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 092012
 

Author: Stieg Larsson

Pages: 503

PublisherAlfred A Knopf

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Thriller, Revenge

Characters:

Lisbeth Salander- Protagonist, highly intelligent and has problems with authority.

Mikael Blomkvist- Reporter for Millennium magazine driven to dig to the bottom of a good story and will do anything to help Lisbeth.

Alexander Zalachenko- Former Soviet spy. Everyone wants to know who he is.

The Blonde Giant-Hulk of a man who seems to be impervious to pain.

Synopsis: Mikael Blomkvist and Millennium magazine are working with Dag Svensson,a journalist and Mia Johansson, a doctoral student, on an exposé about the sex trade in Sweden. But unexpectedly, Dag and Mia and Advokat Nils Erik Bjurman are killed by an unidentified killer, and circumstantial evidence points to Lisbeth Salander. She must avoid capture by the police while she and Mikael once again work together to solve a wide-ranging mystery and clear her name and avoid being killed in the process.

Analysis: I can’t believe how quickly I read this book and it is because it is better than The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo. I really liked that one, but The Girl Who Played With Fire is better for several reasons. For one, it has a very broad scope. Lisbeth and Mikael run all over Sweden to find the truth about the murders and if the truth of those is found, it could destroy the Swedish government. The other strength of the novel is that Lisbeth is the main character this time, and the reader learns much more about her history and delve deeper into how her minds works.

Pro:

  • Lisbeth’s growth as a person.
  • There are a few good scenes that follow Lisbeth’s hacking process.
  • Mention of the David Bowie song “Putting Out Fire With Gasoline”

Con:

  • Dragged a bit with the Harriet Vanger contract resolution.
  • Bias for Mac computers vs Pc.

Conclusion: Since Larrson died before this was published, I thought it was interesting that part of this novel is about publishing a book after an author has died. Once again, Larsson has written a really great book and it is sad that he had to die before he could have written many more. After I finish this, I will begin the last of the series but a bright spot is that I heard recently that he was working on a 4th one when he died. Crossing my fingers. As far as this one goes, I highly recommend it, go out and get it!

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

5

Plot

4

Imagery

3

Read Again?

5

Average

4.25