This stage-trained black American actress worked Off-Broadway and in regional theater productions for several years before landing the role of Eleanor Emerson, the strong and independent wife of Charl...
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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Minor spoilers to follow.
Tyler Perry's Temptation is the kind of over-the-top drama that leaves you speechless as the credits abruptly begin to roll. Perry doesn't bother trying to cloak his morality tale with details like fully developed characters or insightful dialogue or logic. The heartbreaking story of Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is introduced by her marriage counselor sister as a warning to all young married woman who have their eyes on someone else. Judith was once a happily married woman who was led into temptation by an intense, rich man who promised to appreciate her in all the ways her husband didn't. Sounds fairly standard, right? Well… no.
Judith works as a therapist for a matchmaking service owned by Janice (Vanessa Williams), a glamorous older woman with a French accent who may or may not be running escorts on the side. Her coworker Ava is played by Kim Kardashian, a true feat of stunt casting that's only made all the more impressive by her inability to inject the slightest bit of emotion into her steady stream of insults. Judith has designs on starting her own practice as a marriage counselor but her husband Brice (Lance Gross) wants to wait until they get more settled. Her frustration comes into full flower soon after a young social media exec comes in to the office to strike up a deal with Janice. Harley (Robbie Jones) begins coming on to Judith almost immediately. At first, she finds it easy to resist. Brice is the only man she's ever been with — a detail that Harley finds amazing — and he's a good man, a sensible guy, and it probably doesn't hurt that he looks like a finely chiseled Greek god. But those perfect oblique muscles will only get him so far: after Brice forgets her birthday for the second year in a row and rejects her advances one night when she wants to get frisky in the kitchen, Harley starts looking a whole lot better.
A large chunk of the movie is spent on a somewhat boring back-and-forth between Harley and Judith, with some extraordinarily strange asides tossed in. For instance, singer and actress Brandy plays Brice's coworker Karen, a haunted young woman who's on the run from an abusive ex. (Did I mention Brice is an incredibly handsome pharmacist?) Their other coworker is an older woman who can be counted on to say something crazy about Valium or lesbians at any given time. You could get whiplash from how quickly the tone goes from comedy to high drama, but at some point the drama transmogrifies into sheer absurdity with a very nasty undertone.
RELATED: Can Tyler Perry Break Out of Tyler Perry?
As you'd guess from the title, religion is a strong theme here, which is par for the course in Perry's films. It's very much a tale of good versus evil, and Perry is an Old Testament-style deity raining hellfire and brimstone down on his characters. It's not enough that they might be unhappy or heartbroken or full of regret, but they must pay dearly and cruelly. At the same time, religion is subject to the movie's tonal whims as well. Judith's mother Sarah (Ella Joyce) is a religious woman who raised her daughter in the church, but by the end of the movie, I wouldn't have been totally surprised to see her try to perform a full-on exorcism.
Besides the rather sadistic treatment of its characters, Temptation has an incredibly troubling scene that kicks off the last third of the movie, when things get really dark and mean. Judith and Harley are returning from a business trip to New Orleans on Harley's private jet. Judith got a makeover before she left (with help from Ava, naturally) and has been partaking of the many adult beverages NOLA has to offer. The flirting gets pretty steamy between them, but when Harley goes to touch and kiss her, she tries to stop him. She tells him no repeatedly and loudly and physically tries to defend herself. "Now you can say you resisted," he tells her, and the scene fades into some sort of embrace. Later, Judith is shell-shocked and tells Harley she never wants to see him again. She goes to take a shower but stops to stare into the foggy mirror. She reflects back on the scene on the plane, but it's… a love scene? Really? I don't even know how to untangle this. There are so many ways to interpret this chain of events, and none of them are acceptable. Any sort of goodwill or patience I'd had for Temptation and its bizarro world disappeared with a poof.
Temptation is worth watching in the same way a movie like Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven is worth watching: it's such an audaciously ridiculous movie that you have to see it for yourself.
[Photo Credit: KC Bailey/Lionsgate]
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Preston is due to give birth at the end of November (10) - after her husband returns from celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of Qantas airline in Australia.
Celebrity pilot Travolta, Qantas' Ambassador-at-Large, has flown his personal Boeing 707 to Sydney for the 10-day multi-city event. Preston was not able to join him.
The actor touched down in Brisbane on Monday (local time) and performed a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday with company staff and Queensland fans who turned out to see the star.
Travolta told the gathered crowd at Brisbane Airport his flight Down Under had been largely trouble free, adding, "but we did hit a rainstorm which came outta nowhere."
After posing for photos with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, he answered questions from fans and agreed to "adopt" one devotee and her husband.
He ended his visit by performing a rendition of Summer Nights from Grease, and was presented with cuddly koala and kangaroo toys for his son, adding, "He is due to be born in 19 days." He then revealed the couple would be calling their newborn Benjamin.
The couple has a daughter named Ella Bleu, 10. The Travoltas lost their 16-year-old son Jett after he suffered a fatal seizure at their holiday home in the Bahamas in January, 2009.
With a tagline that reads "Steal All You Can Steal," it was bound to set off sparks. Miramax's Buffalo Soldiers, a satire about corruption on American military bases, is set to bow in theaters July 25, but its humor is being lost on military representatives and right-wing consumers who have sent complaints about the movie's negative depiction of U.S. Army conduct to Miramax and corporate parent Disney. Helmed by Australian director Gregor Jordan, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a wily Army clerk running a profitable sideline in black-market heroin and arms dealing. According to Variety, when Buffalo Soldiers screened at Sundance in January, an audience member was so incensed by Jordan's views on the military during a post-screening Q&A that he threw a bottle at the director, narrowly missing Anna Paquin, one of the film's stars. Miramax acquired the film at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2001, but held back on the film's release after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Steve Harvey Claims Black Actors Make Less
While promoting his WB fall series Steve Harvey's Big Time, actor-comedian Steve Harvey told TV critics at a meeting of the Television Critics Association that advertisers pay less for programs that attract black audiences--even when the ratings are equal to or better than those of other shows, The Associated Press reports. According to Harvey, advertisers reason that it is easy to reach blacks across the television dial because they are among TV's more trusty customers. Jamie Kellner, WB's chairman and chief executive officer, agreed: "There is a truth in what he's saying, that advertisers are trying to find people that they can't get easily. And they do pay a premium for those people."
Beals Takes Lesbian Role
Jennifer Beals, who rose to fame with the 1983 movie Flashdance, will play a lesbian in the upcoming Showtime television series The L Word. But the straight actress told the Television Critics Association that the question of her sexuality has come up since the show started filming. "What becomes interesting is to think about how easy it is for a heterosexual actress or actor to play someone who is homosexual, how that's somehow permissible, but for a homosexual to be out and portray a homosexual character it becomes sort of much more problematic for an audience to accept." The L Word, which also stars Pam Grier and Mia Kirshner, debuts in January.
Buena Vista's Compay Dead at 95
Cuba's Compay Segundo, the frontman for the Buena Vista Social Club group known for his trademark Panama hat, died Sunday of kidney failure at his home in Miramar, Havana, Reuters reports. He was 95. Segundo, whose real name was Francisco Repilado, won a Grammy Award in 1997 for the album Buena Vista Social Club, which was produced by American guitarist Ry Cooder. The group gained further recognition with the release of German director Wim Wenders' 1999 documentary Buena Vista Social Club. Segundo gave concerts until May this year, when his health deteriorated.
Jazz Luminary Benny Carter Dies
Legendary jazz pioneer and big-band leader Benny Carter died on Saturday at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles at the age 95. According to Reuters, a family friend said Carter had been hospitalized for about two weeks after complaining of bronchitis and fatigue. In a career that spanned seven decades, Carter was one of the first black composers and arrangers to work on mainstream Hollywood films such as Stormy Weather and played with jazz stars such as pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, Fats Waller, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. He is also credited with launching Ella Fitzgerald's career by introducing her to bandleader Chick Webb. He is survived by his wife, Hilma, a daughter, Joyce Mills, a grandchild and a great grandchild.
Role Call: Schwarzenegger in Big Sir, Diaz and Carrey Reunite
Arnold Schwarzenegger is in negotiations to star in New Line Cinema's family comedy Big Sir. The Terminator star also has the sci-fi remake Westworld on his acting slate and is developing a sequel to Conan the Barbarian, to be produced by Larry and Andy Wachowski ... Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey, who starred together in 1994's The Mask, will reunite for Columbia Picture's remake of the 1977 comedy Fun With Dick and Jane. Joel and Ethan Coen will rewrite the screenplay for director Barry Sonnenfeld.
Appeared as Eleanor Emerson, the wife of the title character, in "Roc", a Fox sitcom
Had one of the female leads in August Wilson's new play "King Hedley II"; premiered at the Pittsburgh Public Theater
This stage-trained black American actress worked Off-Broadway and in regional theater productions for several years before landing the role of Eleanor Emerson, the strong and independent wife of Charles S. Dutton's title character on the Fox sitcom "Roc". Ella Joyce's theater credits include August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" and "Don't Get God Started." Her theater experience provided excellent preparation for the TV series' shift to a live production. Joyce's TV credits have included appearances in several TV-movies--Mike Newell's "Common Ground" (1990) and "Choices" (1986)--and the cable series "Rin Tin Tin". She has attributed her success to changing her name, but her fortunate association with the celebrated playwright August Wilson was probably even more relevant. All three of Joyce's co-stars on "Roc" had appeared in plays written by Wilson and directed by Lloyd Richards. Joyce made her screen debut in the pallid Sylvester Stallone vehicle "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" (1992) and subsequently appeared in the crime drama "Set It Off" (1996).