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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Some movies focus so much on machismo that they inadvertently end up dripping with homoerotic tension. There are tons of movies that are just one make-out scene away from being a bromantic love story. It's ironic when mainstream movies aimed at gay audiences have leads with no romantic connection, when some movies about straight characters have sexual tension simply oozing off the screen. These "gay straight movies" provide an outlet for gay men looking for characters that resonate with them, a subtext of romantic relationships, and pure, unadulterated man candy.
Writer/director Michael Serrato created this viral video hit, “Rambo, But Gay” which is a musical retelling of the popular Sylvester Stallone classic Rambo. It’s an interesting take on the thin line between the overtly masculine and homoerotic. After all, Rambo spends most of the 1980s films half-naked and oiled up, so they are ripe for parody.
Here are my nominations for the 10 gayest straight movies of all time.
10. Fight Club
Edward Norton deals with his ennui by staring at a super cut-up Brad Pitt and forming a club where men fight shirtless in underground rooms. Helena Bonham Carter gives a great performance of a woman as a drag queen. Last but not least, a bleach-blond cherubic Jared Leto follows around Pitt and Norton.
9. The Covenant
Why not remake The Craft with boys in Speedos? A pre-Friday Night Lights Taylor Kitsch stars in a movie about the descendants of The Salem Witch Trials that happen to all be men. There’s a ton of time spent in the locker room and arguing about power.
Abs, briefs and awesome gold facial piercings pervade this cinematic comic book. From the looks of it, the war between Sparta and the Persian Empire would have ended if both kings just made out.
7. School Ties
Brendan Fraser gets into an exclusive prep school but he has a secret that he can’t let anyone know. It’s because he’s Jewish, but it does mirror what coming out would be like. It’s chock full of 1990s heartthrobs including Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Cole Hauser. And thank you, filmmakers, for the gratuitous nude fight scene between Fraser and Damon.
6. Dude, Where’s My Car?
Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott have tons of bromantic chemistry. They spend the entire movie being chased by Nordic men in leather. The film also includes gratuitous Speedo and shirtless shots, Queer as Folk star Hal Sparks and an intense make-out scene.
5. Magic Mike
Channing Tatum attempts to make this a heartfelt biopic. Instead, it feels more like a campy romp. Matthew McConaughey spends most of the time shirtless and in short shorts, Cody Horn is the female lead with a boyish body and everyone wears a man-thong. Let's also not ignore the gratuitous use of The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men."
5. Staying Alive
A waxed and oiled up John Travolta channels Pat Benatar in this sequel to Saturday Night Fever. He looks like a member of The Village People in his costume and ends the movie with one of the more boyish of his love interests, Jamie Lee Curtis. (Note: we have never believed that rumor about the lovely Ms. Curtis.)
4. The Outsiders
Based on S.E. Hinton’s book about rival gangs, this movie features all the heartthrobs of its time. Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Matt Dillon all star in the film. C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio play best friends with a little too many sensitive and longing looks.
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The palpable chemistry between Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), plus elves with hair extensions. What more is there to say?
Cruise as a money-hungry gigolo making cocktails. 'Nuff said.
1. Top Gun
This movie invented the genre. Tons of close talking about "riding your tail," a very butch Kelly McGillis, and three simple words - shirtless volleyball game.
Are there any you think should have made the list?
It happens all the time. A friend of yours decides to move out west to pursue other friendships. More profitable friendships—or sometimes ones that he thinks will earn him an Oscar. In any event, you’re left with a vacant spot in your friend group. So what do you do? Well, the natural and healthy thing to do is find someone who matches your friend’s general physicality to some satisfactory degree and hire him on to do everything and anything your friend would do if he was still around. Recasting. It’s a valuable tool.
Tthe above scenario is not quite the way things work in real life, but Hollywood has made this practice its second language. Time and time again, film sequels will lose actors from their original movies—perhaps to conflicts, financial issues, or lack of interest—and will be forced to recast. Sometimes, production invents a new character for the incoming actor or actress. Sometimes, the character remains the same…but just happens to look a little different this time around.
A recent advocate of the recasting strategy is Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. The film is a follow-up to Journey to the Center of the Earth, which starred Brendan Fraser in the leading role. The new film replaces Fraser with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, pitting the wrestler-turned-actor alongside returning player Josh Hutcherson to deliver a family-friendly adventure story.
Of course, the Journey films are just one of many franchises to employ this move. So, the question is: does it work? And, more importantly, what does it say about our society and its devaluation of human beings into expendable and interchangeable tools? Just kidding—nobody cares about that.
More often than not, when major actors are replaced in follow-up films, the results are disappointing. As much as I love Julianne Moore—which is an amount that has bordered on “prohibited by law”—nobody can say that her performance as Clarice Starling in the 2001 film Hannibal lived up to that of Jodie Foster in the 1991 predecessor, The Silence of the Lambs.
There are countless examples. Maggie Gyllenhaal replaced Katie Holmes in The Dark Knight. Omar Epps replaced Wesley Snipes in Major League II. Elisabeth Shue replaced Claudia Wells in the second and third Back to the Future films (as did Jeffrey Weisman for Crispin Glover…but we weren’t supposed to notice that). And in a much anticipated example, Mark Ruffalo will take on Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk, a role previously embodied Edward Norton, for the upcoming Avengers movie. The Griswold kids are practically shape-shifting aliens.
These replacements manifest varying degrees of positivity. Some people preferred Gyllenhaal’s Rachel Dawes to the character originated by Holmes. Plenty look forward to this new, interesting Ruffalo Hulk. There are plenty who thought Jamie Kennedy totally blew Jim Carrey out of the water with Son of the Mask. So although the whole idea of casting replacement is instinctively met with revulsion in the eyes of the audiences, good things do come from the practice.
For one thing, we are opened up to different interpretations of the same character. Every cinematic Joker we’ve seen has brought something new—something outstanding and lasting. Imagine a world where Sean Connery may still be the iconic James Bond, but Lazenby, Moore and Dalton each infused the character with something new—competing with one another for many individuals’ personal choice of the 007 portrayer. And if you’re going to tell me that Cuba Gooding, Jr., didn’t revolutionize the character of Charlie Hinton in Daddy Day Camp, then we’re just living in two different worlds.
And sequel replacement doesn’t restrict the growth of story to the availability of actors. Actors are notorious for always being involved in other movies, Sudanese expeditions, or medical malpractice lawsuits. So, should a character or story that was always intended for further examination suffer because their original portrayer is suddenly unavailable? Fortunately, we have the old saying: “The show must go on.” Call in the understudy.
I’m sure that we’d all rather see the actors who helped us get to know our favorite characters continue to play them as long as they shall be depicted on screen. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. But the desire to keep these stories going is a good thing. Continued artistic expression despite casting setbacks should be considered a triumph. New interpretations should not be rejected outright. I say, recast everybody!
…except Surf Ninjas. You leave Surf Ninjas alone, Hollywood.
This Sunday, the new Super Bowl spot for G.I. Joe: Retaliation which will broadcast on national television, but we can watch it now right here. The video pays homage to two American heroes: Joseph Colton and Shawn Carter. The Super Bowl spot opens with Dwayne Johnson, playing U.S. soldier Marvin "Roadblock" Hinton, citing the lyrics to Jay Z's "Don't Let Me Die." And as the song plays out over a montage of the cast undergoing death-defying stunts in order to save the country from the threat of evil, we feel as if their prayers have been answered. But none of that compares to the culminating moment in the video, when we're faced with a surprise guest: Bruce Willis, whispering a line that'll thrill all fans of the long-sustained pinnacle of patriotism.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation also stars Channing Tatum and Adrianne Palicki. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu, and will reach AMERICAN theaters June 29.
You can watch the new trailer over at Apple by clicking here.
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
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.
Top Story: Montreal Film Fest Short on Hollywood Pics
The 27th annual Montreal World Film Festival, which runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7, unveiled a slate rich in art-house and fringe movies but short on Hollywood studio films. This year's festival will pay tribute to Martin Scorsese, but besides the American filmmaker, officials declined to name the list of actors and directors expected at the festival. According to Reuters, festival president Serge Losique told a crowded news conference Tuesday, "Judge by the quality of the films. The names mean nothing." This year's festival features the newly created Cinema of the Americas, which will showcase 10 features including Salma Hayek's feature directorial debut The Maldonado Miracle; Michael Pressman's Frankie and Johnny Are Married; Mark Rucker's Die Mommie Die; and Jim Hershleder's shot-on-video Ash Tuesday. The festival will kick off with the French-Canadian movie Gas Bar Blues, directed by Louis Belanger, and close with Les Marins Perdus, one of the last films by the late French actress Marie Trintignant, who was allegedly killed her boyfriend, French rock star Bertrand Cantat, earlier this month. The festival, which overlaps with almost all of the Venice fest and the first weekend of the Toronto fest following a divisive date change, will present 439 movies from 68 countries, with 115 as world premieres.
Would You Eat There?
Rocco DiSpirito's new Italian eatery, which is the subject of NBC's reality series The Restaurant, has been cited by the health department for "evidence of live flies" and greasy spoons during an unplanned health department inspection July 29, the AP reports. The show follows restaurateur DiSpirito and his staff through the trials and tribulations of opening a Manhattan restaurant. The restaurant was also cited for having three "moist wiping" cloths "soiled with old food particles and not stored in sanitizing solution." The citation also said an employee toilet facility wasn't equipped with the required "self-closing door." A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 22.
Boston Radio Station Plans "I Survived Gigli" Bash
Boston radio station WBCN will be giving away "I survived Gigli" T-shirts to moviegoers left in their seats when the lights come up after the final screening of the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez film at a Boston theater this Thursday, Reuters reports. "We're doing this because the movie's been such a bomb," WBCN's creative services director Chachi Loprete told Reuters Tuesday. The station will be giving away free tickets to 130 "lucky" listeners before Gigli vanishes from U.S. movie theaters following miserable ticket sales. The film cost $55 million to make and brought in less than $6 million during its first 10 days at the box office.
Robert Conrad Denies Drunk Driving
Actor Robert Conrad, best known for his roles in the TV series Baa Baa, Black Sheep and The Wild Wild West, pleaded innocent Tuesday to two felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol, The Associated Press reports. His blood-alcohol level was 0.22 percent when he crashed head-on into another vehicle, injuring the driver, on March 31 near the Sierra foothills town of Arnold, about 100 miles southeast of Sacramento, Calif. A judge ordered the actor not to drink alcohol and said he was not to drive his vehicle more than 6 miles from his Bear Valley home. A preliminary hearing has been set for Nov. 18.
NBC Reruns Gregory Hines' Law & Order Episode
NBC will rerun an episode of its hit series Law & Order Wednesday night in which late actor Gregory Hines guest starred as a Johnny Cochran-like lawyer. Hines died on Saturday from cancer. "We are all saddened by the loss of Gregory Hines, one of the most versatile performers of his generation," the show's executive producer Dick Wolf said. "This episode showcases his often unheralded talent as a dramatic actor. He overwhelms the courtroom with his energy and sharp wit and is a very potent force opposite (show star) Sam Waterston." The episode, one of Hines' last TV performances, first aired March 26.
More Christina Aguilera /Justin Timberlake Shows Postponed
Promoters of the Christina Aguilera /Justin Timberlake tour postponed three more concerts, scheduled for Monday in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday in East Rutherford, and Thursday in Hartford, Conn., after three stagehands were injured Saturday when a lighting grid above the stage at Boardwalk Hall collapsed. "All I can say is that it's under investigation. It's much too early to know what happened," said James Evans, president of Mountain Productions, which assembled and installed the grid. "There's a laundry list of things that could have gone wrong. I can't even guess." The postponements have been confirmed but no plans to reschedule the shows have been announced.
Snoop Dogg Sued For Girls Gone Wild Video
Two Louisiana women are suing Snoop Dogg, claiming the rapper offered them drugs during Mardi Gras 2002 to flash their breasts for pictures that later appeared on a cover of the video series Girls Gone Wild. One of the women was 17 years old at the time of the alleged incident. The suit also names Joseph R. Francis, the owner of Mantra Films Inc., which produces the series of mail-order videos. According to the AP, Francis was arrested April 2 during Spring Break in Panama City, Fla., and faces 22 charges including racketeering, procuring minors for sexual acts, filming minors engaged in sexual performances and conspiracy. Attorneys for Francis and Snoop Dogg, who was host of the video, have both denied the allegations in court filings, saying that any pictures taken were done with voluntary consent.
Role Call: Murphy in Talks for Daddy Day Camp
Eddie Murphy is in talks to reprise his role in a sequel to Daddy Day Care. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Revolution Studios has hired Toy Story scribes Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow to pen the script, titled Daddy Day Camp. The film would see Murphy's character, Charlie Hinton, in charge of a summer day camp. No deal is yet in place for the actor.