Monthly Archives: November 2011

X-Men First Class

Summary: Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Year: 2011

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd June, 2011

Australian DVD Release Date: 19th October, 2011

Country: USA

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Screenwriter: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Sheldon Turner (story), Bryan Singer (story)

Cast: Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Laurence Belcher (Charles Xavier (12 years old), Rose Byrne (Moira MAcTaggert), Gregory Cox (Dr. Leigh), Matt Craven (CIA Director McCone), Don Creech (William Stryker), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto), Beth Goddard (Mrs. Xavier), Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Edi Gathegi (Armando Munoz/Darwin), Alex Gonzalez (Janos Questid/Riptide), Demetri Goritsas (Levene), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy/Beast), Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine), Corey Johnson (Chief Warden), Caleb Landry Jones (Sean Cassidy/Banshee), January Jones (Emma Frost), Zoe Kravitz (Angel Salvadore), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Morgan Lily (Young Raven (10 yrs), Eva Magyor (Edie Lensherr), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Bill Milner (Young Erik), Glenn Morshower (Colonel Hendry), Greg Nikoloff (Mr. Lensherr), Rebecca Romijn (Mystque – older), Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok)

Runtime: 132 mins

Classification:M

OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘X-MEN: FIRST CLASS’:

David Griffiths: Stars(4)

The X-Men series of films seem to get off to a brilliant start but then fell in a heap with the seriously ordinary X-Men: The Final Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, with director, Matthew Vaughn at the helm X-Men: First Class puts this series back on track with a prequel that will not only excite fans of the series (and the comics) but also stun those who have never heard of X-Men.

This time around we learn about the beginnings of several X-Men with the main focus being on Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who fans of the series will know later on becomes Xavier’s nemesis, Magneto. The film shows as Xavier first meets Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) (who becomes Mystique) and realises that he isn’t the only mutant in the world. At the same time Erik is suffering at the hands of the Nazis. The two men are on two very different paths in life but meet when Xavier is recruited by the CIA to help prevent Russia and America heading into a war that is the brainchild of mutant, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Xavier tries to recruit Erik into his ‘first mutant class’ but Erik’s hate always threatens to bring everything crashing down.

Vaughn actually does an amazing job with this film, the way he mixes drama and action together ends up making X-Men: First Class the finest film in this series, and also one of the films of the year. As he proved with Kick-Ass Vaughn knows how to bring a comic book to life and this time around he has certainly outdone himself. The amount of work he puts into characterization means you are on Xavier’s side from the get-go, while Vaughn brings a natural feel to the film that makes you feel that you are watching a historically correct film rather than a piece of fiction. To his credit he doesn’t over-do the action scenes, and even they seem perfectly natural.

Also making this film a must see is some spectacular performances by James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. McAvoy may have been worried about the fact that he may ruin a character made famous by the legendary Patrick Stewart, but he need not have worried. McAvoy is sensational in the role and his dramatic presence only enhances the film. Jennifer Lawrence also puts in a fine performance and she continues to show why everyone was blown away with her performance in Winter’s Bone. Also announcing himself is Nicholas Hault who almost steals every scene he is in.

Whether you are a fan of the X-Men series or not you will enjoy X-Men: First Class. This is a sensational film that only goes to show that Michael Vaughn is one of the best directors of our time… he is yet to make a bad film. The right mix of drama and action makes X-Men: First Class a film that shouldn’t be missed.

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(4)

IMDB Rating: X-Men: First Class (2011) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘X-Men: First Class′: This review of ‘X-Men: First Class’ by David Griffiths originally appeared in Buzz Magazine.

There are many X-Men fans out there who were extremely nervous when they heard that the X-Men series of films was being rebooted. To be honest they had every right to be feeling that way as the last film in the series, the ill-fated Final Stand left a lot to be desired… others would argue that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was just a bad. Even worse was the news that Patrick Stewart wouldn’t be on board as this film takes a trup back in time and sets out to explain the characters of Charles Xavier and Magneto. Well, the good news is the film works far beyond expectation.

As promised the film goes back to the start and shows Charles Xavier (James McAvoy – Gnomeo & Juliet, The Conspirator) first meeting another mutant in the form of Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence – The Beaver, Like Crazy), as well as showing Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender – Jane Eyre, Jonah Hex) cruel treatment at the hands of the Nazis. When Xavier is recruited by CIA agent, Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne – Bridesmaids, Insidious) they decide to help put together a ‘mutant section’ when they learn that Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon – Elephant White, Bored To Death) is trying to force war between Russia and America. This sees Xavier recruit mutants from right across the country and try desperately to get Erik to work with them.

X-Men: First Class not only manages to re-boot this series but also brings so class to it. Once again director, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust) manages to do a fine job making a comic-book film remain interesting while making the film open to even those that haven’t read the comic. He almost makes this film seem like two films. The characterization around Charles and Erik is normally reserved for serious historical movies while the action sequences seem natural and never forced. He didn’t even go over the top with Hugh Jackman’s (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Australia) cameo… it was short and sweet.

The real stars of this film though are James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. McAvoy puts in a brilliant performance and he certainly doesn’t have to worry about fans comparing him to Patrick Stewart. His portrayal of Xavier is spot on and once again the producers were correct in hiring a dramatic actor despite the ‘action-film’ tag associated with the film. He is also well supported by Jennifer Lawrence who hasn’t put a foot wrong since Winter’s Bone. X-Men: First Class also announces the arrival of Nicholas Hault (Clash Of The Titans, A Single Man) who doesn’t put a foot wrong in any of his scenes.

Michael Vaughn keeps his perfect record intact; he is yet to make a bad film, with X-Men: First Class a terrific film that mixes drama and action perfectly. This is a standout in the X-Men series and hopefully they continue to make more with this team at the helm.

 Trailer:

Super 8

Summary: In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

Year: 2011

Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th June, 2011

Australian DVD Release Date: 17th November, 2011

Country: USA

Director: J.J. Abrams

Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Jack Axelrod (Mr. Blakely), Caitriona Balfe (Elizabeth Lamb), Gabriel Basso (Martin), Dan Castellaneta (Izzy), Kyle Chandler (Deputy Jackson Lamb), Graham Clarke (Airforce Airman Korne), Joel Courtney (Joe Lamb), Michael Crawley (Airforce Airman Taylor), Dale Dickey (Edie), Jonathan Dixon (Airman Nevil), Thomas F. Duffy (Rooney), Ron Eldard (Louis Dainard), Noah Emmerich (Colonel Elec), Elle Fanning (Alice Dainard), Britt Flatmo (Peg Kaznyk), Amanda Foreman (Lydia Connors), David Gallagher (Donny), Ben Gavin (Deputy Milner), Michael Giacchino (Deputy Crawford), Bruce Greenwood (Cooper), Jade Griffiths (Benji Kaznyk), Riley Griffiths (Charles Kaznyk), Tony Guma (Sergeant Walters), James Landry Hebert (Deputy Tally), Michael Hitchcock (Deputy Rosko), Richard T. Jones (Overmyer), Beau Knapp (Breen), Ryan Lee (Cary), Teri Clark Linden (Mrs. Babbit), Kate Lowes (Tina), Scott A. Martin (Sal), Jake McLaughlin (Merrit), Koa Melvin (Baby Joe), AJ Michalka (Jen Kaznyk), Andrew Miller (Kaznyk Twin), Jakob Miller (Kaznyk Twin), Joel McKinnon Miller (Mr. Kaznyk), Zach Mills (Preston), Alex Nevil (Rick), Bingo O’Malley (Mr. Harkin), Tom Quinn (Mr. McCandless), Brett Rice (Sheriff Pruitt), Marco Sanchez (Hernandez), Jay Scully (Deputy Skadden), Jessica Tuck (Mrs. Kaznyk), Glynn Turman (Dr Thomas Woodward)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification:M

OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘SUPER 8’:

David Griffiths: Stars(4.5)

It’s funny that Steven Spielberg is attached to the movie Super 8 because one of the things that hits you during the movie is that same feeling you felt the first time you saw E.T. The fresh-faced kids, a young actress that you know is going to be a star and even an alien that just wants to get home. It’s all there, but you can’t really say that J.J. Abrams has copied a single thing from the classic… because what he has done is create an individual film that shines for about 90% of its running time.

Super 8 sees a group of kids, led by Charles (Riley Griffiths) and Joe (Joel Courtney) trying to make a zombie film, but in doing so they accidentally catch a massive train crash on camera. However, this isn’t any ordinary train crash because soon the town is haunted by the disappearance of people, dogs and lots of things made by metal. Convinced that something is going on the kids decide to investigate. Meanwhile Joe’s father, Jackson (Kyle Chandler) is called to investigate the crash. He also suspects the military is covering up something but is also worried about his son’s budding relationship with Alice (Elle Fanning)

J.J. Abrams really has outdone himself here. He doesn’t fall into the trap of introducing the alien too early… after all the main part of this story is the relationship between Joe, his friends, Alice and his father. To his credit Abrams never lets the sci-fi aspect of the film overshadow those relationships… perhaps the right way to describe this film is a drama with some sci-fi thrown in. The train crash scene is enough to show anyone that J.J. Abrams is one of the finest directors we have around at the moment. It’s intense and stunning (without going over the top) and you do genuinely find yourself worried about the characters as they run through it. The only let down is the final 15 minutes of the film. The flowery end has ‘Spielberg’ written all over it and is ultimately what prevents Super 8 from being one of the finest films to surface over the last couple of years.

The other stroke of genius Abrams reveals is in his casting. Those who are fans of the TV series Friday Night Lights know what Kyle Chandler is capable of, and he certainly doesn’t fail to deliver here. Chandler is brilliant and it is a shame that his character kind of fades away into nothing towards the end of the film. But where Abrams really has made the right choice is with the kids. They are all brilliant but Joel Courtney seems to be the one that will have the massive career ahead of him… he is a natural talent. He is also well supported by Elle Fanning who seems to be following in her sister’s footsteps and is blossoming into a fine actress.

The first 90% of Super 8 are brilliant and Abrams really needs to be congratulated for his skill and vision, but the last 15 minutes of this film really do leave a bad taste in your mouth, it’s a shame it ends with such a PG ending rather than live up to its convictions. Still, Super 8 does more than enough to impress and is certainly worth a look.

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(4.5)

IMDB Rating:Super 8 (2011) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Super 8′: Nil.

Trailer: