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"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" 2.5stars

The original film skewered television news in the 1970s, as personified by the lovingly pompous blowhard Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), and became a cult classic.

The gang's all back, including Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone, now Ron's wife, in the long-awaited sequel "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."

It's now 1980, roughly seven years after the original, when Ron was the biggest name in San Diego TV news. He and Veronica are an anchor team in New York City, and life is good.

But it doesn't take long for Ron's career to swan-dive. He and Veronica part after a nasty argument, and she takes up with a wonderfully laid-back psychiatrist played by Greg Kinnear.

Luckily, Ron still has fans. One is a producer working on the crazy idea of starting a 24-hour news network, and he pursues the downtrodden newsman. Ron is eager to round up the old crew and do "what God put Ron Burgundy on this Earth to do: have salon-quality hair and read the news."

Soon he's back on top, again. Ron has fame, regional Emmys and a new relationship with Linda, his tough African-American boss (Meagan Good). But Ron discovers life can change in an instant.

For the longest time, "Anchorman 2" feels like a drawn-out skit, punctuated by funny Ron Burgundy oaths. It's all set up for a grand finale that echoes the funniest scene in the first movie.

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence.

Blu-ray includes longer R-rated movie version and unrated version; commentary; five making-of featurettes; more than 90 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes; gag reels and outtakes and some cast members' original script read-throughs.

-- Post-Gazette

"The Bag Man" 

The simple-minded premise places mob henchman Jack (John Cusack) in Room 13 of a motel, where he must await the arrival of his boss, Dragna (Robert De Niro), who has ordered Jack to bring him a mysterious black satchel that Jack has been sworn, on pain of death, not to open.

Most of what happens in "The Bag Man" is a setup, courtesy of Dragna, but that doesn't let filmmaker David Grovic off the hook for a story that feels like it's being related inside ironic air quotes.

Even the film's justification for Jack's reliance on phone booths and motel land lines -- the result of his cell phone being shot out of his hand before the film even starts -- feels forced. It's as if Grovic is trying to explain away the atmosphere of stale cliche as an aesthetic decision. It may well be one. But "The Bag Man" has more attitude than panache.

R for violence, obscenity and torture. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

-- Washington Post

"47 Ronin"

One of the defining fables of pre-modern Japan, the tale of the 47 ronin has been filmed many times in that country. Yet somehow no previous director thought to include rampaging supernatural beasts, a shape-shifting witch or Keanu Reeves.

Those last three are prominent in "47 Ronin," Hollywood's first stab at the samurai tale. It's big and brawling yet often dull, with about as much genuine Japanese character as a food-court teriyaki stand. The cast is mostly Japanese, but chosen from the small list of actors with recent credits in mainstream American movies.

Despite the references to Japanese legend, the film's principal influence is all those recent mash-ups of fairy tales, horror flicks and action pictures. (Co-scriptwriter Hossein Amini helped write one of them, "Snow White and the Huntsman.") Ultimately, the movie just doesn't justify its outrageous bid to turn a solemn tale of self-sacrifice into swaggering global-marketplace entertainment.

PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic elements.

Extras include deleted scene and a "Re-Forging the Legend" featurette in which filmmakers talk about how they brought "47 Ronin" to the big screen, from script to costumes, visual design and culture. Also, on Blu-ray: "Keanu & Kai" martial arts featurette, and action sequence choreography and special effects featurettes.

-- Washington Post

ALSO THIS WEEK: 

"Power Rangers: Seasons 13-17": The 21-DVD box set includes the "Power Rangers S.P.D." season along with "Power Rangers Mystic Force," "Power Rangers Operation Overdrive," "Power Rangers Jungle Fury" and "Power Rangers RPM." That means there are 166 episodes of action, plus bonus content that includes interviews with members of the cast and crew and archival material.

"The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic Mary Tyler Moore Episodes": Includes 20 episodes of the TV series that spotlight Moore.

"The Pirate Fairy": Swashbuckling animated tale of Zarina, a dust-keeper fairy.

"The Bunker": A soldier must attempt to save his fellow troops from a rogue special forces unit lead by a madman.

"Knights of Badassdom": Three best friends take to the woods to reenact a dungeons and dragons-like scenario.

"No Holds Barred": An evil executive creates a new wrestling program where rules don't exist.

"The Dinosaur Experiment": Texas town is turned upside down when it's discovered that a local cattle ranch is a breeding ground for velociraptors.

"American Experience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": A look at the real story of the famous outlaws.

"Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines": Covert team of U.S. Navy SEALs is sent to locate a secret mining operation.

"At Middleton": Two people find love on a college campus. Andy Garcia stars.

"The Little Rascals Save the Day": A group of third-graders hatch some big schemes. Doris Roberts stars.

"Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda": Documentary on the country's stand against LGBT men and women.

"George Gently: Series 6": Martin Shaw stars in the murder mystery series set in England.

"Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 1": The Power Rangers battle Divatox.

• "Birds of Paradise": Animated adventures of a sparrow who becomes extraordinary.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


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