Jackson H.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The inspired insanity of Anchorman 2 is what makes it a rare creature; a comedy sequel that not only works, but sizzles with typical ridiculous hilarity. It may not reach the cult status heights of its forebear, but Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have bided their time in bringing the mustached Ron Burgundy back to the big screen (nine years to be exact), which breaks from traditions with comedy sequels, that seem to come out with unrelenting frequency. The Movie movies (see Epic Movie, Date Movie and this year's woefully out of touch Scary Movie 5) show us what comedy has sadly devolved into in recent times.

Anchorman 2 is silly, verging on ludicrous, and its finale defies even its own nonsensical logic; but the creativity at which this silliness happens in the film results in comedy at a breakneck pace. And, if laughs and total committal to their roles by the four key players is not enough, Anchorman 2 has something to say about the state of the news in the 21st century, despite its kitschy 1980's setting. Not everything about this sequel works; there is an odd musical number that seems a bit forced, but most of its gags are hilarious.

As I said above, the four main actors commit to their roles as much as someone like Christian Bale does. They never break character, and you can tell they are having a blast. Ron Burgundy is arguably one of Will Ferrell's best characters, alongside Mugatu (Zoolander) and his brief but hilarious cameo role in Wedding Crashers. He inhabits the character entirely, a man who says intellectual things, but is really quite silly and out of sync with the world around him. This is evident by a cringe-worthy scene when he goes to his boss (played by Megan Goode)'s house for dinner, and proceeds to offend her family with hilariously outdated racial lines.

In fact, the whole news team are quite out of sync with the race relations. When he first meets his boss, Burgundy can't stop saying black, and Brick thinks he once met an African American man, when it was really his shadow. Speaking of Brick, Steve Carrell is fantastic as the dimwitted weatherman, providing some of the film's most outrageously silly and funny scenes, while Paul Rudd's Brian Fantana is typically sleazy and David Koechner as Champ Kind is still strangely awkward, with an odd affection for Ron that crosses friendship. His early scene, when he is running a chicken restaurant that serves fried bat ("chicken of the cave") is a standout. The trio don't get as much time to shine as you might like, but each get their moments.

Anchorman 2 is undoubtedly silly. James Marsden appears as slick anchorman Jack Lime, who loses a bet to Ron and has to change his name to Jack Lame, while Greg Kinnear appears as a ponytailed psychiatrist (who both Ron and his son Walter mistake for having psychic powers) "lover" of Ron's ex-wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), and Kristin Wiig is a perfect match as a similarly awkward and odd to Brick. Some of the film's gags are so silly, but you can't help but laughing, as McKay and Ferrell do it with such a surprising amount of self-reference and satire.

The finale of the film reaches new levels of silliness, and the amount of cameos that spring up have you constantly in awe. They come out of nowhere, as does the new team brawl that ensues (rivaling the first film's similar brawl). McKay and Ferrell pull no punches with the finale, and some viewers might find it a bit too over the top and silly. We don't even learn how Burgundy and the gang escape largely unscathed, but in Anchorman 2's strange, hyperreal world, that doesnt really matter.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

After viewing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, part two of Peter Jackson's adaptation of the 1937 novel by J.R.R Tolkien; one thing has become apparent to me. These three films, for better or worse, are not strictly adaptations of the book, but rather prequels to Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. That doesn't mean those of us who have read the book won't be able to keep an eye out for key scenes and moments; but PJ and his screenwriters Philipa Boyens and Fran Walsh have taken some liberties with Tolkien's material.

The appendices have been mined as much as the abandoned mines of Erebor; the return of Sauron features more in Desolation, we see events that happen during the timeline of The Hobbit but aren't explored in depth in the original book; we see where Gandalf goes when he again is drawn away from Thorin's Company. These scenes could perhaps have been cut for the inevitable Extended Edition; but Peter Jackson squeezes so much in the movie that while some of it might seem unnecessary; there is rarely a dull moment. This is an improvement of An Unexpected Journey, which while I enjoyed for the most part; suffered somewhat from a lack of narrative movement. Jackson sorts most of these problems out, as we kick back into action with little time to gather. Some of the film still needs a good prune, as I mentioned before; but at least it moves with a bit more urgency than the first film.

The humour is not as present, as the quest reaches more danger and fearfulness, but almost every dwarf in Throin's Company gets their moments. It is clear Jackson and co. have their favourites, the rotund Bombur has his moments to shine as his robustness provides many of the film's comic results. James Nesbitt is again great as Bofur, and most of the other dwarves get their moments, even if they are still underused somewhat. Mikael Persbrandt appearss as Beorn at the start of the film, and despite a silly haircut, is a solid inclusion; although he'll get his true moments in the third film. Sylvester McCoy is less cooky as Radagast when he appears in scenes with Gandalf, too.

The inclusion of a female character (Evangeline Lily's Tauriel) and a romantic sub-plot might raise the ire of the most staunchest and purist of Tolkien fans; and detraction is understandable, but even if her reason's for being in the trilogy are questionable, Tauriel is still a well-rounded character. Speaking of elves, Orlando Bloom makes a return as Legolas, pre-Fellowship; much more colder, and distrustful of dwarves. There is an excellent scene when Legolas and the rest of the his elven posse capture Thorin and co., between the elf prince and Gloin, which will have anyone who saw the LOTR trilogy at least smile. Lee Pace returns also as Thranduil, seen briefly in the first film's prologue, as a typically high-and-mighty elf ruler who does not like visitors, and tries to strike a a bargain with Thorin, much to his chagrin.

Of other notable inclusions, Luke Evans is great as Bard, filling some of the Aragorn-descendant-of-a-fallen-kingdom absence that Thorin does also. The entire Lake-Town sequence is memorable, also due to Stephen Fry's entertainingly slimy Master of Lake-town and his mono-browed lackey Alfrid (Ryan Gage). This part, and indeed the whole film, is brought down slightly by the return of Azog, and this time his son Bolg, who are both not as convincing as Lurtz in The Fellowship of the Ring or any orcish/Uruk-Hai antagonist. Bolg is verging on cartoonish, and pales in comparison to what was originally an actor in prosthetics. These CGI orcs are impressive, no doubt, but they lack the physical presence of an actor, even if they are played by motion capture.

One CGI creation that does soar (quite literally) is Smaug himself, a truly enormous creation from WETA. Get Smaug wrong, and much like Gollum in the Lord of The Rings, much of the drama would suffer; but thankfully no expense has been spared on creating the giant serpent, who has enough qualities of his various visual interpretations that most of us will be satisfied. Benedict Cumberbatch gives him a booming, menacing voice; similar to Tim Curry in Legend, and his exchanges with Bilbo are some of the film's best moments. The entire Smaug segment does descend into a bit of confusion, and the film's ending is one you'll love to hate, because we really do want There and Back Again now.

The third film is an interesting one, incidentally, to see how Jackson and co. tie everything up, and make sure it leads into The Fellowship of the Ring; as these films are, as mentioned, prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as opposed to strict adaptations of the slight book by Tolkien. Some events in Desolation might conflict slightly with the events that unfold in the first LOTR movie, in particularly with Gandalf, who is always great as played by Sir Ian McKellen, but Jackson will have another two and a half hours to tie everything up. Hopefully.

Peter Jackson has crammed all he could into this second installment, and the change from two movies to three would have undoubtedly caused some reconfiguration as to what happens in which film. The third will cover the later half of the book, and will, much like Return of the King, carry the most dramatic heft and poignancy. Let us hope Jackson and co. don't loose what makes Middle-Earth so great; apart from the spectacle, the heart and soul. The Hobbit films may lack the dramatic and emotional impact and critical acclaim of The Lord of the Rings; but they are still hugely entertaining cinema experiences.

A Serious Man
A Serious Man (2009)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Filled with the Coen Brother's dark humour and style, A Serious Man is an enthralling examination of a man questioning his faith.

A Scanner Darkly
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

An almost science fiction Fear and Loathing, A Scanner Darkly is not perfect, but its unique visual style and themes keep it interesting.

A Clockwork Orange
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

As controversial as it is daring, A Clockwork Orange is a nightmarish film with a standout lead from Malcolm McDowell and always visionary direction from Kubrick.