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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Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine has been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. The 34-year-old singer follows in the footsteps of 2012's honouree, Magic Mike star Channing Tatum, and fended off competition from fellow hunky celebrities including Justin Timberlake, David Beckham and Idris Elba.
Levine was officially handed the title during Tuesday's (19Nov13) live episode of U.S. talent show The Voice, on which he serves as a judge and mentor.
In an accompanying article in the magazine, he says, "As a musician, you have fantasies that you want to win Grammys, but I didn't really think that this was on the table. I was just amazed and stunned and it almost seemed like they were kidding, but they weren't, so that's cool."
Prior to the announcement, the sexy singer told Access Hollywood that if he picked up the prize, he will be constantly teased by his pals.
He said, "There is no way that I’ll ever be able to live it down. I'm going to be getting pranked by everyone, if it does happen. I'm going to be getting pranked by every single person I know!"
It's been a great 2013 Levine - he became engaged to model Behati Prinsloo in June (13), shot his first feature film and even launched his own men's clothing line at American department store Kmart.
Also making the annual 'hot list' are singers Luke Bryan, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, actors Chris Pine and Justin Theroux, U.S. talk show host Jimmy Fallon, and Mia Farrow's political journalist son, Ronan Farrow.
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.
Rihanna has become the latest star caught up in a nude-photo scandal after salacious snapshots allegedly featuring the singer were posted online on Friday.
Rihanna’s face can clearly be seen in shots that show the "Umbrella" singer stripping provocatively for the camera, but other photos show only segments of a woman's naked body.
The most incriminating full-length shot appears to feature the sexy star partially clothed taking a photograph of herself in the mirror of a large hotel suite bathroom. The messages 'I love you' and 'I miss you' are written on the mirror.
The girl in the photo definitely looks like Rihanna, but the subject's face is covered by a BlackBerry phone camera.
The seven pictures led to Web sites like Imagehaven.net almost crashing as fans stormed the Internet looking for the scandalous photos, which reports suggest were taken at the London hotel in West Hollywood, where Rihanna once stayed with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.
The new photos come just days after Rihanna made her first public appearance following an alleged fight with Brown in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February.
The R&B star performed briefly alongside Kanye West at the Costume Institute Gala in New York on Monday.
Brown still faces jail time if he's found guilty of allegedly beating his then-girlfriend and threatening to kill her during the fight.
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MORE NEWS: Farrow Ends Fast
The 28-year-old stepbrother of "Titanic" superstar Leonardo DiCaprio is in a Los Angeles area jail today on $1 million bail. The allegation: Suspicion of attempted murder.
Adam Farrar, himself an actor, who appeared in the controversial kiddie-bank-robber indie flick "Pups," was arrested about noon Wednesday at a home in Marina Del Rey, Calif., after an alleged attack on his girlfriend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says.
Leonardo DiCaprio Upon being taken into custody, Farrar told deputies he was Leo's stepbrother. While the familial factoid is true (Leo's camp confirmed as much today), authorities say they're not sure why Farrar offered that by way of ID info.
In addition to the attempted-murder booking, Farrar was also accused of making "terrorist threats" against his (unidentified) girlfriend.
Farrar (listed in the credits of "Pups" as "Ferrar") and DiCaprio are not related by blood. They became family when Farrar's bodybuilder mother married DiCaprio's underground-comic-guru father. Farrar was the first star of the family, doing commercials as a kid. He later left acting for other pursuits, including a stint in the Army.
In 1999, he was named one of Hollywood's "30 Under Thirty" to watch by TNT's Rough Cut movie Web site (www.roughcut.com). "I would love to work with [DiCaprio]," Farrar told the site. "I'm leaving all my options open at this point."
It wasn't known if DiCaprio, 25, was aware of Farrar's current straits. "He has no comment," DiCaprio's publicist, Ken Sunshine, said today of the actor.
TRAGEDY: Mia Farrow is mourning the loss of her 19-year-old child, who died last weekend of a cardiac arrest, it has been revealed. Tam Farrow -- born in Vietnam and adopted by Farrow in 1992 -- had a history of medical problems. She was blind and had been hospitalized as recently as last week in Connecticut. Mia Farrow, 55, is almost as famous for raising a seemingly unmanageable brood of children as for her films ("The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Death on the Nile") or for her tabloid-friendly breakup with longtime love Woody Allen in 1992. Tam Farrow was one of the actress' 14 children -- 10 of whom are adopted. Farrow is also a grandmother by estranged daughter Soon-Yi. Allen, 64, and Soon-Yi adopted a child of their own in 1998.
OSCAR WATCH: Mel Gibson has enlisted to present, and supermodel Tyra Banks and MTV News' Chris Connelly have enlisted to co-host, ABC's red-carpet arrivals parade (now dubbed "Countdown to Oscars 2000") with "The View" gabber Meredith Vieira. Most disturbingly, Ray Charles, Isaac Hayes, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah and baseball player Garth Brooks have enlisted to perform a "special song medley" on the main telecast. For this they ditched the dance numbers?
GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE: Singer Faith Hill ("Breathe") lassoed eight nominations, including one for best entertainer, as the field for the TNN Music Awards was announced today. Hubby Tim McGraw scored five. Winners will be announced June 15 in Nashville.
THE SIMILARITIES ARE STARTLING? A Pennsylvania woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the author of the mega-selling-soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture "Harry Potter" series, claiming that J.K. Rowling ripped off her non-mega-selling-not-soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture 1984 novel, "The Legend of Rah and Muggles."
PEOPLE WHO GET PERMITS ARE THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD: Barbra Streisand and hubby James Brolin have gotten the go-ahead from the Malibu City Council to rip down one of their houses and build a new one in its place. That's what rich people call spring cleaning.
Charlton Heston, call your agent. Twentieth Century Fox's long-anticipated "Planet of the Apes" remake is not extinct. And ditto for -- Warner Bros.' new-look "Superman" movie may fly after all.
Word comes today from the Hollywood Reporter that these big-budget sci-fi and super-hero projects -- two of the most highly anticipated movies of the 1990s that never came to pass -- may soon be salvaged from development hell after years of on-again, off-again directors and aborted screenplays.
Fox could reportedly seal a deal with Tim Burton before the end of the week to direct its "Apes" remake, while Warner officials are said to be pleased with a new "Superman" screenplay from Bill Wisher, who co-wrote "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" with James Cameron.
Fox's announcement that Burton is in talks to direct "Apes" should come as a welcome surprise for sci-fi aficionados. The project, which was first announced back in 1993, has been associated with the likes of Oliver Stone, Cameron, Chris Columbus and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the past.
Although the trade newspaper didn't cite its sources, the Burton rumor seems to fit -- at least if you believe recent whisperings. In January, movie rumor Websites such as Ain't It Cool News (www.aint-it-cool-news.com) posted information, purportedly from people close to the project, stating that a new story treatment was recently written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Walker also wrote "Sleepy Hollow," Burton's recent gothic horror hit that grossed $96 million for Paramount.
The original "Planet of the Apes" (1968), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, was based on a book by French writer Pierre Boulle. The flick starred Heston as Taylor, a time-traveling astronaut who crash-lands on a barren planet ruled by a society of apes, who regard humans as mere savage slaves. It also starred Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter as the sympathetic chimpanzees Cornelius and Zira. Such was the popularity of the "Apes" franchise that it spawned four sequels, a live-action TV series and even a cartoon.
Fox commissioned an "Apes" script in the mid-1990's by Sam Hamm (who penned the stories for Burton's "Batman" and "Batman Returns") that reportedly deviated markedly from the original film, with a race of intergalactic apes dispatching a virus to the Earth, and a group of human heroes venturing to the ape planet to send the bio-agent back.
Columbus ("Mrs. Doubtfire," "Bicentennial Man") was to direct the project and Schwarzenegger was to play an updated version of Heston's role. Later, Cameron was rumored to be unofficially attached to the project as a producer and writer.
According to Ain't It Cool News, Walker's rumored treatment is a modified version of Hamm's screenplay. In it, a civilization of apes living in the Earth's core dispatches a killer virus to the surface, and two scientists must travel to the center of the planet and stop the apes from wiping out humanity.
The Hollywood Reporter says the new "Planet of the Apes" will get the A-list treatment, with a big budget and elaborate special effects (remember the cool ape make-up from the original?). No word yet, however, whether Burton will let frequent leading man Johnny Depp utter that classic line: "Get yer stinkin' paws off me, ya damn dirty ape!"
Meanwhile, no director is working on Warner's long-awaited "Superman" update -- alternately known in its past lives as "Superman Lives" and "Superman Reborn" -- although Burton was attached to the film circa 1997-98. Other screenwriters who have worked on the film prior to Wisher include Kevin Smith ("Clerks") and Dan Gilroy ("Freejack").
CHAINSAW REVISITED: First "Star Wars," now "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Unapix Films, which purchased the sequel rights to the grisly horror franchise about a year ago, announced this week that it will produce a "Chainsaw" prequel, simply titled "Ed Gein."
For the uninformed, Gein was the real-life serial murderer who terrorized Wisconsin in the 1950s, kidnapping women, skinning them alive and making lampshades out of their skin. He is said to be the inspiration for "Psycho" and "Silence of the Lambs," as well as the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974), which was directed by Tobe Hooper, who later made "Poltergeist."
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new film will be directed by Martin Kunert ("Campfire Tales") and written by Kunert and Eric Manes. Kunert and Manes' other credits include "Hindenburg," a movie now in development at Fox with Jan DeBont directing, and "Dare," a TV game show now in development at MTV.
For the record, this will be the fifth movie in the "Chainsaw" series, which chronicles the exploits of a sadistic family of cannibals, led by the patriarch "Grandpa" (who, in one installment, runs a successful chili con carne business --- with human flesh as his main ingredient, of course) and his son Leatherface, a chainsaw-wielding freak. The most recent was "Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" a k a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" (1994) which featured Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey in pre-stardom roles.
AND YET ANOTHER REMAKE: The Hollywood recycling program continues unabated, as Variety reports that Columbia Pictures has announced a remake of the 1971 thriller "See No Evil" (a k a "The Blind Terror") for a planned 2001 release. Martin Ransohoff, who produced the original version, also will oversee the remake and screenwriter Tony Jaswinski, who recently sold a spec script to New Line, will write it. In the original movie, Mia Farrow played a blind girl who moved into her aunt and uncle's English countryside home. Everyone else in the house is silently murdered, leaving the poor Farrow to be stalked and terrorized by the assailant. Columbia officials say the new version will be "modernized." Can you say "The Haunting"?
DIGITAL PLANET: Director Mike Figgis ("Leaving Las Vegas") will see his unconventional digital-video flick "Time Code 2000" premiere at an appropriately unconventional venue -- the first-ever Online Film Festival, March 22-23 in Los Angeles.
Backed by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, the fest showcases movies that are either backed by Web-based companies or include Internet-themed plotlines.
Starring Salma Hayek, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Kyle MacLachlan and Holly Hunter, "Time Code 2000" was shot on digital video and is being billed as something of a free-spirited innovation. Figgis reportedly had four roving video cameras independently shooting four separate 93-minute stories, all four of which are shown at once on the big screen. The movie was totally improvised -- there was no script -- and totally caveman-esque -- there are no special effects, no sound dubbing, no editing and not even make-up for the actors.
Screenings for the Online Film Festival are scheduled for the Directors Guild of America headquarters in Los Angeles. The event's lineup includes six feature films -- three of which are world premieres -- and 24 shorts. The short films will be viewable in streaming video format at www.onlinefilmfestival.com .