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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Did you guys know that they're looking at a three-toed sloth to play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie? Word has it, he really gets the ladies (like Kristen Bell) going. Speaking of which, do you think she'd make a good Anastasia Steele? I know she's a blonde, but that's nothing a little dye-job can't fix!
This is how rumors get started, you guys. Alright, well, this particular rumor probably isn't going to stick, but after the names we've seen flying around the Fifty Shades movie like the fronds of a flogger (or are they tendrils?), it can't be all that far off. The latest name of an incredibly attractive male actor to be thrown into the Christian Grey ring with Alexander Skarsgard, Ian Somerhalder, Matthew Bomer, and Colonel Mustard, er, I mean Henry Cavill is none other than the Baby Goose himself, Ryan Gosling. According to an interview with Now magazine, E.L. James' husband, Niall Leonard, says that "last he heard" the first choice to take on Mr. Grey was Gosling. And this is the point at which we collectively roll our eyes and add, "Sure, and I bet Hologram Tupac is the new American Idol judge this season." That's where the Fifty Shades casting rumors now lie: a notch below rumors of Idol's replacements for Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson at the Table of the Coca-Cola Chalices. But why is Gosling the final straw? Let's start with the fact that he's one of the (if not the) most universally desirable actors out there, in both a casting sense and an "in your dreams, Kelsea" sense. Let's follow that up with the fact that he's actually a talented actor who'd be better served spending an entire movie staring silently at Carrie Mulligan than reciting lines about how much he loves Coldplay and BDSM. And let's follow that up with the way in which his name has been thrown out for consideration: the guy who's married to the author thinks that "last he heard" they were looking at possibly trying to get Gosling as their first choice. And this comes in the face of James' numerous tweets refuting any credibility in the constant casting rumors. That's a whole lot of maybe. Add this to the fact that every casting rumor for Fifty Shades has come out of thin air, or thanks to actors with Christian Grey-esque qualities answering reporters' questions about their aptitude for the role. Skarsgard said in May that he'd be into the role, so naturally he's a serious contender. (Joe Mangianello spoke favorably of the possibility too, but he plays a werewolf on TV, so let's be real — he doesn't stand a chance.) Somerhalder said he'd be "up for it" and that it would be "very, very amazing" so he's definitely hovering over a contract with a quill and ink. Throw in a handful of other stars who've said they were interested in passing or were photoshopped onto the cover of EW, and you've got a cut-throat battle to nab the role of a lifetime — in a movie that's so heavily based in (possibly inaccurate) BDSM sex that we're not sure it could be made accurately without bearing the cross of an NC-17 rating, at the very least. So what does this all have to do with American Idol? In case you've missed it, the reality series has been at the center of a casting scramble since Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler announced their departures from their judging posts (ERMAHGERD). Since those couple of days, every casting rumor — even a joke thrown out by producer Nigel Lythgoe about nabbing Charlie Sheen — has been genuinely entertained by fans and the media. A star tweets about enjoying the show, suddenly they're "in talks" to judge. Everyone with an ounce of musical talent, from Kanye West to Keith Urban, has been rumored to be eyeing a spot at the judging table. And yet, the only one of those seats that is officially filled is that of Mariah Carey, which was announced way back in July. Doesn't this all sound a little familiar? Let's all do ourselves a favor and give the casting rumors for this Fifty Shades adaptation a rest until someone actually finishes the script for this improbable film and actually starts casting it. Cool? Cool. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Wenn] More: 'Fifty Shades of Grey': What Do Authors and BDSM Authors Think? 'Fifty Shades of Grey': A 'True Blood' Battle? Why the 'American Idol' Judging Panel Exodus Is a Chance to Finally Get It Right
From Our Partners:Jennie Garth Flaunts SkimpyBikini in Vegas(Celebuzz) Kim Kardashian's SexiestBikini Moments(Celebuzz)
Sadly, the dream was just that: a dream. Reports of a real life romance swirled after formerly Beverly Hills: 90210 on-screen couple Jennie Garth and Luke Perry were photographed in a faux-P.D.A. display after working on ad for Old Navy. Alas, it was revealed that couple wasn't actually a couple. Our '90s dreams hadn't come true. Brenda Walsh had won.
But, there is a ray of hope: Garth's rep confirmed, in an exclusive statement to RumorFix, that Garth and Perry are involved in a soon-to-be on-screen affair. The pair is working on a new sitcom in which they will play a couple. "It will be a multi-camera half hour show, currently we have producers and writers and are meeting with networks," says Garth's rep. It's not what we wanted, but it's a pretty decent consolation prize, right?
But this got us thinking. With Garth and Perry headed for sitcom heaven, Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence raking in the '90s nostalgia to great effect on Melissa & Joey, Mayim Bialik making us laugh on The Big Bang Theory, Keenan Thompson rolling out sketch comedy on SNL, Anna Chlumsky making funnies on Veep, and Neil Patrick Harris ruling all things classy, award-based, and CBS-sponsored, the dream of the '90s is alive on television. Now could be the perfect time to get our favorite '90s stars back together, or in Melissa & Joey-style, together for the first time in an explosion of cheesy humor and overwhelming nostalgia. Naturally, we have an idea or two about who should unite on the small screen:
Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosslear of Saved by The Bell in a Buddy Cop Sitcom.
Potential title: Saved by The Badge
The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star - who recently split from her husband Peter Facinelli - shunned a night out with pals this week (begs02Apr12) to spend her big day with residents of Friendship House in Los Angeles, where she joined the in-house handbell choir.
U.S. talk show host Jay Leno showed off a photo of Garth with her old pals when she appeared on The Tonight Show on Thursday (05Apr12), prompting her to explain, "That was us at the bell choir and we celebrated my 40th... Those are my homies! I like them, I enjoy spending my time there. That's the Friendship House and I go there and we dance and sing. I like to dance for them."
Garth turned 40 on Tuesday (03Apr12).
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.
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.