Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, DVD, On Demand) picks up the story of San Diego TV newsreader Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) as he reunites his news team (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner) to take on the 24-hour cable news scene of the 1980s and, through incompetence, idiocy and blind luck, invent the modern news distraction that currently clogs up our cable listings. Um… thanks?
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is a comedy that feels like it was made to be enjoyed more in its atoms than its wholeness, a series of talk-show clips and undeleted scenes whirling in emptiness,” says Cinephiled film critic James Rocchi. “But story is absent. It’s an astonishingly weak and cluttered sequel, even in our debased age.” Christina Applegate, Meagan Good and James Marsden co-star and director Adam McKay returns to helm and co-write. Also, lots of cameos. Because they have lots of friends.
The Blu-ray edition includes three versions of the film: the PG-13 theatrical cut, an unrated cut that runs 4 minutes longer, and the “Super-Sized R-rated” version with 25 minutes of addition footage (which, according to the advertising, includes 763 new jokes “subject to your sense of humor”). There’s commentary on the shorter versions by director Adam McKay, producer Judd Apatow, and actors Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner, a bunch of featurettes, 90 minutes of deleted / alternate / extended scenes, gag reels, auditions, and more among the supplements. Also includes bonus DVD and Ultraviolent Digital HD editions of the theatrical version. No supplements on the DVD version.
Knights of Badassdom (eOne, Blu-ray, DVD), a modest little horror comedy set in the fantasy gaming LARP (that’s Live Action Role Playing) culture, has a good time sending up its obsessive nerds and cosplay veterans gathered for a weekend championship of stage combat and mock-Shakespearean patter. Then it unleashes a succubus from hell on them. Actually it’s Steve Zahn’s Eric, a mage armed with a really cool ancient tome he bought off Ebay, who summoned up the demon during gameplay. It was an honest mistake but the body count is real enough, especially when his Hail Mary pass of a reversal incantation merely turns the hot succubus into a scaly demon who wades through the would-be warriors like a kid stomping through his toy soldiers.
The producers line up a low-budget cast with high genre cred and they too seem to have a good time: Ryan Kwanten (the spacey Jason of True Blood) as the aspiring black-metal star reluctantly dragged along by his buddies, Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as the stoner who preps by downing a bag of shrooms, and Summer Glau (Firefly) as the warrior babe all too used to the geek boys hitting on her. Jimmi Simpson and Danny Pudi (Community) are well cast in supporting roles. They don’t play caricatures of gaming obsessives so much as overly enthusiastic fans carried away with the theatrics of it all. The film was reportedly recut without the participation of director Joe Lynch and the result looks a little like something tamed down for a general audience, but the attitude and energy keep it going through the familiar rhythms of the story. And refreshingly for an R-rated comedy, this is geek-girl friendly, with Glau shrugging off the advances and outbattling everyone with hearty high spirits and wit. No gratuitous nudity here but plenty of over-the-top stage gore, the kind of goopy excess that makes demons-versus-mortals violence less rather than more realistic.
The most substantial supplement is the Comic Con panel with director Joe Lynch and six stars of the film (all the major cast members apart from Zahn). There’s a seven-minute interview with Lynch and a handful of brief cast interviews and featurettes, all less than two minutes apiece.
47 Ronin (Universal, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, On Demand) – There have been more screen versions of the classic Japanese tale of honor, betrayal and revenge than I can easily recount. This big-budget version, starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano, is not just the first English language version, it’s the first to lard it up with supernatural villains. With a featurette and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray editions also includes three additional featurettes plus bonus DVD and Ultraviolent Digital HD copies of the film.
At Middleton (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD) stars Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as strangers who meet and connection when they come to visit the college campus of their respective children. The romantic drama also stars Taissa Farmiga, Peter Riegert and Tom Skerritt. With filmmaker commentary and outtakes.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Fox, Digital), Ben Stiller’s labor-of-love remake of the daydreaming comedy, is available as a digital purchase two weeks in advance of disc.
Also available for digital purchase in advance of disc are the Oscar-nominated drama Philomena (Anchor Bay, Digital) with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and the documentary Generation Iron (Anchor Bay, Digital), both available on Friday, April 4.
Premiering on Cable on Demand in advance of its theatrical release is the musical horror Stage Fright (Magnet) with Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf.
Available On Demand on Friday, April 4, same day as theaters, is the drama Goodbye World with Adrian Grenier and Gaby Hoffman and the action thriller In the Blood (Anchor Bay, iTunes, On Demand) with Gina Carano and Cam Gigandet.
Forgetting the Girl (RAM, Blu-ray, DVD)
Lost Islands (First Run, DVD)
When Jews Were Funny (First Run, DVD)
The Pirate Fairy (Disney, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Bag Man (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
War of the Worlds Goliath (Anderson Digital, Blu-ray 3D, DVD)
Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda (Breaking Pictures, DVD)
Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines (Fox, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Little Rascals Save the Day (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Warrior Assassin (Lionsgate, DVD, Digital HD, VOD)
An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (First Run, DVD)
Hazmat (Uncork’s, DVD, VOD)
Birds of Paradise (Lionsgate, DVD, Digital HD, VOD)
The Conspiracy (XLrator, DVD)
The Bunker (Inception, DVD, VOD)
Calendar of upcoming releases on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD