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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

When the first ‘Borat’ film was unleashed on an unsuspecting public in 2006, viewers wondered what they struck. The oddball adventures of a clumsy news reporter caused huge controversy due to its well-deserved targets and biting satire. Mainly an improvisational vehicle for comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, ‘Borat’ allowed him to put a mirror against society’s weird foibles. The humour comes from unwitting participant’s reactions with ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ more of the same.

This time Kazakhstani’s favourite news reporter further explores American culture during a time of the COV-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections. Borat’s antics see him crash a Conservative conference, an anti-mask rally and various members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s political team. Joining him is his teenage daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) who Borat wants to gift to a powerful American male as compensation for his past misdemeanours. As always nothing goes to plan as father and daughter wreak havoc amongst America’s religious right-wing heart.

Making ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ less of a rehash of its predecessor is Cohen’s skills in better highlighting issues in today’s murky world. Political apathy and the rise of particular lobby groups are in Cohen’s fiery sights. Whilst he deliberately sets out to provoke, he has the rare gift in offering viewers a lesson in a fun way without being too obvious. His type of subversive humour creeps up on you, making for more effective punchlines. This is nowhere more potent than in the outrageous things he says to people, with some fervently agreeing no matter how outlandish.

‘Borat 2’ is quite deliberately shocking at times with the envelope pushed to the limit. It may not be to everyone’s taste with the pacing occasionally sagging. Jason Woliner’s direction generally keeps the comedic momentum going with Bakalova a great addition to Borat’s weird universe. Like Cohen, her bravery in putting herself in dangerous situations is admirable. In many ways, ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ works better than any documentary in exposing the hypocrisy of aspects of current American life with the Trump era finding the country at a crossroads.

‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ should please long-time fans. The issues raised and the way they’re presented genuinely hit home. This is a skill that has seen Cohen succeed over the years. At this shadowy time in history, the satirical swipes his latest provides is a much needed tonic against the fake news peddlers he meets.

Rating out of 10: 8

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME

Annabelle

The horror movie genre is infamous for litanies of sequels and spin-offs. The endless ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’ attest to this. Few have been better than its predecessor with the quick cash-grab benefitting their financial backers. ‘Annabelle’ is a spin-off from ‘The Conjuring’ films. From the evidence within, the rush for box office bucks may seem as empty as the film’s plot.

John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are a married couple looking forward to parenthood. As a gift for his pregnant wife, John buys a rare vintage doll named Annabelle. This choice would have unfortunate consequences. When their home is invaded by a satanic cult, they put a curse upon the doll. Now a conduit from the depths of the damned, Annabelle’s wicked ways bring terror to those around her.

There’s nothing worse than seeing an unscary, bland horror movie like ‘Annabelle’. Although listed as its Director, John R Leonetti feels more like a programmer. Each scare is clearly signalled in advance so viewers are ready. When the alleged scares arrive, a loud noise accompanies it. This is extremely lazy horror film-making with the script borrowing bits from better films.

When a non-talking doll offers a better performance than its human co-stars then you know ‘Annabelle’ is in trouble. Apart from the always wonderful Alfre Woodard as the couple’s friend, the acting is as wooden as the material the doll is made from. If the screenplay had gone for high camp humour, it would have worked much better. Each scene plods into the next with boring predictability with the cheap production design mirroring the cynical cheapness of the movie’s producers.

The most horrific thing about ‘Annabelle’ is it made a huge amount of money and spawned two equally profitable sequels of its own. This is the type of film giving the genre a bad name, no matter how much it makes. ‘Annabelle’ is a waste of time with only the killer dolly’s fixed evil smile its most interesting facet.

Rating out of 10: 1

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME