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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As we eagerly await (wait, wait, wait) the distant release date of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, why not rewatch some of the Harry Potter films? Which one was your favorite? Here are ours, ranked worst to best.
Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets
Both so bad they don't even deserve their own ranking.
Order of the Phoenix
Many name Order of the Phoenix as their least favorite book – Harry's angrily depressed for a good portion of the story, and that's not exactly fun for the readers. A lot of that dementor-y angstiness carries over to the film, which doesn't make for the best cinematic experience. Quibbles aside, we can all agree that Imelda Staunton was the perfect Umbridge.
Goblet of Fire
This one gets a lot of hate (they did cut out a lot of the best moments), but I don't know; the awkwardness of the whole Yule Ball debacle kind of saves it for me. Oh, and the adorable Beauxbatons hats.
Deathly Hallows Part I
People say that Deathly Hallows is basically Harry Potter and the Never-ending Camping Trip. Which, okay, it kind of is. But I think the marriage between the book and the movie worked well here – even though Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson's chemistry had everyone clamoring for a rewrite of the Hermione/Ron storyline.
Half-Blood Prince was awesome, right? Right? ::crickets:: At least JKR's got my back (it was reportedly her favorite of the first six). I loved the balance of humor and darkness in this one. The Felix Felicis scene? Daniel Radcliffe at this best. And the extra material that Rowling added about Professor Slughorn's remembrances of Lily Evans? Absolutely beautiful.
Deathly Hallows Part II
A just conclusion for a franchise that went on for roughly a decade – it certainly went out on a bang (well, a bang followed up by that infamously bad epilogue, anyway).
Prisoner of Azkaban
Prisoner of Azkaban was such a breath of fresh air after the first two butcheries, was it not? Many hail it as the film that saved the franchise – it finally captured the humor of the books, and the Harry/stag patronus scene continues to get me time after time. And honestly, the entire time turner sequence made for some popcorn poppin' cinema.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
When Hollywood.com visited the set of the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, director Sam Mendes made it clear that he had a deep love of the old school 007 movies, and that the goal for his entry was to "go back to the Fleming." Franchise masterminds Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson echoed the idea of returning to the vibe of the source material, even though the movie wouldn't be directly adapting it. Judging from the first trailer for the movie, the literary starting point seems to have worked: Skyfall looks distinct, straying from the familiar look and feel of an action movie.
With the choice of Mendes, Broccoli and Wilson follow the successful path of the Harry Potter movies. They're investing in auteurship — allowing a director with a vision to use the mythology of Bond as a starting point, but never folding to the demands and expectations of modern blockbusters. That's where Quantum of Solace and many of the late Pierce Brosnan-era Bonds went wrong. Quantum felt like a riff on the Bourne movies, swapping out Matt Damon for the new-and-improved James Bond. Skyfall doesn't overtly imitate anything, even the successful Daniel Craig reboot Casino Royale, of which Mendes is a huge fan. Like the jump between Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, or even the radical departure in aesthetics director David Yates made when he took over the series with Order of the Phoenix, Mendes 007 spy adventure feels like a stand alone, even while carrying over Craig as Bond, Judi Dench as M and other signature elements of the series.
The Potter/Skyfall comparison is even more apt thanks to the outright British-ness on display in the trailer. That was one of Mendes' goals — make his movie feel better connected to the source material's home country. It's there, with rainy landscapes and a grit that previously helped ground the Potter movies in a necessary reality. The work of legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins (Road to Perdition and most of the Coen Bros. films of the past decade and a half) transforms Skyfall into an unexpected visual feast. The take should only help to integrate the film's big action scenes in a dramatic and realistic way. We get only a glimpse of the epic opening in Istanbal, but the push in the trailer is mood, intensity and character — an aspect severely lacking from Quantum.
The eight films comprising the Harry Potter franchise were all about risks, and 007 finally seems to be following suit. There's no one right way to make a James Bond movie. Skyfall is an exciting new departure.
Skyfall, starring Craig, Dench, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, hits theaters November 11, 2012.
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
The hit spy movie also took home Best Thriller at the London ceremony on Sunday (25Mar12) after winning the majority of votes from readers of Empire magazine. The film saw off competition from Attack The Block, The Inbetweeners Movie, Submarine and Tyrannosaur to land the Best British Film honour.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was named Best Film, ahead of Drive, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, while David Yates won Best Director for helming the final installment in the blockbuster fantasy series.
Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling, Daniel Radcliffe and Andy Serkis all lost out to Oldman in the Best Actor category, while Olivia Colman was honoured with Best Actress for her turn in harrowing drama Tyrannosaur.
Ron Howard won the Empire Inspiration award, Michael Fassbender was this year's Empire Hero and Tim Burton was named Empire Icon.
For his first project post-Harry Potter, David Yates, director of the final four installments of the blockbuster Warner Bros. franchise, is reportedly eyeing a familiar face to play the lead. According to Deadline, Emma Watson is "in discussions" with Yates to star in Your Voice Inside My Head, a drama adapted from Emma Forrest's memoir of being saved from suicide by a cancer-stricken psychiatrist. Warner Bros., the studio expected to develop the project, is said to be looking at several big names, including Tom Hanks and George Clooney, to play the role of the psychiatrist who brings poor Emma back from the brink. Suicide? Cancer? Clooney? Hmmm ... sounds suspiciously like Oscar-bait.
Watson can next be seen in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Her Harry Potter pal Daniel Radcliffe's latest film, The Woman in Black, opens this Friday. Check out the trailer:
The Brit, who took charge of the last four Potter films, tells Daily Variety he'll take the next two to three years to perfect the project.
He says, "It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena."
The time-travel TV show was must-see viewing in Britain between 1963 and 1989 and it has since found a new generation of fans thanks to a mid-2000s revival.
Matt Smith is the current and 11th Doctor. It is not known who will play Yates' timelord, but early speculation suggests his Harry Potter stars Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe are in the mix.
Previously on Harry Potter: Big bad Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave while Harry mourns the loss of his wee elf friend Dobby and begins his search for the remaining Horcruxes.
If that recap leaves you with hazy memories of last year's Deathly Hallows - Part 1 you may want to pop in the DVD before taking on the Harry Potter franchise's grand finale Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The eighth film in the series doesn't pull any punches demanding your knowledge of the saga's previous events and crescendoing off a foundation of character and connection built over a decade of cinematic excursions. That's not a fault -- Deathly Hallows - Part 2 serves hardcore fans and dedicated patrons of the franchise alike bouncing elegantly back and forth between explosive action and emotional conclusions. At this point that's what matters.
Whereas Deathly Hallows - Part 1 took Harry Hermione and Ron on a gritty race through the real world Part 2 brings the trio back to their home base Hogwarts School of Magic and Child Death where their colleagues and professors find themselves defending it against the empowered Voldemort and his band of Death Eaters. Similarly to Transformers: Dark of the Moon Deathly Hallows - Part 2 spends most of its run time following various established characters as they navigate the epic battle. Unlike the clunky erratic action of TF3 director David Yates manages to execute the sequences in Potter with bravado making sure we give a damn every time Potter discovers a secret from the past blows a Death Eater out a window or glances upon one of his closest friends lying dead on the floor.
For all its otherworldliness Potter is and always has been a human story one that puts its characters before spectacle. But when Yates and his team of FX wizards do unleash their bag of spells on the screen they do it with a very BIG bang. Deathly Hallows - Part 2's scope is on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy bringing everything from trolls to spiders to animate statues into the wizards' massive assault. The franchise hasn't seen action on this scale before but Yates never misses a beat or opportunity to dazzle with visual eye candy. Turning the crumbling of Hogwarts castle into a riveting poignant experience -- true magic.
Once again Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson Rupert Grint and a cast of veteran British thespians deliver the necessary gravitas to anchor Potter's fantastical elements in reality. With everything finally on the line in Deathly Hallows - Part 2 each performance is at its best and Radcliffe steps up to the plate to make his final showdown with Voldemort one to remember. He spends most of the movie covered in dirt encrusted blood on his face and a harrowing sense of death behind his eyes. Heavy material but Radcliffe pulls it off.
Few franchises have the chance that Harry Potter has been fortunate enough to receive to follow the same familiar faces through years of ever-complicating story. Thankfully Deathly Hallows - Part 2 doesn't squander the opportunity. The saga swells with a triumphant final act one that never forgets why people love the movies in the first place. The adventure the awe the comedy the thrills the people the places the things -- those are the elements that make Harry Potter grand and they return in perfect form once more to say good-bye.
Radcliffe, who shot to stardom as the boy wizard at the age of 11, recently opened up about his alcohol issues in men's magazine GQ, confessing he was so worried about becoming an alcoholic he is now teetotal.
He said, "I became so reliant on (alcohol) to enjoy stuff."
Yates admits he was shocked to hear Radcliffe's revelations, but he's proud of the former child star for handling his issues so well.
He tells the New York Daily News, "I think it's a real testament to Dan as a human being to share that with you guys. And he shared it because he'd dealt with it and he'd moved on from it."
Producer David Heyman adds, "It didn't affect his performance and it most certainly didn't affect the making of the films."
Yahoo Movies premiered this new little featurette designed to help non-book-reading fans of Harry Potter get a little up to speed. It explains the theory of the Horcruxes and what Harry and his merry band of friends have to do in the final book.
For fans of the book, this is just a basic review of the plot. But there’s some additional footage and a little tease of how the director is treating Voldemort this time around. It's an interesting little clip, no doubt, but avid fans won’t learn much from it.
Source: Yahoo Movies