The Couch Potato Report
April 5th, 2014
It has been a long time since there’s been a Keanu Reeves film to review here on The Report. The last time the Toronto raised performer was featured was in November of 2012 when I gave a glowing review to the blu-ray re-release of his 1989 comedy BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE.
Prior to that, for a new film, we have to go all the way back to 2008 and my mixed review for the remake of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
For a while, Reeves was one of the biggest names in Hollywood, with THE MATRIX TRILOGY, SPEED and POINT BREAK among his many hits.
Of late, he’s just been doing smaller films…which is why it was such a surprise last year when it was announced that he had been cast as the lead in the martial arts film 47 RONIN.
A Ronin is a Japanese samurai with no lord or master. A samurai becomes masterless from the death or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master’s favor or privilege.
47 RONIN is a fantasy action film about a real-life group of Ronin in 18th-century Japan who are trying to avenge the murder of their master
47 RONIN cost approximately $175 million and while it grossed close to $150 million worldwide, the movie made less than $39 million in North America and so is viewed as costly box office disaster.
But you know what, with lowered expectations, it isn’t that bad. The effects are very good and 47 RONIN is actually a pretty good martial arts action film.
It’s never as great as any of Keanu Reeves biggest hits, but I enjoyed it enough to give it a mild recommendation.
I also enjoyed, but I highly recommend the sequel to one of the most entertaining, and most quoted films of all time, the 2004 comedy ANCHORMAN – THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY.
This time around in ANCHORMAN 2 – THE LEGEND CONTINUES, Ron Burgandy and his news team get back together and move from San Diego to New York City and the advent of the 24 hour news channel.
Overall ANCHORMAN 2 is not a great movie – most of what happens is just recycled from the first film – but it has some fantastic scenes, some spectacular cameos, and my gosh is it funny.
Plus, the blu-ray comes with a wealth of Special Features AND three different versions of the film: the theatrical, an extended cut, and a Super Sized version that is 2 hours and 23 minutes long that has some all-new storylines, a musical number, and a whole bunch of new jokes.
It is childish, predictable, and very, very stupid at times, but I loved ANCHORMAN 2 – THE LEGEND CONTINUES! It made me laugh out loud and I can’t wait to watch it again!
The Little Rascals – also known as Our Gang – is a series of comedy short films about a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures.
Created by comedy producer Hal Roach in 1922, the series is noted for showing children behaving in a relatively natural way, and for featuring boys, girls, whites and blacks all together as equals.
The gang was last featured in the 1994 movie, and now we have THE LITTLE RASCALS SAVE THE DAY.
In the film Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, Petey the dog and the whole gang are trying to stay out of mischief as they try anything anything and everything to try and raise the money needed to save their grandma’s bakery.
But – as usual – they can’t seem to do anything right!
I grew up watching the original Little Rascals when I was a kid, and they were accessible to kids of all ages, so I love these characters, but THE LITTLE RASCALS – SAVE THE DAY is too predictable and not that funny. It’s just not a great movie, and that is too bad.
But I will still recommend it to young children. Maybe they will love it, and grow up to discover the original Our Gang shorts from the 1920s. There are a lot of laughs to be had with those ones.
And finally, the two-time Academy Award winning film FARGO has been re-released this week in a new remastered version and it looks and sounds better than ever!!
When small-time Minnesota car salesman Jerry Lundegaard hires two less than perfect thugs to kidnap his wife so he can collect the ransom from his wealthy father-in-law everything goes wrong, especially when the very chipper and very pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson takes the case.
FARGO has never needed help as far as how great a movie it is, but in it’s various digital releases over the years – from laserdisc to this blu-ray – as it’s gone from studio to studio through different ownership deals, it’s visuals have suffered.
That has now been rectified. Sadly there are no new special features, but the old bonus material is all still included and the packaging now reflects the original theatrical poster.
Should you already own FARGO on blu-ray, you don’t really need to pick this one up, but I’m glad I did. It is a modern day classic and I want to know that I have the best version available.
The remastered edition of the Coen Brothers still great black comedy FARGO; the not great for adults, but okay for kids comedy THE LITTLE RASCALS – SAVE THE DAY; the spectacular fun of ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES; and 47 RONIN starring Keanu Reeves, headlining a movie for the first time in a while, are all available now, either on disc or on demand.
And that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here again next time on The Couch!