Sunday, November 19, 2006


'Babel' & 'Borat'

Both international in scope, Babel and Borat take you around the world and back. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel starts in Morocco where an America couple are on holiday. A local boy testing out a new rifle his father purchased aims at the tourist bus as it rounds a curve and fires, sending a lone bullet crashing through the window and nailing one of the Americans in the shoulder. This sets off a major police inquisition and near international incident. Meanwhile, back in America, the couple's nanny takes their two kids to Mexico where trouble ensues. And thousands of miles away in Japan we meet a mute teenage girl whose father sold the rifle to the Moroccan. Each story unravels seemlessly and the cuts between the three are breathtaking. However, despite its global scope, Babel fails to pack the wallop of Inarritu's earlier work, such as Amores Perros.

Larry Charles's Borat begins in a fictional version of Kazakhstan, where horses pull cars and women are all prostitutes. Sacha Baron Cohen's incredible doofus Borat Sagdiev, who first appeared on his Da Ali G Show on HBO, arrives in America intent on filming a documentary. Borat is full of stunts and pranks that would make the Jackass guys proud. But Borat himself is so loveably stupid and profane, the movie is a blast to watch. At 84 minutes, it's like one long comedy sketch rather than a more elaborate movie. Traveling cross-country, with visits to rodeos, tent revivals and street corners, Borat has a lot in common with Road Trip. But Cohen, who's in every scene, makes the difference with his mild-mannered, "who me?" schtick.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


My review of 'Come Early Morning'

Joey Lauren Adams' directorial debut, Come Early Morning, stars Ashley Judd as a troubled single woman who lives in Arkansas. It's loosely autobiographical, based on Adams' life growing up in Little Rock. Adams has appeared in many movies, including The Break-up, Dazed and Confused, Harvard Man and Chasing Amy. Judd (pictured at left) is terrific in this smart indie film. Read my review at

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