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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-rayThe announcement of an Anchorman sequel was an unexpected one, coming nearly a decade after the original was released and more than two years after a possible sequel was declared dead in the water. With the help of an excellent marketing push, the movie made a healthy amount in theaters, and this week the movie has made its way into homes, courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution. If you plan to purchase the film, we suggest the Blu-ray.
Watching a movie on Blu-ray is generally a better experience, but with Anchorman 2, there are a ton of reasons why, outside of viewing clarity, that fans should purchase the Blu-ray, if they have the proper equipment. The first is that Amazon currently has the Blu-ray running at the same cost as the DVD. The second is that the Blu-ray comes with all of the funny extras, including the Unrated Version and the Super-sized R-rated version—the one that was re-released into theaters with 763 new jokes. While the Super-sized R-rated version adds some musical numbers, most of the extra content is ad-libbing. So if that’s your thing, you've got a lot to be excited about. Both the Unrated and Super-Sized versions of the flick feature more profanity, affecting the PG-13 rating.
Anchorman 2 takes us out of the news world of the seventies and into the eighties, where costumes are a little bit different and the format of the newsroom is rapidly changing. Before the gang can tackle a brand new 24-hour format, Ron Burgundy (Zoolander’s Will Ferrell) and his cohorts (Wet Hot American Summer’s Paul Rudd, Saturday Night Live’s David Koechner and Evan Almighty’s Steve Carell) have to get back together. It’s the perfect setup for a sequel and a clever way to re-introduce audiences to the cast without making the newsroom setting feel stale. Unfortunately, the setup is a lot funnier than the execution and a wild second half takes things even further off track.
In short, despite its clever, twisting premise and faithful adherence to the wild and outrageous characters in the original film, Anchorman 2 is a whole lot lighter on the laughs. Still, the movie certainly still has its quotable moments (including a cameo where Tina Fey says "cunt-punt" in the Unrated Version of the flick) and if you liked the film at all in theaters, the two more explicit editions are also worth owning.
Best Special Feature:
If there is anything that three versions of a film on one disc should tell you, it’s that director Adam McKay shot a ton of extra footage for the film. Even more footage is available on the disc through extras as varied as gag reels, more than one line-o-rama and extended, deleted and alternate scenes. All of these won’t keep you in stitches, but they are far and away better than most of the bonus features offered on other discs.
The best of these is the two-part Line-O-Rama. Seriously, if you want to appreciate just how hard it is to keep up with Winter Passing’s Ferrell, watch this special. He and to a lesser extent everyone else, fires out five or six different takes of various lines during numerous scenes, all of which bring something unique and delightful to the table. Bonus points to MacGruber’s Kristen Wiig who probably deserves her own spin-off movie of strange word vomits, many of which are seen here.
Other Bonus Features:
Commentary by Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd & David Koechner
Behind-the-Scenes: Newsroom—Inside the making of the film
Gag Reel, Parts 1 & 2
Welcome to the Dolphin Show—Ron Burgundy takes on the crowd
Catfight—Christina Applegate vs. Meagan Good with hilarious one-liners
News-O-Rama—Ron and the News Team bring you the headlines
Kench-O-Rama—Mashup of Kench Allenby’s most Australian moments
Cast Table Read
Anchorman 2: The Musical—A look at the musical sequel that almost was
RV—Dissecting the RV tumble
Baxter & Doby—The lovable animals of Anchorman 2
News Fight—Inside the biggest, baddest all-star celebrity brawl
Extended & Alternate Scenes
Previsualizations—RV, Shark Attack and News Fight sequences
Auditions—Featuring Meagan Good, Dylan Baker and Amy Poehler
Benefit for 826LA: "Spoiler Alert"—A special tribute to Anchorman 2
Fargo Remastered Edition Blu-rayCirca 2014, The Coen Brothers are among the most famous directors in Hollywood. Even during the development stages, their projects are widely regarded as Oscar frontrunners and potential game-changers. They influence their peers. They enrapture their audiences. In short, they’re about as beloved as two dudes can be in Hollywood, but it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, they were more known as talented niche filmmakers popular with film snobs, but that all changed with Fargo.
A black comedy about woefully incompetent criminals and a pregnant police chief, the story completely captivated both critics and the general public en route to a sweet score at the box office and a really, really good return on investment. More importantly, it also showcased the Coen Brothers’ distinct directing and writing style to a much wider audience.
What makes Fargo and the rest of the Coen Brothers’ movies so incredible is their ability to invest in a group of characters and a setting and make it all feel completely authentic. Police Chief Marge Gunderson might be a buffoon or a source of cheap laughs in another movie, but here, she is given a chance to be clever, delightful and even heroic, accent and all.
With a wealth of special performances from Frances McDormand (Primal Fear), William H. Macy (The Cooler), Steve Buscemi (Billy Madison), Peter Stormare (Bad Boys 2) and more, Fargo is a special movie that unofficially launched some special filmmakers.
Best Special Feature:
The documentary Minnesota Nice takes a look back at the movie through interviews with the cast, but it wasn’t filmed any time recently. So, it’s an utterly bizarre watch because of the time element, but even so, there’s some great factoids in there. Macy (Mystery Men), for example, wasn’t supposed to play Jerry. He came in to read for a small cop role. They asked him if he wanted to read for Jerry. He did. It went pretty well and later, he heard they were testing more people in New York and he flew there on his own dime to try again. In retrospect, it was a good call.
Other Bonus Features:
Commentary with Roger A Deakins
American Cinematographer Article
47 Ronin Blu-rayCredit needs to be given to Universal Studios for hiring an a-list cast and giving an exorbitant budget to a film with an outside-the-box premise and fantastical elements. Samurai movies don’t often get big budgets, and an outside-the-box premise like the one offered in 47 Ronin really needs an attention to detail that only a large-ish budget can offer. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off for the company in its theatrical release, but if you are intrigued by the idea of mixing fantasy and history, you can catch 47 Ronin’s home entertainment release, starting today.
The film is a fictional account of the famed 47 Ronin in Japanese history. However, in the world created by writers Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini, the ronin must fight off mystical beasts, contend with witches and spirits, along with dealing with the strict rules in 18th century Japanese culture. It’s also a story about forbidden love between a half British, half Japanese orphan named Kai (My Own Private Idaho’s Keanu Reeves) and (Mika Kou Shibasaki), as well as a story about defending honor. In short, there’s a lot going on, and it takes nearly two hours to get to the real samurai action audiences should be waiting for.
While it’s nice to see fantasy projects get a big budget nod, a first time director and a full-length budget may have been the film’s undoing. With a plot based around outcast samurais and plenty of wild creatures from mythology, 47 Ronin would have been better as a fun B-movie romp, but unfortunately it takes itself too seriously to ever quite get there.
You can order 47 Ronin over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature:
Universal Studios Home Entertainment always has a really nice menu layout, with options to peruse stacked on the left side of the screen. We checked out the Blu-ray release for the film, but those who nab a copy of the Blu-ray 3D release will get a few extra bonus features, including a featurette about the legend and a set of deleted scenes. It also sports a much cooler 3D cover.
On the Blu-ray, the best feature is probably "Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin. Say what you will about the movie, but some of the choreography and fight sequences are jaw-dropping. This special takes a look behind the process a little bit. We get interviews with the choreographer, some of the stunt men and even that gigantic eight foot tall warrior Keanu Reeves (The Replacements) fights.
Other Bonus Features:
"Keanu & Kai"
"Myths, Magic & Monsters: The FX of 47 Ronin"
Knights of BadassdomWhile 47 Ronin doesn’t work as a B-movie, Joe Lynch’s Knights of Badassdom certainly does. The horror-comedy film is set on the field of a live-action role-playing game featuring a group of roleplayers who unwittingly unleash an angry succubus onto the premises. The crew must then work together to save their friends and comrades from arduous deaths, but it may be too late.
Even the film’s extras are unabashedly ridiculous. There’s a pretty self-explanatory "Summer Glau Hottie Montage" and two separate and cleverly named "horr-o-medy" featurettes on the disc, which look at how the film was an homage to movies that were made back in the eighties. Plenty of interviews from the movie’s stars also pepper the disc. Speaking of the actors, Knights of Badassdom is peppered with popular TV actors, including True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, Treme’s Steve Zahn, Breakout King’s Jimmi Simpson, Community’s Danny Pudi, Arrow’s Summer Glau, and former Revenge actress Margarita Levieva. The who’s who game with the actors is almost as fun as the movie itself, and while this one won’t make your top 10 of the year list, it won’t be a regretful waste of a Tuesday night, either.
If horror-comedies, samurai flicks, and more aren’t up your alley, there are a few other big releases this week. You can take a look, below. Unless otherwise noted, sets are available on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Other April 1 Releases
The Pirate Fairy
Psych: The Eighth and Final Season DVD
Broadchurch: The Complete First Season DVD
King Kong vs. Godzilla Blu-ray
Seal Team 8 Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action!
The Bag Man
King Kong Escapes