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
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
The nominees for the 2013 Grammy Awards will be announced tonight for the first time in a flashy, live concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena hosted by Taylor Swift and LL Cool J that will feature performances by fun., The Band Perry, Maroon 5, Janelle Monae, The Who and others.
While previous years' Grammys have been dominated by a single powerhouse artist or album (I'm lookin' at you, Adele), this year it could be anyone's game. Will Billboard sensations Justin Bieber and Rihanna get nods, or will indie darlings like Frank Ocean, Mumford and Sons, and The Black Keys rule the night? I guess we just have to wait and see!
Check back at 10:00 PM ET as we reveal the nominees along with CBS' broadcast.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
Florence and The Machine, Ceremonials
fun., Some Nights
Maroon 5, Overexposed
Pink, The Truth About Love
Record of the Year
"Lonely Boy," The Black Keys
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," Kelly Clarkson
"We are Young," fun. featuring Janelle Monae
"Somebody That I Used to Know," Gotye featuring Kimbra
"Thinkin Bout You," Frank Ocean
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift Best New Artist Alabama Shakes fun. Hunter Hayes The Lumineers Frank Ocean Country Solo Performance "Home," Dierks Bently "Springsteen," Eric Church "Cost of Livin," Ronnie Dunn "Wanted," Hunter Hayes "Over," Blake Shelton "Blown Away," Carrie Underwood Album of the Year El Camino, Black Keys Some Nights, fun. Babel, Mumford and Sons Channel Orange, Frank Ocean Blunderbuss, Jack White Song of the Year "The A Team" Ed Sheeran (songwriter: Ed Sheeran) "Call Me Maybe" Carly Rae Jepsen (songwriters: Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay) "Adorn" Miguel (songwriter: Miguel Pimentel) "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Kelly Clarkson (songwriters: Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi) "We Are Young" fun. featuring Janelle Monáe (songwriters: Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess) Best Pop Duo/Group Performance "Shake It Out" by Florence + The Machine "We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monáe "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra "Sexy And I Know It" by LMFAO "Payphone" by Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa Best Pop Solo Performance Adele, "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)" Kelly Clarkson, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" Katy Perry, "Wide Awake" Rihanna - "Where Have You Been" Best Dance Recording Avicii, "Levels" Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo,"Let's Go" Skrillex feat. Sirah, "Bangarang" Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin, "Don't You Worry Child" Al Walser, "I Can't Live Without You" Best Dance/Electronic Album Steve Aoki, Wonderland The Chemical Brothers, Don't Think deadmau5 Kaskade, Fire & Ice Skrillex, Bangarang Best Rock Performance Alabama Shakes,"Hold On" The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy" Coldplay, "Charlie Brown" Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait" Bruce Springsteen, "We Take Care of Our Own" Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Anthrax, "I'm Alive" Halestorm, "Love Bites (So Do I)" Iron Maiden, "Blood Brothers" Lamb of God,"Ghost Walking" Marilyn Manson ,"No Reflection" Megadeth, "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)" Best Rock Song Jack White, "Freedom at 21" Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait" The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy" Muse, "Madness" Bruce Springsteen, "We Take Care of Our Own" Best Rock Album The Black Keys, El Camino Muse, The 2nd Law Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball Jack White, Blunderbuss Best Alternative Music Album Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do Bjork, Biophilia Gotye, Making Mirrors M83, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming Tom Waits, Bad As Me Best R&B Performance Estelle, "Thank You" Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Ledisi, "Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.) Luke James, "I Want You" Miguel, "Adorn" Usher, "Climax" Best Traditional R&B Performance Anita Baker, "Lately" Beyonce, "Love on Top" Melanie Fiona, "Wrong Side of a Love Song" Gregory Porter, "Real Good Hands" SWV, "If Only You Knew" Best Urban Contemporary Album Chris Brown, Fortune Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream Frank Ocean, Channel Orange Best R&B Album Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio Anthony Hamilton, Back To Love R. Kelly, Write Me Back Tamia, Beautiful Surprise Tyrese, Open Invitation Best Rap Performance Drake feat. Lil' Wayne, "HYFR (Hell Ya F---ing Right)" Jay-Z & Kanye West, "N---as In Paris" Nas,"Daughters" Kanye West feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz, "Mercy" Young Geezy feat. Jay-Z & Andre 3000, "I Do" Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Flo Rida feat. Sia, "Wild Ones" Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean & The-Dream, "No Church in the Wild" John Legend feat. Ludacris, "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" Nas feat. Amy Whinehouse, "Cherry Wine" Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, "Talk That Talk" Best Rap Song Nas, "Daughters" Wale feat. Miguel, "Lotus Flower Bomb" Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz, "Mercy" Drake feat. Lil' Wayne, "The Motto" Jay-Z & Kanye West, "N---as In Paris" Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars, "Young, Wild & Free" Best Rap Album Drake, Take Care Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 The Roots, Undun Nas, Life Is Good Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don't 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story Best Country Song Carrie Underwood, "Blown Away" Ronnie Dunn, "Cost of Livin' " Eli Young Band, "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" Alan Jackson, "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" Eric Church, "Springsteen" Best Americana Album The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter John Fullbright, From the Ground Up The Lumineers, The Lumineers Mumford & Sons, Babel Bonnie Raitt, Slipstream Best Blues Album Shemekia Copeland, 33 1/3 Dr. John, Locked Down Ruthie Foster, Let It Burn Heritage Blues Orchestra, And I Still Rise Joan Osborne, Bring It on Home Head to Grammy.comfor the nominees in all 81 categories! Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone [Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images] More: Wait, Really? 12 Grammy Winners You Won't Believe American Music Awards Winners' List: Did Justin Bieber Best Rihanna For Top Honors? The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Winners Are...
From Our Partners:
Harry Styles Spotted Outside Taylor Swift’s Hotel Room The Morning After Their Date Night (PHOTOS) Fall Bikini Bodies: The Good, The Great, The OMG (GALLERY)
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.
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