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Jan Wahl Movie Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' 'American Hustle' & 'Anchorman 2'

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl takes a look at three new movies coming to theaters this holiday season including early award-season favorites "American Hustle" and "Inside Llewyn Davis," and the return of cult-favorite Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."

KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:

Jan Wahl Movie Reviews: American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis, & Anchorman 2


The opening of the film reads "some of this actually happened." This movie keeps us so revved up and enthralled, it doesn't matter if it happened or not. It's a story we can all believe: some Americans are hucksters and cons. The central characters in this tale of swindlers include Christian Bale (sporting the worst combover this side of Donald Trump), Bradley Cooper—with his own hair issues, and sexy, smart Amy Adams.

American Hustle - Official Trailer - In Theaters December 20th by Sony Pictures Entertainment on YouTube

Abscam is the scandal and we meet everyone from a New Jersey Mayor to Arab Shieks to the Mob. Everyone is conning everyone, with a scene-stealing Jennifer Lawrence as a furious wife. It's part "Goodfellas," part comedy and fashion show that's all rather dazzling and well paced fun.

Four hats.



From "Philomena," "Saving Mr. Banks" to "Nebraska" and "All is Lost," this has been a good few weeks for movies. Since I count myself as one of the Coen Brothers' many fans, this one about a burned-out folksinger sounded promising.

Set in Greenwich Village during the folk-music craze of the 1960's, it's the story of a singer/songwriter who can't seem to catch a break. Inspired in part by famed singer guitarist Dave Von Ronk, as played by Oscar Isaac, there is one thing very wrong with the film: our protagonist is unlikeable to the point of almost being unwatchable.

Inside Llewyn Davis - Official Trailer 2 [HD] by CBS Films on YouTube

As the unemployable Davis, he couch surfs at people's homes, loses their cats and is completely self centered. It's clear he wants to perform without compromise, but it's hard to root for him or care what happens. I'll look forward to the next Coen Brothers film.

One hat.



I was a fan of the original "Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy" (2004), but this is nowhere near as good, or as consistently funny, as that. This time, led again by the classy Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), our fearless foursome has been fired by local TV, going on to work in 24-hour cable news. Much of the plot is beside the point—it's character and visual comedy.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Trailer #2 by Anchorman Movie on YouTube

The bad news is that it's just too long and labored, with gags repeating and slapstick instead of satire. The good news: laugh-out-loud moments and a sometimes lunatic, surreal script. It could have been better—focused and less juvenile but when it hits, it is fun and just crazy enough.

Two & 1/2 hats.


Movies To See Right Now: Frozen, Philomena, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Saving Mr. Banks

Home Viewing/DVD: Lee Daniels' The Butler, Don Jon, My Favorite Year & Rebecca.

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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