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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Lost radio interviews with late Hollywood legends including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Bing Crosby are to be broadcast in Britain after the tapes were discovered in a family archive. The interviews, which also include chats with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, were originally recorded by radio presenter Benny Green for a 26-part series called Hooray for Hollywood, and were partly broadcast by the BBC in the 1970s.
Green, who died in 1998, kept tapes of the recordings in his personal archive and they have now resurfaced after they were discovered by his son, Leo Green.
The recordings will be aired in two parts across Christmas Day (25Dec13) and Boxing Day (26Dec13) on Britain's BBC Radio 2, with Leo presenting a Hollywood Special featuring a mixture of his father's work and the corporation's own archive material.
Leo tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "These songs, stories and voices deserve not to be sat in a cupboard gathering dust. The artists we will hear from are some of the greatest performers of all time.
"When some of my friends' dads passed away, they got left a set of golf clubs and a few ill fitting suits. I have been fortunate enough to have been left an incredible and historical archive and I'm really excited to have the chance to share these interviews."
Singer Liza Minnelli ignored the pain of a broken wrist and gifted her friends with a live performance at their baby shower on Sunday (20Oct13), according to a U.S. report. The Cabaret star, who will serve as godmother to the unnamed couple's baby, performed a 30-minute set, complete with a piano player, for the expectant parents and guests at a party in New York City.
A source tells the New York Daily News, "It was such a great New York moment, something you won't forget. Liza practically came out from behind the couch and started putting on her whole show."
Last week (begs14Oct13), Minnelli took to the stage, while still recovering from her wrist injury, to raise funds for research into breast cancer, which her sister Lorna Luft is currently battling.
Katy Perry has received a formal apology from veteran U.S. broadcaster Barbara Walters after the pop star was scolded for showing up late to a special TV interview in 2011. The I Kissed a Girl hitmaker recently revealed she had risked the wrath of the revered reporter after running behind schedule for the meeting, which occurred just weeks before her then-husband Russell Brand filed for divorce to end their one-year marriage.
She told Billboard magazine, "When I got there, I apologised immediately, but then she said to me, 'You know, I've only ever waited for one other person this long, and you know who that person was? Judy Garland. You know how she turned out, right?'
"I was like, 'Oh, snap! Yes, b**ch!' I think it's the coolest thing that Barbara Walters shaded (trashed) me."
Perry, who had kept her relationship woes a secret during the media chat, went on to admit that she should have pulled out of the Top 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011 interview altogether because she was facing such a tough time in her private life.
Her confessions have now prompted Walters to reach out to Perry to express her sympathies as she had no idea how much pressure the pop star had been under.
Addressing the singer's comments on her U.S. talk show The View on Monday (30Sep13), Walters said, "Katy, if I made you feel at all unhappy, during a time when you were obviously unhappy, and I didn't know, I'm sorry, but you can't always know!"
Pop star Katy Perry risked the wrath of Barbara Walters when she showed up late to an important interview with the U.S. TV veteran. The I Kissed a Girl hitmaker was behind schedule on her way to meet Walters, and admits the broadcasting icon was less than impressed when she finally showed up.
Perry tells Billboard magazine, "When I got there, I apologised immediately, but then she said to me, 'You know, I've only ever waited for one other person this long, and you know who that person was? Judy Garland. You know how she turned out, right?'
"I was like, 'Oh, snap! Yes, b**ch!' I think it's the coolest thing that Barbara Walters shaded (trashed) me."
The singer now regrets agreeing to the sit-down talk as she was going through a difficult patch with her then-husband Russell Brand.
She adds, "I shouldn't have done the interview: I was playing Madison Square Garden (in New York City) that same night, and I knew that the end of my marriage was coming. I was just exhausted and stressed... (But) I just couldn't tell her as we were sitting down for a mega-interview, 'Hey, my marriage is falling apart. Give me a break.'"
Perry did not name the interview she sat for, but she appeared on Walters' Top 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011 - just weeks before Brand filed for divorce.
Lady Gaga channelled Judy Garland's iconic portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz for a live performance on U.S. TV on Monday morning (09Sep13). The singer started her performance on Good Morning America by singing the 1939 film's famous anthem Over the Rainbow, dressed in a black wig, blue gingham dress, red sparkly shoes and clutching a small dog in a basket.
She was surrounded by dancers dressed as the film's characters the tin man, the scarecrow and the cowardly lion, who joined in with her as she broke into a rendition of her new single Applause on a stage which was made up as the yellow brick road.
Another dancer performed as one of the film's iconic winged monkeys, while Gaga made a quick change into a pink costume with a blonde wig, clutching a magic wand in reference to the movie's good witch character, Glinda. She then peeled off the outfit for a showdown with the Wicked Witch of the West.
After a fourth costume change during the short set, Gaga finished the show in another blue and white outfit, complete with an oversized bow on her head, telling the GMA host, "I'm so happy to be here - there's no place like Good Morning America!"
Before the performance, Gaga asked all the members of the audience to wear special hats designed to look like poppies.
Liza Minnelli is set to perform with her half-sister Lorna Luft for the first time in 20 years at two upcoming cancer charity fundraisers. Judy Garland's daughters have not appeared onstage together since they duetted at the 1993 Tony Awards, but the singers will reunite for fans at two New York gigs next month (Oct13) to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.
The Nothing Like a Dame: Lorna's Pink Party events will take place at the Birdland jazz club on 14 and 21 October (13), and will also feature singers Phyllis Newman and Ann Hampton Callaway, theatre stars Nick Adams and Jim Caruso, and actress Marcia Strassman.
The cause is particularly close to Luft's heart because she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year (13).
Luft says, "This event means the world to me. I'm so grateful to be feeling so well and performing again. These two Birdland nights are the perfect opportunity for me to gather some friends - including my sister - to raise money to help two essential organisations."
Proceeds will benefit the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Dr. Philomena McAndrew Fund of Tower Cancer Research Foundation.
Celebrated TV art director Charles Lisanby has passed away at the age of 89. Lisanby died on 23 August (13) at his Los Angeles home due to complications from a fall.
Starting his career working on sets on Broadway, Lisanby became a pioneer in colour television scenic design, and was art director on The Garry Moore Show, as well as designing sets for shows led by stars including Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton.
He also art directed the Academy Awards telecasts and worked on the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. He won three Emmy Awards during his career.
Lisanby was inducted into the U.S. Television Academy's Hall of Fame in 2010, making him the first art director to boast the illustrious honour.
Studio bosses at Warner Bros. are planning a huge $25 million (£16 million) extravaganza to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard Of Oz. The family favourite was released on 25 August 1939, and to mark its latest milestone, executives will release the movie in 3D next month (Sep13). It will actually become the first film to screen at the renovated Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
The celebration will also include a line of Happy Meal figures at fast food giant McDonald's throughout September and October, and special DVD box sets will also hit the market.
The film, starring Judy Garland as a teenage farm girl who finds herself lost in the fantasy world of Oz, was nominated for six Oscars following its release.
A treasure trove of memorabilia documenting the life of Oscar-winning actress Vivien Leigh has been acquired by the curators of a British museum. Bosses of London's Victoria and Albert Museum have become the new owners of an archive which belonged to the Gone With The Wind star's grandchildren.
The items include letters Leigh sent to her husband Sir Laurence Olivier, and other notes addressed to her from stars including Marilyn Monroe, as well as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and playwright Tennessee Williams.
The collection also includes the visitors' book from Leigh and Olivier's home in Buckinghamshire, England, signed by Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Orson Welles, Judy Garland and Rex Harrison, and the actress' personal diary which she kept for more than 38 years.
Other items include photographs, film and theatre scripts and numerous awards.
Martin Roth, director of the museum, says, "Vivien Leigh is undoubtedly one of the U.K.'s greatest luminaries of stage and screen and along with Laurence Olivier, remains a true star of her time. We are thrilled to acquire her archive intact in this centenary year of her birth and to be able to make it available to the public for the first time."
Leigh died in 1967 at the age of 53.