Blu-ray Review “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (The Rich Mahogany Edition)”

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard
Director: Adam McKay
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 / Unrated
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013
Run Time: 94 / 97 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” is with no question one of the best comedies of all-time. The film wasn’t that huge in theaters but became a cult classic very quickly when it hit DVD. I do not think that there is one day that goes by that I do not quote this film, numerous times in fact. It is also one of those films that you can watch over and over and it does not get old in fact it only gets better. The “Rich Mahogany” Edition features three versions of the film: the theatrical version, an unrated version and Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, all presented here on Blu-ray in glorious high definition. This Blu-ray was originally released as a Best Buy Exclusive back in 2010 but is FINALLY getting an expanded release to take advantage of the long-awaited sequel’s release this Christmas in theaters. This is a must for any fan of this film and yes it is worth the double dip.

Official Premise: Will Ferrel (Old School, Elf) is Ron Burgundy, a top-rated 1970’s San Diego anchorman who believes women have a place in the newsroom – as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or late-breaking cooking stories. So when ron is told he’ll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who’s beautiful, ambitious and smart enough to be more than eye candy, it’s not just a clash of two TV people with really great hair – it’s war! Filled with wicked wit and slapstick humor, Anchorman is the year’s most wildly irreverent, must-see comedy hit!

Paramount has given this Blu-ray release a lot of love. I just wish they would have updated this release from it being a Best Buy Exclusive and included an Ultraviolet Digital Copy with this updated release. We get both the 94-minute theatrical cut and the longer 97 minute extended cut of the film on the first disc. Besides the various cuts of the film, there is also Ron’s personal 32-page diary – “The Many Months of Burgundy” included as well as a very cool set of 12 Trading Cards, really a must for any fan of the film. In terms of presentation, the 1080p transfer is quite impressive within its 1.78:1-framed transfer, or at least as far as comedies go. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which is a typical of a comedy high definition track but works very well.

So let’s get to some of the special features now, this “Rich Mahogany Edition” two-disc Blu-ray release of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” has no shortage of goodies. The first disc consists of an audio commentary track with Director/Writer Adam McKay; Actor/Writer Will Ferrell; Musicians Lou Rawls and Kyle Gass; Entertainer Andy Richter; and Actors Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Christina Applegate. These commentary tracks really add tons of great replay value to this film. Disc one also includes a collection of 36 deleted and extended scenes,which run just short of an hour. There is also a blooper reel, the “Afternoon Delight” music video and Ron Burgundy’s ESPN SportsCenter Audition.

Disc two kicks off with one hell of a special feature which would be the full-length film “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy”. It is a full-length film that was pieced together from various cut scenes and various subplots that didn’t make the final cut of “Anchorman”. There is also a brief “Intro-Commentary” for Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, which runs just under 13 minutes with Will Ferrell and Aaron Zimmerman. Honestly worth the purchase of the release alone just for this film in high definition.  Also included there are five Ron Burgundy Public Service Announcements, Ron Burgundy’s 1970 Emmy Awards speech. “Raw Footage ‘Good Takes'” includes nearly 40 minutes of more alternate takes and improvisations. Next up is “Afternoon Delight” Recording Session, “Happy Birthday AMC Loews” covering Loews’ 100th birthday. There are various interviews from the 2004 MTV Music Awards with Rebecca Romijn, Jim Caviezel, and Burt Reynolds. There are also three short featurettes including “Cinemax: The Making of ‘Anchorman'”, “Comedy Central Reel Comedy: ‘Anchorman'” and “A Conversation With Ron Burgundy”.

You think we are done yet? Well we still have more! There are cast auditions for Christina Applegate, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Kevin Corrigan, and Justin Long. There is a Table Read from 6/2/03 and more rehearsal footage included. “Playback Video” is a collection of the news team’s more embarrassing moments. Same goes for “Commercial Break”, which is more funny moments from the “Anchorman” set. Lastly we get the film’s teaser trailer, theatrical trailer and “Trounced Spiderman” TV Spot. So obviously, this release is a must-have for any “Anchorman” fan since it really delivers to its fans!

Ron Shusett talks about writing films “Alien” and “Total Recall”

Ron Shusett is the writer/producer, along with Dan O’Bannon, for the original “Alien” and “Total Recall”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ron about creating the scripts for these iconic films and also got to chat about recent “Prometheus” and “Total Recall” reboot, which was based on his original stories.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got involved writing the original story for “Alien” with Dan O’Bannon?
Ron Shusett: Yep, I co-wrote that with Dan O’Bannon after he brought me the concept that he has from when he was in film school. We met and shared ideas.  I showed him a script I had done and he liked it.  He said “Your damn good, I think you can help me.  For two years in film school, no one has been able to help me get past the first act”.  I looked at the first 30 pages, which is basically what you see on the screen and he said he needed help finishing it and asked if I wanted to give it a shot.  I told him that I also had the rights to the Phillip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”, which turned into “Total Recall”. The short story is only one act and then it ends though. He said “you help me get the second and third act of mine (“Alien”) and I will help you with your second and third act” (“Total Recall”).  And at that moment both movies were born. We worked together on what became “Alien”.  We didn’t an agents or an attorney. We had nothing. The first place we went accepted it, Fox and it was a miracle. And the rest is history.

MG: Where did you get the inspiration for the Aliens?  Did you work a lot H.R. Giger?
RS: Those all came from a Swiss artist that has never worked on a movie, Hans Giger.  Dan found his paintings and thought he was the perfect guy to do these creatures. As we were writing the script, we would send him pages. He wanted to get into Hollywood and be a designer.  So he would design them for us as we were writing the pages. We would think up an idea, send him some pages and he would design them.  Then we reduced them and put them into the script.  They ended up looking exactly like they did in the script, which is very rare. Originally, they didn’t want to go with a first time designer.  But Ridley Scott, the director, looked at Gieger and said that his concepts were so unique that he wouldn’t want to make the movie if they didn’t use him. Ridley said “I can’t do the movie without this guy because I would always know how good it would have been”. Giger ended up winning an Oscar for special effects.

MG: With “Total Recall”, you wrote the screenplay off Phillip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”, how was this process different adapting from the short story?
RS: It is a totally different process and I am lucky enough to have done both in my career. It is probably a lot easier to adapt since it gives you a springboard to the start.  It gives you a gigantic creative push forward. If you have a blank page, it is harder to start from scratch even if you have a great idea. So it was hard for both of them but I enjoyed them both.  Phillip K. Dick has seven movies created from his work.  Only two of them were a success at the box office, they were “Total Recall” and “Minority Report”, both of which I worked on the scripted and produced. Not including films like “Blade Runner”, which was not a box office successful when it came out, though later becoming a cult classic. Like I before short stories, only have one or two acts tops.  So if you can’t get a great third act to match him brilliance than it is bound to fail. That was the hardest part.  It took about two/three years, just to get a proper ending for “Total Recall”. The whole “Alien” script was written faster than that. Dan and I got the first two acts of “Total Recall” writing by 1981 but we couldn’t get the third act. Then we got Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger on board shortly after.

MG: Also having worked on “Dead & Buried”, “King Kong Lives” etc; what drew you to the horror genre?
RS: “Dead and Buried” was a complete original.  Obviously “King Kong” was a sequel – the third sequel in the series.  “Dead and Buried” always surprised me because it didn’t make money original but like “Blade Runner” became this cult classic after a few years.  I guess it was ahead of its time.  It was the only zombie movie, where the zombies didn’t look like zombies. I think only one thing really draws me and that is the fact that you have incredible flexibility. Anything you want to say create…you can, even whether it is believable, realistic or not. It just comes down to good craftsmanship. That is why I love the genre.

MG: With “Alien” getting “Prometheus” and “Total Recall” getting rebooting this year; can you reflect on these?
RS: Both of them were not very successful.  I didn’t work on either of them but was still awarded a story credit by the Writer’s Guild. I had no input either.  We had to use humor mixed with action for “Total Recall”, since that was what Arnold was known for. This time around they tried to do it without humor.  I guess what happened was that the audience wanted to see what they loved about the first one. With the humor stripped, even though the stories were similar, they didn’t seem to embrace it.  I did feel honored though that 22 years later, they are still using my ideas and spending over $100 million dollars on them.  “Prometheus” was 30 years after “Alien” and they still uses our ideas, we got credit for original story elements. I was also very disappointed in that film though. Like I said earlier, also touches on “Prometheus”, I think where they lost you on this film was that the first two acts are visually stunning but they couldn’t come up with a good third act. They left too many open answers that they claimed they would answer in the sequel. But you can’t do that if people don’t like the first one there will be no sequel.

Ron Perlman talks about “3,2,1…Frankie Goes Boom”, “Sons of Anarchy” and Guillermo del Toro

Ron Perlman is known for his many unique roles like Hellboy or Vincent in “Beauty and the Beast”. He also plays bad-ass biker, Clay Morrow, in “Sons of Anarchy”, which just started it’s fifth season on FX. Ron tackles a completely different role in the new comedy “3,2,1…Frankie Goes Boom”.  He is playing the role of the transsexual ex-con, Phyllis. This film is a absolute riot and Perlman really steals the show. Media Mikes had the honor to chat with Ron about this new role, his recently “reset” character on “Sons of Anarchy” and his continuously growing resume working with  Guillermo del Toro.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to the role of Phyllis, the transsexual ex-con in “3,2,1…Frankie Goes Boom”?
Ron Perlman: It was not a childhood aspiration let me tell you [laughs]. However life its strange way of taking twists and turns that you never see coming. It turns out that Charlie Hunnam, my co-star on “Sons of Anarchy”, was going to to this film as his summer school pet-project. I get a call from him that the filmmaker would consider reading this script and play the role of Jack (this ended up being played by Chris Noth). I started reading it and I got to page 2 or 3 and I just said “Holy shit, this is really funny and I need to be in this movie. I started reading Jack’s part and I really loved Jack…but then I got to Phyllis. I get this mental image

of Jax Teller from “SOA” coming in and seeing Clay Morrow in a house dress, red nail polish, lipstick and being asked to kiss his hand. I said “Well, if that doesn’t get these fuckers nothing will” [laughs]. The more I read of Phyllis, the most I realized that this will be a really fun character to explore and unlike anything I have ever done before. I really admired the comedy in the writing. I called up and told them what I wanted to do and they said “It just so happens that you are the only person with the balls enough to ask to play Phyllis and by default you got the part”.

MG: Where did you get inspiration for the character?
RP: There was really no real inspiration from her that came from my life personally. Everything I used as a jumping off point as with what Jordon (Roberts) wrote. I just love the notion that Phyllis starts off as Phil, a guy who is an outlaw and is this computer hacker. He has this amazing ability to rip off Bank of America for $2 million bucks and that is how he ends up being Bruce’s (Chris O’Dowd) cellmate. He always had this notion of being a woman born in a man’s body and feels compelled to fix that. I said to myself “Jesus, if I can’t figure some interesting idiosyncrasies for the planning of this guy, then I should really turn in my Screen Actor’s Guild card.” [laughs]

MG: How was it going from working with Charlie Hunnam on “Sons of Anarchy” to this film?
RP: Some of the scenes that could have been very uncomfortable, and if fact where very uncomfortable, it helps that I had a bro on the set. I could say “Dude, it behooves us both to never get into the press as to how the filming of this actually looked and smelled like”. That fact that it was my bro that I was doing this with really helped a lot.

MG: Do you find that comedy comes natural for you?
Comedy was what started me off as an actor. I did some stand-up when I was really young, growing up in New York. Then I joined a troupe with a group of friends doing sketch comedy. So that was my first love. Hollywood does afford me to do a lot of comedy. So in order to find these opportunities, I have to go underground and find projects like “Frankie Goes Boom”. But when I am able to do it, it is a real pleasure.

MG: After five seasons, do you feel that that Clay Morrow has changed within your portrayal?
RP: In the first four years, he has this station in life and this stability and marriage with Gemme (played by Katey Sagal). Now in season five he has lost everything. He is on a reset now. No one knows where he ends up at the end of season five, including yours truly. But he is definitely on a journey where the sand is shifting under his feet and he is re-adapting himself. What an amazing opportunity that is

for me as an actor. You sign on to do a TV show, the conditions of which are highly well articulated and then all of the sudden five seasons in you are almost playing a new character. It is the same character but under completely new circumstances. Yeah, it is awesome and you don’t get to do that often on television. We all feel very blessed that this show is such an un-obvious exercise in storytelling. It sets a completely unpredictable set of circumstances and also while continuing to be very dynamic and violital. It is flood with very explosive violence and it is like a bad car accident…you can’t take your eyes off it.

MG: Are you and Charlie planning to work together on every project, after this you have “Pacific Rim” coming out?
RP: Yeah, for life man. This is it. Charlie Hunnam and I. We are the new Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis or Abbott and Costello or probably Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen. But I am not sure which one is the dummy.

MG: How was it working with Guillermo del Toro yet again on this film?
RP: Oh my God, this is number five for me and GDT! We felt like family members from the very first project, “Cronos” and on. We became really good friends. So to get to go through life together celebrating this friendship and doing it in such a way that we add-in these wonderful creative opportunities into the mix is great. I am watching him evolve as a filmmaker and he is watching me grow old as an actor. We are getting to do it in each other’s presence. That is in a category that I can only label as “Undescribable”. There are no words to describe how phenomenal that reality is. Now that we hit the number five [laughs], it is pretty clear to me that it is not a fluke. It is probably something we will continue to do until one of us drops, and I got a really good feeling I am going first.

MG: You got to get him to do another “Hellboy” film man!
RP: I am working on it. Trust me I am working on it.

MG: You’ve been successful in both film and television, do you have a preference?
RP: I really love working for the camera. I really love working on interesting material. I would have to say the opportunity I have on this particular television show is probably 500 percent better than any other television exercise that one could hope to be on. There are some really great TV shows out there now like “Newsroom”, “Breaking Bad” and “Boardwalk Empire”. There is a lot of great stuff now being done on television. But for the most part those are the exceptions to the rule. And I am on one of the most exciting shows to be a part of. It is almost like doing a movie since it is such a charged and intelligent setting. So yeah, I don’t have a preference as long as it answers to those edicts.

DVD Review “Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops”

Director: Tom Forrest
Starring: Ron White, Lewis Black, Kathleen Madigan, Cic Henley, Tim Wilson, Alex Reymundo, Robert Hawkins, Rascal Flatts, John Oates and Margo Rey.
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
Running Time: 76 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rating

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Ron White is usually good for a laugh or two. I am not a mega big fan of his work but I like a good joke. If you don’t know Ron “Tater Salad” White, he is best known as the cigar smoking, scotch drinking guy from the Blue Collar Comedy tour. I also figured this would be decent since it has the likes of Lewis Black and Rascal Flatts, both who I enjoy very much. But looking past the comedy and the music, this disc is really about saluting to the troops and benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation. It is great cause but the comedy falls short maybe since its made for TV and the music is not that exciting.

Everyone included on this disc only really gets a short 10-15 minutes to perform, so it is a little tight in time. The bits were not too funny overall, in fact I think that Ron White was the only one that had me laughing. The musical performances by Rascal Flatts, Margo Rey and John Oates were decent but didn’t feel electric and fired up. Overall it was a little bit disappointing. The bonus features on the disc contains extended bits from each of the comedian and that was this disc savior since it contains some good bits.

Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops DVD Announced

RON WHITE’S COMEDY SALUTE TO THE TROOPS

Featuring an All-Star Line-Up of Comedians, Top-Rated Tribute Debuts on DVD October 11 From Vivendi Entertainment and Fontana Distribution

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Paying tribute to America’s men and women in uniform, the hilarious extravaganza Ron White’s Comedy Salute To The Troops debuts on DVD October 11, 2011 from Vivendi Entertainment and Fontana Distribution. Hosted by Grammy-nominated comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White—best known as the cigar smoking, scotch drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy” tour—the hilariously funny movie features comedy performances by Alex Reymundo, Robert Hawkins, Vic Henley, Kathleen Madigan and Tim Wilson. This fourth annual Comedy Salute To The Troops aired on CMT in March and remains the network’s second highest rated show of the last year. Hosted at the Grand Ole Opry, Ron White’s Comedy Salute To The Troops benefitted the Armed Forces Foundation. The DVD also includes musical performances by Rascal Flatts, Margo Rey and John Oates and will be available for the suggested retail price of $14.93.