Sunday, July 31, 2011

"JERICHO" Retrospect: (1.08) "Rogue River"




"JERICHO" Retrospect: (1.08) "Rogue River"

Once in a while, a television series would air an episode that proved to have a wide effect upon its remaining storylines. This certainly seemed to be the case for (1.08) "Rogue River", the Season One episode of the CBS post-apocalypse television series, "JERICHO".

"Rogue River" was not the first episode to have a major impact upon the storylines for "JERICHO". The series' first episode, (1.01) "Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours" obviously had an even bigger impact, considering it featured the explosion of a nuclear bomb in nearby Denver and other cities across the county - an event that initiated the series' premise. "Rogue River", on the other hand, could have easily been a solitary episode in which the main premise - acquiring needed medication for gravely ill mayor of Jericho - could have been resolved by the end. Instead, the series' producers and screenwriters Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia used a minor incident from the episode to echo throughout the remaining Season 1 and most of Season 2.

The end of previous episode, (1.07) "Long Live the Mayor", left off with Mayor Johnston Green's collapse, thanks to an infection that had turned deadly due to the lack of proper medication. His daughter-in-law, Dr. April Green, reveals that the mayor needs a more specialized antibiotic - Cipro - to overcome his infection. Since the medical clinic in Jericho is dangerously depleted of needed drugs, the mayor's sons Jake and Eric Green (April's husband) need to travel to the nearby town of Rogue River and acquire Cipro from that town's larger hospital.

"Rogue River" opened with Jake and Eric driving across the Kansas countryside toward Rogue River in the former's muscle car. The pair spot a woman's body sprawled across the side of the road. Eric wants to check on the woman's condition, but Jake insists upon continuing their journey. He had spotted a second set of tire marks and concluded that the woman had been ambushed and murdered for her money and any supplies. Upon their arrival in Rogue River, the two brothers notice that the entire town had been abandoned. And when they reach the town's hospital, they are fired upon by someone inside. Jake and Eric discover a wounded mercenary from the Ravenwood private security firm named Randy Payton and a doctor named Kenchy Dhuwalia. The two strangers reveal that Ravenwood troops were sent to Rogue River to assist FEMA in evacuating the town's citizens. The difficulty in evacuating the hospital led one Ravenwood to snap and start shooting some of the patients. His actions led to an all out massacre of many other patients. Before the Green brothers can get their hands on the medicine they need, a large group of Ravenwood gunmen led by a man named Goetz arrive to confiscate the hospital's remaining supplies.

The episode featured two subplots. One of them centered around the efforts of the Green women, Emily Sullivan and Heather Linsinski to keep the ailing Johnston alive long enough to receive the Cipron. Their efforts led Heather, a science teacher, to create enough ice from chemicals to keep the fever down in Johnston's body. In "Long Live the Mayor", businessman Gray Anderson had questioned Eric about the town's newcomers. He made good on his threat to learn more about them, when he and new sheriff Jimmy Taylor appear at the Hawkins home to question Rob and his family about their decision to move to Jericho.

Earlier, I had pointed out how some of the plot elements in "Rogue River" end up having a major effect on some of the series' future plotlines. This was especially apparent in Jake and Eric's confrontation with the Ravenwood gunmen and their leader, Goetz. And this is one reason why I view "Rogue River" as one of the series' finest episodes. But it occurred to me that even if the episode had merely been a stand alone, my opinion of it would have remained. "Rogue River" is truly a first-rate episode. Although previous episodes like "Long Live the Mayor" and (1.04) "Four Horsemen" hinted the devastating effects of the nuclear bombs that struck the country, "Rogue River" revealed the full force of those effects with scenes that featured the Green brothers' encounter with a dead woman at the side of the road, and their experiences in Rogue River. Thanks to Federman and Scaia's screenplay, along with Guy Bee's direction, "Rogue River" was filled with enough danger and tension to keep any viewer on his or her toes.

But the Rogue River trip was not the only plot that impressed me. I was also impressed by the storyline that featured Gray Anderson and Jimmy Taylor's interrogation of Robert Hawkins and his family. The interesting thing about this particular subplot is that Gray Anderson, who had no experience as a law officer or politician, seemed smart enough to use interrogation tactics that someone with that particular background would normally use. Gray was no dummy. Unfortunately, he had more than met his match in the mysterious Robert Hawkins and surprisingly, the latter's very intelligent daughter, Allison. Between the two of them, they played Jimmy and especially Gray, like a fiddler. But as the episode proved, playing Gray did not prove to be an easy task. And I must say that for a subplot that featured no epic scenes or action, it was filled with a great deal of tension, drama and a little comedy as well. Very satisfying.

The subplot featuring the effort to keep Johnston Green alive before Jake and Eric's return proved to be solid, but not particularly mind blowing. Well, I did learn one thing from this storyline. Heather Lisinski is a warm, vibrant and intelligent woman . . . who also seemed to possess nerves of Jello. It amazed me at how easily she nearly fell apart in her efforts to create ice to cool down Johnston. It was a good thing that Emily Sullivan managed to put her back on track. And if one might think I am exaggerating about Heather's tendency to lose her cool, she did it again in Season Two.

I could pinpoint the performances that impressed me. But I must be honest, all of the cast members featured in this particular episode did. Skeet Ulrich and Kenneth Mitchell proved they had superb chemistry portraying the two brothers, Jake and Eric Green. I was especially impressed by their scene in which Jake's past and Eric's affair with tavern owner Mary Bailey were discussed. Lennie James continued his superb portrayal of the always fascinating intelligence agent, Robert Hawkins. Michael Gaston also impressed me with his portrayal of Gray Anderson's paranoia. But I was really impressed by Jazz Raycole's spot-on performance as Robert's equally intelligent daughter, Allison. Darby Stanchfield gave a poignant performance in a scene in which her character, April Green, reveal to the unconscious Johnston that she was pregnant. The episode also featured outstanding performances from the three guest stars. Theo Rossi gave an appropriate performance as the frantic and remorseful Ravenwood soldier, Randy Payton. Aasif Mandvi gave the first of several outstanding performances as the talented, but alcoholic surgeon, Dr. Kenchy Duwhalia. And D.B. Sweeney proved he could a subtle, yet menacing villain as the leader of the Ravenwood gunmen, Goetz. In fact, Sweeney would eventually return and solidify his position as one of the best villains I have seen on television, hands down.

What can I say about "Rogue River"? Unless I am mistaken, it is considered to be one of the best episodes that aired on "JERICHO". The episode literally vibrated with suspense and tension in two story lines that featured the Green brothers' trip to the nearby Rogue River and Gray Anderson's interrogation of the Hawkins family, thanks to director Guy Bee. The entire episode was well written by Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, and featured outstanding performances led by Skeet Ulrich, Kenneth Mitchell and Lennie James. If "Rogue River" is not that highly regarded, then I believe it should be.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - Part II" (2011) Photo Gallery



Below are images from the last HARRY POTTER movie directed by David Yates called "HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - Part II". The movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson:


"HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - Part II" (2011) Photo Gallery

















































Friday, July 29, 2011

"SUPER 8" (2011) Review




"SUPER 8" (2011) Review

When I first saw the trailer for J.J. Abrams' new movie, "SUPER 8", I had a very difficult time generating any interest in the film. I would have easily ignored it if it were not for the fact that two or three of my favorite actors were featured in the film and that it was produced by Steven Spielberg.

My feelings toward J.J. Abrams' previous work are rather mixed. Yes, I realize that he was one of the creators of such television series as "ALIAS" and "LOST". But Abrams ended up distancing himself from both shows before they eventually suffered from a decline in writing quality. I enjoyed his work on "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III". But his "STAR TREK" reboot left me wondering about his talent as a writer and director. But after watching "SUPER 8" this summer, my faith in his talent has been fully restored.

Set in 1979, "SUPER 8" told the story of a group of young friends in their early teens filming their own Super 8 movie for a film festival for amateurs, when a train derails, releasing a dangerous presence into their town of Lillian, Ohio. The story began 13 year-old Joe Lamb dealing with the death of his mother in a factory accident. A neighbor named Louis Dainard appears at the wake, but Joe's father a deputy sheriff named Jackson Lamb, leads him away in handcuffs. Jackson blames Louis for his wife's death because he was absent during his shift and she had to fill in for him.

Four months later, Joe's friend, Charles Kaznyk, makes plans to film a zombie movie on Super 8 mm film for an amateur film festival. Along with Joe, he hires Dainard's daughter Alice to be part of the cast. After stealing her father's car, Alice takes Joe, Charles, Preston, Martin, and Cary to an old train depot; where the group plans to film a scene. During the shoot, Joe watches a pick-up truck drive onto the tracks and place itself in the path of an oncoming train, causing a massive derailment. In the aftermath of the accident, the kids find the wreck littered with strange white cubes. They approach the truck and discover Dr. Woodward, their biology teacher, behind the wheel of the truck. He instructs them to never talk about what they saw; otherwise they and their parents will be killed. Moments afterwards, the U.S. Air Force, led by one Colonel Nelec, arrives to secure the crash site. The kids flee the scene. Over the next couple of days, a number of strange phenomena occur throughout the Lillian neighborhood. A good number of the town's dogs run away. And kitchen appliances, car engines, and power lines vanish. Also, many people begin to disappear, among them the town's sheriff. Joe, Alice and their friends start investigating the strange phenomenons around Lillian, as they continue to shoot Charles' movie.

Not only has "SUPER 8" restored my faith in J.J. Abrams as a Hollywood talent, I believe it is one of the best movies I have seen this year. I really enjoyed. Abrams created a story that not featured mysterious happenings and an alien, but it also had plenty of human drama centering around Joe's relationships with his recently widowed father and Alice Dainard; along with a delightful story arc featuring the group of friends' attempt to film a movie. The interesting thing about "SUPER 8" is that all of the different story arcs in the movie - the personal dramas, the mystery surrounding the alien and Charles' zombie movie - managed to connect seamlessly to form a first-rate movie. But more importantly, "SUPER 8" brought me back to the days of my childhood of the late 1970s - a time when many of my generation were first becoming fans of filmmakers like Spielberg and George Lucas.

Not only does "SUPER 8" has a first-rate story written by Abrams, it also featured a superb cast. I was surprised to discover that "SUPER 8" featured 15 year-old Joel Courtney's film debut. Either Abrams has a talent for working with children, Courtney is a natural born film actor . . . or both. All I know is that his performance really knocked my socks off. I was especially impressed that he managed to hold his own with the likes of Kyle Chandler, who portrayed his father. Allie Fanning, who has more experience than Courtney, proved that acting talent obviously ran in her family (she is Dakota Fanning's younger sister). She was very impressive as Alice Dainard, the daughter of the very man whom Joel's dad hold responsible for his wife's death. There were two scenes that really impressed me - her confession to Joe about the circumstances that led to his mother's death; and her confrontation with her drunken father.

I have been fans of both Kyle Chandler and Ron Eldard for a very long time. Chandler, who seemed to have a natural talent for portraying complex characters, displayed this talent again in his portrayal of Jackson Lamb, the deputy sheriff who finds himself as the leading law enforcement official following the disappearance of the sheriff. Chandler not only portrayed Jackson's growing concern over the town's strange incidents and disappearances with his usual skill, but also conveyed his character's difficulties in dealing with the death of his wife and growing estrangement from his son. Eldard's portrayal of Alice's father, Louis Dainard, proved to be equally complex. He did an excellent job of conveying the character's alcoholism, guilt over the death of Joe's mother and his growing estrangement from daughter Alice. He and Fanning were absolutely superb in the scene that featured the explosive confrontation between father and daughter.

"SUPER 8" also featured first-rate supporting performances from another favorite of mine, Glynn Thurman, who portrayed the kids' biology teacher and the man responsible for releasing the alien from the U.S. Air Force train; and Noah Emmerich, who portrayed the controlling U.S. Air Force colonel, Nelec. But the best performances came from the group of kids who portrayed Joe and Alice's friends and fellow film fans - Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso and Remy Thorne. They were absolutely terrific. And more importantly, their performances were not tainted with any "cutesy" quirks that have made some previous child actors rather unbearable. Nor did they act like adults in children's bodies - a phenomenon of which I have become increasingly intolerant.

The look of "SUPER 8" really brought back memories of past Spielberg films such as "CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND" and "E.T.". And considering that the movie is produced by Spielberg, I hardly find that surprising. A small part of me suspects that "SUPER 8" is a homage to those particular works. Many critics and moviegoers have compared it to Spielberg's films. The odd thing is that the storyline for "SUPER 8" reminded me more of the "STAR TREK VOYAGER" episode called (4.16) "Prey". Although not alike, the storyline for both the movie and the television episode struck me as surprisingly similar.

Whatever people might say about "SUPER 8", there is no doubt that I really enjoyed it. And once it leaves the movie theaters, I will have a hard time generating the patience to wait for its DVD release. Congratulations, Mr. Abrams. For once, you have really impressed me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"EL DORADO WEST" [PG] - Chapter Five



The following is Chapter Five of my story about a pair of free black siblings making the journey to California in 1849:


Chapter Five – Rollin’ on the River

April 1, 1849
Our journey down the Ohio River seems more like a pleasure cruise than a difficult journey. And I must add that the river must be one of the most beautiful bodies of water I have ever laid eyes upon, save Lake Erie.

Alice and I have claimed a spot for our wagon on the SIMPSON’s main deck, along with other westbound travelers with covered wagons. Other passengers on this deck include farmers, slave coffles (I fear I might be becoming familiar with the sight), livestock, mountain men and other ordinary folk. The topic on everyone’s lips seem to be gold in California.

A fellow emigrant from Pennsylvania expressed fear that all of the gold may have already been picked. After all, nearly fifteen months had passed since that fellow, James Marshall, had discovered that gold nugget. Another emigrant – a red-haired man who happened to be a fellow Ohioan – dismissed the idea. "California was a vast land," he said. Plenty of gold left for those who have yet to arrive.


April 3, 1849
We have finally reached Cairo, a small river port at the tip of Southern Illinois. And I cannot think of any other place I would rather not be. There is nothing wrong with the town’s physical appearance. Frankly, I found it very pleasant. Somewhat. It does seem slightly diminished. I had expected it to be slightly bigger. There is an unpleasant side to Cairo that I had learned from one of the boat’s deckhands. The city, like the rest of Illinois, has a reputation for hostility toward Negroes. In fact, the entire state does not encourage free Negroes to live within its borders. And those who do are subjected to a level of harassment not even known throughout the rest of the North. I suggested to Alice that we remain aboard the ALBERT P. SIMPSON.

Because of its position at the junction of both the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers, Cairo has become an important river port. Many folks bound south for Memphis, Natchez and New Orleans were forced to disembark. In their place, the ALBERT P. SIMPSON acquired new passengers. Many were, like us, bound for St. Louis or further west. And now the main deck is filled with more covered wagons and emigrants.

The Mississippi River is not at all like the Ohio. Its majestic view is somewhat dimmed by its muddy coloring. Brown and thick, it is truly an ugly river. Alice and I have also learned that the Mississippi River Valley has been struck by a cholera epidemic. I am not that surprised. The river strikes me as the perfect breeding ground for diseases of all sorts. From New Orleans to St. Louis, folks have been dropping like flies. Two passengers have died since our departure from Cairo. Their bodies were dumped overboard and into the river. This whole matter does not bode well for Alice and myself. For the first time, I am wondering if I had been wise to leave Cleveland.

End of Chapter Five

Monday, July 25, 2011

"MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS" (2010) Image Gallery



Below are images from "MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS", the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's famous 1934 novel. The television movie starred David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. 


"MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS" (2010) Image Gallery































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Sunday, July 24, 2011

"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" (2011) Review




"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" (2011) Review

Recently, I came across a comment that the last "X-MEN" movie, 2009's "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE", had been a failure. I found this opinion surprising, considering that it actually made a profit at the box office. Failure or not, Marvel Studios decided to continue the movie franchise with a fifth entry called "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS".

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is, like the 2009 movie, another origins tale. Only it traced the beginnings of the two friends-turned-adversaries, Charles "Professor X" Xavier and Erik "Magneto" Lensherr. The movie began in a scene straight out of 2000's "X-MEN" - at a concentration camp in 1944 Poland. While young Erik Lensherr was being separated from his parents by Nazi guards, he displayed an ability for magnetism manipulation by tearing at one of the camp's gates. This ability attracted the attention of the camp's scientist, Dr. Klaus Schmidt, who tried to coerce Erik into using his ability again by threatening his mother with death. Unfortunately, Erik failed and Dr. Schmidt killed Mrs. Lensherr. At an estate in Westchester, New York of the same year, young Charles Xavier awakened from a deep sleep by a noise from the kitchen. He investigated and found his mother searching for something to eat. However, being a telepath, Charles was able to discover that he was facing a stranger. The stranger turned out to be a young, blue-skinned shapeshifter named Raven "Mystique" Darkhölme. Charles invited the young stranger to stay at the Xavier mansion and the two became close friends.

"X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" jumped another eighteen years forward to 1962. Charles Xavier has become an instructor on genetics at Oxford University. Raven has remained his close companion in a sibling-like capacity. Erik Lensherr has spent the last decade or so, hunting down Nazis that escaped prosecution by the Allies - especially those who had served at the concentration camp where he had been imprisoned. He has especially become interested in finding and killing Dr. Schmidt out of revenge for his mother's death. The story shifted to Las Vegas, Nevada; where one Moira MacTaggart and other CIA agents are investigating the Hellfire Club, a social organization led by Sebastian Shaw (aka Dr. Schmidt). After infiltrating the club as an "escort", Moira discovered that Shaw and his mutant followers - Emma Frost, Azazel, and Riptide - are intimidating a high ranking Army officer into relocating military missiles to Turkey. Moira sought help from Charles and Raven to provide information to her CIA bosses about mutants. They also met Erik, during a trip to Miami to track down Shaw. After preventing Erik from drowning during an attempt to kill Shaw, Charles became close friends with the Holocaust survivor; as they work with Moira and the CIA to bring down Shaw.

Personally, I do not believe that "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE" deserved its low reputation. I thought it was a pretty damn good movie - not perfect, but entertaining. However, I do believe I could say the same about "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". I would add that it might be better than the 2009 film. Despite its flaws. In fact, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" turned out to be a cleverly written movie that managed to weave two historical events - the Holocaust and the Cuban Missile Crisis - into its plot. Director Matthew Vaughn did an excellent job in maintaining an even pace for a movie not only filled with exciting and occasionally exaggerated action sequences and dramatic scenes. But aside from the director, the movie's main virtue proved to be its first-rate cast.

Someone once pointed out that the X-MEN movie franchise did an excellent job of using the topic of "mutation" or psychic abilities to reflect upon the themes of bigotry and tolerance in our society. This theme became even more relevant, considering the movie's setting of 1962 - a period that reflected the height of the Civil Rights Movement. I can go further and commend screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Vaughn for daring to explore all aspects of the bigotry experienced and engaged by the characters.

Some of the movie's main characters experienced intolerance at the hands of others. Holocaust survivor Erik Lensherr not only suffered under the Nazi regime as a Jew, but also endured the U.S. government's (in the form of C.I.A. officials) wariness and contempt toward mutants, as did fellow mutants such as Charles Xavier, Raven Darkhölme, Hank McCoy and the group of young mutants they had recruited. C.I.A. officials Director McCone and William Stryker Sr. (father of the villain from the second and fourth movies) were ready to imprison Charles and Raven upon discovering their mutations. Fortunately, one C.I.A. man in particular - the nameless Man in Black - prevented this from happening. The script also focused upon the two mutants regarded as "odd men out" because their mutations were reflected physically. Raven's natural blue skin led her to maintain a "human" form that allowed her to blend with other humans and mutants. And C.I.A. scientist who constantly wore shoes to hide his mutation - animal-like feet. Their desperation to blend with the others on a regular basis led Hand to create a formula that eventually backfired.

Finally, the movie also focused on those mutants that viewed their mutation as signs of their superiority over non-mutant humans. Characters such as villain Sebastian Shaw and his Hellfire Club followers, and eventually Erik and Raven allowed their dislike toward humans to manifest into a bigotry that encouraged them to engage in plots of genocide that made the Nazis, North Americans of the 18th and 19th centuries and other bigoted societies look like amateurs. One such plot served as the background of "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". The movie revolved around Sebastian Shaw's efforts to use his connections to the U.S. and Soviet military to start a third world war between the superpowers. Such a war would bring humanity to the brink of extinction, allowing mutants (with Shaw as the leader) to dominate the world. This plot eventually resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The producers of "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" chose the right actors to portray the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. James McAvoy perfectly captured all of Charles' intelligence, talent for leadership and subtle wit. He also delved deeper into the character's idealism and occasional naivety. And McAvoy gave audiences an audacious peek into Charles' penchant for little seduction with pick-up lines that were both charming and wince-inducing. Michael Fassbender portrayed all of the intensity and anger of the vengeance-seeking Erik Lensherr. Every once in a while, an actor comes along with the ability to perfectly walk the fine line between heroism and villainy. Fassbender certainly achieved this in his portrayal of Erik. And looking at the screen chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender, it seemed a pity that they had never shared a scene when they appeared in the 2001 miniseries, "BAND OF BROTHERS". Because they were dynamite together.

The supporting cast also proved to be top-notch. The X-MEN movieverse has always provided first-rate villains. Kevin Bacon's portrayal of the villainous Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Schmidt was no exception. If I must be honest, his Shaw may prove to be my favorite "X-MEN" villain. Aside from intelligence, wit and a taste for grandiose plotting and gadgets that rivaled a Bond villain, Bacon injected a joie de vivre into Shaw's character that I found very entertaining. Some critics and fans have criticized January Jones' portrayal of Shaw's consort, Emma Frost, accusing her of being "wooden". I am sorry, but I do not agree with this opinion. Yes, Jones portrayed Emma as Miss 'Cool Hand Luke'. But she also did a first rate job of conveying the character's strong attraction to Shaw and dislike of his occasional sexist attitudes. And thanks to her subtle comic timing, she provided the movie's funniest moment in a scene that featured Emma having 'telepathic' sex with a Soviet general. Her reaction to being caught had me laughing in the aisle. Instead of Rebecca Romijn, the film's producers chose Jennifer Lawrence to portray the younger Raven Darkhölme aka Mystique. And I thought she did a pretty damn good job. I have nothing against Romijn's portrayal of Mystique, but I believe that Lawrence was given a better opportunity for a deeper exploration of the character . . . and she made the best of it. The movie also featured fine support from the likes of Rose Byrne as C.I.A. agent and ally Moira MacTaggart, Nicholas Hoult as the young Hank McCoy, Jason Flemyng as the frightening teleporter Azazel, Oliver Platt as the C.I.A. 'Man in Black', and Zoë Kravitz's subtle and passionate performance as mutant Angel Salvadore.

As I had earlier hinted, "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is not perfect. I believe it has two major flaws that prevented it from potentially becoming the best film in the franchise. The movie's biggest flaw proved to be its lack of continuity with the other four films. "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" included the beginning of Charles Xavier's paralysis and the end of his partnership with Erik Lensherr. Yet, Charles was still walking and working with Erik in a flashback set around the beginning of the 1980s in 2006's "X-MEN: THE LAST STAND". I am aware that Raven's cells allowed her to mature very slowly. But did the same happen to Dr. Hank McCoy? He was in his early-to-mid 20s in "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". Yet, he looked somewhere in his 40s in the third "X-MEN", which was set some 40 years later. And the Emma Frost portrayed by actress Tahyna Tozzi in "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE" looked at least five to ten years younger than January Jones' Emma in this latest film. And "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" is supposed to be set 17 years before the 2009 film. Charles began his school for young mutants in this movie. However, he told Wolverine in 2000's "X-MEN" that Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Jean Grey were his first students. They are no where to be seen and quite frankly, I could have done without this early edition of the Xavier School of Mutants. I found it annoying.

Another major problem proved to be the film's costumes - especially for women. The movie is set mainly in 1962. Yet, Sammy Sheldon's costumes reflected the late 1960s, not the early years of that decade. Just to prove my point, look at the following photographs:

1962 Fashions For Women




January Jones in "MAD MEN" Season Two (set in 1962)




January Jones in "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" (set in 1962)



In fact, the costumes and hairstyles for other female characters DO NOT reflect the year 1962, as well:



Both actresses Rose Byrne and Zoë Kravitz are wearing knee-high boots, which WERE NOT in fashion in 1962.

Yes, "X-MEN: FIRST-CLASS" had some major flaws. But I cannot deny that I still managed to enjoy the movie very much. Screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn wrote a flawed, but very entertaining and epic story. The movie also boasted first-rate performances from a cast led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. And Vaughn brought all of these factors together with some fine direction. "X-MEN: FIRST CLASS" has made me an even bigger fan of the franchise and I would heartily recommend it for anyone's viewing pleasure.