Friday, December 20, 2013

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

My ViewAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)  PG-13 Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) had it all – a good anchor job and a hot anchor wife (Christina Applegate). Then his marriage fell apart, and he got fired from his job. Now, down on his luck, Ron gets an offer from a 24- hour cable news channel. It’s time to get the old gang back together and take New York City… Ron Burgundy style.  It’s hard to create lightning in the bottle twice, and this movie just doesn’t match the comedic standards that the first Anchorman set.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some very funny scenes in this film (the scene in the Winnebago is hilarious), but the film was a let down due to lack of funny scenes.  I think one of the big mistakes the film makes is it elevates Brick, the daffy weatherman played by Steve Carell, giving him a storyline where he romances an equally daffy secretary played by Kristen Wiig.  Their first meeting is very funny, but their storyline just doesn’t go anywhere, and their scenes become stale very quickly.  Fans of the first film will have a good time with this movie, but I think no one will be quoting any lines.  There is a bonus scene at the end of the credits, but it’s really not worth staying for.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Website

My ViewAmerican Hustle (2013)  R  When Irving (Christian Bale) met Sydney (Amy Adams), it was love at first sight, and they fit together perfectly, especially in Irving’s line of work, con man. But, when the two unknowingly con an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), their luck just might have run out.  This is one of those films where the actors are better than the script.  Bale gives another one of his chameleon-like performances, playing an overweight con-man with a comb-over that must be seen to believed.  Bale is enjoyable to watch in the film, but I think this part didn't really challenge him.  The film seems disjointed as it just doesn’t flow from one scene to another.  It seemed as though each scene was done as an acting exercise on its own, making the film seem to start and stop many times.  I loved Jeremy Renner, with his “Goodfellas” hairdo, playing a local mayor who gets involved in a scandal that could ruin his career.  I just wish that Amy Adams' con-woman character had been the lead character instead of Bale's character as Sydney as the most interesting and complex character in the film.  I love Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, but I think this performance is not worthy of an Academy Award - it’s just too easy for her to play this part.  This is a film that will make a lot of critics' top ten lists, but while  it’s a good film, just not a great one.  My Rating:  Full Price  American Hustle Website

IndiefestInside Llewyn Davis (2013) R  Llewyn Davis (Oscar Issac) is a struggling folk musician, who, after his musical partner dies, attempts to make it as a solo act by playing at clubs around the Greenwich Village area in the 1961.  Llewyn doesn’t do too well and has to sleep on the couches of his friends and family.  It seems that Llewyn, while a talented artist, is his own worst enemy as he continually burns bridges with the people who love and admire him the most.  Llewyn finally realizes that he must deal with the fact that his dream of being a musician may just not be in his reach.  Issac gives an outstanding performance of a handsome guy who has a great many demons inside him, making him, at the same time, sympathetic and unlikeable. As with any Coen film, there is a lot of humor, brought mostly through the situations that Llewyn gets himself into, including a number of scenes with a cat that he gets stuck with and has to take on his travels.  Supporting characters are always important in Coen brothers films, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Carey Mulligan plays a fellow folk singer whose contempt for Llewyn is shown just by the deadly glances she gives him each time they meet.   John Goodman, of course, makes an appearance as an over-the-hill jazz musician, and F. Murray Abraham plays a club owner who can make or break Llewyn’s career.  Justin Timberlake plays the almost “anti-Llewyn,” a happy folk singer who writes catchy pop songs, the kind that Llewyn feels are beneath his standards. The music in this film is outstanding, most of which was recorded on set as the cameras were rolling, including the Justin Timberlake song “Mr. Kennedy,” which makes for an incredibly funny recording session.   “Inside Llewyn Davis” is sure to please the Coen brothers’ fans and lovers of folk music as  the film gives us an inside view of the music scene that was to shape a generation.  My Rating:  Full Price  Inside Llewyn Davis Website

FamilyfaireSaving Mr. Banks  (2013)  PG-13  Author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) created one of the world’s most beloved literary characters, Mary Poppins. Now, none other than Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wants to turn her book into a musical film. Will Mrs. Travers turn over her creation to the man who built an empire with a mouse?  This is an interesting movie that gives us the behind the scenes creation of one the most beloved musicals that Disney ever created.  Tom Hanks is fun to watch as Disney, and Emma Thompson, as always, is amazing as the very set-in-her-ways author.  What I didn’t like about this picture is that, throughout the film, we flash back to Travers' childhood where Mary Poppins took root.  I would have preferred the flashback to open the film amd not go back and forth showing us the origins of her creation in piecemeal.  For fans of Mary Poppins, the film will be very enjoyable.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Saving Mr. Banks Website

FamilyfaireWalking With Dinosaurs 3-D  (2013)  PG  Patchi (Justin Long) is the runt of his family of Pachyrhinosaurus. Patchi is about to go on a big adventure with his big brother, Scowler (Skyler Stone), and his best friend, Juniper (Tiya Sircar).  This is a beautiful film to watch that combines the live action footage of the countryside of Alaska and New Zealand with amazing 3-D animated dinosaurs that look extremely lifelike.  Unfortunately, producers have combined this wonderful footage with a storyline that only 5 year olds will enjoy.  The dinosaurs talk, though thankfully, their mouths don’t move.  The dialogue is campy, the storyline is incredibly simple and the humor in the film is painful.  I recommend that parents take some earplugs - you will enjoy it more with the sound off.  My Rating:  Cable  Walking with Dinosaurs 3-D Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of American Hustle:  stitcher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Monuments Men  (2014)  An unlikely group of American soldiers are given the task of rescuing some of the world’s greatest art from the retreating Nazi army in World War II.  The cast includes George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, and John Goodman.  The Monuments Men Website
Until Next Time!

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