Anchorman : The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) Film Review

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It’s the 1970s and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the legendary anchorman of a small San Diego television station. He’s got his crew; field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportsman Champ Kind David Koechner) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Then along comes a woman, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) to join the team, and he needs to evaluate his thinking.

Sometimes, I just cannot tell why I like some Will Ferrell films and not others, given they mostly have the same silly things happening throughout. But, this is one that I really, really like. Stupid, dumb, but really very funny. And the quotes from Brick are some of my favs.

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) Film Review

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Anchorman 2 sees the reunification of news anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) with his team: handsome roving reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), crazy sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner) and extremely stupid Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) as they move to New York to launch new 24-hours news network GNN.

I loved Anchorman. There were a lot of visual gags, a lot of slapstick and a lot of stupidity. Why did they have to revisit it? There were no new gags here and what was fun in the first film was tired and old in this. Even Brick, who I loved in the first, was overused and disappointing in this. The only good thing was, at the end, they brought back the multi-news crew battle, this time featuring Sacha Baron Cohen, Marion Cotillard, Will Smith, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jim Carey, Liam Neeson, John C. Reilly and Kanye West. It wasn’t quite worth sitting through the whole film, but I may well look it up on YouTube. Ah, here it is!

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Rob Roy (1995) Film Review

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Rob Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is the head of a clan in 1712, Scotland, living in idyllic happiness with his wife, Mary (Jessica Lange) and their sons. But he is at the whim of the powerful classes, most notably English Lord Montrose (John Hurt), his manservant Killearn (Brian Cox) and the evil Cunningham (Tim Roth). MacGregor needs to find a way to retain his honour in the face of adversity.

It came out in 1995, the same year as Braveheart, and there are clearly a lot of similarities. I love it, even though I question the lack of Scottish actors (especially with a few of the very dodgy accents), though certainly the main cast is extremely strong and drive the story. Revisiting this was extremely interesting, and what I noted the most was the extremely strong script – often, entire conversations, entire moods and conflicts were summed with one perfect line. Wonderful. I am unsure on the historical accuracy, but it is a fantastic film.

Rob Roy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Roth).

 

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Hitch (2005) Film Review

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Hitch (Will Smith) is a Date Doctor, manipulating women into relationships with men, and he refuses to help a guy who only wants a one night stand with a nice girl. Only, he’s a romantic, so it’s supposedly not as creepy as that sounds. Sara (Eva Mendes) is a gossip columnist, but she’s got a heart of gold, and only exposes the nasty happenings in the life of superstar Allegra (Amber Valletta) to give her a better life. In Sara’s mind. Hitch meets Sara and they start an ongoing flirt. Meanwhile, Hitch is setting Albert (Kevin James), an overweight boring accountant with Allegra.

It’s a pretty standard romantic comedy. Some fun times, some humour, a lot of flaws and some seriously questionable attitudes toward the women involved. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did because I like so many of the cast, but I just found it just average.

 

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The Piano (1993) Film Review

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Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), a woman who does not speak is married to a man she has not met and sent with her young daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin) to New Zealand, a country only just being colonised by the English. Her new husband, Alisadair Stewart (Sam Neill) is emotionally distant and has no idea of how to deal with a woman. But then she starts a relationship with George Baines (Harvey Keitel) which compromises her own security.

It is certainly a stunning film and I recall it being highly acclaimed at the time. I found it difficult to get past Harvey Keitel’s mysterious accent (I think Scottish?), though he had a lot of passion. But the love story is terrible – the idea that he has to blackmail her into sexual favours (although they are often quite tame, such as lifting her skirt to reveal a tiny hole in her stocking that he then fondles as she is playing the piano. Then, after resisting for some time, she falls in love? I mean, he was a potential escape from the brutal life Stewart had dragged her into, but it was actually extremely unpleasant to watch. Perhaps, if there has been some suggestion that Baines had feeling for her and it was not just a convenient way to bed a white woman, maybe then I’d have accepted it. As it was, it pretty much ruined the film for me, despite the beauty, it was a story about two creepy men dominating a woman. Oh and the piano music was horribly repetitive and drove me to despair.

The Piano won Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Anna Paquin) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Jane Campion) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Jane Campion), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Film Editing.

 

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Taken 2 (2012) Film Review

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In revenge for the many people Byran Mills (Liam Neeson) killed when rescuing his daughter from sex traffickers in Taken, he and his wife are taken. Yet, somehow he manages to, in front of the bad guys, he instructs his daughters as to what to do, which involves setting off various grenades until eventually he fixes everything.

Perhaps it was because the main hero was kidnapped for part of it, but I felt like this film didn’t take off until close to the end. Still, Liam Neeson running and shooting things and punching people – that’s quite good. Can they pull off Taken 3 in 2015? I’ll wait and see.

 

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The Beach (2000) Film Review

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Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a somewhat annoying American backpacker in Thailand meets Daffy (Robert Carlyle), a psychotic Scotsman who gives him a map to a legendary beach. When Richard then finds Daffy has taken his own life, he decides to follow the map, taking a French couple with him. There he finds a hippy colony led by Sal (Tilda Swinton) and they think they have found paradise. But nothing is really what it seems.

I’d heard for years that this was a terrible film, and I disagree. I don’t think it is that great, but it’s not appalling. I didn’t love the plot, I felt as though it was supposed to be really pushing things, but even when horrible things happened, I didn’t feel that connected and so it didn’t seem that bad. Even death. What I did love what the late-ninties music and feel that had hints of Trainspotting and the like, and it reminded me of better things.

 

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