James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the future Professor X and Magneto in “X-Men: First Class.”
“X-Men: First Class” (PG-13) — “X-men: First Class” shows the benefits of starting fresh, besting its predecessors and easily taking the crown for best “X-men” film so far. Taking place well before the events of the first three movies, “First Class” focuses on two bright young men who want to make the world a better place to be a mutant: Charles, the future “Professor X” (James McAvoy), and Erik, who will one day become the supervillain Magneto (Michael Fassbender).
Set against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis, the film has sharp-focused tension carrying the film from one explosive action sequence to another. “First Class” delivers a master class in creating the superhero thriller.
“Everything Must Go” (R) — Nick (Will Ferrell) is a nice guy; he’s just hit a rough patch and perhaps drinks too much. In one day, Nick loses his job and comes home to find his wife has put all of his possessions on the lawn and locked up the house. Left with few options, Nick decides to open a beer and call it a yard sale, thus starting his journey to recovery and introspection.
This is a fine dramatic role for Ferrell, and he fills it in nicely. It’s a tricky line for this serious comedy, but Ferrell walks it to success in both laughs and audience sympathy.
“Hanna” (PG-13) — Raised in the wilderness by her ex-CIA father to be the ultimate assassin, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old killing machine and a compelling argument for public education. Hanna’s coming-of-age story revolves around her first mission, a sort of “Bourne Identity”-themed fairytale across modern-day Europe. Ronan is a young actress who is consistently impressive, even in this wacky-premised spy thriller. Cate Blanchett steps into a Wicked Witch role, playing the corrupt spymaster who wants to capture Hanna, or at least neutralize her.
“The Colors of the Mountain” — In the mountains of Colombia, government troops and guerrilla soldiers maneuver around one another in escalating conflict. In a tiny village among the mountains, Manuel, Julian and their elementary-school peers just want to play soccer. “The Colors of the Mountain” is a slow-paced but well-made film about childhood innocence and the far-reaching impact of war.
First-time director Carlos Cesar Arbelaez uses the landscape and the quiet moments to build tension. Seeing a soccer ball roll off into a minefield — and then seeing a group of boys carefully go after their only ball — exemplifies how the film draws out the heart of the story.
Community: The Complete Second Season
Parks & Recreation: Season 3
Fringe: The Complete Third Season
The Office: Season Seven
Criminal Minds: The Sixth Season
© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.