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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First, let's start with the bad news: The Mayan calendar (and, more importantly, a stellar John Cusack movie) have confirmed that the world is ending in a few weeks. I know, right? And we were all totally going to lose those 15 lbs and start journaling in 2013. Then there's the even worse news: You missed a lot of really good TV in 2012. So much good, in fact, that you have no hope of catching up before the end of days. That's where we (and the good news) come in — we've rounded up the best TV spoilers of 2012, so you can spend your remaining days with your family, or whatever. SPOILERS AHEAD, but sorry — no one will ever know who actually killed Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars.
Let's start with the little guys:
How I Met Your Mother: Drama! It was eventually revealed that Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is marrying Robin (Cobie Smulders). Also, Victoria (Ashley Williams) left her future husband at the alter for Ted (Josh Radnor), but they broke up afterwards because Ted wouldn't stop being friends with Robin. Those crazy kids!
The Office: Angela (Angela Kinsey) found out that her husband was cheating on her with Oscar (Oscar Nuñez). Way to be a good coworker, Oscar.
Parks and Recreation: Speaking of workplace comedies, Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) finally became engaged! It was adorable.
You still with me? Good. Because it all goes downhill from here. Time for some suicides and martyrdom:
Sons of Anarchy: The universally beloved Opie (Ryan Hurst) was brutally murdered early in the show's fifth season — sacrificing his life for the club in the most horrendous way possible (he was beaten to death with a lead pipe).
Mad Men: Then there was the tragic tale of Lane Price (Jared Harris), the British sap who hung himself in his office after he found himself in financial trouble, and was fired by Don. Not a dry eye in the house.
But not all major deaths on TV this year were via suicide — 2012 was huge for killing, or being killed by, children. Let's explore, shall we?
Breaking Bad: In the former category, the artist formerly known as Landry (Jesse Plemons) from Friday Night Lights (now known as Todd on Breaking Bad) murdered a small child after said child witnessed Todd, Walt, and Jesse robbing a train. It was probably the most disturbing moment on TV this year, which says a lot, given our next spoiler.
The Walking Dead: This one sounds horrific, but it actually made a lot of people happy — Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died via C-section childbirth during a Walker attack on Walking Dead. Doc Herschel and the rest of the Grimes Gang were busy fighting Walkers in the prison, so Lori's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) had to watch while Maggie (Lauren Cohan) tore out her baby with a dirty knife. Then Carl shot her, before she rose again. It was a classic mother/son coming-of-age moment.
Downton Abbey: This one really hurt. Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) from Downton also died during childbirth — but she didn't become a zombie, so she should just shut up and count her blessings.
Those were all really depressing, so let's move on to justice — quite a few criminals were caught in 2012:
Breaking Bad: First and foremost there's Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the drug kingpin currently known as Heisenberg . We haven't yet seen the aftermath, but the first half of Season 5 ended with Walt's brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) learning his dirty, methy secret. Dun dun dun.
Dexter: This was a long time coming — Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), the brilliant Miami Metro detective, finally learned that her brother is a serial killer. So far, she's been taking it surprisingly well.
The Killing: Oh, we finally found out who killed Rosie Larsen. It was her Aunt Terry, sort of. Then the show got canceled.
Homeland: Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) was found out and captured by the CIA much, much earlier than anticipated. He's now working with them as a double agent, which is never easy when your other agency is TERRORISM.
Enough with all the humans. Supernatural spoiler time:
The Vampire Diaries: Elena (Nina Dobrev) became a vampire at the end of the third season's finale. This season, she totally dumped Stefan (Paul Wesley) and slept with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Bad girls do it well.
Fringe: Peter (Josh Jackson) willingly turned himself into an Observer after his daughter, Etta (Georgina Haig), was killed. It was horrifying. He's going bald!
True Blood: The newly single Bill (Stephen Moyer) willingly drank the blood of the ancient, evil vampire Lilith at the end of last season — rising as an evil entity, and effectively earning the nickname "Billith." Run, Sookeh!
Now let's move on to family drama:
Revenge: Season 1 of ABC's new(ish) hit ended with Emily (Emily VanCamp) learning that her long-lost mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was still alive, while everyone else thought that Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) had died. She hadn't, and Emily's mother ended up being very, very boring.
Revolution: Meanwhile, over on NBC's latest hit, good-guy Miles (Billy Burke) was revealed to have started the evil Monroe Militia — the same militia that recently kidnapped his nephew. (And they still haven't turned the lights on.)
Game of Thrones: In a case of outright family treachery, Theon (Alfie Allen) betrayed the Starks by storming Winterfell, pretending to kill young Bran and Rickon, and slaughtering many of their people.
Oh, and Klaine broke up on Glee. Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: AMC, Showtime] MORE: Leanne's Spoiler List: 'True Blood' Wants Fresh Meat, 'Parenthood' Heads to Court, & More! Leanne’s Spoiler List: 'AHS: Asylum' Mommy Issues, Love and Loss on ‘Dexter’ Leanne’s Spoiler List: Love is Shaky on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,' ‘Vampire Diaries’ Gets Darker
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As his Breaking Bad alter ego Walter White inches towards pure villainy, actor Bryan Cranston is ready to prove he's got what it takes to be a full-on bad guy in the upcoming Total Recall. Speaking to Hollywood.com on the set of the futuristic thriller, Cranston explained that he wanted to avoid the usual tropes of a blockbuster evil-doer for his character Cohaagen. "I said 'John Edwards,' I want a John Edwards softness to him, so it's not 'here comes the bad guy!' I wanted to change that up and approach it that way." Donning Tom Ford suits, a wavy hairdo, and a grumbly tone, Cranston's transformation may not be what one expects, but it's chilling nonetheless.
In this exclusive clip from Total Recall, we get our first taste of Cranston's approach to the role. Cohaagen's muscle Lori (Kate Beckinsale) begins the film as the wife of Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell). When his session at Rekall goes haywire and his "past" as a killing machine is unearthed, Lori snaps and attempts to kill him (we got a taste for their initial fight in the trailer). That's when Total Recall goes into chase mode, and when we pick up with Lori in the below clip, she's just let Quaid slip through her fingers. Cohaagen is none too pleased. In the same on-set interview, Cranston mentioned that he didn't want his relationship with Beckinsale's Lori to be "that desk pounding 'GET HIM!' that type of 'Rarrrh!' thing." That's evident from the brief snippet of footage, which gives us a taste for the mood (and the detailed gadgetry on display in the world of Total Recall) without revealing too many answers.
Check out the clip and keep Total Recall in your sights when it hits theaters August 3.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
Bryan Cranston in Total Recall
In a world where ankle bracelets have become the hottest accessory and mug-shots are seen more than head-shots, it’s refreshing to see a grounded and relatable actress who has been in the brights lights of Hollywood since she was 14. Mila Kunis has successfully transitioned from a That 70’s Show sweetheart to a full-fledged leading lady without any notable hiccups— a feat that very few have mastered. Hollywood.com was able to catch up with Kunis and the cast of Ted, the highly-anticipated teddy bear centric flick, at a press conference in LA.
Kunis portrays Lori Collins, John’s (Mark Wahlberg) surprisingly easygoing girlfriend and a rising public relations executive. Although Lori loves that her boyfriend is a child at heart, after four years of dealing with hookers in her house, the faint haze of weed, and a foul-mouthed teddy bear for a roommate, she has become exasperated. Basically it’s your classic girlfriend ultimatum: It’s me or the bear.
Luckily for women everywhere, Kunis’ sincere acting abilities were able to transform a role that would typically be categorized as the nagging girlfriend into an extremely realistic and relatable person.
Creator/Director/Producer/Title Collector Seth MacFarlane has worked with Kunis for 13-years on Family Guy, and says that he always knew she’d be perfect for this part. “Nine times out of ten in a movie like this, you do see the image of the hands on the hips, the “Oh you! Stop this nasty behavior!“ kind of tone," MacFarlane explains. "That’s one of the reasons we wanted Mila. Mila was there to very shrewdly, with laser-like precision, make sure that that did not happen.”
Kunis reveals she was very cautious to not have Lori come across as “too bitchy” of a character, and she worked closely with MacFarlane to make sure that the character was relatable. “It was awesome because it allowed me to help make the character be what I wanted her to be, but with Seth MacFarlane’s voice,” Kunis says. “It’s a hard character to write, especially for a man. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, and I’m a female. Because you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.”
However, the 28-year-old actress is confident that Ted has obtained the perfect balance of heart and humor, and she accredits this unique blend to MacFarlane’s “rare” and “grounded” comedic skills. Kunis tells us with a smile, “I think that Seth’s humor is incredibly socially relevant, it’s not humor for the sake of being humor. It’s smart, it doesn’t make you feel dumb. He’s brilliant at what he does he because he sets people up in low-brow situations with high-brow humor.”
Certainly no stranger to MacFarlane’s creative and at times crude sense of humor, Kunis has been the voice of her animated alter ego, Meg Griffin, since she was 15-years-old. Although fans and critics alike have praised the Ukraine native for her comedic abilities, don’t expect to see Kunis pull together a stand-up routine anytime soon. “I literally have had this argument with MacFarlane many times," Kunis explains. "I don’t think I’m funny. I really don’t, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love comedy.”
At this point the Family Guy creator had to override Mila’s modesty and clarify that her voice-over skills are impeccable. “For all these years we’ve thrown a lot of very subtle comedy at Mila for the role of Meg," MacFarlane says. "You’re not seeing her lovely face, you’re hearing her voice. All you’re getting is her ability, and it’s tremendous. That to me is the best example of all.”
Once the blushing subsided, Kunis countered: “I love comedy when it’s written well. When someone like Seth MacFarlane gives me dialogue to say that I think is brilliant, I will say the sh*t out of it. I will make it work to my best ability, but I will not go and do something that I don’t believe in.”
This ‘lead with your gut’ instinct has put Mila in a wide variety of successful films throughout the past six years. From a snarky concierge in Forgetting Sarah Marshall to a badass ballerina in Black Swan to every man’s dream girl in Friends With Benefits, there’s no denying that Kunis is a versatile actress. “If you look at my movies they all look like a crazy person chose them," Kunis laughs. "But I choose the work that I believe in.”
Although she has always kept a hectic work schedule, you’ll never hear Kunis complain about it. “I think that people get so caught up in trying to prove to everybody else how hard they work that they lose all sense of what they do and why they do it," she explains. "So as long as I do my homework, and I know that I show up to work and I do my job, at the end of the day that’s it, that’s all that matters.” Preach it girl!
When praised for her down-to-earth demeanor, Kunis humbly attributed this quality to her “incredible” support system: her family and an intimate group of friends. “I’m sure that many people will disagree and tell you that I’m a horrible human being, but I do believe it all depends on who you do surround yourself with," she says. "What you put out is what you get back in return.”
Well, we can definitely say that no one here is disagreeing with you, dear Mila.
You can catch Ted in theaters this Friday, June 29.
Follow Leanne Aguilera on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[PHOTO CREDIT: Universal]
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