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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Money talks: and when your country's population is more than 1.35 billion people, it's sort of hard to ignore the noise those dollars make. So it's no surprise that Paramount Pictures announced Monday that it will co-produce Transformers 4 with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises. Both companies are major players in the Chinese movie market, and will help out with the film's partial filming in the country that has made big moves to draw Hollywood productions East.
According to the LA Times, the agreement also calls for the Michael Bay-helmed production to cast Chinese actors and complete at least some of the post-production process in the country. Bay released a statement framing the deal as a way to "help reach more people" and "deepen their passion for this ongoing story and its characters."
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Hardly the first deal of its kind, Transformers 4 is simply following an increasing trend of moving at least part of major blockbuster productions East. The Bruce Willis/Joseph Gordon-Levitt time-travel blockbuster Looper and upcoming superhero sequel Iron Man 3 have both done similar deals with the country. The deal is a mutually beneficial one that will decrease production costs (hooray outsourcing!) while also feeding China’s demand for movies. This will ultimately lead to a bigger bang for their buck, as American companies are allowed to take a greater percentage of the box office in such instances. International teamwork makes the movie dream work, as the saying sort of goes!
Obviously money drives the bus in a situation such as this, but what's more interesting may be that some China-made films get entirely different endings for Chinese audiences. See: Iron Man 3. Marvel Studios and Chinese company DMG recently announced that a unique version of Iron Man 3 would be released in China, including special bonus footage and an appearance by popular Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
Transformers 4 is tentatively slated for a June 27, 2014 release in China. No word yet on if the Chinese version will be the same as the U.S.'s version, or if it will follow in Iron Man 3’s footsteps. All that we can be certain of is that parts of China are going to be completely decimated once Bay is done with them.
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[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]
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Christmas may have ended, but Bruce Willis is back with the next chapter of the yuletide-friendly Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard (although the fifth installment is being released on Valentines Day, giving romance a new meaning). Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane finds himself on foreign soil for the first time after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack (Jai Courtney) - unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the father/son duo discover their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.
Check out the just-released trailer below:
It seems like we're in for the explosions, gunfire, and breath-taking action sequences that make a Die Hard movie what it is. This time around, we'll get to see John McClane in a whole new light — a father — but he's not exactly a normal dad, and his son isn't exactly the run-of-the-mill kid either. But really, what else would you expect from the McClanes?
A Good Day to Die Hard arrives in theaters February 14, 2013.
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[Photo credit: 20th Century Fox]
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The powers that be on Arrow have snagged Once Upon a Time’s Dr. Frankenstein — aka David Anders — to play a truly monstrous villain on the freshman CW hit. The Alias alum will cause trouble in Starling City (beginning with episode 13) as Cyrus Vanch, a ruthless criminal who is released from prison but clearly has not learned his lesson. Vanch will be the biggest bad our hooded hero has ever faced. Dun dun duuun! [Zap2it]
AMC Gets Dramatic: AMC has ordered two new drama pilots from the producers of two successful shows. First up is Halt & Catch Fire from Breaking Bad EP Mark Johnson, which centers on "The personal computing boom in the 1980s." But instead of being set in the all-too-familiar Silicon Valley, the setting is Texas’ "Silicon Prairie," located just north of Dallas. Next is Turn, from Nikita creator/executive producer Craig Silverstein and Barry Josephson. Turn is a revolutionary war drama set in 1778, that tells the story of a New York farmer who rallies his childhood friends into a unlikely group of spies in the fight for America’s independence. [EW]
More Roughness to Come: USA Network is ready to tackle a third season of Necessary Roughness — the drama, which stars Callie Thorne as New York sports psychologist Dr. Dani Santino, is just about to be picked up for a third season. The new order will likely be for just ten episodes, however — a shorter stint than either of the drama's previous two seasons. [Deadline]
Comedy Central Orders More Laughs: Looks like there's something in the water — Key & Peele has also been renewed for a third season. The 13-episode third cycle of the show — starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele — will premiere next fall. The sketch comedy series was an insta-hit in its January debut, winning audiences over with its unique sketches (including President Obama's "anger translator"). "Since Obama won re-election, it only seems fair that we would give Key & Peele another season," said Comedy Central’s head of original programming, Kent Alterman.
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To celebrate legendary Quentin Tarantino’s film career spanning two decades, Miramax, NCM Fathom Events and IGN are bringing two of his most acclaimed movies back into theaters for one night each. This December you can catch both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction in movie theaters nationwide.
Tarantino XX: ‘Reservoir Dogs’ 20th Anniversary Event will hit select movie theaters nationwide on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m. local time. In 1992, Tarantino introduced himself to the film scene with his debut of Reservoir Dogs. Twenty years later, the crime-thriller is back in theaters. Introducing key elements – non-linear storytelling, violent crime, and intricate dialogue- that have become hallmarks of Tarantino’s work, Reservoir Dogs follows the story of six criminals hired to carry out a diamond heist, but when the police show up at the time of the robbery, panic spreads, violence ensues and suspicions grow. Reservoir Dogs 20th Anniversary Event will also feature trailers hand-picked by Tarantino that influenced his work, and exclusive new interviews.
Tarantino XX: ‘Pulp Fiction’ Event hits theaters two days later on Thursday Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. local time. Recognized on AFI’s Top 100 list, Pulp Fiction weaves three interconnected stories of seemingly unrelated people into an intricate tale of violence and redemption. Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hitmen out to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. Wallace has also asked Vincent to take his wife Mia out while he is away. Butch Coolidge is an aging boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his next fight. These intersecting storylines starring John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman are brought together in a highly-stylized way that has become a cinema classic.
Hollywood.com can also give you an exclusive look at the Pulp Fiction themed panel of the five part fold-out cover/interior of the upcoming box set Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection Blu-ray. The artwork is from artist Ken Taylor, whose work has been previously utilized by the Mondo poster company. Check it out here.
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[Photo Credit: Miramax Films]
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Friends and family of Antoine Ashley, better known as Sahara Davenport on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, released a statement Wednesday which revealed his cause of death, People reports. Ashley's mother has said that her son died at the age of 27 from heart failure.
“I thank God for giving me an Angel Antoine Ashley to share with the rest of the world,” Reddish said in the statement. “My family and I would like to thank everyone for their condolences and support. We know that our Angel is now dancing in heaven. May God bless each and everyone.”
Davenport’s boyfriend of six years, Karl Westerberg, who competed on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race as Manila Luzon, said in a statement, “Antoine lived to entertain the world as Sahara Davenport, and the world was in awe over his extreme talent. But his heart is what made us all fall in love with him. To me he will always be my best friend, my hero, my Diva, and I have always considered myself more than lucky to have him be forever a part of my life. Thank you, hon, for bringing so much beauty to all of us. Your legacy lives on in me and all of us you’ve touched.”
In addition to RuPaul’s Drag Race, Davenport also appeared on A&E’s 15 Films about Madonna, Voom HD's Magnificent Obsessions, and on ABC's One Life to Live, as well as music videos by Billboard chart-toppers David Guetta and Chris Willis.
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[Photo Credit: WENN]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
After long speculation that found actors as wide ranging in age and experience as Jon Hamm and Armie Hammer rumored for the role, Henry Cavill of The Tudors fame has landed the lead in director Zack Snyder's highly anticipated Superman reboot tentatively titled The Man of Steel!
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have confirmed to Deadline that Cavill, who was once in the running to play James Bond and Batman in their respective recent reboots, emerged victorious in the quest to don the red, yellow and blue spandex in the film, which is due December 2012. He was also on the shortlist of actors to portray the Last Son of Krypton when Brett Ratner and McG were set to helm what turned into Bryan Singer's 2006 film Superman Returns; Brandon Routh wore the cape in that chapter of the superhero legacy.
Cavill just wrapped Immortals with director Tarsem Singh and The Cold Light of Day opposite Bruce Willis. Both films will hit theaters later this year, when the lucky young actor will begin production on the Christopher Nolan-produced sequel being written by David Goyer and Jonah Nolan. All eyes now turn to Clark Kent's favorite lady Lois Lane, a part I've long felt Anne Hathaway would be perfect for had she not taken the role of Selina Kyle in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about Henry Cavill as Superman? Who should play Lois Lane? Tell us your thoughts!