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.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Bollywood star Anil Kapoor's radical Indian TV remake of U.S. action show 24 has been branded a runaway success. The Slumdog Millionaire actor produced an Indian version of the crime series, which premiered in the country on Friday night (04Oct13), and several fellow stars have praised the show.
Director Kunal Kohli took to Twitter.com to write, "24 is a new dawn in Indian TV. Can we pls pls (please) have more shows like this? enough saas (mother-in-law) bahu (daughter-in-law) sagas pls (sic)."
Actress Preity Zinta also tweeted, "Watched 24 on TV tonight & was amazed at how wonderful its turned out! Congrats 2 (to) Anil Kapoor & Raj Nayak 4 (for) changing Indian TV for ever."
Kapoor, who plays Jai Singh Rathod in a role similar to Kiefer Sutherland's famous character Jack Bauer in the series, reported earlier this year (13) that he redesigned the U.S. show to appeal to Indian audiences.
The actor also played Middle Eastern President Omar Hassan in the eighth and final season of the original 24 in 2010.
In a piece for India's Outlook magazine, the actor revealed he is sometimes the "inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India".
Khan's remarks sparked concern from Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who called on "the government of India (to) please provide him (with) security".
The suggestion irritated India's Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh, who insisted, "We are capable of looking at the security of our own citizens. Let (Malik) worry about his own."
Now Rukh Khan has addressed the uproar and insists he is perfectly "safe and happy" in his homeland, and claims he has once again been used as a tool to whip up distrust of Muslims in India.
He says, "I would like to tell all those who are offering unsolicited advice that we in India are extremely safe and happy. We have an amazing democratic, free and secular way of life. In the environment that we live here in my country India, we have no safety issues regarding life and material. As a matter-of-fact, it is irksome for me to clarify this non-existent issue.
"Ironically, the article... was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow minded people who have misplaced religious ideologies for small gains... and ironically the same has happened through this article... once again."
The actor is Indian, but due to his religious beliefs, has been accused of having an allegiance to Muslim-majority Pakistan.
The actor, one of India's leading screen stars, caused controversy by writing about the abuse he sometimes receives from his fellow citizens who believe his heart lies with the country's rival Pakistan.
Khan insists he has been "accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation than my own country" and adds, "Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer to as my original homeland."
The shocking claims were published in a magazine article and sparked a response from Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who called on "the government of India (to) please provide him security" - and the bust-up is now threatening to escalate into a full-scale political incident.
On Tuesday (29Jan13), India's Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh hit back at his rival, insisting, "We are capable of looking at the security of our own citizens. Let (Malik) worry about his own."
Khan was born in India but has family ties to Peshawar, Pakistan and boasts a huge fanbase in the country.
He passed away on Sunday (21Oct12) at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai, India due to multiple organ failure following a battle with dengue fever.
Chopra, known as the King of Romance in India, made his directorial debut in 1959 with Dhool ka Phool (Blossom in the Dust) and 14 years later he founded his own production company, Yash Raj Films.
Since then he has produced, written or directed more than 50 films over the last five decades, including Deewar (Wall), Dil To Pagal Hai (Heart Is Mad), Vijay (Victory), Kabhie Kabhie (Sometimes...), and Chandni (Moonlight).
Considered one of the greatest Hindi filmmakers of all time, he has won a total of six National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards. He was also twice honoured by members of the Indian government - he received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions to the arts.
His last film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (As Long as I am Alive), will hit theatres next month (Nov12).
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has released a statement in the wake of his death, which reads, "He had an aesthetic talent to make his films look larger than life. His flourish in essaying romance and social drama was unmatched.
"He will be remembered by millions of his fans around the world and his work as a director and producer will be treasured by the nation for many more generations."
Chopra is set to be cremated on Monday (22Oct12).
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.