TV host, political commentator, author, actor—Bill Maher is a jack of all trades. The wildly popular stand-up comedian even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Before HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the equal opportunity offender hosted the late-night talk show Politically Incorrect, and in 2008, he and director Larry Charles made the documentary spoof, Religulous. This month, Maher brings his signature brand of political satire and sociopolitical commentary to Davies Symphony Hall. There’s no topic Maher isn’t willing to broach, so expect offbeat remarks and unflinching honesty on everything from legalizing marijuana (thumbs up) to the possibility of having Sarah Palin as the next president (not so much). Aug. 20; 201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco Native Alexandra Pelosi Chronicles the Naturalization Process in the HBO Documentary 'Citizen U.S.A.'
Alexandra Pelosi loves to travel. It was that passion, on full display in the new HBO documentary Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip, that partly inspired the Emmy-winning filmmaker (2002's Journeys with George) to crisscross America, attending naturalization ceremonies and interviewing the country’s newest citizens – among them, a nuclear scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and young Iraqi refugees in Nebraska.
Sacha Baron Cohen, the spectacularly uninhibited gonzo master of put-ons, has been called “the pure, untamed id of movie comedy” and “a genuine comic guerrilla charging right to the front lines of the war against prejudice and sanctimony.” The term “genius” has been applied liberally since Baron Cohen’s Borat (2006) skillfully skewered racism, anti-Semitism and America’s over-developed sense of national pride. Yet his second feature, Brüno, leaves me cold. As social satire, it is boorish and scattershot; as farce, it is obvious and erratic.