For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Taylor Swift may want to set her face to perpetual stun: the 22-year-old pop/country star just sold 1.2 million copies of her new album Red in its first week. It's a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 10 years, when Eminem moved 1.32 million copies of The Eminem Show back in 2002. "They just told me Red sold 1.2 million albums first week. How is this real life?! You are UNREAL. I love you so much. Thanks a million ;)," Swift tweeted in response to the news.
Among the various jaw-dropping statistics Billboard released about Swift's Red, which "sold two albums every second last week in the U.S." and "accounted for 19.3% of all albums sold in the U.S. last week," is that it holds that eighth-largest sales week for an album in SoundScan's history and is already the third biggest-selling album of 2012, behind Adele's record-breaking 21 (which has moved 4.1 million copies this year alone) and One Direction's Up All Night (1.3 million).
Still, there's one hurdle Swift wasn't able to get over. No, not finding the right boyfriend to settle down with, thus rendering the tabloid rumor mill and 90 percent of her songs ineffective. Rather, the chart-topper couldn't quite top the now-defunct boy band 'NSYNC. The pop quintet still holds the all-time record for debut week sales when their 2000 smash No Strings Attached moved 2.4 million copies.
While it's impossible for Swift to break that record now, that doesn't mean she can't have the same massive impact that 'NSYNC did post-No Strings Attached. Sure, she can't create a TRL-infused frenzy like they did (and, boy, don't you get the impression she and Carson Daly would have gotten along swimmingly?) but that doesn't mean she can't follow a similar model.
Here are five possible 'NSYNC-inspired paths Swift can take now that she, too, is a Billboard legend.
- Reinstate TRL to beat 'NSYNC's records on there. And Eminem's for that matter. If anyone can wield that power over MTV, it's Swift.
- Hit Broadway, baby. Both Joey Fatone and Lance Bass took on iconic roles in shows on the Great White Way, Rent and Hairspray, respectively. With teen-friendly Hollywood A-listers (Daniel Radcliffe) and pop stars (Nick Jonas) alike getting in on the act, it seems like a logical move for Swift and a way to prove to skeptics that she can put on a live show. She's just begging to be the lead in Annie, no?
- Randy Jackson would love to have her as a guest judge on America's Best Dance Crew, dawg. Just ask, JC Chasez. (Seriously, someone go check on JC Chasez.)
- Get a haircut to make yourself resemble a pineapple. Hey, it "worked" for Chris Kirkpatrick.
- Take over the pop culture industry as a whole. Open a restaurant, do a phenomenal job hosting Saturday Night Live and be asked to return repeatedly, give a brilliant supporting performance in an Oscar-winning drama (sorry, that means no more Valentine's Day), and splash your inevitable overblown nuptials all over the cover of People magazine. Of course, in turn, this means you will have to utterly ignore and reject the musical career and supporters that made you a superstar in the first place. Hey, it worked for Justin Timberlake.
Follow Aly Semigran on Twitter @AlySemigran
[Photo credits: WENN.com]
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Last week, the music industry mourned the loss of Donna Summer, who passed away at 62 following her battle with cancer. And, on Sunday, the genre must say goodbye to another legend, the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb, who died after being diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. Following news of the loss, famous friends and fans have logged onto Twitter to pay tribute to the Bee Gees singer. Read below to see what some celebrities are saying about Gibb.
Duran Duran: "Sorry to hear about the passing of Robin Gibb of the BeeGees. Our condolences to his friends and family."
Kris Jenner: "Rest In Peace Robin Gibb...you brought us so much joy what an amazing talent!!"
The Script: "R.I.P. Robin Gibb. We met Robin + Barry in NY. Such a lovely guy. Prayers 2 his family. 2 many Legends being taken away from us 2 early. :("
Fred Willard: "Oh, man, Robin Gibb died today. What a voice. Rest in peace, Robin.
Dannii Minogue: "'We start believin' now that we can be who we are - Grease is the word...' RIP Robin Gibb"
Bruno Mars: "R.I.P Robin Gibb"
David Boreanaz: "R.I.P. Robin Gibb. The Bee Gees, one of the most successful groups in pop music history. Pure genius."
Yvette Nicole Brown: "Wow. Another. :("
Mario Lopez: "R.I.P Robin Gibb.. Big Bee Gees fan! Wrote so many great songs too..Our Disco stars are off to perform in the big club upstairs!"
Carson Daly: "Sad to hear about Robin Gibb. Cancer is robbing us of our loved ones way to often. We gotta beat this thing. Breakawayfromcancer.com"
Michelle Branch: "R.I.P. Robin Gibb."
Lance Armstrong: "RIP Robin Gibb. Continues to sadden me to see cancer take our loved ones. Gotta put a stop to it."
More: Robin Gibb, Bee Gees Co-Founder, Dies Robin Gibb Wakes From 12-Day Coma Bee Gees' Robin Gibb Is In a Coma
Madonna has set her heart on a new home. The singer and her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, are on the verge of buying a $12.75 million British mansion that once belonged to photographer Cecil Beaton, Reuters reports.
French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo was hospitalized Wednesday in Paris for emergency treatment of what medical officials are calling a cerebral accident, The Associated Press reports. Belmondo, 68, is listed in serious condition, but is conscious. He was hospitalized early Wednesday in Corsica and then flown by helicopter to Paris.
Lorenzo Music, the voice of the cartoon cat Garfield, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of lung cancer, AP reports. According to his wife, Henrietta, the 64-year-old Mr. Music worked until a month ago when he recorded Garfield's voice for a car commercial. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Michael Cournede, the 19-year-old co-defendant in the robbery case against Sopranos actor Robert Iler, has been charged with stealing money, a jacket, and a compact disk player from a teen-age victim in a separate incident on April 19 by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau on Tuesday, AP said. If convicted on the first-degree robbery charge, Cournede could face up to 25 years in prison.
Jim Nabors, who played the character of Pfc. Gomer Pyle in the 1964 TV sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., is ready to be promoted. According to AP, Gen. James Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, will promote the character to lance corporal Thursday at a private ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith on Oahu, Hawaii.
Eminem protégés D12 and the Detroit acid-rapper Esham were thrown off the Vans Warped Tour show after a fight broke out backstage during the Aug. 3 show in Camden, N.J. Esham's publicist told SonicNet.com that the members of D12 jumped hims, causing a broken nose, ruptured eyeball, mild concussion.
A new batch of performers will be honored at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, ABCNews,com reports. Among them are former teen idols David Cassidy, Deborah Gibson and New Kids on the Block, who have provided the museum's curator, Jim Henke, with memorabilia.
Dr. Who has been cited as the most influential television cult programs of all time, according to a list compiled by media historian Jeff Evans for his new untitled reference book. Fawlty Towers and Star Trek ranked second and third, Reuters reports. Other top shows included Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Prisioner, The X Files and The Simpsons.
Anne Heche will star on her own television series for Warner Bros., scheduled for fall 2002. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Heche's salary will fall on the $1 million range. The studios are still unsure if the actress will act on a half-hour or hour-length show, but she has expressed interest in doing comedy.
Tyne Daly's paycheck for her CBS drama Judging Amy will climb from mid-five figures to six figures next season after the actress agreed to extend her contract by another year. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the deal settles the dust between Daly and the show's producers after the actress did not return to work for the show's third season.
Survivor 2 contestant Michael Skupin says he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2002, AP reports. Skupin, 39, says he wants focus on his family and his new company, Michael Skupin Ministries, which fights alcohol and drug addiction. The former contestant told AP that he "will have the opportunity again when the timing is better."