Notable new releases in stores this week.
Pick of the Week: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Midnight Madness Collection
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Pick of the Week: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Fox didn’t release First Class until Friday of last week, so this column was delayed until I could spend some quality time with Matthew Vaughn’s mutant prequel. I had high hopes that the disc would end up being my Pick of the Week, and those hopes were thankfully confirmed.

After the slap in the face that was X3: The Last Stand, and the promising-but-ultimately-disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Vaughn had his work cut out for him to get Professor X and company back in our good graces. And while X2 still ranks as the ‘Best X-Men Movie’ to-date, First Class ranks a close second while offering the delightful promise of more period X-Men films starring this bold, new band of superheroes. Some of the supporting mutants are on the lame side (Angel?), but the interplay between young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) make the film watching all by themselves. (And don’t go to the bathroom, or you might miss the film’s brief-but-hilarious R-rated cameo!)

Fox’s Blu-ray gives the film a stellar audio/video presentation with exceptional image detail, natural skin tones, deep blacks, and a truly awesome 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Chief among the extras is a highly enjoyable multi-part HD documentary entitled “Children of the Atom.” Highly recommended.

Read more: New on Blu-ray/DVD for September 6, 2011