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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The Queen film has found its frontman. Actor Ben Whishaw has officially been cast as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic. The film will be directed by actor turned director Dexter Fletcher. Whishaw is best known for his role as the new "Q" in the last James Bond film Skyfall, and has also appeared in the Wachowski's genre-sweeping epic Cloud Atlas. Fletcher has acted in several films over the years, but only has a couple of director's credits under his name, including the films Wild Bill and Sunshine On Leith, the latter of which was a musical and should have given Fletcher the experience in working with a film that emphasises music.
According to Deadline, The film will center on the band's formative years and rough beginnings while culminating in Queen's landmark performance at Live-Aid in 1985 which lines the halls of Rock and Roll's most iconic live performances. The film will reportedly not delve into Mercury's final years as he succumbed to complications from AIDS in 1991, but instead go out with the triuphant career-defining performance. The biopic has also gained the right to use an extensive selection of Queen's music including their most popular songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend.”
Whishaw has made a career playing quietly calculating and nebbish individuals, so his casting as the bigger than life Freddie Mercury is interesting one. Mercury is one of pop music's most iconic figures, and Whishaw will have to crank up the bombast to eleven and grow a pretty weighty mustache in order the convincingly portray the Queen frontman's immeasurable stage presence and charisma.
WENNDespite playing Captain James Kirk for 28 years, William Shatner has become almost as famous for his baffling pop career as he has for his iconic Star Trek role. In the week that he releases his fifth studio effort, Ponder The Mystery, here's a look at five of his strangest musical excursions."Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"First showcasing his often-parodied spoken word style, Shatner startled '60s Trekkies when he tackled The Beatles' druggy classic for his debut album The Transformed Man. A regular inclusion on the 'worst songs of all time' lists, Shatner has claimed that his unique interpretation has been entirely misunderstood and that he was in fact performing the track from the perspective of an LSD user."Rocket Man"Undeterred by the overwhelmingly negative response to his previous foray into pop, Shatner continued to persevere with his overly-dramatic and accidentally camp approach by donning a suit and tie and embracing the world of holograms for this absurd rendition of Elton John's signature hit at the 1978 Science Fiction Awards."Common People"36 years after his debut, Shatner ventured back into the studio for a second time with the Ben Folds-produced Has Been, the standout of which was this typically surreal collaboration with Joe Jackson on a cover of Pulp's Britpop classic which even more bizarrely, went onto spawn a ballet production."F*** You"Perhaps inspired by his foul-mouthed character, Shatner decided that the ideal way to promote his short-lived sitcom $h*! My Dad Says was to perform the expletive-led version of Cee Lo Green's inescapable chart-topper during an appearance on George Lopez's late-night talk show. The Gnarls Barkley singer later thanked Shatner for helping to make the song more acceptable to mainstream audiences."Bohemian Rhapsody"Somehow Shatner managed to make Queen's bonkers rock opera even more insane when he recorded it for 2011's Seeking Major Tom, while its accompanying floating head promo is the stuff of nightmares.Follow @Hollywood_com
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All eyes were on the Olympic Arena in Stratford, East London as the Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker presented the Isles of Wonder Opening Ceremony - and the Oscar winner did not disappoint.
The sound of the Olympic Bell signalled the official start of the London Games as the patriotic hymn Jerusalem was sung throughout the stadium. Branagh was the first celebrity to appear as he stepped up to portray Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain's most revered engineer, and he recited Caliban's speech from William Shakespeare's The Tempest as 965 drummers moved in for the first segment of the show, titled Pandemonium, led by deaf percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.
The scene showed industrial workers forging five giant rings from red-hot metal and the finished products glowed as they were hoisted high into the air, coming together to form the Olympic Rings.
There was an impressive entrance from The Queen after a film showed Craig in character as 007 arriving at Buckingham Palace to pick up the royal, before heading into the skies in a helicopter. The pair then appeared to jump from the aircraft and parachute into the arena as the video clip drew to a close, while the stadium audience rose to its feet to welcome the monarch and her husband Prince Phillip, the Duke of York as they took their seats for the big show.
Harry Potter creator Rowling read out a passage from Peter Pan in a tribute to British children's literature as inflatable figures of great fantasy villains Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter and the Childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang entered the arena. Characters dressed as beloved nanny Mary Poppins then floated in to fight off the darkness and save the day.
The epic production, which featured more than 7,500 volunteers, also saw Sir Simon Rattle conduct the London Symphony Orchestra on a rendition of Chariots of Fire as comedian Rowan Atkinson joined in on the keyboard, performing as his fumbling Mr. Bean character.
Viewers were then taken on a journey through five decades of music in a montage of Britain's greatest pop exports as the sounds of The Who's My Generation, Rolling Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Beatles' hit She Loves You and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody were blasted through the speakers.
Songs by David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, New Order, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Soul II Soul, Eurythmics, Blur and Amy Winehouse were also included in the soundtrack, as was Underworld's Born Slippy .NUXX, which became the theme tune to Boyle's breakthrough movie Trainspotting.
East London rapper Dizzee Rascal took centrestage to perform and the segment drew to a close with applause for British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, who created the first website in 1990.
Film footage then turned to soccer ace David Beckham at the wheel of a speedboat on the River Thames as a young athlete held the Olympic torch while they travelled to the Olympic Arena in Stratford, East London, just a stone's throw away from the soccer ace's hometown of Leytonstone.
The ceremony, which has lasted for over two hours, continues.
Top Story: Man Charged With Stalking Sheryl Crow
A former Navy diver was charged Wednesday with three counts of stalking and harassing singer Sheryl Crow, Reuters reports. Ambrose Kappos, 37, of New York, was also charged with burglary for breaking into the Hammerstein Ballroom near New York's Herald Square on Monday when Crow was rehearsing for a benefit show. Bail was set at $15,000 cash or a $45,000 bond but Kappos' court-appointed lawyer said it was doubtful his client would be able to raise the money to be released. He is due back in court on Friday to learn if he has been indicted on the charges. If convicted, Kappos could face seven years in prison.
Shyamalan Boards Pi Project
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan could make his first film outside the Walt Disney Co. banner since his supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense in 1999. According to Variety, Shyamalan is looking to adapt the survival-at-sea tale Life of Pi, the prizewinning novel by Yann Martel, for 20th Century Fox. Pi is about a deeply religious 16-year-old Indian boy en route to a new life in Canada with a Noah's Ark of animals from his father's zoo in Pondicherry when the freighter transporting him sinks. The boy escapes in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg and a hyena, and becomes convinced that his own survival hinges on the wild cat. Shyamalan reportedly connected with the project because the protagonist, Pi, hails from his birthplace--Pondicherry, Tamil-Nadu province, in India. Fox is hoping Shyamalan will make Pi his next pic after wrapping The Village (previously titled The Woods), set for release in August. The pact breaks Disney's hold on the director, whose The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs have grossed $1.3 billion worldwide for the studio.
Siegfried: Tiger Was Protecting Horn
Speaking of one whose life was affected by a tiger, Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the Las Vegas performance duo "Siegfried & Roy," said in an interview on CNN's Larry King Live Wednesday that the 600-pound white tiger was trying to help Roy Horn after the magician took a fall in the middle of a performance on Friday at the Mirage hotel-casino. "I just saw that the tiger grabbed him on the sleeve ... and Roy said, 'Let go,' and the tiger let go and Roy bent back and he slipped," Fischbacher said. "The tiger (grabbed) Roy in the neck and he pulled him back on stage." Fischbacher added that the tiger sensed heightened danger when he and an animal trainer ran to Horn's aid and suggested the animal took him backstage to protect him. Horn is in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Roger Moore Knighted
Former James Bond actor Roger Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth Thursday for his work as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nation Children's Fund, Reuters reports. Moore took over the role of secret agent 007 from Sean Connery in the 1973 film Live and Let Die. His last Bond film was 1985's A View to a Kill. The 75-year-old actor also had a word for fellow actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will become California's next governor. "If he does all the things that he says he will, then California will be an even better place to live in," Moore said.
Tribeca Announces Dates for Third Fest
The third annual Tribeca Film Festival will run from May 1-9, 2004 in Lower Manhattan. According to Variety, the festival announced a call for screenplay submissions to the Tribeca/Sloan development program for feature projects with a scientific or technological theme. The screenplay program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, provides financial support and mentorship over a one-year period from an advisory panel of filmmakers and experts in science and technology. Submission information for both the festival and Tribeca/Sloan program is available at www.tribecafilminstitute.org.
McCartney, Starr Attend Premiere of Harrison Tribute Pic
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving members of the Beatles, joined family and friends of George Harrison for the British premiere Wednesday of Concert for George, a filmed tribute concert for their bandmate who died of cancer nearly two years ago. "It's a great film," McCartney told The Associated Press. "It was a great night and it was lovely to take part in it and to be here with all our friends." Other guests included Eric Clapton, Robbie Coltrane and former race driver Damon Hill. Concert for George, which was performed last year at Royal Albert Hall, will have a limited theatrical release Oct. 10, and will be available on DVD Nov. 17.
Napster 2.0 Debuts in Limited Release
A new pay version of Napster debuted today in limited release almost a year after the pioneer file-swapping service was salvaged from software maker Roxio Inc. The company shelved its former online music service, pressplay, and is moving subscribers to a beta version of Napster 2.0, the AP reports. Napster 2.0 will launch with more than a half-million songs from all the major music labels and offer individual song at $1 per song and album downloads for about $10. Monthly subscription services will also be available. Roxio is betting the Napster brand will help set its service apart from other digital music retailers, including Apple Computers' iTunes, Buy.com's BuyMusic.com, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, MusicNow and MusicNet.
ABC To Air Wife-Swapping Show
ABC has agreed to air a local version of the UK reality series Wife Swap for a six-week run next summer. The show follows women from different social backgrounds who switch families for two weeks. Wife Swap, which will be renamed Trading Moms in the United Sates, has been a hit on the UK's Channel 4, drawing 5 million viewers. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC had previously commissioned a pilot show from the show's producer, RDF Media, which declined to provide further details.
Group Opposes Embedded Product Placement
When judge Simon Cowell takes a sip from a red Coca-Cola cup right in th