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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You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some.
While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies.
Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul.
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So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either.
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Emilia Clarke has given up her favourite foods and adopted a tough exercise regimen to prepare for her role in the new Terminator movie. The Games of Thrones actress will play Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genesis alongside the franchise's original star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will be reprising his robot role.
Filming begins in New Orleans, Louisiana next month (Apr14) and Clarke has been given strict orders to get in shape.
She has been banned from consuming wheat, sugar, caffeine or diary products and has to train every day.
Clarke tells U.K. Instyle magazine, "I've been spending all day every day, in weapons training. I've been shooting guns, weightlifting, kickboxing and generally kicking a lot of a**. On top of that, I have not been allowed to eat anything that might taste good at all."
During the interview, she observes the food on display and adds, "Everything on these plates looks amazing but, heartbreakingly, I'm not allowed to eat any of it. Not one thing on this table. Except a cup of tea. One cup of tea. No sugar. No cream."
"The aftermath was the thing that was harder to deal with. Going in to do my first press junket, that’s a hell of a lot scarier than being naked up on TV!" Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke on the one thing that's more frightening than baring all on camera.
Rock star Lita Ford is to be honoured with Guitar Player magazine's Certified Legend Award at an all-star charity gig in Los Angeles later this month (Mar14). The rocker will take part in the second annual Rock Against MS All-Star Benefit at the Whisky a Go-Go on 26 March (14), alongside Steve Stevens, Gilby Clarke and Cherie Currie - and she'll pick up a very special accolade at the event.
Guitar Player magazine bosses will be there to present Ford with their top award, inspired by Chet Atkins' phrase 'Certified Guitar Player'.
The first award was handed to Les Paul in 2003 and recipients have included Duane Eddy, Dick Dale, Lee Ritenour and Joe Perry, among others.
Actor Sam Worthington and his model girlfriend Lara Bingle have sparked speculation they are secretly married after the couple was spotted wearing what appeared to be wedding rings. The Avatar star stepped out with fellow Australian Bingle in New York on Thursday (20Feb14), when they were photographed wearing matching bands on their ring fingers, just four months (Oct13) after confirming they were dating.
Representatives for the pair have yet to comment on the reports.
Worthington previously dated actress Maeve Dermody, while Bingle was engaged to Australian cricketer Michael Clarke from 2008 to 2010.
A Good Day To Die Hard star Jai Courtney has joined another all-action movie franchise after landing the coveted role of Kyle Reese in the Terminator remake. The actor will join Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke in Terminator: Genesis, according to multiple reports.
The Clarkes have signed on to portray Sarah and John Connor in the movie, which will be directed by Alan Taylor.
Schwarzenegger will return as the Terminator.
Courtney reportedly landed the role of Reese after a fiercely contested audition process with The Host star Boyd Holbrook.
Michael Biehn played Reese in 1984's The Terminator. The role has also been played onscreen by Anton Yelchin.
Musicians Al Jarreau and Stanley Clarke are set to salute late jazz pianist George Duke with special performances at the 2014 Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles. Duke, who headlined last year's (13) event, lost his battle with leukaemia in August (13) and now organisers at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association have announced plans for tribute sets when the festival returns this spring (14).
Singer Jarreau, who first worked with the No Rhyme, No Reason star in the late 1960s, will team up with frequent Duke collaborator, bassist Clarke, to open the Hollywood Bowl bash on 14 June (14), while Duke's singer cousin Dianne Reeves is also part of the line-up.
Singer/guitarist George Benson and smooth jazz star Earl Klugh will take the stage on 15 June (14).
Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke will never be able to audition for a musical because she's still scarred by her first try-out when she was 10. The actress, who was recently voted 2014's Most Desirable Woman in an online poll, recalls fighting for a role in a London play as a child.
She says, "I was learning a folk song in school about a donkey, so I decided to sing that. They said, 'Do you know anything more current?' I then gave them my best rendition of the Spice Girls, complete with dance moves.
"That's where my musical career ended. It made me realise that I wasn't quite ready. I think my parents were trying to give me a healthy dose of realism early on."
The last movie Michael Clarke Duncan made before his untimely death is due to hit cinemas in the U.S. this spring (14). The Green Mile star completed work on sports biopic From the Rough prior to his passing following a heart attack in September, 2012, and now film executives have secured a 25 April (14) release date for the movie.
From the Rough stars Taraji P. Henson as Tennessee State Tigers swimming guru Catana Starks, who became the first ever female coach of a college men's golf team.