2006_11_arts_borat.jpgIf you've been living under a pop culture free rock, you may not be aware that Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie about his Kazakhstan journalist character, Borat is out this weekend. Sadly, Gothamist wasn't able to make it to an advance screening of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan but a very reliable source on comedy assures us that "it's the funniest movie ever." While the officials from Kazakhstan may not be happy about how their people are being satirized, it's just the kind of humor that appeals to us young urban professionals. So get your tickets for this weekend early, it's sure to be hugely popular at the cineplex.

For the kiddies, two movies that look cheesy but fun: The animated film Flushed Away stars the voices of Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet as cute rats in the sewers of London. While rats on the subway tracks or running past you on the street may make you cringe, if they're animated and have accents it's okay to call them cute. Tim Allen continues his cutesy reign of terror on Christmas with the sequel The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. It's hard to believe it's time yet for X-mas paraphernalia, but apparently it is.

The 6th Annual IAAC Film Festival presented by the Indo-American Arts Council kicked off last night with a screening of Mira Nair's newest The Namesake, but there's plenty of great flicks to see as the festival continues through next Monday.

If you're looking for an oldie but goodie: Beginning yesterday, Film Forum is screening a brand new 35 mm print of Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game. Rules is one of those movies that are a must see, it will reinvigorate your love of the cinema. Deep focus photography, weekend party intrigue and a stellar performance by the director himself, Rules is the definition of a classic.

You probably know that the annual CMJ Music Fest has taken over the city, spreading indie rock like fairy dust. What you probably didn't know was that CMJ also hosts a film festival replete with upcoming theatrical releases like the Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction and Darren Aronofsky's newest, The Fountain. A music related film of note in the line up is the World Premiere of Lord Don't Slow Me Down, a documentary taken from Oasis's Don't Believe the Truth Tour. The film plays on Saturday at 2 pm at the Director's Guild Theater and Noel Gallagher will be on hand for a post film Q&A with Matt Pinfield.

Computer animated feature length films might have highs and lows in quality department but a whole movement of movies made for 3D game environments has taken off in popularity. The 2006 Machinima Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens this weekend celebrates these new works which combine "computer animation, game development, puppetry, graffiti, fan fiction, and improvisational theater" into an exciting new art form. $10 for a one day pass or $15 for both Saturday and Sunday gets you into the panel discussions, screenings and a showing of the Mackie award winners.

Mental health and suicide prevention are serious issues, and in the independent film Jumping Off Bridges, the filmmaker Kat Candler is trying to raise the public's awareness with a story about four teenage best friends. The film will be screening at the Pioneer Theater on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 pm, and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and a Mental Health representative.

Gothamist Pick:
The centerpiece for this year's New York Film Festival and Spain's entry into the Best Foreign Film race, Volver comes out this weekend. Gothamist raved about this movie during the festival but to reiterate, this is Pedro Almodóvar's filmmaking cooking with gas. Penélope Cruz plays Raimunda, a woman from Madrid whose family out in the country is a little off. Her practically blind aunt seems to still be able to bake with ease, her daughter is being ogled by her Dad and then Raimunda's sister starts acting strangely as well. This is a story about the amazing bonds between women, and the power of a good push up bra. For Almodóvar's colors alone, this movie is well worth the price of admission. Throw in Cruz's performance, and it becomes one of the best movies of the year.