Published on October 23, 2020

In today’s Movie News: Meet Maria Bakalova, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new accomplice; see Borat unedited; and some wonderful advice from the filmmakers behind Synchronic, the new sci-fi film out today. Plus: A Finding Neverland accuser’s lawsuit is dismissed.

Not a Home Run: AT&T chief John Stankey said in an earnings call he sees a “choppy recovery” for the movie business, and that while Tenet was not “a home run,” he’s glad AT&T’s Warner Bros. released it. Variety has more details.

Borat’s Daughter: Two years before Sacha Baron Cohen enlisted her to play his daughter in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, out today, Maria Bakalova won best actress at Toronto’s AltFF Alternative Film Festival. Festival director Jenell Diegor says she “brought passion and displayed mastery over a broad range of emotions” in her role as a teenager with a secret in the Bulgarian film Transgression. Here’s more about Bakalova, who is, as you know, drawing attention for the whole Rudy Giuliani situation.

Borat Unedited: Ever wonder how much of the magic of Borat is in the editing? Here’s an officer’s body-cam footage of a January police stop in which Cohen stayed in character while cops questioned him about why a young woman was strapped to the roof of his car. The cops figured things out pretty quickly. (The Smoking Gun has a good writeup that catches all the details you might miss.)

Jackson Lawsuit Dismissed: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by James Safechuck, one of two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing him as a child in the documentary Leaving Neverland, The Associated Press reports. A judge found that  Safechuck could not sue MJJ Productions Inc., and MJJ Ventures Inc., two companies Jackson owned, because he hadn’t proved a relationship with the corporations that would have required them to protect him.

Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson, co-directors of Synchronic.

No Yelling: Synchronic, which New York Times’ critic Glenn Kenney calls “very brainy sci-fi” that delivers “shocks, scares and a resonant payoff,” is out today in theaters. In this deep dive for MovieMaker, co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and producer David Lawson walk us through every stage of their filmmaking process. It’s full of wisdom and good advice, the kind of thing you want to read at a leisurely pace. They offer lots of advice on how to have a smooth set, while emphasizing: “The goal, by the way, is a good movie. The goal is not smoothness.”

Another Good Read: Is Glenn Kenny’s Made Men, the Story of Mad Men, which we discuss with him in this podcast:

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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