Synopsis: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opened this week bringing confident but thick news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) back to the big screen after a nine year absence. The first film made catchphrases like, “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch,” and the names Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champion “Champ” Kind (David Koechner) household words. In celebration of the return of the team from San Diego’s KVWN Channel 4 the Reel Guys have a look back at the career of funnyman Will Ferrell.
Richard: Mark, I think Will Ferrell is one of the bravest comedic actors working today; someone willing to do anything for a laugh. Trouble is, I often don’t laugh. Anchorman is laugh-out-loud funny. Ditto Elf and Old School, but sometimes I feel he has to rein the manic energy in, do half as much and maybe be twice as funny. Having said that, the Shark Week jokes in Step Brothers really make me giggle.
Mark: Richard, I share your ambivalence toward Ferrell. He’s not my go-to guy for funny. Still, he’s done some great work. My favourite Will Ferrell movies are two indie films he’s starred in: Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go. They’re the equivalent of Jim Carrey’s work in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Maybe not huge crowd pleasers, but they show the true breadth of his talent.
RC: I agree. I think Stranger Than Fiction is worth a rental. It’s touching and funny, which for me is Ferrell’s sweet spot. A Night at the Roxbury is a silly comedy but Ferrell’s wide-eyed performance is the kind of thing I like from him. Outrageous, yes, but underneath the silly is a real guy. Sometimes I can’t see the real guy underneath his characters and those are his movies that don’t work for me. Except Zoolander. As fashion guru Mugatu he’s so strange he dares you not to laugh at him.
MB: Yes, he’s sometimes better in a supporting role in which his over-the-top zaniness doesn’t sink the whole picture. Mugatu for sure, but also the mattress salesman in The Internship or Franz in The Producers. But generally, I find his man-child jock character wearying. Which is why, I think, Anchorman is such a successful movie. It’s a Will Ferrell movie for people who don’t care for Will Ferrell movies. Did you enjoy the sequel, Richard?
RC: I did. I think there is a lot of life left in Ron Burgundy. It’s funny in an outrageous way. It’s a bit too long, (and don’t bother sitting through to the post credit scene unless you find the sight of Steve Carell eating cookies hilarious) but the buffoonery level is high in a season where serious drama seems to be the ticket.
In the last couple of weeks I have seen Ferrell, in character, sit in on some local newscasts and he fit right in. As long as there is media, egomaniac announcers and local news, there will be a place for Ron Burgundy.
MB: Yes, but let’s not forget he’s supported by a stellar cast of comic actors: Paul Rudd, Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Wiig. Even if Ferrell isn’t your cup of tea, it’s hard to believe this movie won’t work.
Four-time Oscar nominated Director and Screenwriter Peter Weir graced Toronto with his presence today, doing Press for his already well-received new Film The Way Back. Known for acclaimed titles like Green Card, Dead Poets Society, The Witness, The Truman Show and more recently, Master and Commander, Weir is still at the top of his game with this latest effort.
Although I am unable to post my Review of The Way Back due to a Press Embargo which ends on Release Day, January 21, 2011, I can say for now that the journey for these Siberian Gulag Prisoners is grueling, and in effect cathartic. This fantastic Ensemble Cast including the likes of Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell put on some tour-de-force performances in an all-out fight for survival across Siberia.
As you might recall, Alliance Films was generous enough to give away passes here last week to a few lucky readers for tonight’s Screening at gorgeous Bell Lightbox and it was a pleasure for me to see some familiar faces tonight!
After visiting CBC for a taping of George Stroumboulopoulous Tonight (airing Thursday) earlier in the day, Weir was kind enough to do a Q&A for the Film, hosted by Canada AM’s Richard Crouse. Fielding questions from the Audience, Weir expressed that he has absolutely no regrets focusing attentions now on relatively more-Commercial releases, compared to some of his earlier work. Like Crouse, Weir is wowed by 16 year-old Atonement Star Saoirse Ronan’s professionalism and drive for perfection. The Australian Director concluded that Ronan who plays Irena, simply is an “Old Soul”. On the Film’s Lead Character Janusz played by Jim Sturgess, who delivers a career-best here, Weir acted jokingly insulted about a statement Sturgess made recently on how making this Film was like “making a Movie in the olden days”. In reality, Weir has adapted to the Digital Technology of this era, although he has no interest in making a 3-D Film at this time.
On Filmmaking, Weir feels that his own works are more emotionally rather than intellectually-driven and he gave a practical tip to aspiring Directors to at least try dabbling in Acting and Writing too seeing that they all go hand-in-hand. Equating the process to Working Out, he feels it is important always to remain in-form even if it is per say “writing a 50-word story”.
One longtime Fan in the Audience presented Weir with Roses, which he accepted graciously. When given the microphone, she went on to tell him that she has been a great Admirer since the ’70s and even wrote her Thesis about him. Not quite getting enough, she rushed-up again afterward with her Husband who snapped a Photo of her interacting with Weir, before he personalized a File Folder containing her Thesis. “You captured the sentiments of the Polish so accurately”, she proclaimed multiple times.
Finally getting a moment to speak to Weir, he was kind enough to pose for a Photo together and I kept it short and sweet, seeing how many others were hoping for a moment with him. An honour, indeed.