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New on DVD: 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Hanna,' 'Everything Must Go'

Posted 9:25am on Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2011

X-Men: First Class

What's the best way to inject some juice into what could be just another tired sequel? Apparently, it's yanking the characters back to when they were young, with hormones and potential powers racing through their systems like so much Red Bull. X- Men: First Class, with its solid acting from a strong cast, nimble action scenes, a subtle sense of humor and a genuine sense of the young X-Men's palpable unease of being outside the norm, may actually be the best entry in the franchise. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake), the film has a darkness to it, especially in its first half, that acts as a counterbalance to what might be expected in a superhero movie. But then, in the end, it doesn't scrimp on the high-tech showdowns either.

Hanna, about the 16-year-old daughter (Saoirse Ronan) of a spy (Eric Bana) eluding capture from her father's old nemesis (Cate Blanchett), is a visually beguiling if thematically opaque take on the old standby, the cat-and-mouse game.

Everything Must Go stars Will Ferrell as an alcoholic named Nick whose wife leaves him and who loses his job. This drama is uneven but has much to admire, including a moving and restrained performance from Ferrell.

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