Actors Mia Farrow and Dylan Mcdermott have led the tributes to their former co-star Lord Richard Attenborough, following the British movie icon's death on Sunday (24Aug14). The exact cause of death has yet to be revealed, but Attenborough had been living in a nursing home with his wife, Sheila Sim, and was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a serious fall in 2008.
McDermott, who starred alongside Attenborough in the 1994 reboot of Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street, took to Twitter.com to pay tribute to the man who played Kris Kringle, and wrote, "Rest in peace Richard Attenborough. U (sic) were the best Santa ever."
Their co-star and former child actress Mara Wilson also added, "Sir Richard Attenborough was the only Santa Claus I ever believed in. A wonderful man. Still in shock right now. May he rest in peace."
News of Attenborough's death comes almost two weeks after Wilson's Mrs. Doubtfire co-star, Robin Williams passed away after committing suicide.
Mia Farrow, who worked with Attenborough in 1964's Guns at Batasi, also added her own tribute to her friend, and wrote, "Richard Attenborough was the kindest man I have ever had the privilege of working with. A Prince. RIP 'Pa' - and thank you," as well as comedian Ricky Gervais, who added, "RIP Richard Attenborough. One of the true greats of the silver screen."
Other Twitter tributes have come from Edgar Wright, former 007 star Samantha Bond, Rob Schneider, Stephen Amell, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who noted that Attenborough's "acting in 'Brighton Rock' was brilliant, his directing of 'Gandhi' was stunning," and adding, "Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema."
Born in Cambridge, England, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and served in the Royal Air Force during World War II before pursuing an acting career.
He made his debut as a sailor in the 1942 film In Which We Serve and gained popular acclaim playing ruthless young thug Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock in 1947, eventually becoming a staple of countless British films over the next 30 years.
An accomplished stage actor, Attenborough was one of the original cast members of The Mousetrap, which went on to become the longest-running play in London's West End.
In the 1960s, he expanded his range of acting, taking on a variety of roles that exposed him to a wider audience - most notably as Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett in 1963's The Great Escape.
Hitting his stride, Attenborough won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor in 1967 and 1968 - for The Sand Pebbles and Doctor Dolittle.
But he'll be most fondly remembered for his behind-the-camera skills. In the late 1950s, he formed a production company, Beaver Films, and directed his first picture, Oh! What A Lovely War, in 1969.
He later scooped the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in 1982 for his epic Gandhi, which also won him another Golden Globe Award the following year.
Other directorial credits followed - notably the 1992 biopic Chaplin, and classic 1993 movie Shadowlands - before Attenborough made a welcome return to the screen in 1993 as eccentric John Hammond in Jurassic Park.
Attenborough won a total of eight Oscars during his career. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967, and a knighthood came in 1976. In 1993, he was bestowed the honour of life peer, becoming Baron Attenborough, of Richmond upon Thames, London.
And in 2006, Attenborough and his brother David, a popular broadcaster and beloved nature expert, were awarded the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester in recognition of their services to the university.
Attenborough was also later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Drama from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and was an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University.
On Boxing Day 2004, tragedy struck Attenborough's family when his eldest daughter Jane, her daughter Lucy, and her mother-in-law, also named Jane, died in the devastating Asian tsunami.
His family is expected to make a full statement about his death on Monday (25Aug14).
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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Besides the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala on Monday night and The Great Gatsby heading to theaters Friday, this week in pop culture has been a lot less about Hollywood and more about current events like the sad story of Jodi Arias, who was found guilty of first degree murder in the killing of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. Nancy Grace has been tirelessly covering Arias' trial and almost broke down into tears when she broadcast the guilty verdict. In much happier news, Charles Ramsey became an American hero when he rescued three women and a child who had been held captive in Cleveland.
See what Twitter's comedians had to say about this week's pop cultural events.
10 Funniest Pop Culture Tweets of the Week:
1. Paula Pell: "'I just feel so bad that Gwyneth found the Met Ball 'un-fun'". -One of the kidnapped girls in Cleveland."
"I just feel so bad that Gwyneth found the Met Ball 'un-fun'". -One of the kidnapped girls in Cleveland.
— Paula Pell (@perlapell) May 10, 2013
2. Conan O’Brien: 'YouTube may start charging? I guess cats are sick of working for free.'
YouTube may start charging? I guess cats are sick of working for free.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) May 9, 2013
3. Damien Fahey: "With Jodi Arias being found guilty, I can't help but think how rock hard Nancy Grace's penis must be right now."
With Jodi Arias being found guilty, I can't help but think how rock hard Nancy Grace's penis must be right now.
— Damien Fahey (@DamienFahey) May 8, 2013
4. Mary Charlene: "at least Jodi Arias is making most of us look like decent girlfriends"
at least Jodi Arias is making most of us look like decent girlfriends
— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) May 8, 2013
5. Rob Delaney: ".@NancyGraceHLN Why does murder make you so #moist?"
.@nancygracehln Why does murder make you so #moist?
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) May 8, 2013
6. Mitch Fatel: "Charles Ramsey SHOULD have been our first black President. #hero"
Charles Ramsey SHOULD have been our first black President. #hero
— mitchfatel (@mitchfatel) May 8, 2013
7. Sammy Rhodes: "Do you think somewhere there’s a lion named Lionardo DiCatrio please say yes."
Do you think somewhere there’s a lion named Lionardo DiCatrio please say yes.
— sammy rhodes (@prodigalsam) May 7, 2013
8. Julia Segal: "To save $$ I'm just gonna watch the 1974 Redford/Farrow version of The Great Gatsby while listening to Jay-Z & throwing glitter in my eyes."
To save $$ I'm just gonna watch the 1974 Redford/Farrow version of The Great Gatsby while listening to Jay-Z & throwing glitter in my eyes.
— Julia Segal (@juliasegal) May 8, 2013
9. Neal Brennan: "Right now LeBron is like, 'I tried to tell ya'll Cleveland is crazy.'"
Right now LeBron is like, "I tried to tell ya'll Cleveland is crazy."
— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) May 8, 2013
10. Max Silvestri: "Much like Tony Stark struggles with inner demons, I struggle with not spilling the buffalo chicken wrap I just snuck into Iron Man 3, alone."
Much like Tony Stark struggles with inner demons, I struggle with not spilling the buffalo chicken wrap I just snuck into Iron Man 3, alone.
— Max Silvestri (@maxsilvestri) May 7, 2013
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In case you haven't heard, Jurassic Park is being re-released in 3D this weekend to celebrate its 20 year anniversary (and make money). I know I'm aging myself here, but when I walked into a screening of the film last Tuesday, my thoughts were as follows: "just get through it." Because at age six, I ran out of the film before its conclusion, in what would be my first of many panic attacks. Why? Well A, because my parents shouldn't have been taking their six-year-old to Jurassic Park, but B, because of the terrifying raptor mess that ruined kitchens for me forever. It's why I tell my imaginary boyfriend I don't like to cook. Need a refresher? See below:
Now, 20 years later, that is still f**king terrifying. Thanks, Spielberg. I don't know how the man managed to convince a nation that T-Rex's aren't really that scary because as long as you don't move they can't see you (which, I'm pretty sure, is at least SOMEWHAT factually incorrect), but ever since JP came out it's been known that raptors are the dinos you don't want to mess with. Thanks, Lex and Tim, for learning that lesson for us. To feel better about being a grown woman who is afraid of a species that died out eons ago, I asked my colleagues to list movie scenes that terrified them both now, and way back when. Now, I feel much better about myself. Here's why:
Lindsey DiMattina is afraid of Bambi: "Watching Bambi run from the fire with his father was one of the most terrifying experiences I had as a 3-year-old. Since watching Bambi I have been horrified that a fire may one day destroy my surroundings and everything I love — and subconsciously, I think it has caused me to have OCD and neurotically check to see that my stove is off and that my curling iron is unplugged before I leave my apartment every day."
RELATED: 'Jurassic Park' and 14 Other Traumatizing Bathroom Scenes
Matt Patches is afraid of Doc Brown: "Caught up in the cartoonish nature of a live-action movie (Roger Rabbit) blew my mind as a kid, with the flurry of cameos only adding to the glee. Then Christopher Lloyd showed up and killed a anthropomorphic shoe. I handled that fine, both now and as a kid. What I couldn't handle is Lloyd's "Judge Doom" pulling off his face to reveal he was actually the maniacal toon that killed Eddie Valient's brother. The voice, the eyes, the hair... horrifying. Still horrifying."
Aly Semigran is afraid of pink elephants: "Hey kids, wanna know what a PCP-fueled fever dream might look like? Sure you do! The menacing, nightmare-inducing "Pink Elephants" sequence in Dumbo is unnerving on so many levels: from that chilling, vaguely threatening song, the terrifying imagery, and the fact that these terrible spawns came from the young, sweet mind of Dumbo who wanted to do nothing more than blow a bubble. Hold me."
Abbey Stone is afraid of an owl with a monocle: "Nothing gave me more nightmares as a child than the horror that is Rock a Doodle. Don't let the chipper trailer voiceover fool you with its talk of "newfound friends," rock star roosters, and "magical, mythical, musical adventure for the whole family," this movie is f**king terrifying. A grotesque owl with a monocle and a maniacal laugh turns a real life boy into an animated kitten and then tries to eat him? No thank you very much. The transformation scene at the beginning is the stuff that therapy thrives on."
Alicia Lutes is afraid of brooms: "Cleaning. Non-stop cleaning. Always cleaning, always throwing away, no matter what. The thought brings fear, anxiety, and terror to the mind of many a child the world over. It's so BORING and takes forever and is totally not fun. Mops and brooms?! Those are parents' tools — not kids. Being that I was of the really-can't-be-bothered-to-pick-up-after-myself brigade as a youth, the thought of an army of mops and brooms come to life was a nightterror of the highest order. Looking back on Fantasia now as an adult still makes me uncomfortable, but mostly because it confuses me why Mickey — king of all things wholesome and child-like — would dabble in the seemingly-dark arts. And with such a menacing, ploddingly uptempo soundtrack? No thanks, my dudes. Plus who wants to be chased by a bunch of cleaning supplies you thought you could control but actually can't? It sounds like a story for a therapist's couch. Or an overworked housekeeper. Or, you know, the fever daydreams that ensure I keep a tidy home as an adult. Instill the fear young enough and you're guaranteed an anxiety-ridden but highly-tidy adult existence."
Kelsea Stahler is afraid of unicorns: Truth: The Last Unicorn still scares me. Other truth: This may or may not mean I'm a wimp. Living trees? Flaming red bulls chasing beautiful unicorns? Old hags? The "great unknown"? Christopher Lee playing the same character he plays in everything? And why are all these creatures trying to destroy that beautiful Mia Farrow unicorn? Admittedly, this movie is too much of a cartoon to be truly scary, but the memory of my childhood nightmares inspired by this movie (see: me as unicorn fleeing various barnyard animals engulfed in flames) are enough to deliver a spooky feeling at the mere mention of the movie.
Michael Arbeiter is afraid of Fred... No, not that one: "In the early 1990s, before I developed a taste for slapstick humor, I’d often find myself at odds with Drop Dead Fred. A family friend would play the video on repeat, delighting in the dark humor, while I amounted nothing but tremendous horror over the scene in which Rik Mayall’s head is squashed in a refrigerator. The clip isn’t quite as terrifying as I remember, but it does trigger vivid memories of intense anxiety…"
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Christian Blauvelt is afraid of a cartoon pirate: "Everything about Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan is terrifying. Everything. His protruding, Leno-esque chin. His Dalí mustache. His impossibly broad Captain Morgan hat. The fact that he imprisons fairies in glass jars. That one of his hands was severed and replaced by a hook! Peter Pan was the first movie I ever saw in a theater—back in the day when Disney actually used to re-release their classics for big-screen distribution. Hook scared the living daylights out of me. You can only imagine the sheer terror that overcame me when I first saw Hook “for real” at Disney World, shortly after seeing the movie. Just the memory of seeing this character seemingly leap off the movie screen and into real life is something I will never get over."
And, Finally, Kate Ward is afraid of David Bowie: "Labyrinth's sexual assaulting, ahem, "helping" hands were bad enough. But nothing quite burned into my brain like the movie's Firey characters, whose gangly limbs were only less terrifying than ability to decapitate one another… for fun. I still lose my head every time I watch it."
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Universal Pictures]
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Take This Waltz is beautiful maddening and sexy just like its protagonist Margot (Michelle Williams). Margot speaks like a toddler to her husband Lou (Seth Rogen). She's moody but playful and she has cutesy and symbolic neuroses like insisting on taking a wheelchair at the airport because trying to make her flight is the sort of limbo that makes her anxious. As she explains to a handsome stranger named Daniel (Luke Kirby) she's afraid of connections she's afraid she'll get lost and no one will ever find her. Almost everything about her is childish from her bright yellow raincoat to her junior high insults ("retard " "gaylord") to her shrieking embarrassment when she pees in the pool during a water exercise class.
"What's the matter with you " asks Daniel "generally?" That's the crux of the movie. What is the matter with Margot? Even Margot doesn't know the root of her restlessness. It seems the only person willing to call her on it is her sister-in-law Geraldine an alcoholic in recovery who is already anticipating her own failure.
Take This Waltz relies heavily on chance and metaphor but the emotional intensity can make you willing to take that leap. Williams carries the film as Margot while Rogen gets an excellent chance to show his emotional side as Lou a lovable bear of a man. Kirby plays Daniel with an easy heady sexuality that makes Margot's decision understandably difficult. Sarah Silverman drops her bad girl comedian persona and really shines as acerbic but insightful Geraldine.
After Daniel and Margot meet at a historic village (she's rewriting the tour book for the tourist destination and he's who knows a fan of colonial history) Daniel is seated next to her on the plane. He also happens to live down the street from her and Lou. By the time he's began to wonder what Margot's deal really is they're knee deep in a heated emotional affair. Their attraction is immediate and palpable an irresistible force felt off screen. Daniel verbally consummates their affair with an unforgettably hot monologue.
Lou on the other hand isn't quite on the same page as Margot when it comes to their sex life or future children. He's knee-deep in a chicken cookbook so the couple and their family and friends eat almost nothing but different chicken dishes at every mean. You can only eat so much chicken right? Daniel on the other hand is new. "New things are shiny " Geraldine tells her in the communal gym shower as the women are soaping up after that pool incident. "New things get old " comments a woman nearby. This is one of the strongest scenes in the movie where women of all ages shapes and colors scrub down unapologetically and talk amongst themselves in a private/public space.
Take This Waltz is a more realistic portrayal of an erratic young woman who in a different writer's hands would be one of those Manic Pixie Dream Girls. Even though Margot wears adorable onesies and has the playfulness of a child she also hurts a lot of people and is screwed up for no apparent reason. It's not always clear why these men are attracted to her and you can tell they aren't sure themselves but it's interesting and painful to watch it all unfold. Take This Waltz is beautifully shot full of buttery sunlight and lush parks and sweetly decorated abodes. Polley rolled the dice on a difficult protagonist and comes up a winner.
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.