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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Once Upon a Time: Jorge Garcia, known to fans as bad luck-addled Lost favorite Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, will join fellow island alum Emilie de Ravin on ABC's fairy tale drama in its second season. Although details are mum, Garcia will play a character known as 'The Giant,' which suggests a possible Jack and the Beanstalk relation in the show's future. [EW]
Hart of Dixie: The Newsroom supporting player Kelen Coleman, who recently scored a gig on the TV Land pilot Brothers-in-Law, will join The CW's Rachel Bilson-led doctoral drama in a recurring role as Presley, "a pretty but tomboyish beer distributor who, while at the Rammer Jammer, catches the eye of the newly single George" (Scott Porter). [TVLine]
Nashville: Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According To Jim) is set for a multi-episode arc on ABC's new musical endeavor this fall. She'll play Peggy, a former lover of Connie Britton's character's husband Teddy (Eric Close). Will she stir up trouble, or come bearing pleasantries? We assume the former. [Deadline]
666 Park Avenue: ABC's supernatural semi-thriller will get political when Tessa Thompson joins the cast as a recurring media consultant who tempts Henry (Dave Annable) and threatens Jane (Rachael Taylor). [Deadline]
Royal Pains: Another Lawson has been discovered! Hank (Mark Feuerstein) will treat his overweight cousin Owen when Charley Koontz (Community) shows up on USA's Hamptons dramedy. Koontz is set for a two-episode arc. [Deadline]
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The entire television industry is required, by a secret contract, to put together at least one Lost cast reunion every few months or so. It is the only way to sustain the human race's faith in the meaning of life, in the absence of the series that captivated, guided, and pretty much controlled its viewing audience for six years. The Showtime comedy Californication is the latest program to uphold this sacred responsibility. TVLine reports that the David Duchovny starrer is bringing on Jorge Garcia (fan favorite Hurley) to join Maggie Grace during the latter's multi-episode arc.
Of course, this is Californication's first foray into the art of the Lost reunion; some shows have made a religion out of the practice. Here's a look at some of the biggest power player series in the game of bringing old islanders together again.
The CBS series Hawaii Five-0 kicked off with the appeal of Daniel Dae Kim, who played the excellently crafted Jin, at the center of its cast. Since, the program has brought on Terry O'Quinn — the iconic John Locke — for an extended multi-episode arc, playing an equally nebulous character. As a bonus, the series featured a one-off appearance by Tania Raymonde, Lost's Alex Rosseau, who underwent a harsh interrogation by Officer Jin.
Person of Interest
Island breakout star Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) pulls the heavy weight in the CBS crime drama Person of Interest, from Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams. Over the course of Person of Interest's first season, Emerson has reunited with Brett Cullen, who played Goodwin Stanhope, Linus' rival for the affections of Juliet Burke... whose ex-husband's portrayer, Željko Ivanek, is also a recurring star on Person of Interest. But there's more: Alan Dale, who played Charles Widmore on the ABC program, has shown up to add a dose of his menacing style to Emerson's new series.
Once Upon a Time
Unfortunately, no two Lost castmembers have appeared onscreen at the same time on Once Upon a Time. But the show comes from two of Lost's writers, and has featured Alan Dale and Emilie de Ravin, the latter of whom played Claire on Lost and an incarnation of Beauty and the Beast's Belle on Once Upon a Time.
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Lost fans have good reason to rejoice this morning. The Hollywood Reporter scoops that Michael Emerson, who played villain-turned-hero-turned-villain-turned-hero Benjamin Linus on ABC's beloved mystery drama, will play the lead in CBS' Person Of Interest, a new one-hour crime drama from Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Lost executive producer and all-around geek god J.J. Abrams.
Little is known about the focus of the program at this point, but it is said to center on a billionaire who works to stop violent crime along with an ex-CIA agent. Emerson will play the crusading billionaire, while the CIA agent is yet to be cast. Nolan wrote the treatment for the show and will serve as executive producer along with Abrams and his partner Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk.
As a longtime fan of Lost, I'm ecstatic that Abrams has chosen to cast his new shows with actors from the Island. Not only will Jorge Garcia, who played Hugo Reyes in the sci-fi fantasy series, star in another one of Abrams' developing projects (Alcatraz, from Lost co-producer Elizabeth Sarnoff), now we have Ben Linus back on the small screen. It's a nerd's dream come true, but not just because we love the characters from the now-concluded program. They are all wonderful actors and Abrams is giving them the chance to prove that their popularity on Lost wasn't just a fluke. The only downside to this story is that it leaves another one of Abrams' developing shows (Odd Jobs) in limbo; that one was supposed to center on a pair of former special-ops agents. It had been rumored that Emerson and fellow Lostie Terry O'Quinn would play the agents, but now it seems that prospect may be, umm, lost.
Unless O'Quinn is being courted to play the ex-CIA Agent in Person Of Interest. Could it be fate...