I can’t really think of anyone more perfect to poke fun at vile tyranny than Sacha Baron Cohen, the guy who brought us Borat, Ali G, and Bruno. While plenty of comedians play at edginess, Cohen’s material feels genuinely daring and fresh — not to mention very, very funny.

So I’m a bit sad to admit that none of the clips or trailers we’ve seen for The Dictator so far have done all that much for me. Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed that my first impressions will wind up being dead wrong, and this amusing clip of the opening sequence offers a glimmer of hope. Watch it after the jump.

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Monday at CinemaCon, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation presented footage from their upcoming 2012 slate to a room full of theater exhibitors (and a few press). After the jump you will find a video blog I recorded with Frosty from Collider reacting to 25 minutes of Madagascar 3, 15 minutes of Rise of the Guardians, three scenes from Christopher McQuarrie‘s One Shot starring Tom Cruise and a sequence from Sacha Baron Cohen‘s The Dictator. You may be surprised at what we liked and we we didn’t care for. We previously covered the GI Joe: Retaliation sizzle reel in a previous video blog elsewhere on the site, so we won’t repeat our reactions here.

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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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Lots of films are being shuffled around today and here’s the skinny.

  • Gavin Hood‘s finally filming, forever in-development adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game has been pushed from its initial March 15, 2013 release date all the way back to November 1, 2013.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen‘s upcoming comedy The Dictator has been moved forward five days later, to May 16, so as not be in direct competition with Tim Burton’s dark Johnny Depp comedy Dark Shadows.
  • Maleficent, Angelina Jolie‘s Disney Sleeping Beauty-prequel where she’ll star as an eventual evil witch has now been dated March 14, 2014, continuing the trend of major films Disney opening in March. It’ll be directed by Robert Stromberg.

Discuss the moves after the jump. Read More »

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 »

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 »

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