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‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe’ Review: Two Dummies Go Beyond the Infinite

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‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe’ Review: Two Dummies Go Beyond the Infinite

Parents hated a lot of stuff in the 1990s, but Public Enemy #1 as far as watchdog groups were concerned were animated TV series. Bart Simpson and his anti-authority catchphrases got The Simpsons shirts banned from my elementary school (and right after my mom bought me a killer Bartman sweater, too). A few years later, South Park generated so many controversies they now have their own WIkipedia page.

And then there was the worst of them all: Beavis and Butt-Head. MIke Judge’s pair of obnoxious, chuckling idiots became the poster children for (or were sometimes blamed as the cause of!) the moral rot at the heart of American teenagers in the ’90s. Beavis and Butt-Head didn’t respect their elders! They loved setting things on fire! They made vague sexual innuendos!

Three decades later, the outrage over these dumb kids and their immature antics seems pretty quaint. Compared to what kids are exposed to on social media on a daily basis, it’s practically family-friendly entertainment. Their antics are still funny, though. While I don’t expect this new film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, to generate much outrage, it’s a pleasantly diverting (if relatively tame) 90-minute adventure featuring those two giggling, horny doofuses.

BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD TO THE UNIVERSE
Paramount+

The film openly acknowledges that a lot has changed since Beavis and Butt-Head’s glory days. Do the Universe opens in 1998, where the two dummies (both voiced by Judge) destroy their school’s science fair and are handed a very peculiar punishment: A stint in Space Camp. There, they quickly prove themselves to be preternaturally talented with the space shuttle’s robot arm. Why are they so good at it, you ask? Just imagine what you could do with a robot arm and a large phallic-shaped telescope. The jokes pretty much write themselves from there.

Beavis and Butt-Head don’t remain in the past for long. Their, uh, skills with their hands get them sent into space as part of an important mission which they promptly screw up. From there they are dragged into what appears to be the black hole from Interstellar, which flings them into the year 2022. There, they resume their quest to “score” with one of the former astronauts from their crew (voiced by Andrea Savage). Meanwhile, the government tries to hunt down what they believe are alien life forms that have emerged from this black hole. Can you blame them for being confused? Look at the size of their heads compared to their torsos!

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At the same moment, a “smart” Beavis and Butt-Head — who look exactly like the Watcher from Marvel’s What If…? series — arrive from an alternate dimension with an urgent warning for our “not smart” Beavis and Butt-Head: Travel to a portal hidden at the top of Mount Everest or the entire multiverse is doomed. (They quickly realized they have overestimated B&B’s intelligence and initiative, and relocate the portal to a much closer location.)

BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD TO THE UNIVERSE
Paramount+

When Beavis and Butt-Head arrive in our time, there are some fun jokes about their befuddlement at the concept of phones that can take pictures or pay for nachos. But the various chase plots all swirling around each other mean there isn’t a lot of time to wring all the comedy juice out of the culture shock these two ’90s simpletons encounter when faced with modern technology and attitudes. What would they think of Twitter? Of social media influencers? Of vegans?

Most importantly: What would they think of music? Do the Universe is also missing my favorite part of the original Beavis and Butt-Head TV series: When the pair sat on their couch and made fun of music videos like a dumbass version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Admittedly, those sorts of interstitials don’t really work within the confines of a plot-driven feature film, but between YouTube and TikTok, there are so many things out there Beavis and Butt-Head could mock. That feels like an enormous missed opportunity.

BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO THE UNIVERSE
Paramount+

Still, even if Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe doesn’t quite achieve its full potential, and the overall package feels a little archaic in 2022, it does land a bunch of big laughs. And that’s where the calculus of streaming comes in. Would I recommended this movie if you had to spend $18 in a theater to see it? Probably not. But the film is streaming on Paramount+, where a subscription will run you ten bucks a month — and if you’ve never signed up before, you can get the first month free.

So you can watch Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe right now, along with Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and a couple dozen vintage Beavis and Butt-Head episodes, plus dozens of other movies and shows for a month. If you’ve been thinking about trying Paramount+, and you’re a big Beavis and Butt-Head fan, this is probably the right time to do it.

Heh. Heh heh. I said do it. Heh. Heh heh heh.

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RATING: 6/10

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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