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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When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Fifty Shades Of Grey author E.L. James had to stay away from Twitter.com for "a couple of days" after Charlie Hunnam was cast in the film adaptation of her bestseller because she couldn't take all the negativity from fans of the book. The writer was initially thrilled when Hunnam signed on to play Christian Grey after an exhaustive audition process, but her joy was soon soured by an onslaught of criticism from readers who felt he had been miscast.
James tells EW.com, "I had to get off Twitter for a couple of days (but) I wasn't surprised. People hate change. I thought there would be a few people upset, regardless of whom we had chosen. It was intense, but people came around to it."
Hunnam dropped out of the project last month (Oct13) and now Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan will take his place in the film, opposite Dakota Johnson, who has been cast as student Anastasia Steele.
James says, "It was disappointing, but it is what it is. I wish him (Hunnam) well. And now we have Jamie, and that's great. It's been interesting with Jamie. (The fan reaction) has been so positive."
The author admits she is very fond of Johnson, calling her "an old soul", adding, "She has a wicked sense of humour."
Fifty Shades Of Grey stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have given fans a first look at their characters after posing for a sensual new shot for the cover of U.S magazine Entertainment Weekly. Northern Irish actor Dornan, who replaced Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey in the film adaptation of E.L. James' erotic bestseller last month (Oct13), glares into the camera while hugging Johnson, who has dyed her blonde hair dark to play sexually adventurous student Anastasia Steele in the film, to his chest.
The dramatic cover shot is the first official snap of the couple together.
In the accompanying feature, Johnson admits she's working out hard for the project, which has been put back to Valentine's Day (14Feb), 2015, because she says, "I want to look good naked."
Dornan, a former Calvin Klein model, admits he's thrilled he eventually landed the coveted role of Grey after initially auditioning for the part and then learning it had been handed to Hunnam.
When the Sons of Anarchy star stepped down in September (13), citing scheduling problems, the 31 year old was hoping to get the call to step in.
He says, "There was a slight fear, but, beyond anything else, I was really f**king excited."
And he adds, "I'm not shocked by it (the sex in the book). It's essential to tell the story. I can't believe films that don't invoke the sexual side of it. So it works for me."
Fans of the 50 Shades Of Grey franchise will have to wait even longer to see the film adaptation as studio bosses have pushed the release date back to 2015. The movie, based on the first book in E.L. James' hugely successful erotic trilogy, was scheduled to hit cinemas across the U.S. on 1 August, 2014, but officials have now moved the date back until 13 February, 2015.
The announcement comes just weeks after production on the movie was delayed following Charlie Hunnam's shock departure from the project last month (Oct13).
Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan was confirmed as the new Christian Grey after Hunnam's exit and he will star opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in the film.
Production on the highly-anticipated Fifty Shades Of Grey film adaptation has been pushed back until December (13). No official reason has been given for the change in start date, which had originally been scheduled for November (13), but news of the delay comes just days after British actor Jamie Dornan was confirmed as the new Christian Grey, stepping in to replace Charlie Hunnam, who abruptly quit the project earlier this month (Oct13).
Dakota Johnson will portray Anastasia Steele in the movie version of writer E.L. James' erotic novel, which will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
As WENN went to press, the film was still planned for release in August, 2014.
Actress Dakota Johnson has taken on an active role in helping producers find the perfect star to portray her onscreen lover in the Fifty Shades Of Grey film following Charlie Hunnam's recent departure. The Sons of Anarchy star pulled out of playing Christian Grey in the big screen adaptation of writer E.L. James' erotic novel earlier this month (Oct13), leaving Universal Pictures bosses scrambling to recast his role.
However, producer Michael De Luca reveals they've been receiving a helping hand from Johnson, the daughter of Hollywood veterans Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, as they search for a suitable replacement to appear opposite her Anastasia Steele.
He tells Eonline.com, "She's the best partner a producer could have... She's helping us look through the candidates to see which chemistry kind of captures our attention."
Hunnam recently revealed his hectic TV schedule forced him to walk away from the project, and while De Luca admits losing their original leading man was a big blow, he insists production is "on track" as they are close to revealing their new Christian Grey "in a couple weeks".
British actor Jamie Dornan and Alexander Skarsgard have emerged as frontrunners, while Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer remain fan favourites for the role.
To the delight of several obsessive Tumblr pages and message boards across the Internet, Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the hotly anticipated 50 Shades of Grey film adaptation.
According to a statement from Universal Pictures obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, "The filmmakers of 50 Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam's immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey."
Hunnman, who was slated to play the handsome and domineering Christian Grey in the upcoming film, does have a hefty TV commitment under his belt. He is the star of FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy, but this small screen role didn't prevent him from starring in this year's Pacific Rim, so his sudden departure from the project is at least a little bit suspicious. According to a tweet from Matt Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter, Hunnam really dropped out due to "cold feet," and his TV schedule had nothing to do with his ability to play the role.
Hunnam and costar Dakota Johnson were announced as leads for the project in early September, leading to a torrent of backlash from fans of the book series, proclaiming that neither actor was right for their respective roles. Fans clamored for different actors that better fit the images of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele that they have spent hours sculpting in their imaginations. The tide of disappointment had even led to some fans signing a petition to oust the two actors — one of these petitions reached over 80,000 signatures.
As such, for many fans, this news is a cause for celebration, and some corners of the web are undoubtedly uncorking bottles of internet champagne and toasting each other to a job well done. These fans will probably continue to pester other actors that want nothing to do with the project, but now with even more vigor, typing in unison, "One down, one to go!" in a fury of clacking keyboards.
Whether superfans of the trilogy like it or not, the lead roles in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation have been cast: Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson are the new Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. This casting decision made huge waves, as many folks had their hearts set on other actors, but Hunnam and Johnson are capable talents who can absolutely bring these roles to life. Still, there's the question of the supporting cast, which could also make a big difference in how the film pans out. Christian and Ana are obviously a huge deal, but there are many minor characters in the books that affect the steamy story of love, sex, and BDSM. Based on character descriptions and our desire to see...well, more hot people in the cast, here are our choices for the supporting cast of this highly-anticipated movie.
Blake Lively as Kate Kavanaugh
We so see Gossip Girl Blake Lively as Anastasia's blonde bombshell of a BFF. Gorgeous, outspoken, and a little bit overbearing -- we think Blake could pull it off.
Jay Hernandez as José Rodriguez
Not everyone will remember this cutie, but Jay Hernandez first caught a lot of eyes when he starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in Crazy/Beautiful. Since then he landed a role on the popular ABC series Nashville, and we'd love to see himback on the big screen as Ana's hot photographer friend.
Paul Walker as Elliot Grey
Christian Grey's older brother needs be played by someone who's just as good-looking, but a little less intense. And since he actually ends up with Kate Kavanaugh (our Blake Lively), then we had to think of someone who would pair up well with her. Enter Paul Walker. The Fast & Furious actor adds a little more eye candy to the cast (no such thing as too much of that), and he and Hunnam could totally pass as brothers from another mother.
Diane Lane as Elena "Mrs. Robinson" Lincoln
Mrs. Robinson is the beautiful, dominating older woman who turned young Christian Grey into the complicated (and somewhat frightening) man he eventually becomes. There's only one woman who we think could pull off this sexual and somewhate severe role. Diane Lane...but only if she channels her character from Unfaithful.
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Read or watch any Shakespearean comedy, and you'll notice a running theme of women disgusing themselves as men. Well, on the set of the upcoming adaptation of Cymbeline, things have been taken one step further. That's becuase Dakota Johnson's stunt double is a man, doubling for a woman, who is playing a woman disguised as a man. Confused yet? We don't blame you.
In fact, like all of the Bard's plays, the photo raises a great deal of questions — will he be doing her stunts in Fifty Shades of Grey as well? Why does that brown wig look so terrible on both of them? Most importantly, does anyone else think that Penn Badgley's double looks a bit like Jimmy Fallon?
We might not have the answers to those questions, but we do have plenty more double trouble in our gallery of celebrities and their stunt doubles, below.
GALLERY: 17 Celebrities and the Stunt Doubles
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