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James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence in 'X-Men:First Class'

When it rains, it pours.

A veritable torrent of movies either hailing from England or starring British actors in prominent roles will open on Friday (June 3).

The most ballyhooed of the titles arriving in theaters is X-Men: First Class, the prequel to the previous three X-Men blockbusters (four if you include X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Scotsman James McAvoy and Irish-raised Michael Fassbender co-star as, respectively, young versions of Professor X and Magneto, and Englishman Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake and Kick-Ass) directed.

Two appealing, smaller British movies opening in limited runs are Submarine and Mr. Nice. The first is a quirky coming-of-age comedy from director-screenwriter Richard Ayoade (who stars on The IT Crowd). Submarine stars Craig Roberts as a 15-year-old, geeky youth who’s simultaneously wooing his first real girlfriend and trying to repair his parents’ foundering marriage (Sally Hawkins plays his mum).

Mr. Nice is a biopic telling the picaresque, real life story of Howard Marks, a notorious British drug dealer. The Welsh-born Marks, who began selling dope while studying at Oxford, is portrayed, appropriately, by Welshman Rhys Ifans.

But wait, there’s more: the Scottish-born Ewan McGregor and Welsh-born Michael Sheen both have flicks arriving on Friday. McGregor stars in Beginners, a beguiling romantic comedy about a man who learns valuable life lessons about emotional openness through the example set by his late father (Christopher Plummer), who announced at age 75 that he was gay.

Sheen, already in theaters in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, costars with Maria Bello in Beautiful Boy, a wrenching drama about a couple’s emotional journey after their college age son goes on a shooting rampage — and is himself killed — at his school.


Which of these movies will you be seeing?



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By Leah Rozen