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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You really can't go anywhere at this point in time without ending up talking about the Olympics. How you discuss the international institution, however, can vary quite a bit. You might engage in conversation about a past victory, or offer predictions of another yet to come. You might deliver diatribes on the hard work and impressive dedication that Olympic competition requires. Or, you might just want to talk about who is sleeping with who. Your call. It's all fair game.
Of course, it is important to be able to differentiate the highbrow from the lowbrow when it comes to Olympic chatter. You don't want to enter a sophisticated analysis of the modern pentathlon with a comment about Tom Daley ripping his own pants off in midair. But fret not: there is a time and a place (and a GIF! Don't forget the GIF!) for that subject matter. Here are a few points for your Olympic convos ranging from monocle-wearing levels of highbrow to some good ol' John Belushi lowbrow.
Highbrow: Famous Firsts
The 2012 Summer Olympics has been garnished with some pretty historical victories. What with this year instituting the new event of Women's Boxing, and Great Britain's Nicola Adams has become the first female to win a gold medal in this Olympic ring. Furthermore, America's Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win the gymnastics all-around.
Lowbrow: Pool Peeing
Dropping a few degrees in tact from the above topic, you might wish to discuss the hot issue of American swimmer Ryan Lochte's proclivity for urinating in the Olympic pools. Granted, this might also be a historical first, but it doesn't have the same inspiring veneer.
Highbrow: Contenders with Character
As you will learn from this heartfelt article, the U.S. Women's Soccer Team is a class act: a troupe of stand up professionals who inspire the love of sports in those who otherwise might no care. This team exemplifies companionship, cooperation, and terrific sportsmanship beyond the likes of any other, and is truly a source of highbrow conversation.
Lowbrow: Sartorial Situations
While the art of fashion is one that can warrant a vast array of highly sophisticated conversations, this year's Olympics have inspired some more "primal" patter via its showcase of some very skimpy outfits. If the question, "Did you see what she was wearing?" can be answered with the phrase, "Yes, but only by squinting," then you're dealing with a lowbrow issue.
Highbrow: Equine Elements
Seriously, anything about horses is highbrow. The event is called Dressage, and the gold and bronze medal winners are Great Britain's own Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer. Talk about classy.
Lowbrow: Romance Rumors
Michael Phelps and Megan Rossee? Rebecca Soni and Ricky Berens? Jessica Harrison and Carole Péon? Whether you're discussing unsubstantiated gossip or long confirmed relationships, everybody loves to chat about Olympic power couples. It might not exactly be highbrow to speak on who is sleeping with who, but it's definitely a great guilty pleasure.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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Medals, shmedals. Michael Phelps knows there's no better accessory than a gorgeous date on your arm. Phelps celebrated his record-breaking Olympics experience by stepping out with his blonde bombshell girlfriend, aspiring model Megan Rossee, on Monday night. The two, who posed together on the red carpet at reception hosted by Speedo, have been quietly dating for about five months, Us Weekly reports.
While the dashing duo made headlines following Monday's red carpet appearance, the competition for Cutest Olympic Couple is fierce. Whether they are competing in the games or supporting one another from the stands, here are seven couples who give Phelps and Rossee a run for their money.
Rebecca Soni and Ricky Berens: The Kids Next Door
Aren't they just cute as a button? Soni, 25, and Berens, 24, have been dating since 2010 and are deeply in love (swimming pun!). The two have been able to cheer one another on as they compete for the gold in London as members of the US Olympic swim team, and will continue to support each other when they return to their shared condo in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Aaron Ross and Sanya Richards-Ross: The Power Couple
Sanya Richards-Ross made her Olympic dreams come true when she won the gold in the 400-meter sprint on Sunday. Having eluded her in Beijing (where Richards-Ross took home bronze in this event), the win was sweet. And the moment was made all the sweeter by having her husband, Aaron Ross, cheering her on from the stands. A defensive back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ross is quite the athlete himself. Between Ross' two Super Bowl rings and Richards-Ross' four medals, the two will soon rival Phelps in awards as well as cuteness.
Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco: The Heartbreaker (and her BF)
Alex Morgan. Just hearing her name is enough to make grown men sigh. She's young, she's hot, and she's a soccer superstar. She's not, however, single. America's soccer sweetheart has been dating fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco since they met in 2007 while attending the University of California. Carrasco currently plays for the Seattle Sounders. You can bet that Carrasco will be cheering on his girl during the US's gold medal match against Japan on Thursday.
Andy Murray and Kim Sears: The Class Act
As soon as Scottish tennis player Andy Murray won his first ever major title, in the form of a gold medal against Roger Federer, he rushed into the crowd to give his gal a smooch. Murray and his Kate Middleton look-alike girlfriend, Kim Sears, have been dating since they were teenagers. After a brief breakup in 2009, which Sears attributed to Murray's addiction to video games, the two are back together and going strong. Sears has since been a staple in the stands for each of Murray's big games, including his devastating Wimbeldon loss to Federer last month.
Matt and Katy Emmons: The Sharp Shooters
Who said love was a battlefield? Husband and wife Matt and Katy Emmons may be rivals on the field (she shoots for the Czech Republic, he for the USA), but in their personal lives they are totally in L-O-V-E. Matt and Katy met while competing in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Like something out of a romantic comedy, Katy saw Matt from across a crowded beer garden, and wanted to comfort him for totally blowing his chance at winning earlier that day (he aimed for the wrong target). The rest, as they say, is history.
Jared and Claire Tallent: The Awesome Aussies
Just look at that picture. Look at it. How freaking adorable? 2008 was a big year for Australian race walkers Jared and Claire Tallent. Not only did they compete in the Beijing summer games, but they tied the knot in August. That must've been one speedy walk down the aisle!
Jessica Harrison and Carole Péon: The Fierce Competitors
Harrison and Péon, who have been in a relationship for seven years, make up the only couple on our list that actually had to compete head-to-head in the London games. Harrison and Péon both ran the triathlon for France on August 4th. While neither woman earned a medal (Harrison finished ninth and Péon 29th), they shared a long hug at the finish line.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Getty (Soni/Berens, Ross, Morgan, Murray/Sears, Phelps/Rossee) and AP Images (Carrasco, Emmons, Tallent, Harrison, Péon)]
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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 night on Andy Cohen's Big Bravo Dog and Pony Show (otherwise known as Watch What Happens Live) we finally got to lay eyes on the three women who will be joining "Countess" LuAnn de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan, and Ramona Singer for cattiness in the Big Apple as full-fledged Real Housewives of New York? Last summer Bravo slashed the cast of the stagnating Real Housewives of New York firing Jill Zarin, Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon, and Cindy Barshop (who I still think is some sort of bedazzling zombie unleashed on New York City as a sign of the apocalypse) and now we get a look at their replacements.
From the clip we saw last night (check it out below) it looks like they're not going to mix well with the veterans. Just who are these women and what do we know about them? Here's all the info we could dig up for now.
Occupation: She's a real actual housewife.
Family: Divorced from real estate mogul Harry Dubin, who fathered her son Harrison. Currently married to fancy pants banker Reid Drescher, who fathered her children Hudson, and Sienna. She is helping to raise Veronica, her husband's daughter from a previous marriage. The Nanny star Fran Drescher is her cousin and thinks Aviva shouldn't be doing the show.
Fun Facts: Aviva, a native New Yorker, has a masters degree in French Literature and a law degree. She had a childhood accident on a conveyor belt at a diary farm which resulted in her losing part of one leg. Housewife She's Most Likely to Feud With: Fellow former banking wife Sonja Morgan.
Occupation: Journalist and author.
Family: Carole's husband Anthony Radziwill died of cancer in 1999. His mother is Lee Radziwill, who is Jackie Kennedy Onassis' sister. She was close friends with Carolyn Bessette, who married her husband's cousin John F. Kennedy Jr. She has no children.
Fun Facts: Carole has won three Emmys and a Peabody award for her work with ABC news covering topics like the Gulf War and landmines in Cambodia. She wrote a New York Times bestseller What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love about the death of her husband, his cousin, and her best friend. She's been on Oprah and her net worth is estimated on the internet (the most trusty resource in the world) as $50 million.
Housewife She's Most Likely to Feud With: Fellow married-into-royalty Countess LuAnn de Lesseps.
Age: A lady never reveals
Occupation: Fashion designer and founder of Spanx rip-off Yummie Tummie
Family: Hmmm. We can't find any. Can she be single?
Fun Facts: Heather helped Sean Puffy Doody Combs start his Sean Jean fashion line and has also designed for Beyoncé and other celebrities who lend their names to clothes. Her shapewear was one of Oprah's Favorite Things but she was not actually on the show like Carole Radziwill. But she was on Nate Berkus. She is not the comedian.
Housewife She's Most Likely to Feud With: Fellow wannabe fashion tycoon Ramona Singer.
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