I like Sacha Baron Cohen an awful lot, but The Brothers Grimsby looks awful. Add in a title that doesn't make any sense, and you've got the making of—at best—another The Dictator. Rather than take a gamble this weekend, check out any of these five films featuring the cast and creative team behind The Brother Grimsby.
We all love Borat, but for my money, Sacha Baron Cohen's 2009 film is the more successful send-up of intolerance around the world. It's a much more depressing film than Borat, mainly because it's a much more confrontational character. Shot almost entirely during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, it's a look at a world—and especially an America—that is growing and changing, and Baron Cohen's satire works because he knows how to find those people fighting that change the hardest. It's hilarious and especially grim in light of the nasty streak this year's Presidential primaries have adopted. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
The first time most American audiences got a look at Mark Strong was as the heavy in Matthew Vaughn's inspired 2010 sleeper hit. Ignore the insipid and mean-spirited sequel in favor of the inspired 2010 original, arguably the best adaptation of Mark Millar's work—though Kingsman, also starring Strong and directed by Vaughn, is certainly in the discussion. Not only is Strong great in Kick-Ass, but it's the best post-Wicker Man work from Nicolas Cage by a mile, doing his best Adam West impression, and it was a great introduction—for most of us—to Chloë Grace Moretz as well. Available on Amazon and iTunes
What began life as a failed Will Ferrell project was turned into comedy gold thanks to the Lonely Island crew. I firmly believe this is one of the most underrated comedies of the last ten years, and Ian McShane is a huge part of the reason why it's so awesome. McShane is a dynamic actor that hasn't really been given anything interesting to do on film since Deadwood ended. It's strange to think that an Andy Samberg movie is the place to find a great Ian McShane performance, but it's true. He's amazing in it. Available on Amazon and iTunes
Perhaps the most underrated film of the decade, Martin McDonough's 2012 black comedy features amazing performances from Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and Woody Harrelson. The latter shares an hysterical scene with Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, whose barely in the film, but her scene is one of the highlights of the film and perfectly sets up Harrelson's completely unhinged character—and to think the role was almost played by Mickey Rourke. One day this film will be recognized for its genius, and now's the time to get on the bandwagon. There's plenty of room. Available on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
One of Disney's best recent film was the brilliant Wreck-It Ralph, which plays more like a Pixar film than a Disney one. The film takes a fascinating concept about what video game characters do when they're done working for the day and spins it into an exciting yarn about the value of being yourself. That one of the film's writers—Phil Johnston—has gone from this film to Brothers Grimsby is perhaps more of an indictment of the opportunities available to writers than of the man himself, but I hope he gets back to crafting great stories like this one soon. Available on Amazon and iTunes.