ABC Television Network
Mission BriefingWhew that was a doozy! Episodes upon episodes of languorous table-setting has finally led to this: definitively, the most engaging episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. The show's recent shift into high gear is probably thanks to the upcoming Marvel flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which promises to have game changing consequences for the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
The newly-minted cyborg Deathlok (formerly Mike Peterson) begins attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in classified locations, which means one thing: S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting close and the Clairvoyant is getting nervous. The agency has narrowed the Clairvoyant's possible identity to 13 gifted individuals, but as is always the case, things aren't quite what they seem.
The AgentsAll of the usual subjects are geared up for this mission, plus a big cast of supporting agents, including Agents Victoria Hand, John Garrett, Blake Felix, Jasper Sitwell, and Antoine Triplett. This is the most agent-heavy episode of the series yet.
Mission FalloutS.H.I.E.L.D. decides to have a big pow wow on the bus to discuss the best ways to finally close in on the could-be psychic. Skye gets promoted to a full-fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent thanks to her skills and her ability to get shot, and is able to narrow down the most likely Clairvoyant subjects down to three.The agents decide to split up into groups of two, in order to go after each subject, with Skye running backup via laptop. The duo of May and Blake draw the proverbial short straw, and get attacked by a upgraded Deathlok, who's now sporting a fancy new gauntlet equipped with missiles. Blake is nearly killed, and May is momentarily incapacitated by one of Deathlok's rockets. S.H.I.E.L.D. wrestles up a tactical team to go after Deathlok and suspect Thomas Nash after it's discovered that Blake was able to implant a tracker into Deathlok. The team tracks down the signal to Florida, and move in on Nash. After dodging Deathlok, Coulson and Garrett locate Nash, who proclaims himself to be the Clairvoyant. Nash states that a unknown force is coming after Coulson and Skye, and that Skye will die giving the force something they want. Ward shoots Nash and kills him after being pushed to far, and is apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D.
After the mission, Coulson has doubts that Nash was really the Clairvoyant. Coulson and Skye puzzle out that The Clairvoyant's knowledge of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s movements and intel must make him higher up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Coulson confronts Ward, thinking he's working for the Clairvoyant. Meanwhile, Fitz discovers the encrypted line that May used to communicate with her handler at the end of the last episode. May discovers Fitz snooping around and gives chase. Coulson finds May, and the two engage in a classic Mexican standoff with Skye pulling her own gun on May. Coulson demands the identity of the real Clairvoyant before the jet is rerouted via Victoria Hand, who commands her agents to kill everyone on board when it touches down. Could Hand is the Clairvoyant? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
The Most Valuable Agent AwardWe're giving agent Felix Blake the honor this week for getting stomped on by Deathlok and having the sense of mind to implant Deathlok with a tracker. Good going Blake.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations- We really enjoyed the banter between Coulson and Garrett this episode. It really gave the characters a sense of shared history.- Simmons and Triplett continue to throw googly eyes at each other, but their attraction feels rather forced.- We’re not totally convinced that Victoria Hand is the real mastermind behind the Clairvoyant. There’s still a handful of episodes for S.H.I.E.L.D. to throw acurve ball or two our way, and it will be interesting to see where everyone’s allegiances lay once the dust settles. - Judging by the snippet of Captain America: The Winter Solder shown at the end of the episode, we're guessing the events of the film will play a large part in the next episode. You might want to try to catch the film before next Tuesday in order to be all caught up. It's nice that we’re finally seeing some more connective tissue between the television show and the films.
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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Rockers Art Brut have announced a line-up change on the eve of their latest tour after revealing drummer Mikey Breyer and guitarist Jasper Future have retired from the group. Blur star Graham Coxon's guitarist Toby Macfarlaine and Stephen Gilchrist have joined the band as permanent replacements.
Frontman Eddie Argos says, "Being a classic rock band isn't all just laps of honour round the world and photoshoots in Rolling Stone; it also involves personnel changes. So, after 10 years and eight years of playing with them respectively, we say goodbye to Mike and Jasper.
"Press releases are not the best place for fond farewells but it's been a blast and we'll miss them... It's now time for Art Brut Mk III. Hello to Toby and Stephen."
The group kicks off a British tour with the new bandmates in Manchester, England next week (24Sep13).
It's pretty safe to say that the worldwide phenomenon that is The Twilight Saga hasn't exactly appealed to the AARP set. Maybe it's all that weepy teenage brooding (get a job, Bella!) or all that gratuitous nudity (put on a shirt, young man, you'll catch a cold!) or that in their day vampires were, you know, actually scary. But it's more than likely the fact that, unlike the rest of us, this attractive family of vampires never gets old and just so happen to conveniently get stuck at their most attractive age. It's a bunch of unfair malarkey, kids.
Still, that doesn't mean we can't imagine what it would be like if Twilight gang actually did make it to retirement age. With the final chapter in the saga, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 now in theaters, the Twihard generation must now move to the next phase of their lives, so why not Edward, Bella, Jacob, and other fan favorite characters, too? We envision (full old people makeup and all) Twilight: The Twilight Years:
Edward Cullen: Finally replacing drinking blood and hunting prey with Bloody Marys and hunting deer the old fashioned way, Edward gets out of the vampire racket to live out his retirement age properly with wife Bella in their lavish home in the woods. Supports Bella's decision to go back to school (see below) but he opts not to as countless years of high school were more than enough.
Bella Swan-Cullen: Now that she doesn't have eternity, Bella finally gets around to getting her college degree taking night classes (ironically enough, in Women's Studies) but almost doesn't pass as she writes every single one of her assignments about her dreamy husband. Also: starts smiling. Hey, it's never too late!
Jacob Cullen: Still taking off his shirt, much to the dismay and confusion of his neighbors (does he really need to have his shirt off to get the mail or water his plants?), Jacob is now an actual creepy old man like the one he becomes in Breaking Dawn — Part 2. With his much-too-young wife Renesmee by his side, their kids and grandkids repeatedly beg Grandpa Jacob to not recall the story of how he met their mother.
Dr. Carlise Cullen: After starting his own private practice, the beloved doctor and his wife Esme eventually retire to Florida to soak in all that sun they'd been hearing so much about (while wearing sunscreen, of course) and do what every retired doctor should do: playing lots and lots of golf and making collect calls to their kids on Sundays.
Jasper Hale: With nonstop nagging from wife Alice, Jasper finally undergoes laser eye surgery and spends his twilight years no longer looking perpetually surprised.
Rosalie Hale: Still fixated with beauty, Rosalie hits the pop culture crossover jackpot and goes on to begin holding half-human/half-vampire child beauty pageants with Renesmee stepping in as an occasional guest judge.
Charlie Swan: Salmon fishing in the Yemen with Sue Clearwater by his side, of course. Well, they'd go fishing for trout, too, of course. Because, in the words of Charlie in Breaking Dawn — Part 2, "The woman knows her trout."
Aro: After realizing he foolishly spent most of his life in the dark being evil when he could have been out sightseeing and soaking in all the culture that Italy has to offer, Aro pens the international bestseller Breaking the Volturi Code and spends the rest of his day sipping wine, eating cheese, hanging out at George Clooney's villa, and giggling like a mad man.
How would you envision the Twilight characters at retirement age? I'm sorry, I didn't hear that, you'll have to speak up.
[Photo credit: Summit Entertainment]
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Before we get started, I have to put it all on the table: I'm not the biggest Twi-hard. I've never read the books, so when it came time for Breaking Dawn - Part 2's buzzworthy surprise ending, I was very happily surprised. However, given the intensity of Stephenie Meyer's fan base, I'm sure that many will not agree with me. So, Twi-fans, riddle me this — what did you think of the ending?
In case you're suffering from a major Twi-hangover, here's how it all went down: The Cullen and Volturi armies met on the field, and Aro was able to get his peek at Renesmee. He saw that she wasn't a deadly immortal child, so he instantly had the tattletale Irina (Maggie Grace) beheaded. So, of course, the Denali clan went ballistic. But their anger was quelled by the peaceful Cullens, until Aro and the Volturi insisted on starting a battle anyway — even though Renesmee wasn't a threat now, they couldn't be sure that she wouldn't eventually become dangerous. So Aro and Carlisle jumped and met in the air, and when the two vamps reached the ground, Carlisle was missing a head. I lost it.
This led to an epic battle that put the Hogwarts showdown to shame, in which Jasper, numerous vamps and wolves, and eventually Aro lost their lives. It was bloody, emotional, and pretty fantastic. But then, suddenly, after Aro was put down, we flashed back to the moment minutes before where Alice met Aro on the field. The whole battle was a vision of the future that would happen if he didn't go away in peace, and everyone we liked (well, except for Irina) was still alive. Phew. The Volturi left, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Now, I'm a huge fan of Game of Thrones and pessimism and the like, so I wouldn't have minded a bit more bloodshed in my Twilight. But I know that's not the point of this epic romance, so most will probably disagree with me. Still, let's leave it to the polls — vote in ours below, and defend your choice in the comments!
&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6694281/"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;What did you think of the surprise ending?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Summit Entertainment]
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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.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.