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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Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Like sands through the hourglass...the Daytime Emmy Awards are coming to TV live on Saturday night on HLN. So what can we expect of the show, which features some of the hardest-working (and most dramatic!) folks on TV?
Well, a celebration of what is seemingly a dying part of television's daytime history, for sure: soap operas! But what is it about soap operas that hook people in so fervently? Soap operas, while becoming a harder sell in they daytime, have heavily influenced some of today's top television series--where do you think Downton Abbey and Revenge got the idea to have such a juicy, drama-filled format? Celebrating the history (and point of evolution for some of our favorite shows) is definitely worthwhile, but it's not all that they're going to be giving awards to; the show will also highlight daytime talk, children's programming, and courtroom programming (which has their own separate genre/award; who knew?). Some of the culture's most ridiculous moments (aka anything with Kathie Lee and Hoda) happen in these wee hours, and we're excited to see how a party where they're all in the same room comes about.
Check out the nominees below, and tell us: what do you think about daytime programming? Sound off in the comments!
Outstanding Drama Series
“All My Children,” ABC
“Days of Our Lives,” NBC
“General Hospital,” ABC
“The Young and the Restless," CBS
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Maurice Benard, Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, Jr. on “General Hospital”
Anthony Geary, Luke Spencer on “General Hospital”
John McCook, as Eric Forrester on “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Darnell Williams, as Jesse Hubbard on “All My Children”
Robert S. Woods, as Bo Buchanan on “One Life to Live”
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Crystal Chappell, as Dr. Carly Manning on “Days of our Lives”
Debbi Morgan, as Angie Hubbard on “All My Children”
Erika Slezak, as Viki Lord on “One Life to Live”
Heather Tom, as Katie Logan Spencer on “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Laura Wright, as Carly Corinthos Jacks on “General Hospital”
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson, as Damien Spinelli in “General Hospital”
Matthew Ashford, as Jack Deveraux on “Days of our Lives”
Sean Blakemore, as Shawn Butler on “General Hospital”
Jonathan Jackson, as Lucky Spencer on “General Hospital”
Jason Thompson, as Patrick Drake on “General Hospital”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan, as Annie Chandler on “All My Children”
Genie Francis, as Genevieve Atkinson on “The Young and the Restless”
Nancy Lee Grahn, as Alexis Davis on “General Hospital”
Elizabeth Hendrickson, as Chloe Mitchell on “The Young and the Restless”
Rebecca Herbst, as Elizabeth Webber on “General Hospital”
Outstanding Young Actor in a Drama Series
Eddie Alderson, as Matthew Buchanan on “One Life To Live”
Chad Duell, as Michael Corinthos on “General Hospital”
Chandler Massey, as Will Horton on “Days of Our Lives”
Nathan Parsons, as Ethan Lovett on “General Hospital”
Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Molly Burnett, as Melanie Layton on “Days of our Lives”
Shelley Hennig, as Stephanie Johnson on “Days of our Lives”
Christel Khalil, as Lily Winters on “The Young and the Restless”
Jacqueline Macinnes Wood, as Steffy Forrester on “The Bold and the Beautiful”
Outstanding Culinary Program
“Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction,” Food Network
“Giada At Home, Food Network,” Food Network
“Guy's Big Bite,” Food Network
“Sandwich King,” Food Network
Outstanding Culinary/Lifestyle Host
Diada de Laurentis, “Giada at Home”
Rick Bayless, “Mexico—One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless”
Nate Berkus, “The Nate Berkus Show”
Paula Deen, “Paula’s Best Dishes”
Sandra Lee, “Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee”
Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” syndicated
“Live with Regis and Kelly,” syndicated
“The Talk,” CBS
“The View,” ABC
Outstanding Talk Show/Informative
“The Dr. Oz Show,” syndicated
”The Doctors,” syndicated
Outstanding Talk Show Host
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Regis Philbin & Kelly Ripa
The Doctors (entire cast)
Outstanding Morning Program
“Good Morning America,” ABC
“Today Show,” NBC
Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program
“America's Court with Judge Ross,” syndicated
“Judge Joe Brown,” syndicated
“Last Shot with Judge Gunn,” syndicated
“We the People with Gloria Allred,” syndicated
Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
“Cash Cab,” Discovery Channel
“Let's Make A Deal,” CBS
“Wheel of Fortune,” syndicated
“Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” syndicated
Outstanding Game Show Host
Ben Bailey, “Cash Cab”
Todd Newton, “Family Game Night”
Wayne Brady, “Let’s Make a Deal”
Meredith Vieira, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”
Outstanding Children’s Animated Program
“Curious George,” PBS
“Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness,” Nickelodeon
“Peep & The Big Wide World,” American Public Television
“Penguins of Madagascar,” Nickelodeon
“Sid the Science Kid,” PBS
“SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon
Outstanding Performance in a Children’s Series
Dakota Goyo, as Josh on “R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour The Series”
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, as Abby Cadaby, on “Sesame Street”
Kevin Clash, as Elmo on “Sesame Street”
Caroll Spinney, as Big Bird on “Sesame Street”
The Daytime Emmy Awards are happening Saturday, June 23rd at 8PM EST on HLN, and rebroadcasting on Saturday, June 23rd at 10PM and 12 midnight, and Sunday June 24th at 8PM and 10PM.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]
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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.