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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Rapper Kid Cudi is set to replace actor Rex Lee as an assistant to Jeremy Piven's character Ari Gold in the forthcoming big screen adaptation of TV hit Entourage. Lee's character Lloyd was promoted to a talent representative in the show, and now Cudi has signed up to step into his shoes as talent executive Gold's right-hand man.
The hip-hop star, real name Scott Mescudi, is no stranger to Hollywood - he previously appeared in TV shows How to Make It in America and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and will play himself in new street racing film Need for Speed.
The Entourage movie, which stars Piven, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Dillon, is set to hit theatres next year (15).
A Hollywood acting coach who shares the same name as Adrian Grenier's Entourage character has fired off a cease and desist notice to movie executives behind the planned film adaptation of the TV series, amid allegations he is the inspiration for the drama. Vincent Chase claims he met with Entourage's executive producer Mark Wahlberg in the late 1990s, years before his name was reportedly used as the moniker for the TV show's lead character.
After a series of delays, the Warner Bros. film project is due to begin shooting in January (14), but that date may now be in jeopardy after the real-life Chase issued a legal notice to prevent his name being uttered onscreen without authorisation, according to TMZ.com.
In the letter, Chase claims he complained to TV bosses about his unwanted association with Entourage for years and now he is finally taking action, insisting film chiefs cannot use his name without his "express permission".
Grenier starred alongside Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Dillon on Entourage, which wrapped its final season on America's HBO network in 2011.
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.
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Ashley Greene has been hit with a lawsuit by the doorman of her apartment building, who alleges he suffered from exhaustion and dehydration following the fire at her condo. A blaze ripped through the Twilight actress' West Hollywood home in March (13), killing her beloved dog Marlo and injuring Adrian Mayorga, the building's doorman who helped rescue residents from Granville Towers.
According to documents obtained by TMZ.com, Mayorga is now suing Greene after he was left needing hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.
Four other residents have also sued over the fire, which was started by a candle catching fire on Greene's sofa, claiming the blaze wrecked their apartments.
Dame Helen Mirren has won another award for playing The Queen. The great Brit, who picked up a Best Actress Oscar in 2007 for portraying the top royal in The Queen, was named Best Actress at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday (17Nov13) - this time for her performance in West End stage play The Audience.
Othello co-stars Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear were both honoured with Best Actor trophies for their performances as Othello and Iago, while Dame Maggie Smith and Andrew Lloyd-Webber received special awards at the Savoy Hotel gala.
The Downton Abbey star was feted with the Evening Standard Theatre Icon Award, while impresario Lloyd-Webber was recognised for his contribution to musical theatre.
There were also accolades for Kevin Spacey, who was honoured for his work at London's Old Vic theatre, and to funnyman and author David Walliams for his performance as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along was named 2013's Best Musical, while director Lucy Kirkwood picked up the Best Play award for Chimerica.
The event was hosted by Homeland star Damian Lewis.
Model and actress Kate Upton is reportedly in talks to join the cast of the upcoming film adaptation of hit U.S. TV series Entourage. The stunner is the frontrunner to play the love interest of movie star Vincent Chase, portrayed by Adrian Grenier, according to TheWrap.com.
Upton has been building her acting resume over the past few years, and has appeared in films such as Tower Heist and The Three Stooges; she'll also star alongside Cameron Diaz in The Other Woman.
Entourage wrapped its eighth and final season on America's HBO network in 2011, but the cast is set to reunite in the new year (14) for the film..
"Adrian was the best onscreen kisser... but at the time we were both single too... I'm madly in love with my husband and he is the best kisser, so it's hard to compete with that." Actress Melissa Joan Hart admits she enjoyed locking lips with Adrian Grenier on the set of 1999 film Drive Me Crazy.
The man who allegedly beat American football star Adrian Peterson's son to death has been released from jail after posting bail. Joseph Patterson, 27, was released from Minnehaha County Jail in South Dakota on Tuesday morning (29Oct13) after he pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and two counts of first degree manslaughter on Monday (28Oct13).
Patterson, who is the boyfriend of the dead boy's mother, has also been charged with aggravated battery of an infant and felony child abuse.
He was caring for the Minnesota Vikings star's two-year-old son when the youngster lost consciousness at his apartment on 9 October (13). The child died two days later.
Actor Adrian Grenier has opened up about his hesitation to sign on for a planned movie adaptation of Entourage, insisting he has simply been trying to land fair deals for all the main cast members. Executive producer Mark Wahlberg recently revealed the film version of the hit TV series had stalled because some stars were being "greedy", demanding too much money to reprise their popular characters.
His comments came shortly after reports suggested Grenier and co-star Jerry Ferrara were the ones who had yet to sign contracts, and on Friday (18Oct13), The Devil Wears Prada actor took to his Instagram.com blog to shed some light on the claims.
In the note, Grenier, who played lead star, actor Vincent Chase, claimed he was not motivated by money and instead had been standing up for his co-stars to prevent producers from allegedly taking advantage of them.
He wrote, "To all Entourage fans. I owe it to you to make a couple things clear. I take my role as Vince on the show & off very seriously. All decisions I make personally and for business are for the principle of friendship and brotherhood. It has, & never will be about the money for me.
"I will always stand up for the boys... & do what I can to make sure they are treated fairly, and not be taken advantage of by anybody. The spirit of Entourage is about sharing the opportunities given to us and I will sign any deal that gives ALL the boys an opportunity to share in the upside of success EQUALLY. I assure you, despite the perception, there is no greed in my heart."
However, Grenier insists the film will get made, adding: "Remember, it will all work out in the end. It always does."
Fellow Entourage star Kevin Connolly has since assured fans that the project will go ahead, revealing on Sunday (20Oct13) that the movie is expected to start shooting in January (14).
Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon made up the rest of the main Entourage cast, which wrapped its final season on America's HBO network in 2011.