There is and has long been, a culture of cool around Sasha Baron Cohen. People just want to be in on Sasha Baron Cohen's joke and explain to everyone how they are in on the joke while so many others aren't. Count me as someone who is not entirely in on the joke. Cohen’s pseudo-documentary - hidden camera prank show- Borat, about a reporter from a backwoods former Russian republic, who traveled to America to learn our culture is funny, often riotously so. But was Borat really a zeitgeist grabbing bit of innovative comedy or was it just Jackass caught in the culture of cool?
I can already hear the whining over On the Rocks. I can hear people saying ‘nothing happens’ or ‘it’s so boring,’ or other such unimaginative complaints. Indeed, On the Rocks has no explosions, it has no special effects and no bombastic, propellant score to rouse your limited attention span. All that On the Rocks has are a pair of masterful performances skillfully directed by one of the most thoughtful and nuanced directors of our age. I don’t understand why that’s not enough for so many of you?
Netflix’s remake of the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, Rebecca, is not good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a handsome movie, well staged with two terrific lead actors in Lily James and Armie Hammer. Unfortunately, the writers and director Ben Wheatley let everyone else down by failing to understand what made the original Rebecca a master work that remains relevant and witty to this day.
It is incredibly reductive that when many people think of David Cronenberg they think of Scanners. Scanners isn’t a bad movie, per se, but it should not be the first movie or even the second movie that people think of when they think of a master such as Cronenberg. With movies like The Brood, Eastern Promises, A History of Violence and Videodrome, it says something sad about our culture that people just want to remember an exploding head.
The Netflix remake of the 1940 classic, Rebecca, suffers the fatal flaw of being unable to justify its own existence. Why was this made? What did the filmmakers want to say by remaking a movie that was already a timeless classic that still feels vital and alive today, minus some anachronistic sexism. Directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Lily James and Arme Hammer, this version of Rebecca loses much of what makes the original so special.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 has been in development for 12 years. Steven Speilberg originated the idea and recruited writer Aaron Sorkin to write a screenplay that would capture the chaos, turmoil and excitement behind one of the many so-called ‘Trial of the Century.’ In 1968 a group of Left Wing Activists were put on trial, accused of deliberately starting riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The subsequent trial was a tyrannical farce that could be adapted into a dozen different movies. That Sorkin has distilled the trial to the most essential, and essentially entertaining elements makes the achievement of The Trial of the Chicago 7 so impressive.