X-Men: First Class, a review by Dragonfire
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with X-Men: First Class, but I did want to see the movie.
The movie is sort of a prequel to the other X-Men movies, though the continuity is messed up. I've read a few things that says the movie is a reboot and start of a new series that will ignore the previous movies. Even if that is the case, this movie isn't following things established in the comic books either. I'm far from an expert on them, but I do know enough to know that stuff has been changed. Sometimes it is just something little here and there, but other times it is a bigger change.
Erik receives the most attention, and I do like the way his story develops. His origin story is really one of the the best origin stories. He's got a reason to be angry and he is already heading down the path that makes him fully the Magneto of the previous movies..and Charles's enemy. The two of them are shown meeting and working together, though I don't think their friendship is developed enough. In the previous movies, Charles and Erik have a complicated relationship, frequently being on opposite sides of an issue, but the friendship still shows through. Things just move too fast in this movie to set up that depth of a complex relationship between the two. It is like the writers or the studio or someone decided that certain things had to happen by the end of the movie - including Charles and Erik going their separate ways - while also dealing with other things. Things are just too rushed to properly deal with the friendship, and that is disappointing.
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Anyone that doubts the depth of their friendship needs to remember the scene in X-Men: The Last Stand when Erik sees Charles die...after Erik provoked Jean. The look on his face shows that he still considered Charles one of his best friends. From what I have read about the comics, the friendship comes up in different storylines as well..including an alternate time or whatever it was considered when Erik takes over the X-Men after Charles is killed.
Several characters are introduced, with many of them just sort of being there without getting much attention or much to do. Beast is the only character in the movie who was actually one of the first members of the X-Men in the comics..the other first members are missing from the movie, replaced with a mix of other characters. I know Havoc and Banshee end up with the X-Men, but not when the team was first forming. Mystique was never a member of the X-Men..that is the change that is bothering me the most. I'm sure that was done to add her to the movie since fans - especially men - liked her in the previous movies. When she is in her natural blue state, she does have basically the same look...blue covered with some kind of scales and no clothes.
Sebastian Shaw is a villain in the comic books as well. He's also part of the Hellfire Club along with Emma Frost. The Hellfire Club in the movie seems to just be a club in Vegas instead of what it was in the comics. Sebastian is a bit different from how he was in the comics. He has a few flunkies around that have cool powers, but, as far as I know, they weren't connected with Shaw or the Hellfire club in the comics. A few other mutant characters pop up that seem a bit out of place with how they are used in the movie. It is like someone decides to pick characters based on how cool they thought the powers would be..never mind if they actually fit in the setting and the groups they are stuck in.
The action scenes are entertaining and done well, along with the special effects. Beast spends most of the movie looking more normal before finally showing his blue, furry form. In that form, he looks a little off to me..like he should he a little bigger. The shade of blue seems slightly off too. The cast do well with their parts and no one is annoying.
I liked the movie overall and think it is worth seeing. I just find some of the ...character and story choices odd. I think it would have been better if there had been more of an attempt to tie in with the previous movies.
I did get a review posted on Epinions.
X-Men: First Class
(From X-Men: First Class on June 10th, 2011)
Marnie, a review by Jon
4 out of 5
The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock creates a spellbinding portrait of a disturbed woman, and the man who tries to save her, in this unrelenting psychological thriller. 'Tippi' Hedren is Marnie, a compulsive thief and liar who goes to work for Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), then attempts to rob him. Mark impulsively marries the troubled beauty and attempts to discover the reasons for her obsessive behavior. When a terrible accident pushes his wife to the edge, Mark forces Marnie to confront her terrors and her past in a shattering, inescapable conclusion.
I had not seen Marnie for many years and perhaps never properly, so this has been a pleasant surprise because it’s not a fondly remembered film from Hitchcock’s career, but I found it to be an engrossing and powerful film that recalls Vertigo and Spellbound in its mentally flawed lead characters.
The film seems very old-fashioned and the credit sequence feels like it’s from the 40s. So do the characters, with a story somewhat based on class conflict (Mark would be high society in any other time) and that infuriatingly outdated view of marriage, although it is part of the plot this time at least. He adopted a nostalgic style for Psycho to deliver a very modern narrative and this is similar, but the old-time feel is more sustained so can be a detriment too. Still, he’s making the sex thriller he couldn’t possibly have made before, so probably the creaky techniques amuse him more than anything. Certainly there is nothing as inventive as you would find in Vertigo.
It’s daring in its delivery and fools the viewer somewhat. The start could be a breezy caper, like To Catch a Thief, but as with Vertigo it quickly takes a dark turn and digs in for the duration. While it can be dry and talky, it is a fascinating study of psychology, which Hitchcock has dealt with before. For the first time, the typical Hitchcock romance is the primary plot.
Marnie is a troubled woman and her light-fingered habits are a symptom of something more disturbing. Sean Connery is perfect as Mark, obviously turned on by Marnie’s problems, making him pretty unstable too! He is a great character, supremely confident and charming, exactly what Cary Grant used to do (Hitchcock pretty much invented Bond, now gets to use him ), now with him a manipulative sexual predator, taming the frigid Marnie by unravelling her mysterious past which is acting as a chastity belt! It makes for a suffocating effective chemistry between the leads, with an early uncomfortable peak as Mark pretty much rapes her. That is nasty, but for the most part there is a lot of fun to be had between Connery and Hedren as they toy effectively with one another. I loved the psychoanalysis scene!
Apparently Mark wasn’t an accomplished psychiatrist in the book or early screenplay draft. Instead he sent Marnie to see one. It takes a small contrivance explain how he can pull this off, but the plot benefits ten-fold. Another character would have interrupted the dynamic between them.
Another change is the character of Mark’s sister-in-law, Lil (Diane Baker). Often Hitchcock romances involve two men for one woman and “Lil” was the other man in the book, so ready-made for the director it seemed. Except having her fighting for Mark’s affections is much more interesting, especially as it is never explored fully and just adds to the enigma that is Mark.
This isn’t outwardly ambitious visually for Hitchcock, which could be surprising given the work that went into Vertigo. Instead it’s a simply effective, with key scenes that linger. The stark rape scene for one; Marnie’s silent robbery in another; a heartbreaking conclusion to the hunt; and a superb flashback, which is very unusual (he did one for I, Confess, but this is could have been a cul-de-sac for the plot, so he brilliantly takes it head on).
Much of the films unfair reputation may be down to the fact it was adapted specifically for Grace Kelly, but she had to refuse. After The Birds, Hitchcock was sure he had found a suitable replacement in the earthy Hedren, but she would always be in the shadow of a Princess. That’s a cruel twist though because Hedren is good enough in a role probably very different from the one offered Kelly considering the changes, and is she really the lead, considering how passive and smothered the character is?
Marnie isn’t for everyone. It can be uneven and may disturb as much as entertain, but go in with the right frame of mind and you’ll reap its rewards. It deserves a re-evaluation.
(From Alfred Hitchcock Marathon on January 31st, 2010)
Tom's Random Reviews, a review by Tom
Title: To Heart: Complete Collection
Length: 325 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Stereo , Japanese: Dolby Digital Stereo
For as long as Akari can remember, she and Hiroyuki have always been friends. But with time, everything changes, and her feelings have turned into something more. As a new semester of high school begins, will the two childhood friends come closer together or drift further apart? Join Hiroyuki, Akari and all their friends - the bubbly Shiho, the quiet Serika, the lovely Kotone, and more - in this heartwarming tale of love, relationships and friendship!
My Thoughts:This is a nice slow-paced high school slice of live anime series about a girl and a boy who have known each other since kindergarten and are now entering high school together. Maybe a little too nice in terms of character interaction. Almost no conflict there.
But it provides some fun guest character appearances. For example the girl who talks to low that almost nobody understands her. Or the girl who can the tragic future events of people close to her. And of course the human-like robot maid, who is enrolled as a regular student as a test by her creators
And now short reviews about the last two episodes of the series. Both are set during christmas time and thus qualify for the christmas marathon
12. The Season of Emotions (1999-06-17)
Writer: AQUAPLUS (Original Material By), Shinzo Hujita (Screenwriter)
Director: Naohito Takahashi
Cast: Ayako Kawasumi (Akari Kamigishi (voice)), Kazuya Ichijo (Hiroyuki Fujita (voice)), Chieko Higuchi (Shiho Nagaoka (voice)), Souichiro Hoshi (Masashi Sato (voice)), Rumi Kasahara (Lemmy Miyauchi (voice)), Eriko Fujimaki (Sayuri (voice)), Takayuki Arai (Imai (voice)), Masaya Takatsuka (Clerk (voice)), Akiko Kimura (Student (voice)), Yui Horie (Student (voice)), Mie Sonozaki (Student (voice)), Harunori Miyata (Student (voice))
This episode is on the same level as the rest of this series. Here the main characters start to organize a christmas party.
This episode takes focus on Shiho's interest in Hiroyuki. Probably to build up to a love triangle to resolve for the next episode which is the series finale. But I have the feeling, that not much will get resolved, as it would not match the slow pace of the rest of the series. Also there already exists a follow-up series, which probably needs the same starting ground. But I will see soon, if that is the case.
13. On a Day of Snow (1999-06-24)
Writer: AQUAPLUS (Original Material By), Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Screenwriter)
Director: Naohito Takahashi
Cast: Ayako Kawasumi (Akari Kamigishi (voice)), Kazuya Ichijo (Hiroyuki Fujita (voice)), Chieko Higuchi (Shiho Nagaoka (voice)), Souichiro Hoshi (Masashi Sato (voice)), Aya Hisakawa (Tomoko Hoshina (voice)), Mayumi Iizuka (Aoi Matsubara (voice)), Rumi Kasahara (Lemmy Miyauchi (voice)), Kyoko Hikami (Kotone Himekawa (voice)), Ikue Oya (Rio Hinayama (voice)), Yui Horie (Multi (voice)), Hironori Miyata (Principal (voice)), Chizuko Hoshino (Akari's Mom (voice)), Masaya Takatsuka (Clerk (voice)), Eriko Fujimaki (PE Teacher (voice)), Mie Sonozaki (Announcer (voice)), Harunori Miyata (Student (voice)), Takayuki Arai (Student (voice))
Nothing really gets resolved. Shiho takes a step back to let Akari have a go at Hiroyuki. Akari even gave Hiro a scarf which is almost bold in this series
But beside enjoying a snow fall together at the end of the series, it is not really clear if they end up together or not. But I expected this outcome already.
(From Tom's Random Reviews on December 2nd, 2008)