Tag Archives: characters

The Dictator: An Actual Plot from Sacha Baron Cohen

I would say I’ve been a pretty big supporter and follower of Sacha Baron Cohen since his Ali G Show days. I loved all his characters when I watched it on HBO and to see them grow into full length movie characters is wonderful. Borat was a wonderful undercover comedy film. Then he followed that up with Bruno, my favorite of his alternate egos. And then, from all this talk about Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, and Gaddafi comes Admiral General Hafez Aladeen. His ability to focus in on one idea that plagues people’s prejudices and preconceived notions on the world around them is spot on as usual. But this one comes with a twist.

Aladeen (Cohen) is a dictator from the North of Africa. In the sweltering heat and tossing sands (a la Hussein), Aladeen lives his life as dictator in luxury. His WMD’s are coming

Aladeen and his majestic hawk, in luxury.

along, he has an all female amazonian entourage and guard, and his palace is so gigantic and wonderful, especially with his fleet of golden Hummers. He’s had sex with everyone (including the great Schwarzenegger. Megan Fox makes an appearance. I wasn’t surprised.) and he is an unforgiving ruler. He sends so many people to death that it’s expected.

As I expected Megan Fox to be in a situation like this…

And then, with the U.N. meeting in NYC looming, Aladeen is kidnapped and tortured. Clayton (John C. Reilly) is a forgiving CIA operative and lets Aladeen off with a shaven face (and then he accidentally burns to death). Stuck in America with only his wits and nobody who believes he’s the real thing, Aladeen’s uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) is planning on making Wadiya into a democratic country with the ability to sell their oil. Aladeen must stop them and keep Wadiya a dictatorship. This is the only time you’ll see a dictator as the hero/protagonist (unless you’re watching a film in their country, then probably you will).

This movie is full of a bunch of funny satirized stereotypes and Middle Eastern humor. As usual, Cohen self deprecatingly attacks his Jewish heritage once again. The Chinese law of one child per family is attacked with the baby birthing scene (as seen in the trailer) and masturbation has never been so patriotic. Sacha Baron Cohen is rather tame in this film in

The Man.

comparison to others, only one or two penises on screen and a handful of sexual references (unless you mention the Saw like birthing canal scene).

I really hoped this happened on the streets of NYC.

There’s a great supporting cast of cultural ecclesiastics  in this film. There’s Ben Kingsley, using his darker complexion to play a Middle Eastern man in this film. I’m always surprised when he pops up in comedies. Jason Mantzoukas plays Nadal, the weapons expert and friend to Aladeen in this movie. This man of Greek descent has been doing comedies for a while now and this is just another one. Bobby Lee rears his freaky head in this movie as a U.N. representative who can get a B.J. from whatever celebrity he wants (insert Ed Norton cameo here). His outrageous nature is made for this movie, and that dude will do anything to strip down into a thong. And one of my favorite appearances was Adeel Akhtar as one of Aladeen’s posse, Maroush. Throw in Fred Armisen and the revitalization of Anna Faris’s career as the love interest hippy, Zoe, and you got yourself a satirical comedy.

The best scene.

I really don’t think there’s anywhere that Sacha Baron Cohen won’t go. His terrorist attack scene in the tours helicopter is hilarious. Ironically, he and Jason Mantzoukas are speaking Hebrew. This points out the fact that a lot of languages, although all different may sound similar to an American audience. And all the iconic songs that he turned into an Aladeen medley! Everybody Hurts, 9 to 5, Let’s Get it On, how much that the way the songs were sung alone made me laugh! Cohen even goes to a black man’s funeral in order to procure a beard from a severed head that reappears constantly in the movie. With no bounds and no forgiveness, Sacha Baron Cohen delivers on all cylinders. 8.1 out of 10.

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Tokyo Godfathers

What is there to say about this strange Christmas timey (?) film? This movie reminded me of a combination Eight Crazy Nights with Cromartie High School (check out the review further back). I had no idea what I was in store for and it slightly touched my heart. Although the animation took me slightly aback, I was okay by the end with the characters and the conclusion this animated film comes to.

So Satoshi Kon and Shogo Furuya present a film that tackles some big issues while at the same time speaking to the humanity in all of us that we try to show around the holidays.  Coming from a team that has done such films as Paprika (again, check the

Some strange hobos...

review earlier on in my list) and the animation on Spirited Away, comes something strange and yet strikingly familiar in its theme. Three hobos, one by choice, one by circumstance, and one by bad luck, come together in order to, in the spirit of ole Saint Nick, bring a child left in a dumpster back to its parents. Simple plot aside, a lot of weird, crazy shit goes down in Tokyo town. And I wasn’t ready for a thing.

Such good emotional scenes.

Coming from the same creators of Wolf’s Rain (Strayyyy) and just countless award worthy things, I was hard pressed at first to find the credibility in this film. I found it though. The characters. Every last one of them, despite being given the stigma of homeless loser, is a worthwhile and redeemable person. Proven by their words and actions in the film, Gin finds his home, Hana becomes the “mother” he always wanted to be, and Miyuki can finally go home and not feel scared about her actions. This combined with a twist with the baby’s parents that leaves them out to dry, this film really makes you wonder whether the bums on the street have better hearts than you do.

And I do love the message. Nice things done on Christmas? Always a winner in my book. Christmas coming from a perspective I’ve never seen before in a

Come on, could be cuter...

culture I’ve yet to experience for myself? Eye opening. I really don’t know what more to say about this film. The comedy shines through, there’s quite a few tear jerking scenes, and the baby, although I wish it was cuter, is still okay. The voice acting is good and, as expected from award winning creators, the story is solid and animation is unique in every respect. I give this classic a 6.8 out of 10.


Dance in the Vampire Bund: Sexual Twilight

 

So unfortunately for those of my friends who know that Dance in the Vampire Bund is awful, I still had to watch this show to determine just how bad it is. My girlfriend has only seen the nude child photos in the manga and, based on that small encounter, knows it was bad. If only I was as smart… Alas, I still watched this short 12 episode anime to see what all the fuss was about (and, as usual, Christopher Sabat, credited as C.T. Anger.)

This vampires and werewolves love dance that is

Like seriously, what is this?

Dance in the Vampire Bund is… interesting, if I could use any word. If I could use a more accurate word… weird. Creepy. Strange… Pornographic at worst. With such a small range of plot and characters that don’t necessarily change but come full circle, it was more of a laugh then a serious perspective on the age old tale of vampires vs werewolves and their touchy-feely relationships. Oh well…

This doesn't even border wrong. It jumps over it.

In this tale of woe, Mina Tepes (Monica Rial), the “Queen” of the Vampires is planning to reveal the existence of vampires and their desire to live hand-in-hand harmony style with the humans. How does she do this? Quiz/T.V. gameshow style. And some crazy shizz goes down. And people die. And she gets naked. What could be a better way to turn people off from this show?

As the show progresses we meet 3 main villains, a few werewolves, and our main werewolf and pro/antagonist, Akira Kaburagi Regendorf (Eric Vale, credited as Alpha Legrange) who has some freaky love interest with a girl at school, Yuki Saegusa (Alexis Tipton) and Mina… So, yeah, that’s going

This is what's wrong. Twilight won't even touch this.

on. Waking up naked beside a 12 year old girl who is also naked? What an interesting okay view of this taboo, because she’s an old vampire who is far older than Akira…

The show ends halfway through and kicks right back up again, and I’m not sure why… Is it because there was a real push for another 6 episodes? I’m really not sure, but I think (probably based on the manga) there was a need to bring Akira’s backstory full circle.

This is pretty legit...

With a few occaisional sob scenes and way too much boobage, this show is (and should be considered) another in a long string of pop culture spinoffs that should be attached to Twilight (not that that’s a bad thing… please, don’t ask…). With a dark element like Underworld (with very similar Lycan/Werewolf transformations) and a bondage element that is way out of this world/not cool, this show goes places most anime wouldn’t. I give a small ounce of credit to the artwork and sensuality of the drawing, but that’s about as far as that goes.

Other than Eric Vale and Christopher Sabat (One the father, the other the son in this situation.) and a decently not annoying girl voice by Monica Rial, there’s not really anything to say about the voice acting, even in its caliber. I did enjoy the Ayres bro.’s and their identifiable voices as

And there's this guy.

a young quiver voiced wimp (sad though) and a centuries old Chinese vampire, Chris and Greg do it again in what seems to be a string of melodramatic C-rated anime. (Not judging, just giving my opinion. Although, its a career and I like most of their stuff. They’re cool guys in person. Especially Chris with his liters of cola and Greg with his pink hair.)

So I send a sigh your way, Dance in the Vampire Bund. With all your potential, you tell an already told story with way to much sex. And mind you, child sex. No, the transformation sequence doesn’t make it okay. And nobody really dies. Which, okay, they’re vampires, but really? Even vampires have to die someday. And so did this show. 4.5 out of 10. 

Oh, and check this out.


Neon Genesis Evangelion

I need to say this right now about the original Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is hard to watch. It’s harder to watch dubbed, at least, from my experience it is. I feel the director/writer Hideaki Anno said it best about the show. “It’s strange that ‘Evangelion’ has become such a hit – all the characters are so sick!” And to me, that’s not “sick” in a good way. These characters, to put it better, suck. The main characters of this anime somehow don’t develop as the show progresses. And their back stories and personalities are just as bad. I don’t mean to put down a classic anime, but this show had problems from its inception.

Okay, basic plot. Shinji Ikari, in the first episode, comes to Tokyo-3. He’s there because his father asked him

Shinji. Pouting and whining with no comfort from Rei.

to come. This sounds odd you say? Well it is. Shinji has not seen his father for years, basically they became estranged after his mother’s death. (And Shinji’s father was implicated… sort of… not really… I’m not sure…) His father, one of the creators of N.E.R.V.,  has created these “machines” known as Evangelions. EVA’s for short. And these machine’s soul purpose are to destroy Angels. These Angels have been hitting the Earth for the past 15 years. Known as 2nd impact, this Angel that comes to Earth is defeated, but not before major devastation is wrought. And because of the 2nd impact, Earth has been changed and N.E.R.V. and a coalition of countries have been tasked with defending the Earth.

Evangelion. A cast to hate due to their "sick"ness.

And it doesn’t stop there. Just wait til the last 2 episodes. Either it will bore you or fascinate you. Either/or, it will confuse you. In typical mecha WTF fashion, this show will confuse you. And/or frustrate you with its characters. First of all, scum of the Earth #1 is Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari. He neglects his son, and then doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Quite the father figure. There’s Asuka Langley Soryu, the most annoying German/Japanese girl on the planet. If she’s not berating Shinji with insults and back-handed comments, she’s most likely speaking terrible German (That voice actress has no idea what German is.) And she hates her life. Basically. So that’s another strike against her, among countless strikes. Rei Ayanami is another classically boring character that is hard to comprehend. Her monotone voice (it’s explained) mixed with emotionless conversation makes her scenes hard to watch. Misato Katsuragi is a whorish female major with nothing more to do than worry about others and become promiscuously unsavory. Quite the combo, including a ridiculously sloppy apartment.

And those are just to name a few. And, as I said, the one bane of this show is that none of these characters change throughout the entire anime. Not a one. They all remain in their own worlds of self pity and pettiness until the end. And if that’s what other people got from this show, I’m sure that is also portrayed across the board, subbed or dubbed. I watched the dubbed and pretty much regretted it. It being a 1995 anime, precursor to the golden age of voice actors going on now, these voice actors are hired more for their voices than their acting skills. I will give credit to 2 though. Kyle Sturdivant does a great Greg Ayres impression without even knowing it as Kaworu Nagisa (can’t explain, too far in). And Aaron Krohn does a great job as Ryoji Kagi, Misato’s love interest and all around stud. Everyone else was most likely just in it for the chance to “attempt” to voice act. I’m not quite sure.

The EVAs are cool, I just don't know what to say about the show...

Other than that, I would give the show in total a 5.2 out of 10. The concept, above all, is actually very interesting. I have a soft spot for mecha anime, and this is considered one of the best and most original. It is a classic. But I’m not sure it suits everyone’s taste. And that’s why they re-did the ending and added the movies for a different perspective on Neon Genesis Evangelion. The comments on symbolism and religion are quite prominent. But not until the end. The psychological/philosophical musings became redundant, as it seemed they were just lines to fill time more than actual reevaluations of the meaning of life. But I am interested to see the takes that were made after the original. So we’ll just have to wait a while and see what’s in store. And I’ll make sure to make a review to fill in all my “fans” with. But seriously, if you view my blog weekly/daily, why not subsribe? It’d let me know what people wanna see me review and what people’s interests are. Thanks for reading always, it’s a real treat inviting you to The Abyss.