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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Actress Julianne Moore constantly pesters her children to be nice to other kids after growing up as an outsider because of her nomadic childhood. The Hannibal star constantly moved schools because of her father's career with the U.S. Army, and she has also admitted she was a target for bullies because of her bright red hair.
Her own experiences as a kid have prompted the star to ensure her own offspring are always welcoming to their struggling classmates.
She tells Britain's Independent newspaper, "I'm highly aware of what it is to be on the outside. Whenever you come to a new environment, you're automatically on the outside; everyone has already established a relationship. What intrigued me growing up were the people who see that you're on the outside and let you in - and the people who don't.
"I've always encouraged my children to embrace everyone, and they get sick of it. I ask them, 'Is there a new kid? Are they by themselves? Did you talk to them? Do you want to invite them over? Do you want me to call their mom?' And my kids are like, 'Urgh, mom!' I feel like both my children are very generous and they do notice, but they've been in the same school all their lives, so it's a different kind of thing."
The star has two children, Caleb, 15, and 11 year old Liv, with director Bart Freundlich.
Bosses of hit animated comedy The Simpsons paid tribute to late star Marcia Wallace with a special dedication on the show's opening credits on Sunday (03Nov13). Wallace, who voiced schoolteacher Edna Krabappel in the longrunning cartoon, died last month (Oct13) at the age of 70, and producers of the show honoured her with a touching moment in a new episode, which aired in the U.S. on Sunday night.
In the famous segment on the show's opening credits in which Bart Simpson scrawls cheeky lines on his classroom chalkboard, viewers saw him write "We'll really miss you Mrs. K" at the start of the episode, titled Four Regrettings and a Funeral.
Before the broadcast, Fox network aired an old episode of The Simpsons featuring Wallace's character in a prominent storyline.
Getting the likes of Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline in one film should be a recipe for a rousing success, and in many ways throughout Last Vegas, the casting is very successful. The main cast gives everything actors can really contribute to a film, and they excel as well as they can with what they're given. But the film shows that, at the end of the day, the script is king, and Last Vegas falters because its dreadfully weak writing hinders some fun performances.
Like another Vegas comedy, to which comparisons are unavoidable, the film centers around a bachelor party. Billy (Douglas) is trying to hold onto his youth with the grip of an iron vice. He's engaged to a much younger woman and decides that his wedding is the perfect time to rekindle his relationship with his three best friends, a group friendship that has frayed over the years. Archie (Freeman), Paddy (De Niro) and Sam (Kline) pack up to experience a weekend full of geriatric high jinks before Billy's wedding. Each of the four characters travels to Vegas with a certain amount of baggage stowed away in the carry-on compartment, and it's all related to aging, but the resolution to all of these character threads ends way too predictably. The first resolution to each of their stories that swirls around in your head while watching will undoubtedly be the one that pops up on screen before the credits roll.
One of the biggest sins Last Vegas makes is that it's just not all that funny, and the problem lies in the script. The film seems content with telling the same joke about old people over and over again, ad nauseam. It can barely mine humor from any other source besides the characters' advanced ages, pounding that theme into your head like a pulsing jackhammer. Jokes are fired at a machine gun pace, but so many of them fall ridiculously flat. Even when the cast is able to sell some of the feeble punchlines, they still aren't very clever or memorable. If anything, it makes it clear to see why these actors are as celebrated as they are. They all posses a serious amount of charm that bounces across the screen and makes the duds clank a little less loudly.
In fact, any enjoyment to be had from Last Vegas stems solely from the performances of the principal men, and sultry lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). All five actors possess a natural chemistry that carries the film's limp material around long after the script has forgotten how to be clever. They all have an excitable energy that permeates the rest of the film, but energy means little when they aren't saying anything particularly interesting. During the film, you're never quite bored or offended, but you're never excited either. It just chugs along in a miasma of general competence but not much else.
Last Vegas isn't quite dead on arrival but it's no a spring chicken either. Its high points ride on the backs of its stars' finely aged charisma, and much of the pleasing aspects that exist in Last Vegas would still be intact if the film just consisted of the actors sitting in a room, chewing the fat with each other without a script or direction. At the very least, they would have fewer stupid things to say. What happened in Vegas probably should have stayed there.
Dan Aykroyd and soul singer-turned-actress Jill Scott have joined the cast of The Help director Tate Taylor's James Brown biopic. The Blues Brothers star will portray the Godfather of Soul's longtime agent Ben Bart and Scott has been cast as Brown's wife.
42 star Chadwick Boseman will play the late soul legend in the film, titled Get On Up.
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, Taylor's leading ladies from The Help, have also snagged roles in the biopic, which is scheduled to start shooting later this month (Nov13).
The Simpsons regular Nancy Cartwright has paid tribute to longtime castmate Marcia Wallace, who died on Friday (25Oct13). The actress, who voiced Bart Simpson's teacher Mrs. Krabappel on the hit show, had been battling poor health for many months, but producers were hoping Wallace would be back and writers were working on a major storyline for her character.
Cartwright, who voices Bart on the cartoon series, has remembered her late co-star "a ray of light".
The actress tells The Hollywood Reporter, "She’s in 178 episodes - a lot more than people might think. That’s more episodes than most standard shows. Marcia was always a very big part of the group. Always a treat. The room was always a little bit better with her in it.
"She had recorded some upcoming episodes, I don't know how they will use it. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the character. I’m curious to see what they do."
Actress Julianne Moore refused to take care of her family's laundry load over the summer (13) - she went on strike. The Hours actress and her husband Bart Freundlich took their two kids to Long Island, New York for a vacation, but the trip wasn't as relaxing as she had initially anticipated.
In a new interview with U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, Moore reveals she ended up spending most of her time cleaning the never-ending assortment of laundry - that is until one day she decided to take a stand against all the hard work.
She explains, "I thought I'd relax this summer, but mostly I did laundry. I have rules about it, especially about towels, because we're near the beach... But nobody did anything. They put their wet towels everywhere, clothes were all over the house.
"The house was so messy, that I went on a laundry strike. I said, 'I'm not doing it anymore. You can just wear dirty stuff.' My son's bedroom was so dirty that our dog thought it was a place to go to the bathroom."
Ironically, her boycott didn't last long, as none of the heaps of laundry were getting clean and she decided to break the strike herself.
She adds, "Well I finally broke. I'm pretty vain about my kids. I'd say, 'Just go out there and wear those dirty clothes.' But then somebody's gonna go, 'Oh my God - look at her kids and those filthy clothes!'"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chloe Grace Moretz joined their Don Jon and Carrie castmate Julianne Moore as she unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday (03Oct13). The Hours star's husband Bart Freundlich and their kids Cal, 15, and Liv, 11, also attended the Hollywood Boulevard ceremony, where Moore gushed about the 2,507th star honour.
The ceremony offered a little respite for Moretz, who plays Moore's onscreen daughter in the upcoming remake of Stephen King's 1976 horror movie, after she revealed her mother is battling cancer earlier this week (beg30Sep13).
A pilot who starred in U.S. reality TV series Ax Man has been killed in a helicopter crash. William Bart Colantuono, 54, was flying a logging helicopter in Oregon on Tuesday (17Sep13) when the accident occurred.
The crash is currently under investigation but witnesses claim they saw the rotor separate from the craft before it flipped and crashed upside down.
Colantuono appeared in season three of Ax Man, a show about logging crews in America's Northwest.
R&B superstar Mariah Carey is set to test her acting chops by voicing a "redneck animal handler" in an upcoming episode of TV cartoon American Dad. The singer will show off her accent abilities in a forthcoming episode of the animated comedy, created by Seth MacFarlane, according to bosses at U.S. network Fox.
Ashton Kutcher has also been lined up to lend his voice to a character on the upcoming season of MacFarlane's other hit series Family Guy, while Daniel Radcliffe will return to The Simpsons to play a strange older boy encountered by Bart.
Actresses Elisabeth Moss, Kristen Wiig and Eva Longoria have also signed up to voice characters in The Simpsons' 25th season, with the Mad Men star portraying a mother who names her baby after hapless dad Homer when he delivers the tot.
Bridesmaids comedienne Wiig will voice an agent for America's Federal Bureau of Investigation in the premiere episode, which will air on 29 September (13) in the U.S.