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“X-Men: First Class”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What would happen if you took a comic book origin story and mixed it with an actual historical event? In a two words… pure awesomeness! X-Men: First Class does just that. Set during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is called upon by the CIA, to put together a team of young mutant powered heroes. One of which is Erik Lennsherr (Michael Fassbender), or as he’s better known Magneto, and Charles’ future nemesis. The two have very different views on the future of mutant-kind, and both are right in their own way. Now, I’ve stated before that I’m not the biggest Marvel Comics fan, but the one book that has always worked for me is The Uncanny X-Men. The story just works on so many levels: isolation, segregation, political and social unrest, and even varying stages of awkward pubescent adolescence. Even though the comics dealt with the adventures of costume clad super-powered heroes, they also always managed to always keep the subject matter of segregation as its driving force. It was that subject matter that director Bryan Singer was able to so brilliantly convey in the first X-Men movie. I think the first movie really opened the public’s eyes to the types of subject matters comic books could instill in children. I for one, remember my own mother after seeing the first movie saying, “Is that what those comics were about?! I had no idea they gave you so much to think about.” And it’s that same attitude that makes X-Men: First Class just as good. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) doesn’t just re-boot the series. He truly took his time in making X-Men: First Class a prequel that not only honors the previous films, but could also be seamlessly linked back to them. The surprise cameos helped in that department, but on a whole the movie just works.

With Magneto on Professor X’s side this time around, the franchise gets to introduce yet another key protagonist in the X-Men saga, head of the Hellfire Club himself Sebastian Shaw, brilliantly played by Kevin Bacon. I don’t think I would have ever considered Kevin Bacon for the role of Sebastian Shaw, but it worked! He oozes the character of Shaw, as I remember him from the books, on to the big screen. The hair and wardrobe, it’s all dead-on. And yes, die hard comic book fans are just going to have to go with some of the movie’s changes, as characters and events are slightly askew for this new tale. Another character making her big screen début is Emma Frost, played by January Jones. Jones definitely has the look, and she fit the ‘60’s setting perfectly, but Frost’s diamond form was a little off. I realize that this is a hard one to pull off, and that it worked to some degree, but I just think it could have been done a little better. Other than little things like that, the movie works amazingly well! Also, this story is truly epic! They manage to squeeze so much into the almost two and a half hour running time, that at times I found myself wishing it had been a TV series. I would have really loved to have seen plot points from this movie played out as hour long episodes. You can also tell that things were cut in order to keep the movie under a three hour mark, but will hopefully be made available when the movie comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. This is the summer of Marvel movies, and even though X-Men: First Class received the least amount of hype of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, I think it’s going to end up by far being the best one of the bunch!

Rating:


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“Trick ‘r Treat”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s Halloween night, a night full of tricks and treats. Well, mostly tricks. But, the real treat is finally getting Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat released. I know it’s not the theatrical release we were all hoping for, but it is finally out on DVD. In the spirit of Creepshow, Trick ‘r Treat takes four tales from one Halloween night and intertwines them into one fantastic story. It’s like Robert Altman and Wes Craven had a baby, and named it Trick ‘r Treat. Take a high school principal moonlighting as serial killer, a young woman searching for the perfect date, a childish prank that ends with disastrous consequences, and an old man that learns the true meaning of trick-or –treat, and what you have is one hell of a ride. Trick ‘r Treat was made in 2007, and spent two years just trying to get into theatres. It was receiving rave reviews at all the horror festivals, but for some reason Warner Brothers just didn’t believe in it enough to put it in theatres. It’s sad really. Great movies like this have to fight to see the light of day, but pieces of shit like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, have no problem finding their way into theatres. You know, there was another little horror film that was made in 2007 that couldn’t seem to find distribution. It was a little movie called Paranormal Activity. Ever hear of it? Maybe this will finally make Hollywood wake up. Most likely not, but it would be nice if other little movies like these would finally be given the chance they deserve, and not have to fight for two years just to see the light of day. I know. I know. It’s never going to happen. But, let’s get back to subject at hand. Trick ‘r Treat is a must see. With an amazing story, some brilliant cinematography, and fantastic performances, Trick ‘r Treat is a guaranteed Halloween classic. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned little Sam, the trick-or-treater demon that oversees the night’s events. He is a greatly welcomed addition to the Freddy and Jason’s of the horror community. I really hope they make more of these. I can’t wait to see Trick ‘r Treat 2! I just hope next time it’ll be in theatres on Halloween night, and not just a straight to DVD blow-off. Warner Brothers is sitting on a goldmine. They could make a new Trick ‘r Treat movie every year like the Saw franchise, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for them to realize that on their own. Until then, we’ll just have to keep fighting the good fight.

Rating:
5 Little People


DVD Special Features:

Sadly, that’s it. One bonus feature, if you can call it that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to see the animation short that became this movie, but come on! This movie had an incredible journey for two years, and you’re not going to do a commentary track for the feature film?! How about some behind the scenes footage, or maybe some deleted scenes? Hell, I’d be happy with even a trailer at this point! My only guess is that Warner Brothers was really on the fence about putting it in theatres, but at the last minute pushed it to DVD, and wanted to get it out before Halloween. If that is the case, we’ll hopefully get a Special Edition DVD at some point, but until then it’ just sad.

DVD Special Features Rating:
1 Little People