Apr 112012
 

Director: Matthew Vaughn

RatingPG-13

Running Time: 132 minutes

Release Date: 6/3/2011

GenreSuperhero, Comic Book, Action Adventure

CastCharles Xavier(James McAvoy), Charles Xavier at 12 Years(Laurence Belcher), Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto(Michael Fassbender), Young Erik(Bill Milner), Sebastian Shaw(Kevin Bacon), Moira MacTaggert(Rose Byrne), Raven / Mystique(Jennifer Lawrence), Hank McCoy / Beast(Nicholas Hoult), Young Raven at 10 Years(Morgan Lily), Man in Black Suit(Oliver Platt), Janos Quested / Riptide(Álex González), Azazel(Jason Flemyng), Angel Salvadore(Zoe Isabella Kravitz), Emma Frost(January Jones)

Synopsis: The prequel to the blockbuster X-Men films begins by delving into the early lives of Professor X and Magneto. The young Charles Xavier (Laurence Belcher) lives in luxury and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto(Bill Milner) barely survives in a German concentration camp. Flash forward to the 1960s, and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is figuring out what makes mutants tick and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is seeking revenge against those that wronged him in Germany, including Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club. Professor X and Magneto bring together the first incarnation of X-Men including Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Their first challenge is to fight Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frosts (January Jones) and their team of evil mutants who are tying to cause a full-blown nuclear holocaust by creating the Cuban Missile Crisis.

AnalysisI enjoyed X-Men: First Class more than the earlier X-Men films, because they didn’t match the spirit of the comics but this one does. I think that the strength of this film comes from the fact that it isn’t like the other films, but goes its own way, yet still recreates the feeling from the early X-Men comics. I have been a X-Man fan since I was a young and waited years for someone to make a movie like this. The choice of the Hellfire Club being the main antagonist was also great because they were part of my initial interest in the X-Men title.

Pro:

  • Magneto’s origin is more disturbing than in the first movie.
  • Hugh Jackman’s cameo.
  • Awesome use of a submarine as mobile base.
  • Havok is one of my favorite X-Men, and way better than his brother Cyclops.
  • Great montage of perfecting the powers of the X-Men.

Con:

  • Would have made sense for the young Magneto to attempt to kill Shaw.
  • Even though it occurs in future, should have mentioned that Azazel is Nightcrawler’s father or else he just looks like a rip off.

Conclusion: This is a fun movie and even though not a 100% faithful depiction of the X-Men, it is still very entertaining! Also, the song played during the recruiting scene is still in my head, so be prepared!

Score: 3.75/5

Apr 102012
 

Director: Michael Anderson

Rating: PG

Running Time: 120 minutes

Release Date: June 23, 1976

GenreScience Fiction

Cast: Logan(Michael York), Francis(Richard Jordan), Jessica(Jenny Agutter), Box(Roscoe Lee Browne), Holly (Farrah Fawcett), Doc(Michael Anderson Jr.), Old Man(Peter Ustinov)

Synopsis: In the 23rd century humanity survives in a domed city protected against the uninhabitable wasteland the Earth has become. In order to sustain their limited existence, everyone must submit to termination in the Carrousel at age 30. Some decide to take their chances by running away. As a member of the Sandmen, Logan (Michael York) and his partners hunt down the ‘runners’ and kill them. The computer that controls the city commands Logan to find the place where the runners are going and artificially ages him so he is forced to become a runner. Along with another runner,Jessica (Jenny Agutter), he makes his way out of the city but Francis (Richard Jordan), his former Sandman partner, chases them. Outside they uncover a shocking secret that will change the city dwellers’ lives forever.

Analysis: When I was in first grade in the early 1980s, I remember that one of my friends had a Logan’s Run lunchbox. Sadly, I didn’t see the film until recently, but after seeing it, I think that it is a pretty good science fiction story. Logan’s world is well visualized and the story is very gripping. There are some slight deficiencies in acting and special effects, but they are not major problems.

Pro:

  • 1970s version of the future is pretty cool looking.
  • Even though parts of the city were obviously created with miniatures, they are very detailed and look great!
  • There is a prescient version of Chatroulette, but the partners are teleported to your apartment.
  • Freaky but fascinating interrogation with computer generated surrogate Logans.

Con:

  • Easy to spot places where gun is going to hit before gunshot.
  • The slow motion room didn’t make any sense.
  • The ice cave collapse was very fake looking.

Conclusion: Few younger people have seen this underrated science fiction film. I think that part of the reason might be due to it being eclipsed by the release of Star Wars in 1977  a year later. I recommend it if you are in the mood for a disco inspired future dystopia without any actual disco music!

Trivia: Richard Jordan, the actor that played Francis, is also Duncan Idaho in the 1984 version of Dune.

Score: 3/5

Apr 042012
 

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Rating:PG-13 

Running Time:106 minutes 

Release Date:9/9/11

Genre: Medical Thriller

Cast: Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon), Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), Elizabeth “Beth” Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), RADM Lyle Haggerty, PHSCC (Bryan Cranston), Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle), Dr. Ian Sussman (Elliott Gould), Sun Feng (Chin Han)

SynopsisElizabeth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) dies of a mysterious disease after a trip to Hong Kong. Mitch (Matt Damon), her husband tries to keep their daughter safe during the rapidly spreading plague. At the same time, many medical professionals try to find a cure and fight misinformation produced by junk science spewing conspiracy nut Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law)

Analysis: I was really excited to see this movie because I had heard that it is a medical thriller told in a scientifically accurate way and had more input from the scientific community than other similar films. I think that there isa good mix of entertainment and science in this film, but occasionally some of the medical jargon was a bit over my head. I think that something like subtitles would have helped. The movie isn’t 100% fun, but it does make you think about how an epidemic situation would be combated.

Pro:

  • Feeling that any of the characters could die at any time.
  • Seemingly realistic steps health professionals take to find cause.
  • Seeing Minneapolis, my home city, basically dying on-screen was weird.

Con:

  • More time spent explaining medical terms.
  • Turning footage from surveillance camera into narrative scenes was strange.

Conclusion: I think this was a pretty good film that tells a complex story about an epidemic and doesn’t step over the line into a doomsday scenario.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

3

Story

5

Special Effects

3

Would Watch Again?

4

Average

3.75