Critics Consensus: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is Certified Fresh

Plus, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Inside Llewyn Davis, the Selfish Giant, The Past, and Her are all Certified Fresh as well.

This week at the movies, we've got a group of classy newsmen (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd); a prehistoric family (Walking With Dinosaurs, with voice performances by John Leguizamo and Justin Long); Feds and con-artists (American Hustle, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper); an uneasy artistic partnership (Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks); and a struggling folksinger (Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan). What do the critics have to say?

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

75%

Both a goofy workplace comedy and a sly media satire, Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy earned a dedicated cult following, though the call for a sequel escalated slowly. Well, the wait is over, and critics say Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is pretty funny stuff; though it's uneven and less quotable than its predecessor, it's just as sublimely silly, and the talented cast riffs with energetic abandon. It's the 1980s, and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his old Channel 4 pals have been hired by a new 24-hour news network. Eschewing hard news, they focus on the sensational and the absurd -- and garner big ratings in the process. The pundits say that 60 percent of the time, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues works every time; note every joke works, but a good many do, resulting in an anarchic comedy with a thing or two to say about our contemporary media landscape. (Check out this week's Total Recall for a roundown of memorable movie journalists, and watch our video interviews with the stars of Anchorman 2.)

Walking With Dinosaurs

24%

When you've made a movie featuring painstakingly, naturalistically rendered CG dinosaurs, what more do you need? How about wiseacre dialogue and slapstick gags? Critics say that's exactly the trouble with Walking With Dinosaurs, in which majestic visuals are seriously undermined by pedestrian storytelling. Based on a well-regarded BBC series, Dinosaurs is the tale of a young Pachyrhinosaurus (voiced by Justin Long) who squabbles with his siblings, encounters predators, and falls in love. The pundits say the filmmakers seem to have worried that a quasi-nature documentary approach might have turned off the youngsters, but the narrative is so poorly executed that the end result isn't all t hat entertaining, much less educational.

American Hustle

93%

Plenty of filmmakers have paid homage to GoodFellas over the years. Critics say that with American Hustle, director David O. Russell has done them all one better: he's crafted a deliriously entertaining crime picture with enough rich performances and stylistic razzle dazzle to actually earn comparisons to Martin Scorsese's masterpiece. Bradley Cooper stars as Richie, an FBI agent who busts Irving (Christian Bale) and Sydney (Amy Adams) for low-level grifting and subsequently enlists them, along with Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), into a sting operation designed to ensnare corrupt New Jersey politicians. The pundits say the Certified Fresh American Hustle is filled with fascinating characters, witty dialogue, toe-tapping 1970s tunes, and a giddy momentum that's deeply infectious. (Check out our video interviews with Cooper, Adams, Bale, and Jeremy Renner.)

Saving Mr. Banks

79%

As the old saying goes, never let the facts get in the way of a good story. The critics say that even though Saving Mr. Banks deviates significantly from the historical record, it still manages to be a heartwarming showbiz tale with outstanding performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. Mary Poppis author P.L. Travers (Thompson) reluctantly agrees to meet with Walt Disney (Hanks), who desperately wants to adapt her book for the screen. Travers is deeply skeptical of Disney's plans, and he has to pull out all the stops to persuade her to collaborate on the film. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Saving Mr. Banks is funny, poignant, and perfectly acted, even if the sharp edges of the real-life story have been sanded off.

Inside Llewyn Davis

94%

The Coen brothers have made plenty of movies about embattled outsiders, and critics say Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the best of the bunch, a bittersweet, lushly photographed chronicle of a down-and-out folksinger that's heartfelt and darkly comic in equal measure. Haunted by the death of his singing partner, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is in the midst of a personal and professional slump; he has little money, no permanent address, a shortage of gigs, and a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Inside Llewyn Davis is an absorbing portrait of a struggling artist, stuffed with loving details that will delight music buffs. (Watch our video interviews with Isaac and co-star Carey Mulligan here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Comments

Typhon

Typhon Q

The first Anchorman wasn't particularly impressive for me. It had good moments of humor but some rather lackluster segments in between. I'll probably be catching up on Hobbit this week.

Dec 19 - 06:09 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

You didn't like the first Anchorman? I mean... it is kinda a big deal.

Dec 22 - 01:01 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

It's probably because Will Ferrell isn't my thing, but "Anchorman" just looks kinda dumb to me. "Walking with Dinosaurs" looked lame, so I'm not surprised at its score. "American Hustle" might not be kind of film, but I liked "Silver Linings Playbook" and the rating gives a good vibe; I have similar feelings regarding "Llewyn Davis". "Saving Mr. Banks" looks like a nice film, maybe not necessary to see in theaters, but good.

Dec 19 - 06:10 PM

Dave J

Dave J

"The Past", "The Selfish Giant", "Her" look like interesting watches for me!

Dec 19 - 06:13 PM

Zach Trotter

Zach Trotter

I can't be the only who thinks that American Hustle looks really pretentious.

Dec 19 - 07:44 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Since pretentious = make believe (as in 'to pretend'), then yes, and in fact most films do.

Dec 19 - 08:20 PM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

I thought pretentious meant, "to take on an air of greater importance than one deserves." In which case, Zach may have a point.

Dec 20 - 01:38 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's a comedy with a 95% critical rating (avg 8/10) and 7 awards. Tell me - what does the word "deserve" mean to you?

Dec 20 - 03:15 PM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

No, you're the only one.

Dec 19 - 08:28 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Isn't it just a period piece about side boob?

Dec 19 - 09:39 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABSCAM

Dec 19 - 11:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, That seems way more interesting than Side Boob. Kind of wish Afleck directed this one? Not that David Russell isn't fantastic, just not really straight forward when he talks about "real Life"

Dec 20 - 12:50 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I sense sarcasm. You will have your side boob, but in addition, there is an intriguing story about, you know, the American Hustle. Of course it's pretentious - that's what hustlers are.

Dec 20 - 12:08 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I like all of Russel's films just the "real life" aspects are usually put on the back burner. LIke THe Fighter. I think thats a fantastic look at the real man "Dicky Ecklund" while the story it's suppose to be about "Mickey Ward" is un-interesting and dull. Three Kings is also a favorite and the true story behind that is a "well maybe he did have gold and maybe he didn't". Silver Linings Playbook is a fantastic film but the real issues of mental health are far less comical I would dare say.

Dec 20 - 09:56 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Since pretentious = make believe (as in 'to pretend'), then yes, and in fact most films do.

Dec 19 - 08:20 PM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

I thought pretentious meant, "to take on an air of greater importance than one deserves." In which case, Zach may have a point.

Dec 20 - 01:38 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's a comedy with a 95% critical rating (avg 8/10) and 7 awards. Tell me - what does the word "deserve" mean to you?

Dec 20 - 03:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

All that matters is that I see American Hustle, Llewyn Davis, and Her by year's end. The rest can wait for home watching.

Dec 19 - 08:22 PM

Christian F.

Christian Flores

Agreed 100%

Dec 20 - 05:15 PM

Gage Kent

Gage Kent

Same. Three of my most anticipated films of the year.

Dec 22 - 01:00 AM

Andrew Targaryen

Andrew Targaryen

No, you're the only one.

Dec 19 - 08:28 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Isn't it just a period piece about side boob?

Dec 19 - 09:39 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABSCAM

Dec 19 - 11:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, That seems way more interesting than Side Boob. Kind of wish Afleck directed this one? Not that David Russell isn't fantastic, just not really straight forward when he talks about "real Life"

Dec 20 - 12:50 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I sense sarcasm. You will have your side boob, but in addition, there is an intriguing story about, you know, the American Hustle. Of course it's pretentious - that's what hustlers are.

Dec 20 - 12:08 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I like all of Russel's films just the "real life" aspects are usually put on the back burner. LIke THe Fighter. I think thats a fantastic look at the real man "Dicky Ecklund" while the story it's suppose to be about "Mickey Ward" is un-interesting and dull. Three Kings is also a favorite and the true story behind that is a "well maybe he did have gold and maybe he didn't". Silver Linings Playbook is a fantastic film but the real issues of mental health are far less comical I would dare say.

Dec 20 - 09:56 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABSCAM

Dec 19 - 11:24 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, That seems way more interesting than Side Boob. Kind of wish Afleck directed this one? Not that David Russell isn't fantastic, just not really straight forward when he talks about "real Life"

Dec 20 - 12:50 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I sense sarcasm. You will have your side boob, but in addition, there is an intriguing story about, you know, the American Hustle. Of course it's pretentious - that's what hustlers are.

Dec 20 - 12:08 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I like all of Russel's films just the "real life" aspects are usually put on the back burner. LIke THe Fighter. I think thats a fantastic look at the real man "Dicky Ecklund" while the story it's suppose to be about "Mickey Ward" is un-interesting and dull. Three Kings is also a favorite and the true story behind that is a "well maybe he did have gold and maybe he didn't". Silver Linings Playbook is a fantastic film but the real issues of mental health are far less comical I would dare say.

Dec 20 - 09:56 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

that sucks about 'Walking With Dinosaurs', that trailer was so good and I love the music on my iPod
but then again Disney already did 'Dinosaur' and I guess we don't need another copycat

but I do want to see 'Anchorman 2: Legend Continues'
cant believe the 1st one came out back in 2004

still waiting to see 'Desolation of Smaug' with my sister
but it'll be worth it

Dec 19 - 11:32 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Wow, That seems way more interesting than Side Boob. Kind of wish Afleck directed this one? Not that David Russell isn't fantastic, just not really straight forward when he talks about "real Life"

Dec 20 - 12:50 AM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Man, what a brilliant week. Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, Her are positively unmissable. I saw Anchorman about five years back and didn't like it much at the time, but maybe I'll give it another try. I have my doubts I will change my opinion of it too much but hey, it's just two hours of my life I might want to get back. Funny that Anchorman 2 is the headline in this critical consensus update. It seems to me it should be Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle and Her the focus points here, but that's just me.

Dec 20 - 03:52 AM

Vits

Vicente Torres

I'm supossed to say that ANCHORMAN 2 is priority. Sorry, but I was so impressed with A SEPARATION that I must watch THE PAST. And HER has such a great premise. And I already talked about how I felt about AMERICAN HUSTLE and LLEWYN DAVIS last week. I can't miss them over a sequel 9 years after a movie that wasn't even that good.

Dec 20 - 07:19 AM

J A.

J A

I dont understand RT math. How is 75% fresh?

Dec 20 - 11:32 AM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

0-59: Rotten
60-100: Fresh

Dec 20 - 01:35 PM

Conner Nielsen

Conner Nielsen

I think RT should have 3 categories: Fresh, mixed, and rotten.

Dec 21 - 11:34 PM

BMS1234

brandon sideleau

It means 75% of critics liked it...that's definitely fresh...especially for a mainstream comedy.

Dec 21 - 03:00 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I sense sarcasm. You will have your side boob, but in addition, there is an intriguing story about, you know, the American Hustle. Of course it's pretentious - that's what hustlers are.

Dec 20 - 12:08 PM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

0-59: Rotten
60-100: Fresh

Dec 20 - 01:35 PM

Conner Nielsen

Conner Nielsen

I think RT should have 3 categories: Fresh, mixed, and rotten.

Dec 21 - 11:34 PM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

I thought pretentious meant, "to take on an air of greater importance than one deserves." In which case, Zach may have a point.

Dec 20 - 01:38 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's a comedy with a 95% critical rating (avg 8/10) and 7 awards. Tell me - what does the word "deserve" mean to you?

Dec 20 - 03:15 PM

Gary Horsman

Gary Horsman

I don't watch movies. I just like to read the reviews.

Dec 20 - 01:41 PM

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