Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Movie review catch up 19-02-14

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman is without a doubt one of the best, some say 'the best' single comedy movie of all time. No sequel could hope to match it and there was even a dark fear that a sequel would detract from the original. Well I can verify that it’s true that it couldn’t match it for laughs and quotability for likely the next 50 years, Anchorman 2 is an ‘acceptable’ sequel to the magnificent original. I would have to describe it as a dear old uncle whom you have not seen in years but you’re now just a bit too old for him to give you money anymore. All the laughs and the charm is there and you enjoy the company – but there’s no payoff.

The movie pretty much follows the theme and tone of the original as perhaps they were afraid of deviating too much from the formula with which they struck gold before but everything now is a lot more rehearsed, dare I say ‘forced’ and certainly more visually expensive on screen. Ferrell, Rudd, Kocher, Carell and Appelgate all return and are joined by Kirsten Wiig and James Marsden. Cameos from the likes of Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Will Smith and Vince Vaughan certainly didn’t keep the budget down but did keep the laughs up as the “finale battle” degenerated into am epic farce of apocalyptic proportions. Certainly worth a look if you’re a fan of Anchorman or Ferrell but missed if you don’t tolerate either.

Whopper's Rating: ***1/2

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller directs himself, taking the daydreaming character for another silver screen spin after Danny Kaye did for Norman McLeod in 1947. This time out, there is the advantage of digital effects to make Walter’s daydreams more [un]believable. While there is no shortage of laughs I wouldn’t put this into the same basket as Stiller’s other comedies like Dodgeball or even Meet The Parents, instead it seems to veer into Oscar-chasing territory in it’s themes, scope and vision which is a bad thing as most Oscar-chasers are shit. It would have been far more in Stiller's favour veer away from reality and deliver more crazy antics of Mitty’s daydreams.

Regardless, excellent performances from Stiller, with Kirsten Wiig [she gets around], Adam Scott bringing his best asshole performance since Stepbrothers and even perpetually muppet-faced Sean Penn was tolerable in his cameo. This might be one for TV to be honest.

Whopper's Rating: **1/2

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Shakespeare-lover turned more worthwhile movie director Sir Kenneth [Thor] Brannagh turned his directorial attention more recently to the late Tom Clancy's most famous character - Jack Ryan. The result was a perfectly judged, excellently shot, masterfully directed but overall mediocre spy-thriller. Writer David Mission: Impossible Koepp plotted a new origin tale for the Jason Bourne wannabe that could have been something better in the hands of someone more capable like Tony Gilroy if they wanted to go down that route.

Chris Star Trek Pine plays the titular character 'adequatly', swapping his Captain Kirk cockiness for a young man who realises he's woefully out of his depth but manages to make the best of his situation. While he'll never surpass the likes of Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford's Jack Ryans, he was certainly better than Ben Affleck although that's not hard now is it?

Pine is supported by Kiera Pirates of the Caribbean Knightly who is destined to become Ryan's long suffering wife Cathy and Kevin Costner returned from the dead last year for Man of Steel and it looks like he's decided to stay alive to portray William Harper for a couple of Tom Clancy franchise movies.

Whopper's Rating: ****

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