X-Men: First Class

(PG-13) ★★★☆☆

Call it Muppet Babies for the ComiCon set: X-Men: First Class goes back in time to tell the tale of how Professor X, Mystique, Magneto and the rest of the Marvel mutant supergroup met cute, grew up and became heroes … and villains. For the fifth movie in its franchise, this prequel feels surprisingly fresh—mostly thanks to the dynamic young cast, headed up by James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender.

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Blowin’ It


Blowin’ It

By Jarret Keene

Being the lone trumpet player in an alt-rock band seems to be a willful act of irony. Sure, the Rolling Stones often tour with a horn section, but Cake is about as far from cocky blues-rock as you can get. Guitarist Xan McCurdy refuses to use reverb; drummer Paulo Baldi’s kit attack is as arid as Death Valley; bassist Gabe Nelson plods along like a sure-footed dinosaur; and frontman John McCrea’s voice can best be described as a vivacious bari-monotone.