Season five of Mad Men changes things up, sure, but at the same time, it really is just more of the same. At least that’s they way I felt about it. But I’m not the biggest fan of the show in the first place. Everything about the show says that I should like it. The acting is great, well mostly great, the dialog is witty, the costumes are fantastic, all-in-all it’s a very well produced show. But even with all that great stuff, it just doesn’t draw me in. It doesn’t make me care about what happens to any of these characters.
I realize I’m very alone in these thoughts. The show is obviously very popular and not only made it five seasons, but is launching into a sixth. But even in not liking Mad Men, I can recognize that it is a good show, it’s just not a show for me.
I guess I could say this might be the best season of the show thus far as it’s the first season to almost make me interested in what’s going on. So if you’re a fan of the show, I can only imagine how exciting this season was.
If you are a fan of the show, this is surely a set you’re going to want to pick up, I mean you’ve probably already bought the first four seasons, why stop now? But if you haven’t been won over by the show yet, then this season most likely isn’t going to change your mind.
This show is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. If nothing else this is a gorgeous show and on Blu-ray these episodes look amazing.
Commentary: Various cast and crew provide commentaries for all the episodes. These are mildly entertaining. Mad Men Say The Darndest Things: (16 min.) A look at the oh so clever dialog on the show. What Shall I Love If Not The Enigma?: (17 min.) A very pretentious look at one poster for season 5 and how Giorgio de Chirico inspired it. The Party Of The Century: (23 min.) An interesting look at a big fancy party that Truman Capote through in 1966. Scoring Mad Men: (48 min.) Two featurettes that look at the score for the show. The Uniform Time Act of 1966: (5 min.) An interesting text history of how Daylight Savings happened. Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery: Take a look at all the covers for 1966.
Yeah, Mad Men is a great show, but it’s not a show for me. If you love this show, then you know you’re going to love this season. If you don’t love the show, then don’t bother.
AMC and Lionsgate present Mad Men (Season Five). Created by: Matthew Weiner. Starring: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones and Christina Hendricks. Running time: 585 minutes on 3 discs. Not Rated. Released: October 16, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Cage doesn’t go full blown crazy in this film like he did in Ghost Rider: Spirits of Vengeance but you do get some good Cage in this film.
Seeking Justice opens by introducing Will Gerard (Cage) and his wife Laura (January Jones) and attempts to show how much in love they are so that after ten minutes when Laura is brutally beaten and raped we can understand the mental state that Will is in that sets forth the chains of events that follow.
Sitting in the waiting room a man calling himself Simon (Guy Pearce) approaches a very distraught Will and says he is part of a group that seeks justice for people who can’t be helped by the law. Simon offers to have the man that raped Laura killed in exchange for a favor somewhere down the line. For some reason Will doesn’t think that this favor might be to kill someone. Well, he is very distraught.
So the first part of Seeking Justice is setting up the premise. The second part of the film is Will not wanting to kill someone that he is being asked to kill. But Simon doesn’t take no for an answer. Will still doesn’t want to kill anyone, but someone ends up dead anyway.
However, the police think Will is the killer and go after him. Now Will but find out what this secret group is all about and why they really wanted that man dead. More crazy twist and turns ensue and you have your self a thoroughly average thriller.
Guy Pearce gives the strongest performance in Justice, though we never really learn anything about his character or his motivations. On the flip side, January Jones gives her usual wooden performance but her character is actually kind of interesting. While she does play the victim in the beginning, what with getting raped and all, she becomes all the stronger for it and plays a integral part in the finale of the film and isn’t just relegated to the damsel in distress role, which is probably why her role is as interesting as it is.
I don’t think Seeking Justice is trying to be one of the great thrillers, it’s just trying to be a fun one. But even there, it’s struggling. There are a lot of really dull moments throughout the film and the whole plot is really hard to swallow. However, if you’re willing to give over that an organization like this can work and not fall apart or be exposed instantly then I guess you might get some enjoyment out of it.
The film tries to end with a great line, “This is New Orleans, yeah that’s how it’s going to be.” Isn’t nearly as memorable as “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”
This film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and Dolby TrueHD 5.1. This is a great looking film. It’s actually very well shot and edited and it has a great score. The music and dialog are mixed very well.
Behind The Scenes: (7 min.) A typical short promo for the film with interviews with the cast and director.
If you’re an avid Nic Cage fan, you’ll probably dig this movie. It’s certainly nowhere near his best, but it’s not even close to his worst either. It’s a fun, albeit silly plot, that offers a few decent thrills in between a lot of dull moments and some nonsense. If you rent it you might not hate it, but I doubt anyone is going to be watching this over and over again.
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Seeking Justice. Written by: Robert Tannen. Directed by: Roger Donaldson. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones and Harold Perrineau. Running time: 105 min. Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality. Released: June 19, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Seeking Justice is his latest movie, which had a theatrical opening so small that it might as well be looked at as a straight-to-video release. That’s not a knock against it, as there have been many great direct-to-video releases in recent years. So much so, in fact, that the days of automatically shrugging off the latest Steven Segal movie as just a quick money grab with no real production value are out the window. Okay, well, maybe you can still shrug off the latest Segal movies, but what I’m saying is that it’s no longer par for the course to consider a movie that wasn’t released theatrically to be brushed off without a second thought.
Seeking Justice is actually quite an entertaining movie, with solid performances by those involved, and an interesting story that keeps the intrigue level high from start to finish. The story takes place in New Orleans and follows English teacher Will Gerard (Cage) who, after his wife Laura (January Jones) is sexually assaulted, meets a mysterious man by the name of Simon (Guy Pearce). Simon tells Will that he’s part of a group that are sick of watching criminals get away with their actions in their city, and that if Will wants, they can “take care” of his wife’s assaulter, so long as he agrees to do a favour for them some time in the future.
Still shaken by his wife lying in a hospital bed, beaten and bruised, Will agrees, and the wheels are set in motion. Not long after, Will receives an envelope with a picture of his wife’s assailant in it. He’s been shot in the head, and the necklace he stole from his wife is attached to the picture as further evidence of the man’s crime. Six months later, Will and Laura are still trying to move forward when one day Will receives a phone call from Simon asking him for a favour. Though what Will soon finds out is that he’s gotten himself mixed up in something much bigger than he ever imagined, and it could cost him everything.
One thing Cage is really good at is being an ordinary looking guy, who can also pack a punch when needed. He’s someone that’s believable as an English teacher, but also believable as someone who can hold his own against the bad guys. In Seeking Justice, Cage does a great job of being someone who’s tormented by the choices he makes, and plays it off well. When Will is in the hospital and is approached by Simon, it’s hard for the viewer to imagine what they’d do in that situation. Someone you love has just been brutally assaulted, and here’s a guy telling you he can make that person pay, and all you need to do is a favour for them down the road.
Of course, one may think that the obvious answer is no (and this is actually Will’s initial reaction as well), but it takes actually being in that situation to know exactly how you’d react. The scene is great, and Pearce is superb as Simon, as he’s calm and disarming, yet somewhat cold and calculating at the same time. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know his work, as Pearce has always been a greatly underrated talent in my eyes; though I’m happy that he’ll have a sizeable role in the upcoming blockbuster Iron Man 3, which will hopefully help garner him the wider recognition he deserves.
Jones also does a solid job in her role, while the rest of the supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces from hit TV shows. Xander Berkeley, who played George Mason on 24 for two seasons, plays a detective, and is cool as ever. Also of note is Harold Perrineau, who played Michael on LOST, and Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Debra Morgan on Dexter. Both play friends of Will and Laura, though Carpenter once again takes on a role that’s extremely minimal and has only a few lines, much like her bit part in the Dwayne Johnson action flick Faster.
There are a few times when things get a little out of hand as far as realism goes, but it’s nothing so over the top that the viewer can’t let the plausibility scale tip just a little in the other direction. There’s enough action and suspense in Seeking Justice to keep most intrigued and entertained for the duration, and an interesting premise that actually delivers for the most part. In the end, you’ll likely know what you’re getting into if you pick this up; but for those of you that are still on the fence about direct-to-video movies, be assured that this one is worth seeking out.
The video transfer of this DVD is well done, and there are no real moments of distortion or graininess that will distract viewers from the overall presentation. The audio is on the same level, with the soundtrack and dialogue mixing well, and the sound effects coming through nicely where needed to put the viewer into the atmosphere the scenes require.
There are no special features on this DVD.
Seeking Justice is a quality film that has an interesting premise that delivers the goods when all is said and done. There’s no denying that it can be a gamble to pick up a movie that you’ve never heard of and stars someone who doesn’t have the strongest track record as of late; however, the solid performances of Cage and Pearce make this a gamble worth taking.
An Alliance Films Release Endgame Entertainment Company presents Seeking Justice. Directed by: Roger Donaldson. Written by: Robert Tannen & Todd Hickey. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones, Jennifer Carpenter, Xander Berkeley, Harold Perrineau. Running time: 105 minutes. Rating: R. Released: July 3, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Set amidst the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, First Class tells the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) first met, built an amazing friendship and ultimately lost it due to a conflict of ideals. This really is Charles and Erik’s film – the rest is just window dressing.
First Class brings together a new team of mutants including a young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Havok (Lucas Till), pre-blue fur Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Banshee (Caleb Jones), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), and Angel Salvadore (Zoe Kravitz) which is an odd grouping pulling from classic characters in the comics and more recent ones. For the most part this team works really well together.
With Erik being a good guy this time around a new villain is needed. Enter The Hellfire Club. Lead by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), this team includes Emma Frost (January Jones), Riptide (Alex Gonzalez) and Azazel (Jason Flemyng). The creation of these two teams breaks from any semblance of continuity to the comics, but within the world of the film it works for the story it wants to tell.
Shaw is doing everything in his power insure that the United States and Russia go to war because of the Missile Crisis and it’s up to Charles, Erik and their team to stop them. This is the setting for the big final action sequence, but again, this is all just window dressing to what this film is really about. Keep in mind, though, that this is some really fun and exciting window dressing.
Despite it’s continuity problems, the film works because of the relationship between Charles and Erik. Specifically it’s the performances of McAvoy and Fassbender that sell these characters and the drama that brings them together and ultimately drives them apart. They both do a fantastic job making the audience believe not only that they have these fantastic powers, but that they both have ideas of where mutant kind should be heading and that they’re both, in their own way, right.
This is not perfect by any means. Some of the character choices hurt the film big. Azazel (who in the comics is Nightcrawler’s dad) is a really odd choice as is Darwin and Angel, both newer minor characters in the comics. Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne), Charles’ love interest has been transformed from a Scottish scientist in the comics to an American FBI agent. And Charles and Mystique meet as children, which just seems really strange. However the biggest problem I had with the film was January Jones who did nothing to make Emma Frost an interesting character. Her performance is the weakest by far.
All these problems aside, this is still a really fun film and the first good addition to the franchise since X2.
This film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with French and Spanish language tracks and Spanish subtitles. This is a fantastic looking film, it’s extremely well shot and all the visuals look amazing in Blu-ray. The sound is extremely well balanced as well. All the action sequences and score and dialog can all be listened to on a single volume level.
Looking at extras, X Marks The Spot (20 min.) is a series of behind-the-scene vignettes that focuses on various moments in the film. The Cerebro: Mutant Tracker allows you to travel through Cerebro like in the movie and click on different mutants to get little montages focusing on them from the various films. While kind of neat, this is mostly pointless unless you know absolutely nothing about any of these characters. Go on-line to access even more characters. Children of the Atom (79 min.) is a fantastic and in-depth look at the making of First Class. It thoroughly covers all the aspects you’d want to hear about. One of the best making-of docs I’ve seen in a while. Deleted And Extended Scenes (14 min.) Despite the film’s already two-hour plus running time, these scenes should have stayed in. Especially the scene where Charles tries to hit on Moira and fails.
Filling out the rest of the bonus material is an Isolated Score audio track, plus a Digital Copy of the film and access to ten Digital Comics that focus on various characters from the film and some Blu-ray Live stuff.
The comic fan in me kind of hates X-Men: First Class, but the movie fan in me really enjoyed it. It’s got some serious continuity issues, but the movie is so good that while watching it I forget all about those. It’s only after I turn the film off that I start to bitch. For me that makes this a pretty darn good film. Plus it’s got some of the best special features I’ve seen in a while.
20th Century Fox presents X-Men: First Class. Directed by: Matthew Vaughn. Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt. Written by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stenz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. Running time: 132 minutes. Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language. Released on Blu-ray: September 9, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.
Five seems to be the magic number this summer.
Only a few months after Fast Five, the fifth entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise, took its series to new heights with a shift in the series’ identity, X-Men: First Class, the fifth film to be released under the X-Men banner, has rejuvenated and revamped a dying film series — becoming, easily, the best film adaptation of Marvel’s merry mutants. But, in a series known more for overhyped mediocrity, what exactly does the best amount to?
Based on characters from the long-running Marvel Comics series, X-Men: First Class has had an interesting road to the big screen. Envisioned originally as a spin-off featuring the younger mutant characters from the first three X-Men movies, the film mutated into a prequel — detailing the first few days of the X-Men as a team. Along the way, the film absorbed the long-in-development Magneto origin movie, brought back Bryan Singer, the director of the first two X-Men movies, as a producer and even wooed back Matthew Vaughn, a filmmaker who had come famously close to directing X3: The Last Stand before creative differences between Vaughn and the studio sent him running.
The end result is a fun, tightly plotted tribute to Silver Age comic books, James Bond espionage and Tom Clancy political thrillers. A bit overstuffed at times, the movie ultimately juggles its themes and set pieces, only letting a few of the minor balls drop now and again.
X-Men: First Class is a weird amalgam of prequel and reboot. Aspects of the film clearly point to First Class being set in the same universe audiences are familiar with from the previous four X-Men films. Other aspects, specifically the timeframe of events, strongly suggest that X-Men: First Class is a clean slate reboot for the characters, superheroes granted strange and wonderful powers due to a genetic quark that sets them apart from your average human.
One can only hope that First Class is a reboot because, as a movie, it’s much more entertaining and enticing than what the X-Men franchise had become in recent years.
When the first X-Men film came out, it was well regarded primarily because it was the first superhero in a long time that wasn’t complete and utter garbage. When seen through the eyes of somebody who has lived in the modern golden age of superhero films, though, major scripting issues, a clumsy plot and paper-thin characters make the film almost unwatchable. X2, while widely regarded to be a highlight of ‘00s’ surplus of superhero films, isn’t exactly high art either. Wildly entertaining action and great performances from the lead can only go so far towards making up for the film’s out-of-character cartoonish plot.
In First Class, though, director Matthew Vaughn has struck a nice balance between tongue-in-cheek geekiness and genuine action-tinged pathos. There’s a lot of goofiness in the film, which is set in the ‘60s and frequently takes on a tone reminiscent of Stan Lee’s original X-Men books, but there is also a lot of originality and fun. Oh, and darkness. There’s a lot of darkness.
First Class is, at times, extremely violent, profane and, one would argue, extremely inappropriate for children. Characters in the film are maimed, mutilated and murdered in ways that would make Christopher Nolan’s Batman squirm. Regardless, this balance between lighthearted goofiness and adult-oriented moral grays makes for an extremely entertaining film.
James McAvoy stars as Professor Charles Xavier, a wide-eyed, somewhat naïve young mutant who has an extremely giving heart but somewhat of a low self-esteem when it comes to his species. Believing mutants should aspire to blend in to society as best possible, Charles has it easy since his power of telepathy is easy to hide. As he enters the world, fresh from a lengthy stay in academia, Charles begins to discover he is not alone in the world. Charles is eventually introduced to a world of super powered folk when he is recruited into the CIA. Chief among his new acquaintances is Erik Lehnsherr, a man who the film wonderfully presents as Charles’ dark mirror compliment.
While Charles grew up in a posh mansion and only needed to use his powers when he wanted to pick up a girl at the bar, Erik is the product of pain and experimentation. Taken from his parents during a violent stay in a Jewish concentration camp, Erik grew up under the knife of Sebastian Shaw. A seemingly immortal mutant Nazi with aspirations of world domination, after World War II ends he becomes the leader of the Hellfire Club (an underground cabal that seeks mutant reign on Earth).
As a man, Erik uses his magnetic powers to hunt Nazis, seeking revenge on the villain who took his childhood innocence away. It’s in chasing Shaw, though, that Erik slowly begins to become a villain himself. Seeing only the darkness in others, Erik begins to build a shell around his soul so impenetrable that by the time he meets Charles it’s impossible to reconcile their views on peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans. As Erik (the future mutant terrorist named Magneto) actor Michael Fassbender is the epitome of badass. James Bond with an extra chromosome, Fassbender’s silent rage makes him every bit as charismatic a character as Sir Ian McKellen portrayed in the original X-Men trilogy.
McAvoy and Fassbender have great chemistry together and it is their story that drives the film’s nougat center. United by the shared excitement of discovering a new species, Charles and Erik manage to ignore the increasingly less subtle differences in their philosophy as they team up to train the first generation of mutant superheroes. It’s the quiet moments between the two, where they compare their views on the world, that really sell the characters.
As far as Charles and Erik’s students go, don’t expect the familiar faces from the original X-Men trilogy. The mutants of First Class are culled from some of the more obscure segments of X-Men mythos — from Angel, a stripper with fly-like powers played by Zoe Kravitz, to Darwin, a hero with adaptive powers played by Edi Gathegi.
While First Class is clearly Charles and Erik’s story, most of the supporting characters are given genuine character arcs and development. Jennifer Lawrence, as the shapeshifter Mystique, has a particularly heartbreaking journey as she discovers her place in the world and comes to terms with her off-putting blue and scaly appearance. Torn between a lifelong friendship with Charles — tinged with the bitter scales of unrequited love — and the charismatic Erik whose pro-mutant preaching plays to Mystique’s low self-esteem, Mystique finds herself toeing the line between the two men’s philosophies.
Nicholas Hoult plays Dr. Hank McCoy, a self-conscious mutant who struggles to hide his giant, ape-like feet. Even more self-conscious than Mystique, Hank is driven to experiment on himself in an attempt to cure what he perceives to be a deformity.
While a lot of the minor characters and their relationships are given an unfortunate glossing over, over all the film manages to give each of the X-Men a special moment unique to themselves.
The villains, on the other hand, are less fortunate. Besides the extremely charismatic Kevin Bacon delivering a wonderfully nasty performance, the evil mutants in First Class are mostly dialogue-free shadow puppets — existing to look badass as they rumble with the X-Men but otherwise completely devoid of character or motivation.
And don’t even get me started on January Jones, an actress who emotes less than a rock. As Emma Frost, Jones is the film’s largest dead weight —not even her extreme beauty can make up for her vapid performance.
The film’s small-scale but dedicated production design makes the world the movie exists in look tight and focused, despite an obvious budget cut from previous sequels. Cheaper looking effects don’t mar the film’s action thanks to the fact the film is briskly paced — moving along at an extreme clip that keeps audiences happy, entertained and never bored.
X-Men: First Class is a unique film in that it presents its antagonists’ story as fleshed out and complete as its heroes. Erik, the eventual Magneto, in many ways comes across as the hero of the story — claiming his own identity and motivation in a clearly defined, well-written story arc. By the end of the movie, it wouldn’t be surprising that audiences are split between sideing with Charles’ or Erik’s philosophy. This is the sign of a good movie.
This new direction the X-Men series is headed into is at both exciting and encouraging. Smaller in scale and more character oriented, the film doesn’t forget to bring the action either. It’s a great balance between summer blockbuster and spring thriller
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Notable Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon
Writer(s): Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
X-Men: First Class is scheduled for release June 3, 2011
That’s the bulk of the plot for X-Men: First Class, with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender stepping into the roles that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen initially played in the X-Men series. Latino Review has their hands on a new international trailer for X-Men: First Class.
X-Men: First Class is scheduled for release June 3, 2011
At the heart of this year’s X-Men: First Class is the relationship between mutants Charles Xavier (play by James McAvoy of Atonement, Wanted) and Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender of Inglourious Basterds) as their friendship is strained over their ideological conflicts regarding mutant-human relations. Now, in the international posters for the film, the events of the future and the course that their lives will take are foreshadowed via character’s reflection in the water at their feet.
The film hits theaters June 3rd and co-stars Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Jason Flemyng, and Oliver Platt.
Check out the teaser trailer for the film here: First Look: X-Men First Class Movie Trailer