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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!

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“Get Him to the Greek”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When I first heard about Get Him to the Greek, I thought it looked like it could be fun, but I also thought that Russell Brand looked like he was just playing the same type of character that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Little did I realize at the time, that that’s exactly what he was doing, because Get Him to the Greek is a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall… well of sorts. It’s 10 years later, and indy rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) finds his career in a bit of a slump, and you could even say quickly finding himself becoming an irrelevant joke. But when Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a young up and coming music executive, suggests a 10 year anniversary show of Aldous Snow’s Infant Sorrow performance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, it quickly becomes his responsibility to transport Snow from the London to L.A. in 72 hours. Here’s the part that doesn’t make any sense to me, Jonah Hill is not playing the same character that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m not really sure why that is, because he could have quite easily been the same character, and I think it would have added a lot more charm to the movie if he had. I went into this movie thinking he was the same character and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they were acting like they had never met before. I mean it makes sense that Snow wouldn’t remember the waiter from 10 years ago, but why wouldn’t the waiter bring it up? I understand that the waiter that Hill played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a little over the top, but with the story taking place 10 years later, writer/director Nicholas Stoller could have easily made it work. The waiter had a demo tape in the first movie which would already establish him being interested in the music industry, so half the work is already done right there. I just don’t get it.

The other huge problem with this movie is that it’s an editor’s nightmare. It’s all over the place! Half the stuff that is in the trailer is nowhere to be found in the movie. There’s even a scene in the movie that only makes sense if you’ve seen the first part of the scene in the trailer, and I’m sorry but that should never happen. To top it all off, the one joke that made me laugh the hardest in the trailer isn’t even in the final cut. And after seeing the movie, I would still have to say that it’s my favorite moment of the movie, and it’s not even in the movie! How can that be?! I would have to think that it is largely to do to the amount of improvisation that is clearly running rampant through out the film. I think it’s safe to say that the deleted scenes on the DVD will have a much longer running time than the actual feature film. The best way to describe the chaos of Get Him to the Greek is like that of a Saturday Night Live skit. At times it goes on for too long, and then at times it feels too rushed. And much like SNL, there were parts of the movie that really made me laugh, and others that just seemed to be going through the motions. But over all it feels like a bunch of funny moments and ideas that are just strung together in the hopes that they’ll work in the end. Which is clearly why the trailer and movie are nothing alike, because the person putting together the trailer clearly found some moments funnier than others, and the director ended up not using them at all. Like I said it’s an editor’s worst nightmare.

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