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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The actress will join the cast of the Cotton Club Parade at New York City Center for a limited seven-night run in November (12).
Announcing the news in a Twitter.com post on Monday (30Jul12), Riley writes, "I am so excited to be a part of Cotton Club Parade! I have been wanting to burst out and tell everyone lol (laugh out loud) I'm glad it's finally out!"
The Broadway-style revue focuses on Ellington's years at the famous Cotton Club venue in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s and will feature musical direction from Wynton Marsalis.
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.
The latest cinematic tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson is The Rum Diary, based on the author's longtime-unpublished novel about a fictional young journalist's hedonistic and dangerous trip to Puerto Rico. The film stars Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp (whose journey is inspired by Thompson's own Puerto Riccan adventures) as well as Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi and Richard Jenkins.
Singing the praises of Hunter S. Thompson is fairly pointless deed. Everyone who knows him has likely already decided how they feel about him. There are the tirless devotees who appreciate the man's onconscionable genius and hold dear the watermark he has forever left on the world of not simply journalism but writing entirely. And then there are the others... whom we'll just gloss over. Regardless of which side you're on, you're likely glued to it. But if you're in the first category, you still hold an unvarying spot in your Top Ten for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The movie was a godsend -- perhaps the truest and most worthwhile film adaptation of a piece of literature created in our time. Depp portrayed Thompson's alias Raoul Duke with such artistic dedication and originality, narrating his thoughts in a thrilling timber, to cement Terry Gilliam's vibrant love affair with madness.
The Rum Diary, adapted from an even earlier work by Thompson, will reunite Depp with his role playing a thinly veiled embodiment of the author and with the memorable style of narration. It's hard to say if this movie will capture the magic of its cinematic predecessor. Of course, the two stories are not related and are not meant to be compared, but when such important elements are revisited, you can't help but hold one up to the other.
Some of us might be apprehensive. Can today's Depp and director Bruce Robinson (Withnail & I) bring Thompson's words to life in The Rum Diary? We don't know. But let's just say, the film is in capable hands. And the poster seems to be in the spirit Thompson would appreciate. So sure, we're a little nervous. But we're also very excited.
Top Story: Hawaiians Keep Local on Idol
If there is one thing TV viewers have learned from the third installment of Fox's American Idol it's that the best singers don't always necessarily win, and judge Simon Cowell was right when he said Hawaiian native Jasmine Trias owed her home state a lot of thank you letters. Instead of getting the boot for her mediocre performance this week, Trias got a boost from the Aloha State. A Verizon spokesman told The Associated Press Thursday of the 29 states in the phone company's local territory, only New York and California logged more calls on its network than Hawaii after the show aired. The AP noted Hawaiian viewers also benefit from a less-crowded calling period to cast votes since the state is six hours behind the East Coast. To sweeten the pot, many in Hawaii are campaigning for Trias, including, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a local newspaper, a radio hosts and a TV news anchor at KHON, who signed off with a reminder to vote for Trias. In the show's finale, which airs May 25-26, Trias, Fantasia Barrino or Diana DeGarmo will be the crowned American Idol and win a coveted record contract.
Rupert Gets $1 Million Survivor Consolation Prize
Rupert Boneham, the bearded giant from Indianapolis, won the $1 million consolation prize during CBS' special edition of Survivor All-Stars Thursday night, which host Jeff Probst jokingly referred to as America's Tribal Council. During the Sunday night finale, CBS had called on fans to vote one of the losing 17 contestants of Survivor All-Stars a second million-dollar prize. Following winner Boneham in the votes were Tom Buchanan, Colby Donaldson and "Boston Rob" Mariano-who lost the show's initial $1 million prize to his fiancée, Amber Brkich. And get ready for more Survivor love-fest: Mariano and Brkich, who became engaged during Sunday's live finale, said a network had approached them about televising their wedding.
Frasier Crane Has Left the Building
The multiple Emmy-winning NBC comedy Frasier ended it 11-year run Thursday night with its trademark antics: Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and wife Daphne (Jane Leeves) welcomed their first child, while Martin (John Mahoney) got hitched to Ronee (Wendie Malick). Series star Frasier, Kelsey Grammer, made the decision to leave Seattle and accept a new job hosting a TV show in San Francisco. But the surprise came during final scene, which showed Frasier in a plane touching down with the pilot announcing, "Welcome to Chicago"--the city where his potential soul mate Charlotte (Laura Linney) had just moved. The touching farewell will surely fuel rumors of a possible spin-off in the Windy City.
Jackson Prosecutors Want Gag Order Upheld
Santa Barbara County prosecutors submitted a letter to the state Supreme Court Thursday asking that a gag in the Michael Jackson child molestation case be upheld in order in order to maintain an untainted jury pool. The letter comes in response to a request from news organizations to lift the gag order, which bars anyone connected to the case from talking about it. Attorney Theodore Boutrous, who represents the news organizations, said in an interview the prosecution's attack on the news media access was unusual. "The notion that public information should be limited in cases where public interest is the highest offends First Amendment values," Boutrous said. The Supreme Court has asked both sides to submit arguments by Friday.
Kelly Rowlands Engaged to Dallas Cowboy
Columbia Records announced Friday that Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland is engaged to Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams. Williams proposed in New York on Monday in a room filled with friends--including fellow Destiny's Child singer Beyoncé Knowles, AP reports. Rowland and Williams, both 23, haven't set a date for the wedding. They have been dating for about six months. Rowland, who won a Grammy last year for collaborating with Nelly on the hit single "Dilemma" from her solo albumSimply Deep, is due back in the studio with Destiny's Child next month to record a new album.
Weinstein To Publish Memoirs
Publisher HarperCollins announced Thursday that Miramax film studio co-founder Harvey Weinstein is writing a memoir. Weinstein, known for his feisty temper and producing critically acclaimed films, will tell the history of how he and his brother Bob grew up in a "lower-middle class" household in Queens, New York, and founded the studio named after their parents, Miriam and Max, Reuters reports. "This book offers a great opportunity to share many of the lessons I've learned about the business world and the entertainment industry over the past 25 years," Weinstein said in a news release. The book is due out in 2006.
Osmonds Beef Up Security at Mother's Funeral
The Osmond family has upped security for Olive Osmond's funeral after being informed of rumors of a $30,000 bounty for a photograph of the family matriarch in her coffin. According to the AP, fans contacted the Osmond Brothers to let them know them a Web site had posted a rumor offering money for "a photograph of Mrs. Osmond with the children around the coffin mourning, but they want her in the coffin." Osmond family spokesman Ron Clark didn't corroborate the rumor, but said extra security had been added for the Saturday funeral at Provo's Oak Hills Stake Center, a meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Olive Osmond, mother of Donny and Marie Osmond and other members of the Utah entertainment family, died Sunday of complications from a stroke at the age of 79.
Role Call: Bruce Almighty Sequel in Works
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Spyglass are in talks to mount a Bruce Almighty sequel based on the freestanding script The Passion of the Ark from Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg. According to Variety, but the plan is to court Jim Carrey to reprise and to have Tom Shadyac return as director.
The race for 2002's worst films and acting performances got off to a roaring start as the nominations for the Golden Raspberry, or Razzie, Awards were announced Monday. The actress category included Madonna's performance in Swept Away, which also snagged a nod for worst film, as well as Jennifer Lopez for her turns in Enough and Maid in Manhattan. Also on the list were Winona Ryder for Mr. Deeds, Angelina Jolie for Life Or Something Like It and Britney Spears for her debut in Crossroads, which also made it to the worst film list. Rounding out the worst films were The Adventures of Pluto Nash, the Italian film Pinocchio and Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones. Actors included Eddie Murphy for Pluto Nash, Roberto Benigni for Pinocchio, Adriano Giannini for Swept Away, Steven Seagal for Half Past Dead and Adam Sandler for his dual performances in Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights and Mr. Deeds.
Michael Jackson wants to strike back at Martin Bashir, the British interviewer who, he claims, betrayed him in the documentary on his personal life which aired last week. The King of Pop has authorized the release of video footage to prove Bashir was misleading and unfair. "I am bewildered at the length to which people will go to portray me so negatively," Jackson said in a statement.
The Associated Press reports Star Wars creator George Lucas is planning to build a $300 million special effects campus in San Francisco, Calif. for his company Lucasfilm Ltd. in hopes to give the coastal city recognition as a major player in filmmaking. The 850,000-square-foot project is scheduled for completion in 2005.
Maybe Ryan Phillippe thinks his star is dimming a bit in the glow of his successful wife Reese Witherspoon? Variety reports Phillippe has fired his agents at the William Morris Agency and his management company Brillstein Gray Entertainment. He is currently considering other representation.
George Clooney lost his usual cool while answering questions about his film Solaris at the Berlin International Film Festival Saturday. According to Reuters, a journalist from Turkey commented to the actor at a press conference that he thought the film, which received mixed reviews in the U.S., was "boring." Clooney responded, "You crack me up, man. You just wanted to get up and be a rat, you know that? You just wanted to get up and say something rotten. What a jerk! I mean honestly, you know, what a (expletive) thing to say!"
George Clooney may not have been enjoying himself there, but perhaps his colleagues at the kickoff of the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival this past weekend were. Variety reports the festival attracted a more than a few celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage, Jackie Chan and Dustin Hoffman. The well-respected festival has made a concentrated effort to boost star power this year.
Renee Zellweger has denied she and co-star Hugh Grant are gearing up for a sequel to their hit comedy Bridget Jones's Diary. According to BBCNews.com, when asked about Jones' sequel at the Berlin Film Festival, the actress replied, "Neither of us has seen scripts, neither of us has a start date and neither of us has committed because there is nothing to commit to."
Eminem says he will do only one concert this year, in his hometown of Detroit, Mich. According to AP, the July 12 show, at the new Detroit football stadium Ford Field, will also feature Missy Elliot and 50 Cent.