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Review: X-Men First Class (2011)

I was late to the game when it came to the X-Men films, and although they were arguable the ones that made superhero movies box-office guarantees, the effects are a tad lacking nowadays. Add to the fact that the last one I saw, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was subpar at best, and X-Men: First Class wasn’t the most drool worthy thing when I heard about it. What sets First Class apart is the fact it really isn’t like any of the other 4. A new cast and a more character driven plot shows us how good an expected “popcorn flick” can be.

Set in the 1960’s, First Class is really the Origins for the rest of the crew, specifically Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Although I love McAvoy, Fassbender really stands out due to the arguably better role as the concentration camp survivor who needs to control his rage. The two of them, along with familiar faces like Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) go after another mutant (Kevin Bacon) who, like all good villains, is attempting to start World War III.

Casting? Great. Bacon plays the villain quite well, while Fassbender and McAvoy bring their steady acting chops to the table. We also find out that Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone fame, can also work on a blockbuster like the X-Men franchise. Story wise, the plot is great, showing us a side of Mystique and Magneto that we never knew. They actually make their choice seem somewhat logical. Technically speaking, First Class stays well above the average with some fantastic effects, including a certain final battle scene involving a coin, that is beauty on film.

My Rating: A-


Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Everyone knows how the rom-com genre, are way played out and extremely predictable. I’m talking, “see the trailer and you know the ending” predictable. So, when I was talked into spending some money to see Crazy Stupid Love, while Rise of the Planet of the Apes was playing, I didn’t have the best attitude going in. And of course, bad expectations going in, surprises sometimes happen.

Note: I’ll try to make this as spoiler free as I can.

Cal (Steve Carell), in a very “Date Night-esque” opening has just found out his wife (Julianne Moore) not only wants a divorce, but also has slept with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon). Running parallel to this story, is that of lady charmer Jacob (Ryan Gosling), lawyer-to-be Hannah (Emma Stone), and babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Get your flowcharts ready, because everyone falls in love with everyone. Babysitter falls for Cal, Cal’s son falls for babysitter, Jacob falls for Hannah, and a bunch of other “hook-ups” ensue. While Cal gets his mojo back with Jacob, we catch glimpses into these other stories and of course, their take on love. C’mon, it’s a rom-com, what did you think would happen?

Of course, Carell and Moore are at there usual steady self’s, and even Gosling’s annoying accent got less annoying as the movie went on. As far as the acting goes, the standout was former America’s Next Top Model contestant, Analeigh Tipton as the love lorn babysitter. As a 23-year old, her ability to have the naivety, eagerness, and even awkwardness captured the teen in love character perfectly.

The real star however, was the script. While other large-casted rom-com’s have come and failed before it, Crazy Stupid Love meets it’s goal of being romantic, and still very funny. While there are plenty of plot holes when discussing the ending, you have to just take it with a grain of salt. It’s not attempting to be some masterpiece, it’s a date-movie; and a very good one at that.

My Rating: A