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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What’s in a name? Everything if you’re a rock star. Majority of people are born with boring, everyday names - unless, of course, you’re born to a 20th century celebrity, in which case your name is a fruit, Disney character, or another entry from the MeSoUnique dictionary. In order to be larger-than-life celebrities, these rockers opted for a larger-than-life name.
Here’s a rundown of rockers with some of the best names that their mamas don't call them by.
Marilyn Manson (Brian Hugh Warner) The artist formerly known as Brian Hugh Warner came up with his stage name by combing the names of 2 infamous icons from the 1960s: Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. He chose the 2 celebs because he wanted to have the “fakest stage name of all” to reflect the phoniness of show business. Well played, Brian.
Axl Rose (William Bruce Rose, Jr.) Before his name was synonymous with rock star douchebaggery, Axl Rose was called William Bruce Rose, Jr. The name we’ve all come to love and loathe him by came from the name of one of the first bands he was in when he first moved to Los Angeles: AXL. Of course, there is that whole anagram story…
Elvis Costello (Declan Patrick MacManus) Declan MacManus may sound like the name of a capo from the Westies, but it’s actually the birth name of post-punk rock god Elvis Costello. Costello took his name from his musician father’s stage name (Day Costello) and Elvis Presley.
Cat Power (Charlyn Marie Marshall) Cat Power sounds like the slogan of a felinist wanting to empower kitties everywhere, but really the indie rocker’s stage name came from a guy wearing a Caterpillar trucker cap. Power was part of a band that needed a name for their first show, and after seeing a man in a “Cat Diesel Power” hat, she knew she found the name. Though she ended up moving to New York a couple years after, the name stuck and she’s been Cat Power ever since.
Slash (Saul Hudson) Back in the 70s, when someone said “Better call Saul,” they were talking about Saul Hudson. Slash got his nickname from family friend and actor Seymour Cassel, who started calling him the name due to the fact that he was always in a hurry and never in one place for a long period of time.
Iggy Pop (James Newell Osterberg) Iggy Pop has long been called the Godfather of Punk, but his real name sounds like the name of an 80-year-old Russian history professor. After serving as the drummer for The Iguanas, Mr. Osterberg officially became Iggy. The “Pop” came after a friend of the Stooges, Jimmy Pop, lost all his hair, including his eyebrows, prompting Iggy to shave off his eyebrows in tribute and consequently being dubbed Iggy Pop.
Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) John Graham Mellor sure doesn’t sound like the name of the frontman of one of the original punk bands, so it’s no surprise that he changed his name. Before he was Joe Strummer, though, he went by Woody Mellor, in honor of folk legend Woody Guthrie. He used this moniker during his time with the 101’ers and a couple years before the Clash was born, changed his name to Joe Strummer. The “Joe” was to signify that he was nothing special, just a “regular joe,” and the “Strummer” pertained to his rather lackluster rhythm guitar skills.
The Cramps: Lux Interior (Erick Lee Purkhiser) & Poison Ivy (Kristy Marlana Wallace) “Hi, my name is Lux Interior and this is my wife, Poison Ivy.” Few people get to drop opening lines like that, but the 2 permanent members of psychobilly pioneers the Cramps were an exception. Interior not surprisingly took his name from an old car commercial, while Ivy (who also went by Ivy Rorschach) stated the name had come to her in a dream.
Brody Dalle (Bree Joanna Alice Robinson) With a name like Bree Joanna Alice Robinson, you’re either going to become a Type A debutante who looks up to Paris Hilton, or you’re going to drop every part of your name and become one of the most hardcore lead singers of a punk rock band. Luckily for the world, Bree Robinson opted for the latter and changed her name to Brody. Before she adopted her last name from crazy/badass French actress Beatrice Dalle, however, she was known as Brody Armstrong (aka Tim Armstrong’s wife). A Rolling Stone tongue-makeout session with Josh Homme later, Brody Armstrong officially became Brody Dalle.
Sid Vicious (John Simon Ritchie) Born John Simon Ritchie, Sid Vicious went on to personify the defining aspects of punk rock – rebellion, attitude, and safety pins. The story of the Sex Pistols is one of abrupt fame coupled with an even speedier decline, and Vicious’ scandalous life and tumultuous relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen made for a punk rock fairytale, where there’s no such thing as a happy ending. The best part of all this, though, is that the dude was named after a hamster. After being bit by Johnny Rotten’s fuzzy, lovable hamster Sid, the then-John Ritchie said, “Sid is really vicious!,” and Rotten decided that a star was born.
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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.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie