already come out.

The film will be directed by Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper (fresh off his win for The King’s Speech) he leads a star-studded ensemble cast in putting on the big screen the much-beloved musical that dominated the 80’s and most of the 90’s. I don’t know any kid growing up during that decade who didn’t get dragged to see the musical in the big cities it entrenched itself in. Instead of hating the experience most kids ended up loving the musical. I know that I was one such highschooler who ended up loving it and musicals in general.

This international trailer shows more of the story compared to the teaser which arrived 5 months earlier. We get to see snippets of Crowe singing as Javert and Seyfried as Cosette. Whilethe West End and Broadway productions have come to an end or at the very least not as popular as they used to be) hopefully this film adaptation will introduce this classic to a new generation of kids. Show them that there’s more to music than the pop hits that dominates the radio waves and internet radio sites.

Les Misérables is set for a December 25, 2012 release date.

Image Source: JWoodhams Deviantart

Trailer: Les Misérables (Teaser)


The moment I saw the news feed that one of my most anticipated films of 2012 finally has an official teaser trailer out I knew that my expectations would only grow with each viewing.

Tom Hooper doesn’t go for small in following up his Academy Award-winning directing work in The King’s Speech by adapting the hugely popular and beloved stage musical Les Misérables which in itself was adapted from the classic Victor Hugo novel of the same name. The cast stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in the roles of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert. Anne Hathaway comes away with the role of the tragic Fantine with Amanda Seyfried taking on the role of Fantine’s grown-up daughter Cosette. In what could be a star-making turn, Samantha Barks gets the coveted role of Eponine which was the same role she played as part of the musical’s 25th Anniversary Concert.

Details about this film musical has been scarce, but it’s already been reported that every actor in the cast does their own singing and done so live in front of the camera. This stylistic choice may keep some of the songs from reaching epic levels, but should do well in better conveying the emotional impact for some of the more personal character songs in the musical. In fact, the song that Anne Hathaway sings in the trailer, “I Dreamed A Dream”, is one of those character songs that seem to sound much better with it being less is more style.

Les Misérables is set for a December 14, 2012 release date.

Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “The Dictator”


Well, since my less than glowing review of The Avengers (not that it was all that negative — I just said it was an okay superhero flick, not the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of the world, as some were claiming) didn’t get me tarred and feathered, I thought I would avail myself of the opportunity that this site provides me to take a look at some other films that I don’t get around to reviewing on my own site, http://trashfilmguru.wordpress.com, all that often because they just don’t fit in with the overall ethos (there’s my pretentious asshole bit out of the way) of what I try to stick to (for the most part, at any rate) over there.  Our erstwhile semi-empress, Ms. Bowman, assures me that pretty much anything goes around here, though, so without any further  ado I’m going to start up a little on-again/off-again series  where I take a look at the various summer blockbusters Hollywood is serving up this summer — something which I did, in fact, do on my own site last year, where it pretty much went over like a lead balloon, given that my readers don’t tend to stop by there looking for much by way of mainstream movie criticism. I trust folks around these parts won’t mind, though, since the mainstream isn’t something my fellow scribes here shy away from.

First up is the newly-released The Dictator, the third collaboration between supposed comic “talent” Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles. First off, let me state for the record that I have no particular objection to crass, vulgar, tasteless humor. In fact, I rather like it. But The Dictator feels less like it has an actual script than a belabored series of barely-strung-together, often overly-complicated, tremendously belabored set-ups for various gross-out gags that you can see coming from a mile (at least) away. Granted, Cohen was never going to get away with pure ad-libbing of the sort that he did in Borat again, and even the half ad-libbed/half-scripted shtick he pulled in Bruno was probably going to be a bridge too far as well, but  no way in a million years did I think his first truly non-spontaneous film was going to be this, well, clunky. It just doesn’t flow at all and it’s that blatant telegraphing of oncoming supposed “jokes,” rather than the nature of said jokes themselves, that makes this flick feel like such an insult to the audience’s collective intelligence.

Plus, there’s a none-too-subtle political agenda at work here that I find particularly underhanded and reprehensible. Let’s be honest — in between wasted cameos from the likes of Megan Fox and John C. Reilly, and criminally wasting the talents of Ben Kinglsey (who, sadly, has shown is recent years that he’ll do anything for a buck), The Dictator has one driving message from start to finish : Ahmadinejad (who Cohen’s Aladeen character is clearly based on) is a crazy loon, Iran (which the country of Wadiya that Aladeen rules over is clearly based on) is not to be trusted, the Iranians really are building nuclear weapons no matter what they say, they really want to wipe Israel off the map no matter what they say, and everyone, even cool Hollywood liberals, should get on board with the idea of bombing/and or invading them right now.

Seriously, I swear I’m not being paranoid or reading too much into things here. Before he gets lost in New York after being deposed (momentarily) by his uncle and falls in love with Anna Faris while working at her food co-op, Cohen’s Aladeen snickers as he denies his nuclear program is for peaceful, energy-producting purposes, and guffaws and snickers as he promises to leave Israel alone. Of course, the US news media assures us that Iranian “dictator” (he’s not really even the head political force in the country, but hey, whatever) Ahmadinejad does, indeed, intend to build nuclear weapons (even though more or less every international regulatory body and every truly independent defense analyst and Middle Eastern policy analyst disagrees) and he did threaten to wipe out Israel and denied the Holocaust ever happened (even though accurate translations of his comments show he’s never said anything of the sort and has been intentionally, and quite shamelessly, misquoted), so obviously Cohen’s just taking his material right from the headlines, right? Besides, didn’t I say earlier that Cohen and Charles were cool Hollywood liberals? Why, just look at that admittedly quite spot-on piece of satire  at the end of the film (which also marks more or less the only time at which Cohen and Charles hit the right notes) where Aladeen lampoons each and every facet of the so-called “war on terrorism” — he’s clearly not in favor of Bush-Cheney (or maybe that should be Bush-Cheney-Obama, since nothing in this regard has changed since the Texas oilmen left office) policies, so where do I get off thinking they’re trying to push us into another stupid war (and yes,”another stupid war” is what I object to — I’m not in any way saying that Ahmadinejad is a great guy or that  Iran isn’t a country in desperate need of wholesale reform from top to bottom — all I’m saying is that bombing and invading them is blatantly hare-brained idea)?

Oh, how short our memories are. Let’s not forget, friends, that we only went to war with Iraq after we had the so-called “opposition” on board, and that a good 75% of House and Senate Democrats voted for that ill-thought-out (to put it mildly!) scheme. Quite clearly Cohen and Charles know who their audience is, and their goal isn’t to push right-wing conservatives into supporting an attack on Iran — after all, they already do — but is rather to convince the so-called “left” (what remains of it, at any rate) that it’s a good idea, as well, since that’s the only quarter any opposition to this idea might possibly come from. And hey, let’s be honest — if Cohen and Charles really understood progressive politics at all, they wouldn’t have a picture of Barack Obama hanging on the wall of Faris’ food co-op. Ralph Nader, maybe, or Bernie Sanders, or Dennis Kucinich — but Obama? Don’t think so. These guys have clearly never spent so much as a minute in a real co-op.

Still, reprehensible as this film’s political chicanery is, it’s not the most offensive thing about The Dictator. Sorry, that still goes to its tremendously lead-footed pacing and insultingly obvious joke set-ups. Seriously, this is a movie that spends over five minutes leading up to a gag about losing a cell phone inside a woman’s vagina, and spends even longer than that cobbling together a lame punchline featuring Aladeen’s even dumber double milking a woman’s boobs into a pail. Comedy 101 — the set-up to a joke should never be more complicated than the joke itself, and when the jokes are this half-assed, they don’t require any more than the briefest of lead-in time. It’s that complete and utter non-spontaneity, ineptly handled and in service of puerile, juvenile shenanigans that hardly even deliver much of a payoff, that marks  a bigger crime, in a strictly cinematic sense, than trying to push us into another useless and counterproductive war with a wink and a nudge.

Lisa Marie Does The Dictator (directed by Larry Charles)


For the past year or so, I haven’t been able to go to a movie without seeing the trailer for the new film from the creators of Borat, The Dictator.  The first few times I saw the trailer, I chuckled at a few scenes and I rolled my eyes a few times and I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll see that.”  And then I had to sit through that trailer another 79 times and I stopped laughing and rolling my eyes because I had reached the point where I could practically recite the entire damn trailer by memory.  For a while there, I told myself, “There’s no way I’m going to waste my time seeing this.”  But, just a week ago, I realized that, after seeing the trailer 139 times, I had no choice but to see it.

I needed closure.

I finally saw The Dictator last Wednesday and my reaction to the film can best be summed up by a mild chuckle and a shrug of my shoulders.  It’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s just a rather forgettable one.

In the Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen plays General Aladeen, the ruthless leader of the Middle Eastern country of Wadiya.  Aladeen spends his time playing video games, rewriting the dictionary, ordering executions, and trying to develop a nuclear weapons program.  Aladeen is a pretty bad guy but he’s also strangely likable because 1) he’s more stupid than evil and 2) he’s played by Sacha Baron Cohen.  Anyway, Aladeen goes to New York to deliver a speech to the United Nations and while there, he’s kidnapped by an assassin (a hilarious John C. Reilly) who was hired by Aladeen’s uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley, who has pretty much cornered the market when it comes to playing evil uncles).  Though Aladeen loses his beard in the process, he manages to escape the assassin and he soon finds himself lost and unrecognized on the streets of New York City.  With the unwitting help of a clueless pro-democracy activist (a very funny Anna Faris), Aladeen attempts to figure out a way to thwart Tamir’s plan to introduce democracy to Wadiya.

Watching The Dictator is something of an odd experience because, while the film itself is full of funny moments and Sacha Baron Cohen shows an admirable willingness to follow his character to the most of logical (and illogical) of extremes, it’s also a strangely forgettable film.  It’s certainly funnier than the typical episode of Family Guy (I hate that freaking show, by the way) but it’s nowhere near as profound as a below-average episode of Community (which was the best show on TV last season, in my always correct opinion).  Director Larry Charles doesn’t seem to be sure whether he’s trying to make a thought-provoking satire or if he’s just trying to make a broad, gross-out comedy that just happens to have an international backdrop.  The end result is a film that is extremely uneven, a film that climaxes with a speech that feels like it was taken straight out of the Occupy handbook despite the fact that the movie has just spent the last 70 minutes poking fun at the Leftist stridency of the Occupy movement through the character played by Anna Faris. 

(Personally, I preferred the film when it was simply content to be funny as opposed to when it tried to be important.)

Watching this film, it became apparent to me that, for all of his comedic talent, Baron Cohen works best when his cartoonish (if well-played) characters are placed in a recognizable reality.  Baron Cohen needs a “straight man” to play off of and unfortunately, The Dictator doesn’t provide him with that.  Everyone’s equally cartoonish in this film and, as a result, the movie makes us laugh but it never really makes us think.

There’s a part of me that always wants to declare that I’m officially “burned out” on Sacha Baron Cohen because, seriously, it’s become rather trendy to claim to be a huge fan of his work.  Seriously, I’m at a point now where if I one more person brags to me about how much they loved Borat (always speaking in a tone as if to suggest that only they have seen and appreciated this “obscure” film), I am going to scream.  However, every time I get close to getting on twitter for the sole purpose of making snarky remarks about the guy, I see him give a surprisingly good performance in a film like HugoThe Dictator may not be Sacha Baron Cohen’s best film but I still look forward to seeing what he does in the future.