It’s been over a month since we last did this, but we’re aiming to get it back on track and hopefully make it the weekly feature it was intended to be. This week we’re sprucing it up a bit with some somewhat recent films as well as some older ones. Jules looks at The Purge: Anarchy, Snowman handles The Boondock Saints, Brian tackles North Dallas Forty, and Gary quickly reviews both Frozen and Anchorman 2. The score spectrum runs from the great all the way down to the awful.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Official Score: 2 stars
The Purge (2013) starring Ethan Hawke was one of my big disappointments from last year. I thought the premise (all crime being legal for one night) was bloody brilliant, and had mucho potential for social commentary, plus a ton of groovy action in the vein of Escape from New York. Instead, the whole story took place in the house of one rich family on a rich neighborhood being tormented by other rich socialite college kids. This movie corrects those mistakes at least, as we finally get a good sprawling action movie, but, this movie definitely has much more of a direct to DVD feel to it than its original. The characters here are paper thin. Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) has the most interesting and entertaining part in the whole movie, and only has one in person scene. If they do make another Purge movie (and this could easily turn into an exploitation genre) I hope they just follow that character around instead of the uninspiring group and only half-way likable groups we’ve been given thus far. An overall forgettable experience, it is a better imagined but less competently executed version of the original.
Official Score: 4 stars
Back when I was a young kid, Disney had a killer stretch of great animated films; The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Brave Little Toaster, and Toy Story immediately come to mind. They’ve had quite a bit of success in the more recent years thanks to the Pixar films, but by large I haven’t enjoyed a Disney animated film since 2010’s Toy Story 3 (and before that, 1999’s Toy Story 2). That was until recently when I watched Frozen. A surprise to me, I actually really enjoyed it. I dislike Disney quite a bit, but have to say that Frozen is a quality film and for some reason I even enjoyed the musical numbers. The characters of Elsa and Anna are likeable, as is Kristoff, and I especially liked that it didn’t follow the typical Disney story of a prince being a good guy despite teasing that for most of the film. Thoroughly enjoyable family film.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Official Score: 3 ½ Stars
The story of two low income, Catholic, Irish brothers (Sean Patrick Flannery & Norman Reedus) whose neighborhood is being overran by the Russian Mob. One night while sleeping, the brothers believe they were blessed by God, and told to go on a Holy quest…..wipe out the powerful mob, and slay any evil individual that may come their way. The movie follows the brothers on their holy quest, while being tracked by a detective(Willem Dafoe) whose style is, well anything but ordinary. Very good movie, if you like Pulp Fiction, or Resevoir Dogs….you’ll like this movie.
North Dallas Forty (1979)
Official Score: 1 star
Ummm… Nick Nolte is a football player? And an aging, beat up wide receiver at that? Uhhh… yeah, that’s basically your plot right there. He’s an aging player, meets a woman, hates his coach because he doesn’t play him, and for the first time begins thinking of life besides football. You can do worse things with two hours, but you could do a lot better.
Anchorman 2 (2013)
Official Score: 1 ½ Stars
I’ll preface this by saying that I loved Anchorman when it came out and still do. It was and is a great comedy, and because of my fandom for it, I was excited for Anchorman 2. How could you not be? Unfortunately, it just isn’t nearly as good as the original. I just recently saw it on Epix on Roku, and I have to say that I was terribly disappointed. It’s not just that it doesn’t live up to the first one, instead it’s that it is a bad movie. It’s never good when a comedy makes you mildly chuckle a couple of times, especially if that person thought the first one was really funny. Embarrassing would come to mind for this one.
Ron Burgundy gets the old team back together in New York City to take the graveyard shift on the first 24/7 news network, has great success, goes blinds, regains his eye sight and finally sees what really matters. Maybe it would have been decent, but at damn near two and a half hours this film is filled with a ton of unnecessary scenes and one scene in particular that was somewhat humorous for a second (as a call back to the original), but went on for far too long. I enjoyed Kristen Wiig’s role as Brick’s equally dumb love interest, but not much else. A real shame this one.
That’s all we wrote for this week. Agree or disagree with our fast reviews? Let us know in the comments, and also be sure and let us know if there are any movies you’d like to see us quickly review. Have a great weekend, and hopefully next week we’ll have another Friday Fast Five Film Reviews for you.