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 human face is a beautiful thing - when it's not contorted in a bass guitar-related gurn. So what is a bass face? Well, it's kind of like a sex face, sustained while hammering the old four-string.
While Haim's Este tops the current league charts for most grotesque bass face, her predecessors make for some compelling case studies.
Paul McCartney, for instance.
Some people know Macca as a Beatle. BF spotters know him as one of the original chronic gurners. Bass face: he's still got it!
Then there's Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
We don't know if it was the speed, the glue or the raw exertion of punk rock, but Sid's iconic bass face became an essential primer for bass face copycats to follow.
Then there's Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Never one for a lacklustre performance, Flea's face moves around almost as much as he does.
And last, but not least, the legendary stylings of Parliament-Funkadelic's Bootsy Collins have influenced a slew of imitators. Just in case his bass doesn't bring all of the funk, his face always packs a little extra.
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There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
Poor St. Patrick. His Day has devolved into a celebration of – and with – alcohol rather than a celebration of the man himself and what he represents: the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day 2012, we’re here to perpetuate that modern tradition with a list our favorite drunk scenes of all time. (NOTE: THE CLIPS BELOW CONTAIN VULGAR LANGUAGE AND/OR WILL FERRELL’S BUTT.)
Leaving Las Vegas
A great drunk scene need not be of the comedic variety. Exhibit A: almost every scene of Nicolas Cage’s (career-best, Oscar-winning) performance as a man on a mission to drink himself to death. Several sequences are depressingly memorable, but one of the best involves a little bit of humor, a bar fight and the awesome line “Like the kiln klan king of the rim ram room.”
“We’re going streaking!” With that line – and, of course, the gratuitous display of his ass (which would soon become his go-to move) – Will Ferrell cemented a spot in many a frat guy’s heart and on any list like this one. It also actually might’ve helped launch him into superstardom, as he went on quite a roll following Old School, and this scene was certainly its most memorable.
Much of Superbad revolves around procuring alcohol, and many such scenes that take place after said procurement are instant classics (i.e., Michael Cera and Martha MacIsaac getting, uh, clumsy in bed, or Cera reluctantly singing to a group of coked-out older guys), but the best might be the one that sets the movie apart from straightforward raunch-fests before and since: the hilariously tender scene between Cera and Jonah Hill after a long night of drunken craziness. Boop!
Billy Bob Thornton singlehandedly helped refresh the entire holiday-movie genre with his title mall Santa – an obscenity-spewing, alcohol-swilling curmudgeon out to make money on Christmas, not make kids smile. In one of the movie's best scenes (above), hilarity starts the very second we see Thornton’s character, in Santa attire, roll up the escalator, wasted, with a broken bottle of booze in his hand.
The Big Lebowski
It’s not exactly a drunk scene, per se, but we wouldn’t feel right about not including it: While driving, with a beer in one hand and joint in the other (certainly not something we’d recommend trying), The Dude (Jeff Bridges) tries to flick the joint roach out of his closed car window, lets out one of the more hilarious yelps in movie history when it falls on his crotch, and then does, well, the somewhat sensible thing by using his beer as a fire extinguisher. And then crashes.
“No more yanky my wanky. The Donger need food!” What else can be said? Ever??
Otis Day & The Knights - Shout (video edit) from FunkyRob on Vimeo.
John Belushi and Co. spent much of this beloved college comedy drunk (except for the great “I’m a zit, get it?” scene) – and oftentimes seemed drunk even when their characters weren’t – but the best, most purely fun drunkenness is on display during Otis Day & the Knights’ performance of “Shout” at a Delta House packed with frat guys and their dates ready to sing and dance like fools.
Don’t let the horrendous Russell Brand update taint the 1981 Arthur. In fact, let it prompt you to watch or re-watch the fantastic original, in which Dudley Moore plays the title character, arguably the greatest film drunk of all time (whatever that means). It’s pretty tough to choose just one amazing drunk scene, so we went with several. Because you truly can’t hear that laugh enough.
How about a scene involving what will not be drunk instead of a “drunk scene”? Even though it doesn’t contain anything memorable that meets the basic criteria of our list, Sideways is expressly about alcohol, so it does have some business being on a list commemorating THE drunk holiday, and … OK, we just had to find a way to include Paul Giammatti’s classic anti-merlot line.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT?
Apparently modest box-office success is good enough for a sequel these days. After watching our hero Chev spend 24 hours keeping his heart going at lightning speed to fight off a deadly poison in the first Crank we now get the High Voltage follow-up which picks up exactly where the story left off. Chev survives a fall to certain death only to wake up three months later to find a Chinese mobster has replaced his all-powerful heart with a battery-operated device that requires constant jolts of electricity in order to stay alive. He escapes and with intermittent charging from car batteries and phone wires embarks on a marathon chase to retrieve his heart and fight off various bad guys including a Mexican gang boss and a group of Chinese triads led by 100-year-old Poon Dong who desires Chev's vital organs (yes even THAT one) for his own purposes.
WHO'S IN IT?
Jason Statham is back as Chev of course displaying the same combination of kickass frenetic action and dumb comedy that marked the first edition. Forced to act the human equivalent of a Road Runner cartoon Statham gives it his all but it's a stretch to say the least. Everyone else plays mainly one-dimensional buffoons including the moronic hyped-up Chinese stereotype from Bai Ling who has been given lines like: "This dude my Kevin Costner and he gonna beat you off" or "You need me like Whitney Houston dude." Apparently the 17-year-old The Bodyguard was the last movie these screenwriters saw. Clifton Collins Jr. (Sunshine Cleaning) seems to revel in overacting the Mexican baddie El Huron while a really old-looking David Carradine destroys any fond memories of Kung Fu as he plays the jokey Poon Dong. Back from the original are Dwight Yoakam literally phoning his part in as the ever helpful Doc and Amy Smart as Chev's hot girlfriend.
It's in focus.
Moviegoers with the stomach to watch nipples and kneecaps being sliced and diced dumb profane dialogue spelled out in graphic letters on the screen in case you're hard of hearing over-the-top acting and sleazy direction — you all will love it. It's a shame to see the usually solid Statham waste his potential in stuff that aims for the lowest common denominator and hits its target.
MOST CREATIVE SEX SCENE IN A JASON STATHAM MOVIE:
The horny and uninhibited Statham and Smart turn the racing track at Hollywood Park into their own personal motel room as they horse around in X-rated style while the betting crowd cheers them on. We're not sure about Win or Place but these two definitely Show.
MOST PROPHETIC LINE:
During outtakes over the end credits Statham blurts out "It's so hard to keep a straight face!" We were thinking the same thing Jason.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Netflix. But you know skip this and rent the first Crank instead where there is at least a modicum of originality.
In this film based on the Newbery Award-winning children's book by Kate DiCamillo Opal (AnnaSophia Robb) is a lonely 10-year-old girl who has moved to a sluggish small town in Florida with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels). She has a tough time getting through to her dad: when he is not preaching the gospel he walks around in a haze haunted by the departure of Opal's mother many years before. But when Opal adopts Winn-Dixie named after the supermarket where she found the mutt things start to brighten up for the little girl. With her special companion by her side Opal ends up meeting some pretty interesting people in the town. They include Miss Franny (Eva Marie Saint) the local spinster librarian who spins great stories; Otis (Dave Matthews) the shy drifter working at Gertrude's Pet Shop; and Gloria (Cicely Tyson) an old blind lady living with ghosts from her past. Through Opal's sunny disposition and Winn-Dixie doggone tenaciousness they help the town find their joy and their sorrow. And at the same time they mend Opal's troubled relationship with her father. Collectively now awwww!
All the players fit snugly in this warmhearted movie especially the talented young Robb who makes her feature film debut in Winn-Dixie. It's imperative to cast an adorable child and Robb doesn't disappoint keeping things genuinely fresh with the big eyes infectious smile and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm charm. Daniels too doesn't overplay it as the wounded preacher--aptly described by Opal as a turtle--who rarely sticks his head out of his shell. Veterans Eva Marie Saint and Cicely Tyson do what they can with their stereotypical parts as the kindly spinster storyteller and kindly old wise woman respectively. But it's singer-turned-actor Dave Matthews who stands out as the drifter with a troubled past but can "sing most anything " even charming the animals in the pet shop á la the Pied Piper. His poignant performance is up there in the sentiment department.
Here we go with the children and the animals again. Wayne Wang (Maid in Manhattan The Joy Luck Club) is the latest director to take a stab at guiding those most unpredictable of actors. As he explains "Sometimes the going is slow. But then suddenly something magical happens that you couldn't possibly have planned or anticipated." It's true. There are definite moments of inspired sweetness especially between Opal and Winn-Dixie played by a Picardy Shepherd a rare breed of dog from France that has the look of a big old lovable mutt. And of course you can't go too wrong using heart-tugging material based on a beloved children's novel on par with Where the Red Fern Grows and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. That's also Because of Winn-Dixie main problem. Fans of the book will certainly love the film but overall it doesn't really offer anything new in this genre. It's the same general premise about the kid and a dog--or a horse a deer whichever animal works best--who can change the lives of those around them just from being pure of heart. Maybe it's the curmudgeon in me but Winn-Dixie just doesn't stand out among the plethora of films similar to it.
The misadventures begin when amateur wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) decides he's going to take his old college buddy the charming Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a relaxing trip to the vineyards of California's Santa Ynez Valley the week before Jack's impending nuptials. It would be nice if it were that simple but in actuality the two comically mismatched friends have some serious mid-life crises to work through: Miles is a sad-sack worrier who has been depressed for the last two years over a failed marriage and several failed attempts to get his novel published while over-sexed Jack faces his faded youth and fading acting career. Their journey denigrates into debauchery as trips like this is are wont to do and Miles and Jack soon find themselves sniffing swirling and downing wine while chatting up the local denizens--including the vivacious wine pourer Stephanie (Sandra Oh) to whom Jack takes a shine and the quiet wine-savvy waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) who takes a shine to Miles. At the end of the week the guys eventually emerge from a haze of pinot noir sexual escapades and wistful yearnings to collide with the reality of heading back home.
Payne didn't want to cast what he calls "movie stars" for Sideways deciding to go with lesser known actors who could bring out the human drama in a more instinctive way (even though Payne probably could have brought out good performances in just about anyone; look what he did with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt). Casting the superb Giamatti as the beleaguered Miles however is a stroke of genius: The actor elevates the movie to another level turning in an unbelievably heart-wrenching performance. Sure Giamatti is the king of playing losers having played plenty of them in his career (American Splendor
Duets) but it's the surprisingly sweet and gentle way he becomes the guy who maybe just maybe gets the girl that knocks you out. Madsen as Miles's would-be paramour Maya also comes out of nowhere to give a very genuine portrait of a woman who's dealing with her own divorce while looking for some companionship. The actress has finally been given the chance to shine after a lot bad television (anyone remember
Just Ask My Children? My point exactly) and the movie's the better for it. As the other two players in the quartet Church whose been out of the loop since his days on TV's Wings does a wonderful job as Jack the cad who actually has a heart while Oh (Under the Tuscan Sun) adds a nice touch as the gullible Stephanie just looking for Mr. Right.
How about these quirky indie writer/directors these days getting all mushy and romantic? Charlie Kaufman started the trend this year with his terminally hip but eternally tender Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and even David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees
has its gooey moments weird and existential as they were. Now it's Alexander Payne's turn--and he's hit the jackpot. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Rex Pickett Payne along with writing partner Jim Taylor has crafted another exquisite slice-of-life movie to follow his brilliant efforts About Schmidt Election and Citizen Ruth but has also delved into the heart-ripping love story genre; Sideways is so painfully aching at times it hurts. The characters give eloquent soliloquies rather than come off as just talking heads spouting dialogue--Maya's explanation on why she loves wine so much; Miles' take on the delicate beauty of the pinot noir grape; Jack's tearful pleading with his friend to save him all hit home. Then of course there's the wine. Payne so vividly paints the artistry the tastes the pure love of wine as well as stylishly filming California's wine country that connoisseurs and novices alike will appreciate this movie. Heck anyone who just likes to drink the stuff is going to be mesmerized by the intimacy of it all. Speaking of which where's that bottle opener?