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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Reese Witherspoon and her husband Jim Toth have bought the house next door to her longtime Brentwood, California spread for $3 million (£1.9 million). The property was previously owned by actor Mark Harmon's mother, late former model and fashion designer Elyse Knox.
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.
The trailers for the upcoming In Time may have you believing that stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are stuck in one giant "there's no time!" chase sequence. You'd only be partially right. This couple of beautiful people are most definitely on the run, but with a greater purpose.
Every human on the planet, including the sprinting duo, is born with a ticking clock, an implant that acts as both their life's countdown clock and their wallet (in this world, time is currency). Nefarious circumstances force the duo to constantly search for a few more minutes, but the danger also inspires them to Robin Hood the rich (who have centuries worth of time on their clocks) and spread the wealth. Er, hours. They're bank robbers—and the newfound occupation elevates them to what is known in the movie world as "Bonnie and Clyde" status. Thanks to the lawless world of movies, two turn-of-the-century criminals have been immortalized, with Timberlake and Seyfried being the latest to keep the thieving dream alive.
Obviously, they aren't the first (but may be the most futuristic?). Here are a few examples of couples who make doing bad oh so good:
Pulp Fiction's Pumpkin and Honey Bunny
We don’t know a good deal about who “Pumpkin” and “Honey Bunny” are, or what brings them to the Hawthorne Grill that eventful morning. But aside from an offhanded remark about not particularly wanting to kill anybody, we can tell that the two of them are none too averse to a life of criminal activity (they might have undergone a change of heart after a run-in with Jules Winnfield, however). It seems the two are most amorous when they’re about to pull a job. In fact, it might be this life of crime that is, in fact, holding their love together. Thus, a more Bonnie and Clyde-esque pair you’d be hard-pressed to find.
Duplicity's Ray and Claire
Ray and Claire may be just as confused by one another's hazy allegiances as the audience watching this mind-bending romantic thriller. Throughout the movie, their relationship intertwines, doubles back and disintegrates over many years and many cooperate invasions. By the end, they're working together (or are they?!) to infiltrate and profit from their big business employers—but find themselves screwed by another unseen force. Thanks to Julia Roberts and Clive Owen's genuine chemistry, the only thing that doesn't feel like an espionage maneuver is the two's lust. But even then…
Fun with Dick and Jane's Dick and Jane
Dick and Jane Harper begin their cinematic adventures as your average married couple—their financially well-off, passionless, hardly the criminal type. Once Dick’s evil conglomerate lets most of its employees go, the two resort to robbery—ranging from quiet stickups at the ATM to the carefully-plotted takedown of Dick’s billionaire ex-employer—which, incidentally, ups the ante in their own personal zests for living. This simple suburban married couple, played by Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni, get a healthy dose of Bonnie and Clyde in Dean Parisot’s Fun with Dick and Jane.
Natural Born Killers' Mickey and Mallory
When it comes to couples who fuel their love life with crime, you’re bound to expect a little darkness. But even Bonnie and Clyde themselves would shudder at the activities of Mickey and Mallory Knox in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. From the moment of Mickey’s romantic—wait, no…horrifying—rescue of Mallory from her abusive parents, the two spend their life on the run from the law, committing murder after murder in the name of whatever they claim to believe in. It may be even beyond the wheelhouse of cinema’s most iconic criminal couple, but the roots of Mickey and Mallory are certainly planted in Bonnie and Clyde: they’re the bad guys. But they’re the bad guys together. So it’s kind of sweet—wait, no…horrifying.
Knight and Day's Roy and June
Roy and June may not pilfer the innocent, but they are a couple that spends a majority of their time on the run, firing guns amongst bystanders and escaping from sticky situations just in the nick of time. Sounds like a Bonnie & Clyde duo if there ever was one.
And they do do quite a bit of stealing: The secret agent and his blonde bombshell captive hunt, nab and protect a tiny trinket called the Zephyr, a never-ending battery capable of powering pretty much anything. The tricky part of their renegade romance is that neither really knows when one is going go backstab the other. Being a couple's a lot easier when both people have the same agenda, even if that agenda's robbing banks.
True Romance' Clarence and Alabama
Clarence and Alabama are guilty of plenty: prostitution, drug possession, murder, Sonny Chiba fandom. But their intentions are never quite criminal...it's all just a means to the truly romantic end of spending their lives together. Caught up in a runaway life, the couple portrayed by Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in this Tony Scott film exemplify the downward spiral that is the Bonnie and Clyde lifestyle. At the beginning of the film, Clarence is a simple video store clerk—but his love for Alabama, and possibly impassioned sensibilities over this new life of danger, have launched him and his call girl soul mate into an inescapable life of crime.
Bonnie and Clyde's Bonnie and Clyde
We're certainly not going to compile a tribute to Bonnie and Clyde couples and not include the definitive Bonnie and Clyde. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway inhabited the notorious crime couple and helped define the pair as symbols of counter culture. They were in love…but they also shot tommy guns and stole people's hard-earned cash. Back in 1967, Bonnie and Clyde shocked the nation. Now, anti-heroes are perfectly acceptable—to the point that Bonnie and Clyde may not even deserve the "anti" in their label!
It looks like this Three Stooges pic is moving forward; it's just moving in a million different directions. The list of potentials is all over the place; and that's no exaggeration. Just in the category of leading men in line for the iconic role of Larry are Justin Timberlake, Woody Harrelson and Larry David. While they could both bring their own entertaining flair to the project, the styles are so disparate that I don't know how David and Timberlake could be considered for the same role. That is unless the men behind the flick, The Farelly Brothers aren't sure of their direction yet; and that seems to be the exact case here.
The film was originally set up at MGM with Jim Carrey, Benicio Del Toro and Sean Penn as the famous trio, but those actors have since left the project and the film is now under Fox's tent so naturally, they're looking for new faces to fill the roles. Del Toro is still a possibility, but he's by no means a lock (how great would he be though?). In addition to the David, Timberlake, Harelson trifecta, we've also got Johnny Knoxville and Hank Azaria on the short list for Moe and Will Sasso ($#*! My Dad Says) and a string of unknowns for Curly. The reason for all this directionless potential casting is that the Farellys plan to build the cast around a big name once they one tied down for the film. Now it all makes sense as to why their net would be cast so wide.
That being said, since the Stooges pic is a passion project for the brothers, you'd think they'd have a clearer idea of what they're looking for instead of waiting until the big name that will give them a real direction falls into place. For a film that's been such a labor of love to even get to this point, I had hoped they'd have more push behind it all. Thanks to all these changes, we can hope -- and I mean HOPE -- that the film hits the screen sometime in 2012.
Source: Indie Wire