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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Hilary Duff is About to Get Played: And by Ashton Kutcher, no less! Duff will head to Two and a Half Men for the show's tenth season finale, where she'll play Stacey — a hottie who is dating Kutcher's character, Walden. Taxi‘s Marilu Henner will also guest as her grandmother, and if you've studied Walden's romantic history (or Kutcher's real life romantic history) it may not surprise you that Walden's eyes will start to wander... [TVLine]
Lorne Michaels Keeps it in the SNL Family: Current Saturday Night Live funnylady Nasim Pedrad is set to star alongside writer/creator John Mulaney in the SNL writer's upcoming NBC comedy pilot. Based loosely upon his own life, the pilot has cast Pedrad as Jane, a sweet but lazy grade school teacher looking to make changes in her life. The multi-camera comedy has also tapped (you guessed it!) yet another SNL alum, Martin Short, to star as well. Lorne Michaels, you really do run the funny business, don't you? [Hollywood Reporter]
Fringe Favorite Moves On: Lance Reddick, who played the beloved Broyles on Fringe and Cedric Daniels on The Wire, will try his luck in comedy with a guest stint on FX's quirky hit Wilfred. Reddick will guest star as Dr. Blum, Elijah Wood's character's "calm, no-nonsense therapist." The episode is slated to appear during the latter half of the show's third season. [Hollywood Reporter]
FX is Taking Over the World: FX already has a gaggle of critically acclaimed hits on its roster (Justified, American Horror Story, The Americans, and Sons of Anarchy, to name a few...), and now it's taking a journey to the distant past with Conquistadors, an event series based on Kim MacQuarrie's book Last Days of the Incas. The series will focus on both the Spanish Conquistadors who conquered the 10-million-strong Incan Empire, and rebellious Incan rebels who tried their best to save their people. [Hollywood Reporter]
The Walking Dead is Team Stark: No, unfortunately they don't get to watch Game of Thrones in the depressing post-apocalpytic wasteland on TWD. But it was confirmed that, for Season 4, the show has put out a casting call for a character named Roy Stark, "a former army medic who is deeply haunted by his past." Stark is going to be in his early 30s to mid 40s, leading many to speculate that he'll be the show's version of Abraham — who, in the comics, was an army sergeant of a similar age. [TVLine]
Twisted Role for Gilmore Girl: ABC Family's newest mystery series Twisted has just added Gilmore Girl's Keiko Agena as a guest star. Twisted centers on a charismatic 16-year-old (Avan Jogia) with a troubled past who spends five years in juvenile detention and then reconnects with his two female best friends from childhood (Maddie Hasson and Kylie Bunbury). Agena will play April Tanaka, a bohemian grief specialist who heads up a counseling session for the students at Green Grove High. Brittany Curran also joined the cast as Phoebe, an overly dramatic classmate who enjoys the limelight and tries to bond with Bunbury’s Lacey. Both characters will make their debut in Episode 2. [TVLine]
Degrassi to Lose a Student: Alex Steele will not be returning to TeenNick's drama Degrassi for the show's 13th season. "I'm very proud of my time on Degrassi and feel very lucky to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew," Steele - who plays fan-favorite Tori - said in a statement. "I've decided to take on a new focus pursuing film. I have a few opportunities already in the works and am excited to get started!" No word yet on how her character's exit will play out. [E!]
Austin and Ally Will Keep Singing: Disney Channel has renewed the musical show Austin and Ally for a third season. The upcoming slate of episodes “promises excitement for ‘Auslly’ fans as Austin’s music career kicks into full gear and Ally’s begins to take flight,” Adam Bonnett, senior vice president, original programming, Disney Channels Worldwide said in a statement. "This ensemble cast — Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy — has incredible comedic chemistry and charm that continues to win audiences over." [TVLine]
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[Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic]
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If you were holding out hope that The LA Complex was going to get a last-minute save from The CW, sorry to disappoint: the network has decided against ordering a third season of the Canadian drama.
A spokesperson for The CW announced the official cancelation on Thursday of the steamy soap about Canadians chasing the Hollywood dream in Los Angeles. This decision comes as expected – though still disappointing – after Canada’s MuchMusic channel decided weeks ago not to order a third season.
Fans of the soapy drama had hoped that indie producer Epitome Pictures would be able to keep The LA Complex afloat, but losing its key North American distributors might be the final straw that breaks the Canadian series’ back. To be fair, the show had little chance of surviving after debuting as TV’s lowest-rated drama premiere of all time back in April.
Executive produced by Stephen Stohn and Linda Schuyler of Epitome Pictures, The LA Complex was centered around a Melrose Place-like apartment building, filled to bursting with entertainment industry hopefuls. The series tackled heavy subjects, like self-mutilation, alcoholism, homosexuality in the rap industry, a dancer’s foray into the porn industry, a Church of Scientology-like religious cult, and even murder. Unfortunately, even the flashiest of cliffhangers and OMG moments couldn’t attract a large enough audience to make The LA Complex a success ratings-wise.
The LA Complex starred Cassie Steele (Degrassi), Jonathan Patrick Moore (ABC Family’s The Mistle-Tones), Andra Fuller, Joe Dinicol (Disney Channel’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire), Georgina Reilly, Jewel Staite (Firefly), Chelan Simmons, and Benjamin Charles Watson.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Stephen Scott/The CW]
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.