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Now in our seventh calendar year!
PCR # 345  (Vol. 7, No. 44)  This edition is for the week of October 30--November 5, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan  by Mike Smith
Indie Film Review:
"Blood Descendants" by Mike Smith
Horror-Mania: Three Big Events  by Andy Lalino
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Part One  by Drew Reiber
Hey Everyone, Let's Put On A Show....Music That Rocks (And Rolls)...Land Shark Ho!...Where In The Hell Was She Staying?...Get Well Soon....Back In The '70s....Coming Soon....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 44: "Annie Hall"  by Mike Smith
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20th Century Fox     
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by: Larry Charles
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 22 mins

I have to admit something here. I often scan the entertainment section of the newspaper to see what review quotes are used in movie ads. Besides looking for the basic "thumbs up," I enjoy seeing how many times "the year's best" film is released each year. Often I think to myself, how can they be so sure? It's only April and "the year's best drama/animated/action picture" is now playing? Now I know. And it is with that knowledge that I proclaim "Borat" THE best comedy of not only the year but of the 21st Century (so far).

Fans of the HBO series "Da Ali G Show" are familiar with Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstani television reporter who takes an occasional look at the world. We are quickly introduced to Borat and his family, including his sister, most recently voted the number four prostitute in the country. When not entertaining themselves with '80s music or participating in the annual "Running of the Jew," the citizens of Kazakhstan look to Borat for their cultural information. Now intent on producing a documentary about America for his countrymen, Borat and his crew head to the USA in order to capture the flavor of the true America.

From the streets of New York to the Virgin Music Store in California, with plenty of stops along the way, Borat and his team find themselves surrounded by cowboys, southern ministers and frat boys traveling in a motor home. While initially received as an outsider unsure of how things work, especially in this politically correct time in which we live, Borat finds that even the simplest thing, like kissing others on the cheek or staying in a bed and breakfast run by a Jewish couple, may require more then he and his viewers will expect.

The big joke of "Borat" is that nobody else in the film knows that Borat is not who he says he is. He is invited on local news shows, asked to sing the national anthem and invited to dinner with local high society. That he makes fun of the towns he visits or informs a patriotic crowd that he "supports your war of terror" is only part of the fun. What makes the film work is that, in spouting his own non p/c thoughts (Jews are evil, women should not be allowed to think, etc) Borat encourages others to share their beliefs as well. And their beliefs are often more disturbing then the ones Borat professes to believe in. Whether it's a rodeo cowboy railing against homosexuals or the aforementioned frat boys lamenting the end of slavery, the camera catches people at their worst and most hilarious moments. Equally funny are the behind the scenes looks at Borat and his crew. Borat clashes constantly with his producer, Azamat (Ken Davitian). Borat wants to film in Los Angeles while Azamat is intent on New York City. He doesn't know that Borat has watched an episode of "Baywatch" in his hotel room and is intent on making Pamela Anderson his wife. The fight that ensues between the two can only be described as outrageous and quite possibly one of the funniest moments ever put on film.

Earlier this year, Sacha Baron Cohen almost stole "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby" from Will Ferrell. In "Borat" he cements himself as a true comedy great. Because of the way the film was shot, Cohen had to literally "be" Borat no matter what happened around him. If you don't think that's hard, try hugging strangers on the New York Subway System. And if that's not your cup of tea, maybe you'd like to invite a hooker to the southern preacher's home for dinner. That Cohen never breaks character, no matter the situation, is a true testament to his comic genius. He and director Larry Charles ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") have created the funniest film since "Something About Mary," and believe me, that's a rave review.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "BORAT"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Borat" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.