Posts Tagged ‘X-Men: First Class’

Richard at The Great Digital Film Festival January 30 – February 5, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.18.18 AMFront Row Centre Events presents the Great Digital Film Festival for one week only, January 30 – February 5, 2015. Showcasing favourites in digital on the big screen. For select screenings Richard introduces the films on the big screen (that’s Richard shooting the intros at left) and you don’t want to miss the exclusive chat with Guillermo Del Toro on “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

The Great Digital Film Festival 2015 will take place on January 30 – February 5, 2015. Learn more HERE!



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x_men_first_class_poster08“X-Men: The Younguns” has its share of things that go boom but it doesn’t follow the summer blockbuster format. There aren’t action sequences every ten minutes, the characters actually talk to one another and there’s even subtitles! What a relief. After the heavy metal bombast of “Thor” and its ilk, “X-Men” is more like the art rock of a Radiohead disc—brainy but still fun.

From concentration camps in Poland to a mansion in Westchester, NY, “First Class” details the evolution of the mutant band of X-Men (and Women). We learn how the two most powerful mutants, Eric / Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) get along long enough to put together a team of mutants, but soon find themselves on opposite side in a game of Free to Be You and Me. Add in some former Nazis, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Betty Draper and you have one of the most satisfyingly good blow-‘em’-up movies of the year so far.

“X-Men: First Class” is a bit talkier than you might expect from a big budget comic book movie, but at least they’re saying something. It isn’t just chatter. Mixed in with the action and the one-liners you expect from these kinds of films is a parable about tolerance and social context with a timely edge—one line in particular, “Security is more important than liberty,” sounds scarily up to date—but the reason it all works so well is that it has the best of all worlds, good crash-boom-bang, great villains, cool characters and a script that respects all of the above. If they wanted to make it less chatty, I suppose they could cut some of January Jones’s lines. One thing is for sure, acting is not her super power.

The other actors, however, do their best to make us forget that Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen once donned the mutant black and yellow uniforms. McAvoy brings real heart to the role of Xavier and Fassbender is edgy enough to really make us believe the rage that fuels Magneto. Of the teen mutants only Jennifer Lawrence, as the shape shifting blue lady Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Beast do something interesting with their characters, even though Beast’s mask looks like a dollar store purchase. The others are underdeveloped embryonic characters that provide some color but not much else to the story. Hopefully if any of them come back they’ll do more than spit fire or flutter insect wings.

Stealing the show is Kevin Bacon as the power hungry Sebastian Shaw. Trying to take over the world is serious business, but that doesn’t stop Bacon from having some serious fun with the role.

“X-Men: First Class” is a welcome addition to the “X-Men” movie series and a great example of how big blockbuster entertainment can entertain the eye (thanks January Jones and Jennifer Lawrence) and the mind.

The precociousness of prequels METRO CANADA In Focus by Richard Crouse Published: June 1, 2011

X-Men: First ClassThe official definition of prequel is: a work that supplements a previously completed one, and has an earlier time setting. The unofficial meaning reads like this: prequels, a way to prolong a failing movie franchise’s life.

On recently Sarah Garb suggested titles for some lesser known Hollywood prequels. My favorites? Four Bachelorette Parties and a Friend in the Hospital, Borderline-Inappropriate Dancing and There Are Plenty of Mohicans. Of course those movies don’t exist but you get the idea.

OK, I’m being cynical. Not all prequels are money grabs. The Godfather 2 is one of the greatest movies, prequel, sequel or otherwise, ever made and my fingers are crossed for this weekend’s X-Men: First Class, set in 1963 when Charles Xavier starts up a school for humans with superhuman abilities.

Hopefully the new cast, featuring white hot Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence and Brit favorite James McAvoy will mutate the movie into something a little more interesting than the dull-as-its-star’s-retracting-bone-claws-after-a-manicure X-Men: Origins: Wolverine.

Of course prequels are nothing new. The 1949 drama Another Part of the Forest supplied the backstory to the 1939 hit The Little Foxes and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was a prequel to A Fistful of Dollars.

More recently George Lucas chose to make Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark—Raiders is set in South America, 1936, while Temple takes place in Shanghai, 1935—as he did not want to use Nazis as villains once again.

The Silence of the Lambs, the story of creepy cannibal Hannibal Lecter, inspired not one, but two prequels and a sequel. Prequel-wise it had its ups-and-downs.

First the good. Red Dragon featured an all star cast, including Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Harvey Keitel and, of course, Anthony Hopkins who helps law enforcement track down a mysterious serial killer called The Tooth Fairy.

Five years later they took one more kick at the cannibal can with Hannibal, Lecter’s origin story. Hopkins was lucky enough not to be included. Rhys Ifans and Gong Li weren’t.

Finally, there’s The Hobbit, a two-part film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel and prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has internet fanboys all abuzz. One thing is certain, with Peter Jackson at the helm it has to be better than Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. Right?