X-Men: First Class

   Director: Matthew Vaughn, 20th Century Fox, Rated M, 132 mins

The ‘X-Men’ prequel to the blockbuster franchise (based on the popular Marvel comics) is an absolute beauty with ‘Kick Ass’ filmmaker Matthew Vaughn directing a splendid storyline that provides a fascinating background to the evolution of the major characters seen in the four ‘X-Men’ movies-focusing especially on the rise of Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Magneto).
   Vaughan teams up with the director of the first two ‘X-Men’ movies, Bryan Singer and sets the scene for his story in a Nazi concentration camp where a young Erik is forced by a Nazi collaborator Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) to demonstrate his mutant powers after seeing his Jewish mother shot.
X-Men: First Class
   Her death haunts the older Erik (Centurion’s Michael Fassbender) as he seeks vengeance against Shaw - unaware that he is also a mutant. At the same time Charles Xavier (Wanted’s James McAvoy) has become a Professor (with telepathic powers), befriending Erik and the young woman Raven (Winter Bone’s Jennifer Lawrence) who, as Mystique, has the ability to change from her blue shapely body into another person.
   It is against the backdrop of the Cold War and the looming Cuban Missile Crisis that sees Charles bring together a group of young mutants including Erik with whom he forms a special friendship, helping him to master his magnetic abilities.
   Later it is through Charles and Eric joining together with their band of mutant men and women that nuclear war is averted during the Cuban Missile Crisis - which also marks the end of their friendship and the formation of two mutant groups - one under the leadership of the wheel chair bound Professor Xavier (Charles) who is prepared to help humankind and the other led by Magneto (Erik) hell bent to destroy it.
   In X-Men: First Class Vaughan has cleverly created the appropriate background stories for his two major characters, setting his story in the period of the 1960s and intertwined within a major conflict between the U.S. and the USSR.
   Besides a great cast it is the performances of McAvoy and Fassbender that really stand out with their portrayal of Professor X and Magneto (equalling those of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the X-Men trilogy) and not overlooking such Aussie actors as Rose Byrne playing CIA agent Moira MacTaggart and Hugh Jackman in a cameo role.
   Vaughan has really done justice to his prequel to the X-Men franchise with a superb combination of action, settings and storyline that are nothing short of first class!
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamp

DVD Review


   Director: Various, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 88 mins

Disney’s timeless classic is full of adventure, memorable music and magic, with everyone of all ages are ‘wishing upon a star’ and longing for their dreams to come true.
   Complete with some of Disney’s most endearing characters, Pinocchio is about a small wooden puppet that is brought to life by the beautiful Blue Fairy after his creator, toy maker Gepetto, wishes upon a star.
   However, to stay a real boy forever, Pinocchio must prove himself worthy by displaying bravery, honesty and loyalty, while embarking on a extraordinary adventure with his friend and conscience, Jiminy Cricket.
   Unfortunately Pinocchio gets led astray on his journey and ends up in a world where boys are turned into donkeys and his nose grows longer for every white lie told, leading to a challenging test of his true character.
   Following its original release in 1940 Pinocchio won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (When You Wish Upon a Star) and the Academy Award for Best Original Score.
   The wonderful story of Pinocchio has delighted audiences over the past seven decades and it is an acknowledgement of its continuing popularity that Disney has released the 70th Anniversary 2 Disc Platinum edition on Blu-ray featuring its new digital restoration and enhanced high definition sound that illustrate the richly detailed animation, colours and songs as well as some bonus features that include a music video of When You Wish Upon a Star, a documentary on the making of Pinocchio, Gepettos Then and Now, Puzzles and Games and an audio commentary
   Unfortunately ‘Pinocchio’ is returning to the Disney vault on 30 June 2011 as is Disney’s time honoured practice and fans will have to wait 7 years before it comes out again.    Time is therefore running out to collect the 70th Anniversary edition featuring its pristine restoration and creative special features.
VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamp

DVD Review

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

   Director: Various, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 83 mins

Disney’s first ever animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has entertained children, families and movie fans all over the world since its first release in the late 1930’s with its magic, beauty and adventure.
   The time-honoured story begins with the beautiful Snow White dreaming of her handsome prince while her evil stepmother the Queen is obsessed with her being the fairest in the land.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
   However when her magic mirror identifies Snow White as the fairest of them all, the Queen sends the huntsman to kill the young princess.
   Fleeing into the forest Snow White takes refuge in an enchanted cottage where she meets seven lovable dwarfs – Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Happy, Dopey, Doc and Bashful. But the jealous Queen soon discovers Snow White is still alive and disguising herself as an old woman she presents Snow White with a poisoned, shiny, red apple which, with just one bite, makes her fall into a deep sleep which can only be broken by her true love’s kiss.
   It is then left to Prince Charming to find his Princess and fulfill that famous fairytale saying of they “live happily ever after”.
   Like the Pinocchio Disney has released a Diamond Edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray using high definition technology to enable everyone to experience this timeless classic through its state-of-the-art digital restoration and enhanced high definition sound-including amazing animation and the unforgettable songs and storyline of the most revered movie of all time.
   Besides an interesting audio commentary presented by Walt Disney himself, other bonus features include a music video of Someday My Prince will Come, aFeature: Snow White Returns as well as games and activities
   Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is also returning to the Disney Vault on 30 June 2011 and will be unavailable until 2018 so now is the time to add it to the collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamp

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