Anchorman

tiko and shark

Much of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is more of the same from Ron Burgundy and the gang. As the lead character, Will Ferrell does the news, does some ladies and has a few meltdowns. Brick says idiotic things, Champ says inappropriate things and Brian Fantana has a special cabinet alluding to his assumed sexual prowess. Oh, and Veronica Corningstone is back and mad at Ron again. There is even another cameo-filled brawl. But there are a few things added in that we didn’t see in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, like Ferrell wrestling with a shark that calls to mind scenes with a cougar and a bear in Talladega Nights and Semi-Pro, respectively. The sequel reminded me of some other movies besides those in the filmography of its star. Sometimes this was the intention of the filmmakers via a direct reference. Other times it was just the usual wandering of my brain making relevant associations. Occasionally the reminders came externally from another writer’s comparison. Regardless of where this week’s list of recommendations came from, I’ve wound up with a nice variety of titles about broadcast journalism and keeping sharks as pets plus selections highlighting some of the cast’s other work worth checking out. Queue them up for your holiday week, why don’t you. As always, the following may involve SPOILERS as some of the titles below are linked to specific plot points of the movie.

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ferrell and mckay 02

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. When people talk of the best modern actor/director duos, they tend to leave out Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Maybe it’s because unlike 12 Years a Slave (the latest Fassbender/McQueen), Inside Llewyn Davis (the latest Goodman/Coens) and The Wolf of Wall Street (the latest DiCaprio/Scorsese) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues won’t be winning any major awards this year. But the latest from Ferrell/McKay is scoring high marks from critics and audiences. And since their first feature collaboration, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, they’ve consistently delivered the comedy goods. Look at the funniest of Ferrell’s movies over the past decade and you’ll see they’re primarily McKay’s. And you won’t even find any movies directed by McKay not starring his old Saturday Night Live buddy. It’s actually at SNL where this perfect duo technically made their first film together. While Ferrell was a cast member and McKay was head writer, McKay began his move to directing by creating the show’s Digital Shorts brand of videos, which were initially just sketches fully produced prior to the live airing of the program. The original Digital Short debuted on February 5, 2000, during an episode hosted by Alan Cumming and featuring J.Lo as musical guest. Titled either The H is O or The Heat is On depending on which part of the credit sequence you accept as being the title, it […]

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mckay

As their world keeps evolving, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news team remain the same guys we met 10 years ago in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. They’re stuck in their adolescent and ignorant mindsets, which Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues challenges. For a man like Burgundy, real drama is having to accept a black woman as his boss. Heavy stuff. The old Channel 4 news team may not have changed, but their sequel has. Co-writer/director Adam McKay and his characters were barely bound by structural rules, giving Anchorman 2 some wild directions to go in. To no surprise, McKay took full advantage of those opportunities, and 60% of the time it worked every time. I spoke with McKay, who explained his improv method for the film in depth, described his minor battles with the MPAA and revealed the cameos he wanted but couldn’t get.

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Anchorman Gang Fighting Diversity Issues

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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discs drinking buddies

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Drinking Buddies Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are friends and co-workers at a beer brewery, and both are in relationships. She’s dating Chris (Ron Livingston), and he’s engaged to Jill (Anna Kendrick), but when the four get together for a weekend at Chris’ cabin some lines are crossed in the realm of love and fidelity. Ignore the marketing as it’s selling something (a romantic comedy) that this film is most definitely not. Director Joe Swanberg keeps the improv method used in his past “mumblecore” films, but it still manages to tell a cohesive and truly affecting story. A big reason for that is a cast of extremely talented actors with wicked good comedic timing in the lead roles. The four performers, along with a more assured Swanberg directing and editing, have crafted a story about heartbreak, temptation, and friendship. While they’re all fantastic, this is Wilde’s show, and she absolutely crushes it with a character that will leave you frustrated, aroused, entertained, and engaged in nearly equal measure. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, interviews, featurettes, commentary, trailer]

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Anchorman

Just in case you haven’t heard, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is storming into theaters this December and bringing the Channel 4 News Team back into our lives. With the announcement of the sequel to 2004′s beloved Anchorman came a slow but steady progession of trailers and fun marketing tactics that only amplified the excitement surrounding another round of Ron Burgundy. First came Will Ferrell visiting the set of Conan in character as Ron Burgundy in March to play a little jazz flute and announce the sequel. Clearly, it was delightful and people flipped their lids when they spotted that finely-crafted red suit hit the stage. In the months since March, the buzz grew with several trailers and the usual release of stills and one-sheets. But then came the constant in-character promotions and endorsements. Have we reached peak Burgundy saturation?

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Brick Anchorman 2 Teaser

We’ve got another half year before our eyes, ears and funny bones get ahold of Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The highly anticipated sequel is not even finished filming — though it is close to wrapping up, with shooting moved from Atlanta to New York City this week. To further whet our appetites, and probably to give official supplement to all the set photos of cameo appearances being regularly leaked, Paramount has unveiled a new trailer for the movie. You still won’t find any footage from The Legend Continues, however. Like the teasers we got a whole year ago, this is a simple promo  featuring our four favorite newsmen saying “something fun about the movie.” Well, except for Brick, of course, who doesn’t understand what to do. Again. He gives us some advice on how to avoid being mistaken for a pedophile and wishes us a belated happy Easter. The holiday greeting is kind of fitting, though, we’ll give him that. Narrator “Bill Lawson” introduces the latest teaser talking about returned figures such as Jesus and Jay-Z. Easter pertains to the former, obviously. See, Brick isn’t dumb after all. But Ron Burgandy sure is mean. He calls us fat face. And he thinks we’re going to come see his movie after such an insult? Okay, we will. We can’t wait to hear him call us names and for Champ and Brian to intoxicate us with their alcohol breath and snake venom cologne, respectively.

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Some of you may already know me by my Twitter handle: @thefilmcynic. It’s a name I’ve gone by for nearly a decade (so, before current social media outlets), because I’m very cynical about the film industry and try to keep my expectations low. I’m also very cynical about the Academy Awards and awards season in general, because we devote so much focus on them — with a wide spectrum of positive and negative angles — and they’re really a bunch of malarkey (much like the V.P. debate, which has inspired my newfound obsession with that word). So, the higher ups at FSR have asked me to write a cynical column devoted to the Oscars. The first one is inspired by the films Seven Psychopaths, Looper and Lincoln and their celebrated performances. As someone who has studied acting (I’m not very good at it), I’ve long taken issue with the way people look at film performances, because there are just so many different kinds. But there are two real distinct types that we tend to recognize while watching and writing about movies that aren’t acknowledged by the Academy: realistic and artificial. The former has been a big favorite since method acting came into play, though it doesn’t necessarily apply to that style nor does that style necessarily always mean realism. The latter could be more expressive and therefore goes back to the dawn of cinema and its silent performances or could even be more stiff, if that’s what’s intended. Directors who […]

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Culture Warrior

Will Ferrell is a funny man. This seems to be a fact undeniable even to those who don’t otherwise care for his brand of comedy. Even though his schtick has become reliably familiar – he often plays variations of an over-privileged adult child who is hopelessly naïve in certain categories of social life and prone to random bursts of livid anger – its regularity has yet to prevent Ferrell’s comic talents from growing stale. There seems to also be some indescribable aura at the core of Ferrell’s comic talent, something about his appearance and demeanor that can’t be explained through analyses of timing and punchline, as evidenced by his strange appearance on Jimmy Fallon last May. For many, Ferrell’s comic appeal has been this essential, indescribably funny core since his SNL days. Ferrell is funny not exclusively because of his physical comedy or imitable characters; he, as a force of nature, is pure farce (a farce of nature?). But as his film career continues to accumulate titles and as his unique comic sensibilities become better-known with his roles as producer and writer, it’s clear that, beneath his farce, Ferrell has a confrontational political and satirical streak underlying much of his work, which has naturally led to him portraying a politician in Jay Roach’s The Campaign. Ferrell’s roles, however, often exercise a fascinating and occasionally self-defeating tension between satire and farce, with one element substituting, rather than laying the groundwork for, the other. Here’s an overview of the politics of Will […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Mostly, it’s a nice little nightly column about movies and entertainment. Before you came along, it was nothing. We begin tonight with a first shot of an independently produced Portal animated movie. It’s from an artist and animator named Alex Zemke, who plans to make a Portal short called Companionship. This reminds of Dan Trachtenberg’s indie short Portal: No Escape, but with some pretty cool animation. We’ll have to keep an eye on it.

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Dynamic duo Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel continue their tangled professional careers together in The Five-Year Engagement, unlike the last film in which the pair split writing, with Stoller directing and Segel starring, Get Him to the Greek, their new film tackles some tough stuff in name of the comedy – marriage. The film centers on Segel’s Tom and Emily Blunt‘s Violet and their stumble to the altar. From the film’s first scenes, it’s obvious that Tom and Violet are very much in love, but a series of big life events that have nothing to do with their nuptials steadily pile up until it looks as if their five-year engagement will be just that, an engagement, with no wedding at the end. In the style of Stoller and Segel’s previous works, the film is both funny and true, and the addition of Judd Apatow as producer and a cast that includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Mindy Kaling, Rhys Ifans, Kevin Hart, Chris Parnell, and Brian Posehn only pumps up the film’s improv-influenced laughs. The press junket for The Five-Year Engagement was a laidback affair, and one that drove home the point that the film was a collaborative effort between people who actually like each other. Comprised of four roundtables of paired talent, your faithful Reject and a group of other online journalist spent time talking to Segel and Blunt, Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, Brie and Kaling, and Parnell and Posehn. Revelations from the junket were not just confined to […]

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In the latest issue of Empire, writer/director/custodian Adam McKay explained that a sea of change was going to attack the news team from Channel Four in the upcoming Anchorman 2. After dealing with sexual politics and women in the work place, the sequel will jump ahead just a few years to the issue of racial diversity. “It’s right when all the news started changing with the 24-hours news cycle in ’78 or ’79,” said McKay. “All of a sudden, local news stations diversified and had Latino anchors and African-American anchors, and any time you’re talking about diversity and the Action News team, that’s always fun to deal with.” A fantastic idea. McKay has never shied away from making political statements, but it’s both surprising and unsurprising that Anchorman 2 would take this tilt. After all, the original isn’t touted as a champion of social consciousness. The fact that it should be is why it’s excellent to see diversity on the menu for the next adventure for Ron Burgundy and friends.

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When it was finally announced that Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and company would be coming back and making a sequel to their 2004 modern classic Anchorman, the world rejoiced. But, with as many people as there are who love this movie, and with the way it’s continued to remain a relevant part of popular culture, why did it take so long to make a sequel? McKay spills some details on the long road to this highly anticipated sequel in a recent interview with THR. Apparently the delay between Anchorman movies came down to two things: first there was a lack of interest in sequels from the creative end of things, and then there were budget concerns from the accountants. Or, as McKay puts it, “the movie came out and did really good but then got even bigger on DVD and cable. So then, when he (Adam Goodman) was at Paramount, he said to me, ‘Would you ever do a sequel?’ And at first we were like, ‘No, we don’t want to do sequels, we have too many ideas. Why do sequels?’ And then finally, we kept hearing the question so much from fans, and we’re like, ‘Shit, man, there’s almost something original about doing a sequel,’ like, can-we-do-a-sequel suddenly became an interesting challenge to us. We got our heads around on it and said, ‘All right, we’ll do it,’ and Goodman was really excited. But then it went in the numbers machine over there.”

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Drinking Games

Last week, the interwebs exploded with the awesome announcement that Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Steve Carell and Paramount Pictures have come to an agreement on moving forward with a sequel to the 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Sweet Lincoln’s mullet, this is exciting! Even though the movie’s release is at least a year away, you can still pop in your DVD, Blu-ray or HD-DVD (yeah, those are still out there) of Anchorman to refresh yourself in preparation of the sequel. Enjoy some scotchy, scotch, scotch, down into your belly. Or drink from a half-gallon carton of milk on a hot day. Either way, slap on your Sex Panther cologne and take a trip back to the glorious 70s. And don’t forget to stay classy, rejects!

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anchormanfight

Back in 2010, Paramount punted Anchorman 2 off a bridge, but after Conan O’Brien teased an appearance by Ron Burgundy on his show, it became clear that something big was afoot. Anchorman 2 is happening with Will Ferrell getting back behind the news desk alongside director Adam McKay and co-stars Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Right now, a ton of people are having to walk off their comedy erections in whatever office they’re about to be fired from. Fortunately, I work from home. This is great, great news. Does it seem a bit like going back to the well? Absolutely, but it’s a well worth diving back into and one that will represent a real challenge for its cast and crew. Catching scotch-covered lightning in a bottle twice will be tough, but hot damn is it ever a goal worth shooting for.    

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Don’t you dare talk about Fight Club or something really, really, really bad is going to happen.

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Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Anchorman

As if the fact that Anchorman 2 isn’t happening wasn’t enough, there is new information coming from director Adam McKay today saying that it would have been awesome. As in, full-on musical awesome. “It was a musical,” McKay said today at the junket for his latest, The Good Guys. “We were going to do four months on Broadway and then jump right into filming.” And amazing idea, killed by the bean-counters at Paramount. No hard feelings, says McKay. I can’t say that the fan reaction will be quite some amiable. [CHUD]

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Paramount passed on Anchorman 2 last week, and Zoolander might be struggling. Why isn’t the studio chomping at the bit?

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