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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Oscar winner Octavia Spencer has signed up to star in Steven Spielberg's new TV drama Red Band Society after plans to remake acclaimed crime show Murder, She Wrote with her as Angela Lansbury's replacement were scrapped last month (Jan14). The Help star will portray the character of Nurse Jackson, "an authoritative, intuitive woman who doesn't put up with c**p" from the teenage patients at her hospital in Spielberg's new project.
The upcoming series, an adaptation of the Spanish show Polseres Vermelles, will be produced by the movie mogul and it will air on U.S. network Fox.
Spencer's casting news emerges less than a month after bosses at America's NBC channel decided to axe the Murder, She Wrote revival, which would have featured the actress taking on Lansbury's iconic role of amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.
British actress Dame Angela Lansbury is convinced she missed out on a prestigious Emmy Award because Hollywood chiefs never watched her acclaimed TV show Murder, She Wrote. The veteran star has scooped three Golden Globe awards for Best Actress for her performances as supersleuth Jessica Fletcher in the crimebusting drama, a role she played for 12 years from 1984.
She also received 12 Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress but missed out every time, and she is adamant her failure can be blamed on award organisers for not watching the show.
The actress tells U.K. TV show This Morning, "I was nominated 12 times. I never won it, and the reason was the people of Hollywood never watch Murder, She Wrote and they are the people who are voting, whereas across the country it was the most popular show on television."
Murder, She Wrote ended in 1996 after more than 260 episodes. A planned reboot, starring Octavia Spencer in Lansbury's role, was axed earlier this month (Jan14).
Executives at America's NBC network have scrapped plans to revive Dame Angela Lansbury's popular TV series Murder, She Wrote. Bosses at the network announced plans to revamp the mystery series last autumn (13), with Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer poised to take on Lansbury's iconic role of amateur detective Jessica Fletcher.
However, a source tells TheWrap.com that executives have now put the project on hold.
Lansbury, who voiced her opposition to the reboot, landed 12 Emmy nominations for her work on the series, which ran from 1984 to 1996. It spawned four TV movies as well as a spin-off series, The Law & Harry McGraw.
The small screen has never had more big acclaim than it does right now. Forget the days of the boob tube being the last bastion of once top-flight actors and actresses, just trying to squeeze one more ounce out of their respective fame long after the halcyon days of the silver screen were gone. Today, thanks primarily to first-run cable networks showcasing shows of unparalleled critical acclaim, it has also never been a better time to be a fan of all-things-TV at Christmas. We proudly present just a few such offerings – with, ironically, no TV actually needed (particularly if you prefer to watch on your phone or computer). After all, who needs weekly TV at all if you have full seasons just an arm’s length away?
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (Barrel Edition)
The whole series. Everything. All in one shot. A Pollos Hermanos apron. Plus, a two-hour documentary - and 55 hours of bonus material. Inside a freakin’ barrel. Whoa.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 25th Anniversary Edition
No joke here (for once) as the MST 3000 gang comes together in a five-disc set with plenty of flicks, fun and bonus features.
Robotech: The Complete Set
One of the first anime imports back in 1985, this set collects (and remasters) every episode of Robotech: Macross; Masters and New Generation. Mecha-fantastic gift for any animation fan.
Naked City: The Complete Series
There are eight million stories in the Naked City – with 138 of them finding their way onto 29 discs in this epic set from the landmark series, a docu-drama filmed on location in New York with guest stars like Hackman, Redford, Duvall, Walken and Hoffman, just to name a few.
Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Series
For the first time ever, get all 12 seasons on 63 discs – in one collection – as Angela Lansbury (as Jessica Fletcher) is on the job in 264 thrilling episodes.
Veteran actress Angela Lansbury is urging TV producers to reconsider revamping her classic crime series Murder, She Wrote because she feels recycling the show is a "mistake". The Oscar nominee portrayed mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher in the series from 1984 to 1996, landing the star 12 Emmy nominations and spawning four TV movies and a spin-off series, The Law & Harry McGraw.
Bosses at America's NBC network recently announced plans to rework the popular show with Octavia Spencer in the lead role - but Lansbury insists it won't be the same.
She tells the Associated Press, "I think it's a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote because Murder, She Wrote will always be about a Cabot Cove (show's fictional village) and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person...
"So I'm sorry that they (TV executives) have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though they have access to it and it's their right."
However, Lansbury, 88, insists she hopes for nothing but the best for Spencer: "I saw her in The Help and thought she was absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress. So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn't in Murder, She Wrote."
A few days ago it was announced that Murder She Wrote, the brilliant detective series that aired from 1984 to 1996, would be coming back to television. The show that had many of us falling in love with the incomparable Angela Lansbury will get a reboot from NBC, and while lots of folks are worried that the new series will pale in comparison to the original (a possibility, considering the original is one of the most successful series of all time), we think there's at least one factor to get excited about Octavia Spencer. Here are a few reasons we know she'll be awesome as the new Jessica Fletcher.
She Loves A Little Controversy
Spencer has spoken out in the past about her desire to play every type of role under the sun, regardless of possible controversies. In spite of criticism, she didn’t shy away from playing a maid in the 2011 film The Help, and we think she’ll handle some of the negative responses to this casting news as well. And by "handle," we mean "deliver such an amazing performance, everyone will have to get over it."
That Oscar Was Well-Deserved
Many of us were not familiar with Spencer before her Academy Award-winning role as Minny Jackson in The Help. But it must be said that she’s a seasoned actor who put in years and years of work before garnering her Oscar. Much of that work was in television, so Murder She Wrote represents a return to a very familiar stage for Spencer.
The Reboot Was Partly Inspired By Her Love For The Original Character
Spencer opened up about her involvement in the project and it's clear that she is a fan first and foremost: “I’ve always considered myself an armchair detective and in a recent meeting with Bob Greenblatt, he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV. Naturally, I said "J.B. Fletcher meets Columbo." And here we are.”
Her excitement leads us to believe that we can get excited about this project as well. With Spencer on board, we're definitely expecting good things.
"Murder, She Re-Wrote" is more like it. Octavia Spencer is taking her turn penning a mystery novel and solving crimes as an amateur sleuth in a pilot based off of the highly successful Murder, She Wrote series, according to Deadline.
NBC's Murder, She Wrote will follow a hospital administrator and amateur crime-solver (Spencer) who self-publishes her first mystery novel and sticks her nose into active investigations. If the series comes to fruition, it would mark the first series regular role for Spencer, who just came off of a guest-starring role in CBS' Moms.
While the series has pegged itself as a reimagining of the original show but with a light, contempory spin in the fashion of Bones or Fargo, it's a pretty huge deal that NBC is taking on one of the most beloved and successful shows in TV history, not to mention one of the most famous TV characters. Replacing Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher seems as ridiculous as recasting Walter White from Breaking Bad or Frasier from... Frasier. Additionally, it's interesting that Alexandra Cunningham, who previously produced for Desperate Housewives, is writing the series. We're having trouble imagining Jessica Fletcher living a life of scandal when she should be seated comfortably in her home in Cabot Cove, Maine while she jauntily types away on her old Royal typewriter.
All we can say is that we hope Lansbury is headed back to the small screen for this murder reboot because no one does grandmotherly sleuth as well as she does. No one.
Beloved U.S. TV series Murder She Wrote is set for a revamp with Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer in the leading role. Angela Lansbury played mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher in the series, which ran from 1984 to 1996 and landed the actress 12 Emmy nominations. It spawned four TV movies as well as a spin-off series, The Law & Harry McGraw.
The remake will mark Spencer's first TV role.
She says, "I've always considered myself an armchair detective and in a recent meeting with Bob Greenblatt (NBC chairman), he asked me what type of character would be able to lure me to TV.
"Naturally, I said J.B. Fletcher meets Colombo... And here we are. I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity..."
The Hangover had a pretty ingenious conceit: take the nightmarish scenario of blacking out and waking up with no memories and fit it into the beats of a film noir. Recalling the events of the prior night became a mystery with hints of Raymond Chandler, with the added hurdle of nasty, roofie-induced headaches.
The sequel replicated the format of the first movie, but writer/director Todd Phillips seems to be going a bit more straightforward for his third adventure with the Wolf Pack. Judging from the latest trailer, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and Stu (Ed Helms) don't suffer any foggy memories. Instead, they're strong-armed into using their detective skills to solve an actual mystery.
This time, the trio is enlisted by a vicious mobster (John Goodman) to track down the franchise sidekick Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). Which means The Hangover: Part III has a lot more Ken Jeong than either of its predecessors. Depending on comedic tastes and tolerance of high screechy voices, that could make or break the movie.
While the trailer has a severe lack of Jessica Fletcher, it does seem to go back to the basics of what made the first movie work, with the insanity of Vegas once again playing home to the bumbling trio's antics. Has The Hangover worn out its welcome, or is stripping down the concept refreshing?
The Hangover Part III arrives May 24. Check out a new poster for the movie, which showcases the three stars with new and improved eyewear, below:
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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