Tag Archives: Borat


Audiences everywhere made sexy-time excitement over the hilarious, politically-incorrect mockumentary antics of Borat Sagdiyev, the Kazakhstani TV celebrity sent to the “U.S. and A” to research American customs on behalf of his home country. 

Filled with outrageous interviews, shocking observations and some of the most uproariously memorable images ever committed to celluloid, his blockbuster movie-film stars Sacha Baron Cohen as the hapless and horny Kazakhstani reporter, the cinema verite movie-film follows Borat as he struggles to breach the language barrier and understand the inner workings of the ‘greatest country in the world.”

Leaving his native Kazakhstan, Borat travels to America to make a documentary. As he zigzags across the nation, Borat meets real Americans in real situations with hysterical consequences. 

The Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan DVD features five extended/deleted scenes, never before seen clips, publicity tour montage, including appearances at the Toronto Film Festival, Cannes, Comic-Con and others. 

Borat to be sued again

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Wa wa wee wa, is Borat in trouble again? Following lawsuits from southern conservatives, frat boys, Romanian villagers and seemingly every other group in the "U.S. and A.," Sacha Baron Cohen could be facing even more legal difficulties over his wacky comedic creation, Borat Sagdiyev. This time his accuser is an Israeli comedian who claims that Borat’s signature exclamation of excitement _ "Wa wa wee wa" _ belongs to him.

According to "Good Evening With Guy Pines," an Israeli entertainment news show, Dovale Glickman plans to sue the Golden Globe-award winning comedian for copyright infringement.

Baron Cohen capped his Golden Globe acceptance speech by thanking "every American who has not sued me so far."

But he didn’t count on Glickman. The Israeli comedian coined the phrase 16 years ago, for a character on the hit Israeli comedy show "Zehu Zeh." Glickman further popularized the expression in a series of TV commercials for the Israeli yellow pages. It caught on and is still commonly heard on the Israeli street.

When asked by The Associated Press if he planned to press forward with a lawsuit, Glickman would neither confirm not deny the report.

"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" was a huge hit in Israel, in large part because Israelis were the only ones to truly understand what the anti-Semitic, misogynist Kazakh journalist was actually saying. Few realize that in the movie Borat is not speaking Kazakh or even gibberish, but rather Hebrew.

Borat, biggest movie star of 2006

TORONTO (CP) _ A year ago he was a relatively unknown fake Kazakh journalist, touring the United States in a smelly grey suit and frequently meeting up with Americans who disturbingly shared his cheerful brand of bigotry and sexism. Today, Borat Sagdiyev is arguably the biggest movie star of the year, having skyrocketed to superstardom after spending years as one of three characters on Britain’s "Da Ali G. Show," popular among teenagers when it airs on North American cable channels.

Not only is Borat now a household name gracing the covers of countless magazines, his creator, Sacha Baron Cohen, has even been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a comedy or musical. "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" is also up for best picture in the comedy and musical category, and has made a surprising $122 million US at the box office so far.

Irony of ironies? Mel Gibson, who went on the very type of anti-Semitic rant that Borat engages in so giddily, only got one nomination _ best foreign language film _ for "Apocalypto," his followup to the mega-successful "The Passion of the Christ." Gibson’s drunken slurs against Jews this summer are thought to have turned audiences and critics off the gory film, which fell steeply at the box office after a promising opening weekend.

The lacklustre box office seemed to be getting to Gibson, who railed against his critics in a recent USA Today interview.

"How many people do you know get a DUI (driving under the influence) and are kicked around for six months?" Gibson said. "It’s out of proportion … I’ve apologized, done the right thing, now get the hell over it. I’m a work in progress."

It was a year of the unexpected in 2006, with truly good movies, many of them from independent producers, getting accolades while others with big names and high hopes, including Steven Soderbergh’s star-studded "The Good German" and Oliver Stone’s "World Trade Center," falling flat.

And while the sniping about craggy-faced Daniel Craig as the new James Bond was loud and vicious, "Casino Royale" was a commercial and critical hit. It was almost universally lauded as one of the best Bond films ever made and landed on dozens of Top 10 lists for the year.

"Little Miss Sunshine," starring Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette as troubled parents who embark upon a riotous road trip to get their little girl to a kiddie beauty contest, was also adored by critics, as was Canadian Jason Reitman’s "Thank You For Smoking," a film about a ruthless tobacco company lobbyist played brilliantly by Aaron Eckhart.

Other critical darlings included "The Queen," "United 93," the "Borat" film, "The Departed," "Little Children," "Babel," "Flags of our Fathers," "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Shut Up and Sing."

And there were some surprise hits in addition to "Borat." "The Devil Wears Prada," released in mid-summer and thought to be a "chick movie," ended up appealing to a much broader audience than expected. It grossed $124 million US at the box office.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" was the year’s top-grossing film _ and the sixth most successful film of all time, bringing in a whopping $423 million at the box office, although most critics preferred the first "Pirates." The animated "Cars" was the No. 2 film of the year at the box office.

The biggest duds of 2006 included "Basic Instinct 2," "Poseidon," and the animated "The Ant Bully." Terry Gilliam’s "Tideland," financed in part by Telefilm Canada, received some of the most scathing reviews of the year, with most critics calling it gruesome and unwatchable.

In Canada, almost 13 million people took in "Bon Cop, Bad Cop," a bilingual cop action film that is now one of the top-grossing Canadian films of all time. "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie," was also a hit, both financially and critically.

What are the big Hollywood movies to come in 2007?

"Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third," another "Pirates of the Caribbean" adventure, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "Ratatouille," the latest animated tale from Pixar, maker of "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles."

There are two big Canadian films with aspirations for success beyond Canada’s borders in 2007.

Sarah Polley’s "Away From Her" will have its U.S. premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January before going into general release in May. With top-notch performances by iconic British actress Julie Christie and Canadian veteran Gordon Pinsent, hopes are high that the film could make a splash south of the border.

"Fido," a rollicking zombie movie starring Carrie-Anne Moss and Scottish comic Billy Connolly, opens in March and also has plenty of cross-border appeal.

‘Borat’ pulls fast one on Hollywood with US$26.4 million debut at box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Sacha Baron Cohen’s Kazakh alter-ego Borat made glorious returns at the box office, surprising Hollywood with a No. 1 debut. "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," 20th Century Fox’s big-screen incarnation of Cohen’s Kazakh journalist from "Da Ali G Show," took in US$26.4 million during its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"This picture was playing to full houses," said Bruce Snyder, head of distribution at 20th Century Fox. "The planets aligned, the moons aligned, the stars aligned, and everything came together perfectly for us on this weekend."

Box-office analysts had expected Disney’s "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," with Tim Allen returning as St. Nicholas, to win the weekend. It was No. 2 with $20 million, followed by the Paramount-DreamWorks animated comedy "Flushed Away" in third place with $19.1 million.

With great Internet buzz and a built-in following from "Da Ali G Show," "Borat" succeeded where another cyber-sensation, "Snakes on a Plane," failed. "Snakes" opened last summer to modest crowds despite months of Internet hoopla.

The raucous, raunchy "Borat" follows the adventures of British comedian Cohen’s TV journalist from Kazakhstan in a blend of fiction and improvised comic encounters as he travels the United States, meets and mocks Americans and reports back to his home country.

"It is what you go to the theatre for," said Hutch Parker, the studio’s head of production. "You get that infectious, outrageous, interactive experience. There are people yelling at the screen, there are cheers."

"Borat" played in only 837 theatres, fewer than one-fourth the count for "The Santa Clause 3" and "Flushed Away." Averaging a whopping $31,511 a theatre, "Borat" easily outdistanced "The Santa Clause 3," which averaged $5,784 in 3,458 cinemas and "Flushed Away," which averaged $5,152 in 3,707 theatres.

Fox plans to expand "Borat" to as many as 2,500 theatres this Friday.

"The Santa Clause 3" pits Allen’s St. Nick against Jack Frost (Martin Short) as they battle for control of Christmas. "Flushed Away" features the voices of Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet in the story of a pampered pet mouse forced to make his way among sewer rats.

The two movies split the family audience, but their opening weekends were solid starts for the holiday season. Disney and Paramount expect their movies to hang tough through year’s end, even with the Warner Bros. animated penguin tale "Happy Feet" coming just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

"The Thanksgiving holiday is going to be just rocking," said Disney head of distribution Chuck Viane.

The previous weekend’s top movie, Lionsgate’s horror sequel "Saw III," held up solidly at No. 4 with $15.5 million, raising its 10-day total to $60.1 million.

However, the strong crop of new movies and holdovers did not quite stack up to the same weekend a year ago, when "Chicken Little" opened at No. 1 with $40 million and "Jarhead" debuted at No. 2 with $27.7 million. This weekend’s top 12 movies took in $116.2 million, down three per cent from the same period last year.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," $26.4 million.

2. "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," $20 million.

3. "Flushed Away," $19.1 million.

4. "Saw III," $15.5 million.

5. "The Departed," $8 million.

6. "The Prestige," $7.8 million.

7. "Flags of Our Fathers," $4.5 million.

8. "Man of the Year," $3.8 million.

9. "Open Season," $3.1 million.

10. "The Queen," $3 million.

Far from offending Jews, some see Borat as an anti racism crusader

TORONTO (CP) _ Borat Sagdiyev, the fictional character at the centre of the new comedy "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," is ridiculously anti-Semitic.

The movie, opening Friday, features a "running of the Jew" segment back in Borat’s home village in Kazakhstan that would be astonishingly offensive if it were not so ludicrously funny. On the Comedy Network’s "Da Ali G Show," Borat once took to the stage at a country-and-western bar in the southern United States and performed a song called "Throw the Jew Down the Well" as the rednecks sang along and cheered.

Yet far from being outraged, some of the most creative and powerful Jews in Hollywood are big fans of the film _ including Larry David, Garry Shandling and Larry Charles, the legendary Seinfeld writer who directed the Borat movie. Borat is the creation of British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, himself a Jew.

"I see Borat as a bit of a folk hero or even a superhero," Seth Abramovitch, a Montrealer living in L.A. and one of the brilliant minds behind the gossip blog "Defamer," said Thursday.

"Most Jews assume there’s still anti-Semitism lurking everywhere _ even here in Hollywood _ but it may take a random traffic stop in Malibu for it to bubble to the surface. Borat has a secret identity _ Sacha Baron Cohen, who we know is an observant Jew _ but then he changes into his Borat costume and completely transforms himself into a naively likable Jew-hater, flying around the world to ferret out anti-Semitism wherever it may be hiding."

The great thing about the film, says Mark Breslin, the Canadian comic behind the Yuk-Yuks nightclubs, is that it exposes anti-Semitism for exactly what it is _ the product of supreme stupidity, he says.

"Since the character of Borat is an ignoramus, everything he does is seen as being ignorant. So Sacha Baron Cohen is equating anti-Semitism with ignorance, and knowing that, it becomes an attack not on Jews but on people who dislike or hate Jews. The movie makes anti-Semitism look stupid."

In the United States, however, some human rights organizations haven’t been quite so enthusiastic, saying Borat goes too far in his cheerful anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement last month saying that, while it understands that point Baron Cohen is trying to make about the ignorance behind racism, it fears "the audience may not always be sophisticated enough to get the joke."

Breslin disagrees.

"The kind of people who would go see an independent comedy are smart enough to get the joke," Breslin said. "Audiences are quite intelligent who go to things like comedy clubs and movies like ‘Borat.’ They’re smart enough to know when the motive is hateful, and when the motive is more satiric."

Len Rudner of the Canadian Jewish Congress says Borat is unveiling real anti-Semitism wherever he goes, not encouraging or celebrating it.

"He exposes the follies of others," Rudner says. "People ought not to take offence about the follies he’s exposing; they should be taking offence that they exist."

Indeed. For Abramovitch, the film also serves to remind Jews that far from being a thing of the past, anti-Semitism is still alive and well.

"There’s something comforting about seeing a saloon full of rednecks clapping and singing along about grabbing us by the horns and throwing us down a well," he said. "The laughter is as much a nervous release as it is a natural reaction to a genuinely hilarious situation. It’s a deceptively dark variety of comedy that tells Jews that their lingering sense of unease, no matter how settled or assimilated we think we may be in 2006 America, is still very much justified."

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