The British comic reportedly made it clear to Oscar bosses that he wanted to walk the red carpet in the guise of the wacky alter-ego from his latest film, which is loosely based on late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The star is due to appear at the prizegiving to support Martin Scorsese's Hugo, in which he co-starred, as the film competes for the coveted Best Picture trophy, and rumours suggested Academy chiefs didn't want his antics to overshadow the glitzy night.
However, a spokesperson for the organisation insists Cohen has not been told to stay away from the ceremony, but admits they are still waiting to find out what he has planned.
The rep says, "We have not banned him. We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do."
Cohen has courted controversy at previous industry events by turning up in character.
He caused a stir in 2006 by arriving at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada as Borat on a cart pulled by peasant women, and at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, he dropped from the ceiling as flamboyant fashion reporter Bruno, with his bare behind landing inches from rapper Eminem's face.
As you scan through the various titles available on Netflix’s Watch Instantly service, you may find yourself in an age-old conflict. Do you watch a classic action film or a gut-busting comedy? Thankfully, a recently added title makes it possible for you to avoid this conundrum all together.
For your consideration, we highly suggest you check out Hot Shots! Part Deux.
Who Made It:Hot Shots! Part Deux was directed and co-written by Jim Abrahams. If the name sounds vaguely familiar on its own, it will probably prove far more recognizable in conjunction with his usual creative team: Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker. That’s right, the mad geniuses behind Airplane, Top Secret, and The Naked Gun. These guys obviously know how to create great parody films and Abrahams proves he can recreate this on his own as the Hot Shots! sequel is fantastic.
Who’s In It: Just as in the first film, the star of Hot Shots! Part Deux is Charlie Sheen. Bear in mind, this is not completely bonkers Two and a Half Men era Charlie Sheen who became a sad parody of himself. This is the late 80s/early 90s prime version of Charlie Sheen whose offscreen exploits were still secondary to his onscreen persona. Between the Hot Shots movies, the Major League movies, and Young Guns, Sheen was positioning himself as one of the funniest, coolest actors in Hollywood.
What’s It About: The U.S. government launches a covert mission into Baghdad to rescue Desert Storm prisoners of war. This special ops team is also secretly tasked with assassinating Saddam Hussein. Things go terribly wrong and the team is captured. Now, the government scrambles to put together a rescue team to rescue their rescue team. They can think of only one man capable of leading such a rescue mission: Topper Harley. Now, if they can only find him.
Why You Should Watch It:
Much of the formulaic Abrahams and Zucker(s) comedy is alive and well in Hot Shots! Part Deux. There is no shortage of goofy physical humor and you can’t swing your arms, or throw a banana peel, without hitting a pratfall. The sequel also carries the tradition of the first film in its merciless skewering of various films. The first Hot Shots was primarily a send-up of Top Gun, hence the name bestowed upon Sheen’s character, but the sequel does far more branching out; mocking several films within the action genre. Everything fromRambo to Terminator 2 to Star Wars gets the Abrahams treatment.
But in addition to the obvious, overt humor, Hot Shots! Part Duex shines in its more subtle jokes. There are little touches sewn into the fabric of silliness so understated as to almost be Easter eggs, and often communicated without words. I think my favorite of these has to be the moment between the two operatives on the airplane just before they parachute behind enemy lines. As one operative covers his face in camo paint, he hands the applicator to his comrade, an African-American. The look on the second operative’s face as he is handed the paint is absolute genius; a mix of disbelief and utter disappointment. There’s also the scene at the press conference where, in the background, the accident-prone current president manages to take out all the living (at the time) former presidents except for Gerald Ford, who just falls down on his own.
Hot Shots! Part Deux features one hell of a cast. Beyond Sheen, the roster boasts comedy legend, and frequent Abrahams/Zucke/Zucker collaborator, Lloyd Bridges as clueless President Tug Benson. He is as quick with the one-liners as he is with the slapstick. Whose Line Is It Anyway’s Ryan Stiles shows up as a loony demolitions expert and is absolutely incredible. But the most meta piece of casting in the film is the inclusion of Richard Crenna. Crenna played Rambo’s commanding officer Col. Trautman in theFirst Blood franchise, which serves as the film’s chief source of comedic inspiration. For his part, his timing is quite adept. I also love the cameo by Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen’s father, who is coming up the river narrating his mission as Topper narrates his; a stellar reference to Apocalypse Now.
When you bundle all of these things up with some charmingly dated references,Hot Shots! Part Deux becomes the perfect 90s comedy. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, dated pop culture references are usually cancer for comedies, which is why every film by Friedberg and Seltzer is a travesty. But Hot Shots! Part Deux incorporates these elements into a timeless action movie plot. The First Blood movies will always be classics, so we can enjoy a satire of them even if it features the occasional jab at American Gladiators, President Bush throwing up on a Japanese diplomat, or…well, Saddam Hussein.
Green Zone is a story we’ve already heard shot in a manner we’ve already seen and starring Matt Damon in a role he’s already played. Remember those WMDs that were never found in Iraq and later exposed to be the invention of a dubious and poorly-vetted informant? Remember the misguided and hideously botched attempt at establishing democracy after the fall of Saddam and the violent prolonged insurgency that ensued? If you’ve been away from the television for the past hour and somehow managed to forget any of these details Green Zone is here to remind you.
Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller an Army weapons inspector whose frustration over repeatedly coming up empty in his search for Iraqi WMDs leads him on a quest to track down and expose the people responsible for leading him (and us) down that infamously bogus path. Though his hand-to-hand skills are a notch below Jason Bourne’s Miller’s single-mindedness moral certainty and permanent expression of square-jawed defiance — always threatening another “How do you like them apples?” rebuke — in the face of an insidious multi-level government conspiracy are essentially equivalent to those of Damon’s Bourne trilogy soulmate.
And like Bourne his most dangerous adversary isn’t found on the battlefront but rather within the government he once served so proudly. As Miller delves ever deeper into the Case of the Faulty WMD Intelligence Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) the duplicitous arrogant Defense Department bureaucrat in charge of U.S. operations in Iraq summarily relieves him of his post. (Hint: the better dressed a Green Zone character is the more sinister his ambitions.) But Miller remains undeterred and he goes rogue to locate the CIA informant “Magellan ” a formerly high-ranking Iraqi official whose supposed confirmation of Saddam’s nuclear ambitions served as the basis for U.S. invasion.
We know how the story ends. Green Zone’s pervasive overarching sense of deja vu is accentuated by director — and veteran Bourne helmer — Paul Greengrass who employs the trademark hand-held super-shakycam style which was so fresh and inventive in 2004 but now feels stale and predictable. (Admittedly my aversion to Greengrass’ approach was no doubt heightened by a previous night’s viewing of Roman Polanski’s excellent The Ghost Writer a political thriller as subtle and precise and finely tuned as Green Zone is ham-fisted and haphazard — and which also uses the phantom WMD controversy to far greater narrative effect.)
Green Zone culminates in essentially a violent footrace between Miller and the Army Special Forces as they scour a heavily-armed insurgent stronghold to find Magellan with Miller hoping to secure his potentially damning testimony before the Army can silence him for good. The climactic sequence for all I could tell was either shot in Damon’s backyard culled from Bourne trilogy deleted scenes or assembled from scattered YouTube clips. This punishingly chaotic often incoherent and ultimately exhausting approach to storytelling isn’t cinema verite; it’s dementia pugilistica.
Top Story: Lisa Marie Talks About Love and Jacko
Lisa Marie Presley confesses she was in love with Michael Jackson when she married him in 1993. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Presley also admits she and Jackson had sex "for a while" and that at first Jackson was "very real" with her when they were alone, drinking, cursing and cracking jokes with her. But, she said, eventually she felt manipulated by Jackson to improve his image with publicity stunts like kissing the pop oddity onstage at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. The next year, when they appeared on ABC's PrimeTime Live with Diane Sawyer, Presley claimed she was put on the defensive and wanted to protect Jackson, believing she could save him from his critics and together they could "save the world." Presley's debut album, To Whom It May Concern, will be released on April 8.
Cannes Opens with "Fan"fare
The Cannes Film Festival has chosen the Gallic swashbuckler Fanfan La Tulipe to open its festivities May 14, Variety reports. The film, starring Vincent Perez and Penelope Cruz, is a remake about a gypsy girl (Cruz) who tricks handsome peasant Fanfan (Perez) into joining the French army by predicting he'll marry one of the king's daughters.
Duct Tape Shuts Sheen Up
Although the thought may have crossed the minds of many of the actor's detractors, West Wing star Martin Sheen voluntarily covered his mouth with a piece of duct tape that read "Peace" and led 60 protesters in a prayer vigil Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. Though he didn't speak, his statement was read out loud: "Nationalism and militarism have become the gods of our idolatry at the expense of our humanity."
Poking Fun at Saddam
Uncle Saddam, a satirical documentary which portrays Saddam Hussein as a personal hygiene fanatic and someone who likes to fish with hand grenades, will be released on DVD April 2, Reuters reports. Shot by French freelance journalist Joel Soler, the footage was smuggled out of Iraq after Soler visited the country on the pretext of chronicling Iraq's suffering under U.N. sanctions. Reuters reports the film gained critical acclaim two years ago at film festivals, yet prompted death threats against Soler at his Los Angeles home.
Killer Virus Stops Rolling Stones Concerts
Due to an outbreak of a lethal strain of pneumonia that has killed 50 people in Southeast Asia, the Rolling Stones postponed two concerts in Hong Kong. According to Reuters, the veteran British rockers, currently on their Licks world tour, were to perform Friday and Saturday but plan to "reschedule as soon as possible," the band said in a statement.
Don't Leave a Message for Snoop Dogg
In a lawsuit filed on Monday, a California man claims his life is in danger because rapper Snoop Dogg used part of a phone message he left in a song to get back at Snoop's rival, mogul Suge Knight, Reuters reports. The suit said the message included support for Dogg in his "turf war" with Knight, which the rapper then put in the song "Pimp Slapp'd" on his album Paid the Cost To Be Tha Boss without the permission of the man, known as "John Doe." "Unfortunately it is so real that (the) plaintiff now fears for his life...Mr. Knight is a burly, convicted felon and is rumored to be involved with gangs, to threaten, assault and hurt people," the lawsuit said.
Anti-Piracy Pamphlets Hit Campuses
The music industry is going to school to prevent online piracy. According to Reuters, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a global trade group representing major and independent music labels and publishers, started distributing pamphlets on university campuses around the world, highlighting the illegality of downloading music and movies from online sources.
Role Call: Sizemore Gets Cozy With Paparazzi
Tom Sizemore (Dreamcatcher) is in final negotiations to join actor Cole Hauser (Tears of the Sun) in Paparazzi for 20th Century Fox. Variety reports the film revolves around a movie star (Hauser) who plots revenge after suffering a near-tragedy due to relentless hounding by a photographer.
Top Story: Gandolfini, HBO Play Nice
Both actor James Gandolfini and cable network HBO have decided to let things cool down by dropping their lawsuits against one another, Reuters reports. Gandolfini dismissed his suit Monday so he could begin negotiations for a fifth season of The Sopranos, while HBO officials said they were willing to step back from their $100 million countersuit filed after the actor refused to come back to work unless his salary was hiked to $16 million for a 13-episode season. "The only thing I can say...is that temperatures are taken down and there is an optimism in the air," Gandolfini's spokesman Dan Klores told Reuters early on Monday. Bert Fields, an attorney for HBO, said the cable network was still awaiting formal notice from a Los Angeles court that Gandolfini had withdrawn his lawsuit. Sources close to the negotiations told Reuters Gandolfini also would be required to sign a sworn statement agreeing to the terms of his original contract before new salary negotiations could resume.
Studios Move Ahead With Movie Releases Despite War
Despite the imminent threat of war against Iraq, Hollywood studios are forging ahead with plans to release their top movies over the next few weekends, Variety reports. "Once you start your campaign and sink money into it, it becomes counterproductive to move," MGM distribution head Erik Lomis explained to Variety, whose film Assassination Tango with Robert Duvall opens March 28. Opening this weekend is Artisan's Boat Trip, Buena Vista's animated Piglet's Big Movie, Miramax's View From the Top and Warner Bros.' Dreamcatcher.
Martin Sheen Continues Antiwar Diatribe
In an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times published Monday, Martin Sheen defended the rights of Hollywood antiwar activists to express their views, The Associated Press reports, and criticized those who belittle celebrities' opinions "solely due to our celebrity status." Sheen admitted celebrity activists do carry a responsibility since their comments would likely receive coverage. "As a result, we are often called to give voice to the voiceless and a presence to the marginalized," wrote Sheen.
System of a Down Makes Antiwar Video
Hardcore rock band System of a Down wants the video to their song "BOOM!" to help change the way people think about war, AP reports. "We want to make the idea of dropping bombs, of waging war seem as antiquated and ridiculous as it is today for an Afro-American to have to sit at the back of the bus," guitarist Daron Malakian told AP. The video depicts antiwar rallies across the world and features satirical animation of several leaders including President Bush, Saddam Hussein and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Celebrities To Arrive at Oscars in Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Instead of showing up in fancy stretch limos, celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams will be arriving at the Academy Awards ceremony in fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, a Global Green USA press release stated Tuesday. "Improving fuel efficiency and conserving energy is a critical part of creating a more peaceful and sustainable world," Sarandon said in a statement. "Collectively, we have the power to make a shift, to make a difference, today."
Bets Closed on Chicago
After being inundated with customers betting on the musical Chicago to win the Oscar for Best Picture, a London betting company, Ladbrokes Ltd., is now declining any more wagers in the Best Picture category, Reuters reports. It is still, however, taking bets on many of the other categories.
Meryl Streep Laments Oscar Campaigns
Oscar-winning Meryl Streep reiterated her complaint that the whole idea of Oscar campaigning comes down to money, rather than on the merit of the work of those nominated, to Reuters Monday. "The biggest campaign could be rewarded, and as a result, more money will be thrown at these things," Streep said. "It's a business, you know. You can see why they all do it. But in a way, it kind of destroys the integrity of the Academy Awards that they do that."
Morgan Freeman Gets Star
Veteran actor Morgan Freeman, who is starring in the upcoming Dreamcatcher, will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday, making his the 2,220th star to grace the famous star-lined Hollywood Boulevard.
Dire Straits Knopfler Injured in Motorcycle Accident
Mark Knopfler, former frontman of rock band Dire Straits, was rushed to a hospital Monday after being injured in a motorcycle accident, Reuters reports. The 53-year-old singer suffered a broken collarbone and six broken ribs when his bike collided with a car in on a London street. A spokeswoman told Reuters Knopfler was in stable condition and had been released from the hospital.
Top Story: Mad Max Movie Delayed
Variety reports that due to the possibility of war with Iraq, 20th Century Fox has decided to delay the production start of Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth installment of the Mel Gibson/George Miller action adventure series. Production was to begin in Namibia in July but now may wait until the fall.
"Any time you do a show like this, it is a massive undertaking with enormous prep time," Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, told Variety. "In this case, it is about the movement of huge vehicles and a mass of people, and with the pending war and all the potential logistical consequences, we had the latitude to wait and let some of this stuff blow over before going into full-bore production. What we do have firmly in place is Mel Gibson and George Miller." The film is still scheduled for a summer 2004 release.
Letterman's Condition Due to Shingles
Reuters reports the eye infection that prompted David Letterman to take a few days off, was diagnosed Thursday as a symptom of shingles, a viral infection related to chicken pox. Actor Bruce Willis filled in as host Wednesday, with tennis pro John McEnroe and Regis Philbin taking on the guest-host duties Thursday and Friday.
Rather's Chat with Saddam Beats Walter's Blake Interview
It's easy to tell what's on everyone's mind these days. According to Variety, Dan Rather's talk with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on CBS' 60 Minutes II reigned in 17 million viewers Wednesday, beating Barbara Walter's interview with jailbird Robert Blake on ABC's 20/20, which took in 12.1 million viewers.
Calling All Starbucks Hotties
Playboy is looking for the "Women of Starbucks," babes who serve steamed lattes at the local Starbucks, for a layout in an upcoming issue. However tempting this may sound, the Seattle-based Starbucks isn't all that thrilled about it. In a chilly official statement, the company says, "Starbucks Coffee Company is aware that Playboy Enterprises has issued a call for entries for a 'Women of Starbucks' section in a future magazine. Starbucks is not affiliated with this project and does not endorse it."
NBC Stars Voice Opposite Positions
Two politically active NBC stars--the very Democratic Martin Sheen of The West Wing and the very Republican Fred Thompson of Law & Order--will appear in dueling public service spots regarding Iraq. "Mr. Sheen and Mr. Fred Thompson are both acting in their capacity as private citizens. We respect their opinions and their right to freedom of speech," Variety reports NBC said in a statement.
Great White Singer Wants Immunity
Jack Russell, the lead singer for the rock band Great White, whose pyrotechnics may have sparked a recent Rhode Island night club fire that took 97 lives, plans to ask for immunity from prosecution before testifying to a grand jury, AP reports. About 60 people are still in the hospital after the blaze, 35 of them in critical condition.
Naomi Campbell Gets Appeal
AP reports the House of Lords has agreed to hear an appeal from supermodel Naomi Campbell. Campbell won a breach of confidentiality case against the London tabloid The Daily Mirror, which reported her alleged drug problems, but the Mirror took the case to the appeals court and had the decision was overturned. Campbell is challenging that ruling.
Bass Judges Talented Kid
Even though he can't go into space, 'N Sync's Lance Bass still wants to be a part of something special. That's why he'll be one of the judges on the NBC four-part reality series The Search for the Most Talented Kid in America, where young people will compete for a grand prize, AP reports. The show debuts March 21.
ROLE CALL: Downey Jr., Soderberg Team Up
Robert Downey Jr. and Alan Arkin are set to star in Eros, a short segment directed by Steven Soderbergh for a trilogy of shorts which also includes segments from directors Michelangelo Antonioni and Wong Kar-wai. Variety reports both actors were wooed by Soderbergh after the Oscar-winning Traffic director agreed to sub for Pedro Almodovar in the erotic-themed film.
More than 100 celebrities, including Tony Shalhoub, Martin Sheen, Kim Basinger, Helen Hunt and Susan Sarandon, have signed a letter asking President Bush to avoid military action against Iraq, the Associated Press reports. The missive states that a war would "increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world." Martin Sheen, who plays the president on the hit NBC show The West Wing, believes Bush wants settle a personal score with Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. "I think he'd like to hand his father Saddam Hussein's head and win his approval for what happened after the Gulf War," Sheen told AP. "That's my own personal opinion--I don't know if that's true. I hope it's not, but I suspect it is."
Pamela Anderson and ex-husband Tommy Lee won their long-standing court battle against a porn company that sold a tape of the couple having sex over the Internet. The lawsuit for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy was initially thrown out of court because the couple had apparently signed away the rights to the so-called "honeymoon" tape, Reuters reports. An appeals court, however, overturned the decision. Anderson and Lee will receive $740,000 each.
Actor Lorenzo Lamas and estranged wife Shauna Sand have agreed to go through their divorce proceedings amicably and share custody of their three children. According to Reuters, Lamas had originally filed a restraining order against Sand, claiming she began "acting out violently" when he asked for a divorce, but has since revoked the order.
Variety reports My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos will appear before the camera again in April in a new buddy comedy, Connie and Carla, for Universal. Vardalos also wrote the script but plot details were not available.
Comedian/actor Orlando Jones (Evolution, The Replacements) is going to head up his own late-night talk/variety show for F/X. The show will feature celebrity guests, variety sketches and "a lot of comedy," Jones' manager told The Hollywood Reporter.
The 75-minute fourth-season finale to HBO's The Sopranos brought in a whopping 12.5 million viewers Sunday night, making it the second-most-watched show in HBO history, Variety reports. The network's most-watched show was The Sopranos' fourth season opener in September, which drew in 13.4 million viewers.
According to the official coroner's report released Wednesday, The Who bassist John Entwistle died from a cocaine overdose that stopped his heart, AP reports. Entwistle, 57, was found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room June 27.
U2 lead singer Bono is continuing his altruistic endeavors for third world countries. Along with Sen. Bill Frist and Rev. Franklin Graham, he will assist in getting Christmas gifts to HIV positive children in Africa. According to the AP, the project is part of Operation Christmas Child, a relief effort headed by Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.