The Dictator

(R) ★★★☆☆

For most of its quick and extremely dirty running time, the new Sacha Baron Cohen offender The Dictator wages war with itself, crude nonsense up against crude nonsense that’s really funny. When a double for fictional North African dictator General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen (Cohen) is assassinated, the leader’s advisor (Ben Kingsley) hatches a scheme involving a new double, a visit to America and an unlikely romance with a vegan/feminist (Anna Faris).

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Say ‘goodbye’ to this  Pulitzer Prize winner’s 19th novel


Say ‘goodbye’ to this Pulitzer Prize winner’s 19th novel

By M. Scott Krause

I have enormous respect for Anne Tyler, which is why I’ve struggled for several days with the following statement: “I’ve just read The Beginner’s Goodbye (Knopf Publishing Group, $25), and I’m sorry to report that it isn’t very good.” Is that even possible? Tyler, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for her novel Breathing Lessons, has been writing best-selling, award-winning fiction for almost five decades. She’s 70 now, and The Beginner’s Goodbye is her 19th novel. This isn’t a case of sophomore slump; Tyler is the undisputed and much-heralded Bard of Baltimore.