The Shelf: ANCHORMAN 2, 47 RONIN, BROADCHURCH Season 1
By Kyle Anderson on April 1, 2014
This week, comedy, drama, and action are all in ready supply to make sure your emotions are as out of whack as possible. Though, to be fair, it’s not as though a lot people want their emotions to be in whack. Or do they? I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. That’s it.
Perhaps if any comedy could be considered the cult classic of our generation (meaning us in-college-in-the-2000s folk), then 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy would be it. Director Adam McKay and star Will Ferrell, not to mention the bevy of comedic heavyweights who co-starred, created an immensely quotable and re-watchable film that never seemed to lose its bite even after the millionth time you’d seen it.
Nearly a decade later, the gang reunited for a second installment, fittingly titled Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues which updates the world of local news celebrity in the 1970s to be about cable news supremacy in the 1980s, with Ron and the news team feeling even more woefully behind the times and acting like fools.
As was the case for the first time, the sequel had so much extra footage that the Blu-ray not only contains the theatrical 1hr 58 minute version and the obligatory extended version which clocks in at 2hrs 3min, but there’s also an even more different Super Sized version which is a staggering 2hrs and 23min and which boasts 768 extra jokes. These guys never read the Shakespeare quote about brevity being the soul of wit.
There are also a massive number of extras, including a commentary on the extended version featuring McKay, Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and producer Judd Apatow, tons of behind-the-scenes material, two separate gag reels, deleted and extended scenes, and lots more. If you liked this movie, there’s even more of it for you to enjoy in this release.
Keanu Reeves just continues to know Kung Fu with his second martial arts film of 2013, the sixth cinematic adaptation of the famous Japanese historical event which became the stuff of legend. It’s a story every Japanese person knows inside and out the way Americans think they know the Revolutionary War. The actual event depicted in the films involved 47 samurai who were left masterless (or ronin) after their lord committed seppuku after assaulting a court official. In order to preserve their master’s honor, the 47 plotted to kill this court official over a two year span, carried it out, and then each in turn ritually disemboweled themselves as a show of solidarity with their lord. It’s one of the best examples of the bushido code, or a samurai’s honor.
Hundreds of years later, it’s become a movie with dragons and stuff, but such is the power of the legend that it has become a mythological event, having been embellished and romanticized over time. The very first filmed adaptation goes all the way back to 1932, over 80 years ago.
One of the best miniseries I’ve seen in awhile, and only just recently upset by True Detective as an almost flawless eight episodes of television, the UK’s Broadchurch, which aired on BBC America here in the States, is a whodunit mystery with real pathos and sadness involved. It’s possibly one of the least cheerful and yet most rewarding watches I’ve had in awhile.
For the uninitiated, the series, which was written by Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Law & Order: UK writer Chris Chibnall, tells the story of a sleepy and peaceful coastal community in England that is utterly wrecked by the murder of a little boy. Everyone in town seems to have some kind of motive, and it’s up to the newly-hired Detective Chief Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and his passed-over second in command Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) to try to get to the bottom of things before the entire town is destroyed with grief. We also find out about the various other people in town, including the boy’s family, with a mother and father who were having problems, the town vicar (Arthur Darvill) who can’t seem to draw much of a parish until the tragedy, and the local news agent (David Bradley) whose shady past involving kids makes him a pariah among his friends and neighbors. We also see quite a lot about the local newspaper and the big city reporter who comes out because of Hardy’s last case, which seems eerily similar.
It’s got more twists than a Chubby Checker concert and has more punches to the gut than a Dropkick Murphys mosh pit. Also, it has more analogies than Dennis Miller, apparently. The performances are all outstanding, and you’ll wish you could just watch these people existing, which is probably why there’s going to be a second series, even if the story seems to conclude by the end of the eight episodes. The suspects are plentiful and you’ll want to take notes and try to solve the case yourself. (I failed miserably, by the way.) Tennant got such good notices for his understated and pained portrayal of this character that he was tapped to reprise it, with an American accent, for a Fox network remake, Gracepoint, coming this year. Hopefully, it’ll be half as good as the UK version.
Dragonball Z Season 3 – The intensely-popular anime series continues its Blu-ray re-release. Kamehameha!!!!!!
Knights of Badassdom – Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, and Peter Dinklage star in this comedy about LARPers who accidentally conjure, and then have to get rid of, a demon.
King Kong vs Godzilla – The third film featuring Tokyo’s favorite building-stomping lizard, this time up against an even super-er sized jungle ape. This match up sounds like something you’d find being made today, but this was in 1962.
King Kong Escapes – The sequel to the above film, made in 1967, this kaiju “classic” was co-produced by American children’s entertainment company Rankin/Bass.
No Holds Barred – This 1989 action pile has wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan taking on wormy, small-dicked pants-shitters. Yes, that happens.
Power Rangers: Season 13-17 – I truly cannot believe Power Rangers keeps on going, and this box set takes you from the year of its bar mitzvah to the year it could see R-rated movies.
Fargo Remastered Edition – Just in time for FX’s television series, they’ve remastered the Coen Brothers classic for a nifty Blu-ray release. Watch it after going to pancakes house.