Even if you’ve long since outgrown summer vacation, there’s just something about warmer weather that makes it tempting to put aside the heavy, thought-provoking stuff and look for a good, lighthearted laugh instead. If you’re curious what the upcoming season has in store for you on that front, hit the jump to check out new posters for The Dictator, Rock of Ages, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Neighborhood Watch.

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This weekend’s The Three Stooges doesn’t look too promising (though there are a handful of positive reviews), and last week’s American Reunion was only okay. Fortunately, there are a couple of much more enticing comedies on the horizon. The latest project from producer Judd Apatow‘s laugh factory, The Five-Year Engagement, is due out later this month, followed a few weeks later by the opening of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s newest exercise in politically incorrect insanity, The Dictator.

Because we know that not a one of you feel like working on a Friday afternoon (otherwise, you’d be actually working instead of checking /Film), we’ve got new clips from both. For the less humorously inclined, there’s also another new scene from The Avengers. Hit the jump to watch.

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The Dictator, the new film from Borat creator and star Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles, hasn’t had the easiest PR swing so far. The first teaser and trailers for the film were fairly limp, and the best bit of promo we’ve seen for the film was when Cohen spoke out, in character, against his supposed ban from the Oscars.

Now there is a French trailer for the movie, and it is actually quite funny. Or I thought so, at least. There’s a trade-off, however, in that this trailer also reveals a plot point that was obscured in the earlier materials. I think it’s a fair trade, as I’ll take the laughs over the preservation of plot secrets for a film like this. But if you want to avoid spoilers, click away from this one for now. Read More »

While the Madagascar franchise has never drawn Pixar levels of respect (what does, really?), for kid-oriented entertainment you could do a lot worse that these films. The series has generally been cute, mildly amusing, and totally inoffensive — which may not sound like glowing praise, but that’s a lot more than I can say for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — and the newest entry, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted seems to be along the same lines.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith are on board once again as a quartet of Central Park Zoo animals just trying to get back to New York. Unfortunately, they wind up in Europe instead, where they’re chased by a ruthless animal control squad led by Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). In an effort to escape their clutches, they take up with a circus traveling across the continent, meeting new friends like Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short) along the way. Watch the first full trailer after the jump.

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The best possible marketing push for Paramount’s The Dictator has been a free bit of publicity from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. When Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as General Aladeen from the great Republic Of Wadiya, discussed showing up at the Oscars this weekend, AMPAS took swift action, and banned him.

Or, if you want to be really accurate about it, he wasn’t quite banned. But “Sacha Baron Cohen Banned From Oscars!” is a much better headline than “AMPAS Suggests Sacha Baron Cohen Appearance in Character as Dictator Would Taint Oscar Proceedings, Hopes He’ll Just Wear a Tux Like Everyone Else.”

So, naturally, Cohen and Paramount are running with the idea that he has been prohibited from attending. Er, sorry, that General Aladeen has been prevented from attending. Now the General has responded to AMPAS, and you can watch his statement below. Read More »

And then they wonder why ratings are falling and interest is waining. Last year, a big hubbub was created when famous street artist Banksy wanted to come to the Oscars in a monkey mask to preserve his legendary anonymity. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to come at all but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who nominated the artist’s film for Best Documentary Feature, told him he couldn’t attend if he dressed like that.

This year, Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the leads of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the film that leads all others with 11 nominations. Rumors had begun circling that he might use the red carpet oppurtunity to dress in full costume and promote his summer release The Dictator, in which he plays the vile leader of a small country. This wasn’t confirmed, it was just a rumor.

The Academy has reportedly now responded to those rumors by pulled Baron Cohen’s tickets, all but banning him from Sunday’s awards. Read more after the jump, including an update. Read More »

Of the nine movies currently up for Best Picture, Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo is my personal favorite. There’s so much I love about the film, from its eye-popping visuals and impeccable use of 3D to its inspiring tale and lovable performances. I’m not the only one that feels that way, of course — Hugo‘s been a popular pick on many critics’ lists and awards ballots. And now, as Academy voters mull over their final decisions, Paramount is eager to remind everyone of Hugo‘s many wonderful qualities.

The studio has released a six-minute featurette titled “The Magic of Hugo,” which goes behind the scenes to look at the hows and whys of making the picture. Scorsese, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, producer Graham King, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato, composer Howard Shore, and stars Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen all appear to discuss their work on the project, and to talk about what made the film so special. Watch it after the jump.

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After months of speculation, rumors, and reports, Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables has finally found its Éponine. Producer Cameron Mackintosh has just announced that 21-year-old stage vet Samantha Barks has landed the role. Barks is a newcomer when it comes to film and television, but has racked up plenty of experience in the theater — including a stint playing Éponine in a London production of Les Misérables.

Meanwhile, another fresh face, George Blagden, has also boarded the project, in the part of cynical young revolutionary Grantaire. Blagden and Barks join a high-profile cast that includes Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Aaron Tveit. Read more after the jump.

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