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Dec 302013

As part of Apple’s 12-Days of Gifts promotion (December 26-January 6), Martin Scorsese’s remarkable film Hugo is available for free download today.

Of course, I quickly headed to iTunes and downloaded the movie a couple of hours back. Need you even ask. ;)

Hugo is a fine movie and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did.

Hugo was warmly received by critics (94% on RT) and won five Academy Awards including for Best Cinematography.

The free download of Hugo is valid in the U.S. and you must have an iTunes account (other geographies may have different freebies).

Hugo Related Stories:
Hugo Review on Blog
May 172012

Goddammit, sometimes the Devil plays havoc with me.

Here I was blissfully mowing my lawn this afternoon (and in a spirit of charity of my foreclosed neighbor’s as well) under a weak mid-Atlantic sun when there came about an insatiable Fandango itch to check what new movies were releasing this Friday.

Holy moly, The Dictator was releasing today.

Abandoning my foreclosed neighbor’s overgrown weeds to the mercies of the town authorities, I rushed to see if Sacha Baron Cohen was going to repeat a Borat.

Harrison Ford was Right

Sitting through The Dictator, it suddenly dawned on me how right Harrison Ford was.

Notwithstanding all the ooohs and aaahs over his Indiana Jones, I’ve always considered Harrison Ford a walking, talking advertisement for lobotomy surgery.

That is, you can have your brains removed in full and still fool people with the appearance of a normal human being.

But I consider Ford a genius for one thing and for one thing only – for telling Sacha Baron Cohen to Fuck Off when the British actor tried to ambush him with an interview while filming Brüno.

Fuck Off Sacha, Fuck Off Sacha, Fuck Off Sacha…..I kept repeating while wearily sitting through his latest misadventure The Dictator.

Rarely funny, frequently crude, offensively obscene and mostly tasteless, The Dictator reminded me of Bollywood films where the hero (often Akshay Kumar) pre-warns fans to leave their brains at home before heading for his movies.

Even that insane strategy wouldn’t work here because The Dictator is so hopelessly crude and trashy.

Besides acting as the film’s eponymous dictator, Sacha is also guilty of co-writing and co-producing this piece of junk.

Poor Writing

An ugly old Irish crone once told me that writing is hard.

To which yours truly adds, writing humor is infinitely harder.

The dividing line between crude humor and crude garbage can be measured in microns.

The Dictator’s main problem is that Sacha crosses that line far too often, flinging an ‘unfunny’ curse on the comedy.

The principal villain of the Dictator is in the hopelessly mediocre writing.

Except for rare moments that evoked a mild smile but certainly not guffaws, it’s a trial to sit through The Dictator, which is centered around the antics of Admiral General Aladeen, dictator of the fictional North African nation of Wadiya.

On the verge of developing nuclear capability, Wadiya has been placed under sanctions and is at risk of imminent military strikes from the United States unless Aladeen addresses the United Nation and turns a democratic leaf.

And so Aladeen, like all of of Sacha’s previous characters, comes to America, where much of the film is set.

The sight of the immensely talented fine British actor Krishna Bhanji aka Ben Kingsley, who plays the dictator’s Uncle Tamir, kissing the dictator’s armpits and then getting kissed by him on the lips is proof that some members of the Homo Sapiens will stoop to anything, anything to hear the jingling of a few silver coins in their pockets.

Pint-sized Anna Faris brings great verve and energy to her role of activist and ‘green’ grocery store manager Zoey while Jason Mantzoukas turns in an animated performance as Nadal, the ‘executed’ head of Wadiya’s nuclear agency.

Alas, all in vain for the movie is 99% about the Wadiya dictator’s antics, where the movie falls flat.

Unlike Anna and Jason, Sacha, the pivot of this film, merely went through the motions, never once making me sit up in my chair.

Being a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, nudity, masturbation, scatology, racism, sexism and assorted vulgarity are de rigueuer but seldom are any of them funny.

During my visit, the movie hall was mostly empty and I rarely heard any laughter suggesting I had other companions in misery, who too were sitting suffering through this so-called comedy.

All in all, The Dictator wasted my time and money and left me with an unkempt lawn.

Your favorite blog strongly urges you to stay away from The Dictator (not that I expect you chutiyas to even consider watching a Hollywood comedy).

Nov 232011

By Naveen

If I am allowed to say one thing and one thing only about Hugo then it would be that the father of movie special effects was decorated and celebrated fittingly in 3D visual extravaganza.

Hugo is the movie adaptation of the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick.

It is a Fantasy – Mystery – Drama directed by the Academy Award winning Martin Scorsese, who has given several riveting dramas such as “Taxi Driver”, “The Gangs of New York” and “The Departed” to name a few.

Hugo is co-produced by GK Films, Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp.


Hugo is the story of a young orphan Hugo Cabret who hides and lives within the walls of the main Train Station in Paris.

Hugo is also the story of Georges Méliès, an illusionist who went on to become a film maker known for his path breaking work on special effects during the infancy of Cinema.

Hugo is also a narrative about the origins of Cinema Special Effects, which is now taken for granted.

The story is set after of World War I, probably in the late 1920’s.

Hugo’s father makes and fixes clocks. He comes across an automaton (Robot) in a broken condition begins to fix it for Hugo.

Soon he dies in a freak fire accident leaving behind Hugo as an orphan with Uncle Claude, who is a drunkard.

Uncle Claude takes Hugo to the Paris Train Station where he lives and enslaves him to maintain all the clocks in the station. Uncle Claude goes away leaving Hugo alone.

Hugo’s only purpose from that point is to use his dad’s notebook to fix the Robot while living a secluded and secret life within the dark dungeons and walls of the station.

Hugo steals mechanical toys (for its parts) from a Toy Shop run by George in the station and hides from the Station Master/Inspector, a cynical rude man who has lost a leg in the War.

One day George catches Hugo in the act and takes Hugo’s notebook. George and his wife Jeanne are “Godparents” of the adventure crazy Isabelle who Hugo befriends in his pursuit of the notebook.

Mysteriously Isabelle has the missing Key needed to make Hugo’s Robot work and gradually they discover together that the cantankerous Toy Shop owner “Papa” George is actually the visionary film maker Georges Méliès. Continue reading »