So once again we have survived.

Hanna

tn_hannaHanna (Saoirse Ronan from ATONEMENT and THE LOVELY BONES) is a young girl raised by a single dad (Eric CHOPPER Bana). She grew up away from the city and was home schooled, so she’s different from other kids. And by that I mean she grew up completely isolated in a remote cabin near the Arctic Circle and spent all her time training in combat, hunting and the speaking of multiple languages. Her dad is a rogue CIA guy but instead of doing freelance work like Seagal he just spends all his time growing a Unabomber beard and turning this bright little girl into a murder machine. She’s the girl Beatrix Kiddo hopes Vernita Green’s daughter never turns into. Some day when Hanna decides she’s ready she’ll literally flip a switch that will set off a war with the bitch (Cate Blanchett) that killed her mom.

Most of the movie is about Hanna and her dad separately on the run, dad being chased by the CIA, Hanna by a gay assassin (Tom Hollander, the little prick villain from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2-3) and his two skinhead pals. These pursuers are relentless and ruthless, killing innocent people along the way. Of course, Dad leaves his share of bodies too. But in self defense.

mp_hannaThere’s been some hype about the action scenes, inevitably a little exaggerated because of the embarrassing state of filmatism in theatrically released Hollywood action films. The chases are effective, but be warned that when Hanna fights it’s mostly in shaky closeup like they do now. But it’s fine. The good news is that Bana has two long take fights, the standout actually done in one continuous shot. Filmatically (though not in fighting style) it’s similar to the one in THE MARINE 2 because the camera rotates around him the whole time.

The stunt coordinator is Jeff Imada, who’s now known for the BOURNE movies but has also done traditionally decipherable stuff including most of John Carpenter’s movies, RAPID FIRE, THE CROW and some of BLADE. Recently he did BOOK OF ELI which also made a good if not earth-shattering attempt to use longer takes in the fight scenes. Imada also studied Jeet Kune Do under Dan Inosanto – studied in the traditional sense, not in the living out in the snow bowhunting caribou sense. But it’s still a credit worth mentioning.

The director is Joe Wright, whose previous work I haven’t seen but it’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, ATONEMENT and THE SOLOIST. Regardless of the quality of those movies they’re definitely in the neighborhood of Oscar-bait, so it’s cool that he’s decided to follow them up with an action and revenge picture. Good for you, mister.

For the musical score he hired the Chemical Brothers (Teddy and Kevin Chemical I believe are their Christian names) so every once in a while you get some thumping computery rhythms going, but it’s not one of those annoying wall-to-wall dance music type of action movies, it has to work its way up to it. Actually it seemed to me like most of the movie was music-free and quiet like THE AMERICAN.

To me an asskicking little girl is more interesting treated seriously like this than funny like in KICK-ASS. She’s a little palefaced ninja running around in the snow, she knows how to snap a neck or ride the undercarriage of a car but she only knows what “music” is by what she read in a book. She’s taught every detail about how to pretend to be a normal girl… everything except everything that makes it believable. When it comes down to it all she’s doing is spewing out a list of made up facts. She just wants to be a girl and have her first friend but it’s hard to do with her background, not to mention her situation of being on a savage mission of revenge and being hunted and all that. So it’s both cool and tragic (I believe the youths would call it coolgic if they had room in their vocabulary for such nuanced emotions).

What I like best about the movie is the way it contrasts Hanna with this other girl Sophie (Jessica Barden) who she meets on the side of a road and spends some time with. It’s a funny comparison because Sophie’s folks talk alot about how to be good and open-minded parents, but their daughter is always disrespectful to them and embarrassed of them. Meanwhile Hanna’s had about the worst childhood she could, but she’s incredibly close to her dad and turned out very polite and smart. Sophie talks non-stop about pop culture and gossip and shit, Hanna is mostly quiet but can launch into memorized facts from her encyclopedia. Sophie’s parents are maybe too open about adult subjects in her presence, Hanna knows so little about it that when a boy she likes tries to kiss her she flips him and just about chokes him out.

Other than the tragic past and the cold-blooded murdering Hanna seems like an ideal child and great role model for all the other brats. Sophie luckily doesn’t have one of those god damn smart phones to twiddle away with, but she definitely seems like one of today’s little knuckleheads with their brains twisted in 76 thousand directions per second by all the twittering and facebooking and information overload. Hanna was raised so far away from all that that she’s actually terrorized by the sounds and stimuli of a sparse Moroccan hotel room.

And yet these kids really like each other. They get along well. It’s sweet.

This is one of the better movies I’ve seen this year, I really liked it. But I don’t want to hype it up too much. Its pleasures are simple. It’s a pretty basic story and not too original in its general concept, but that’s part of what I like about it. A simple action plot with some care, some heart and a little artiness going into the filmatism. Not too much explaining or spoonfeeding of backstory. I like a movie that’s not overly complicated but leaves room for you to read plenty of depth into it if you care to. Also I like bows and arrows.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011 at 1:59 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

106 Responses to “Hanna”

  1. Thanks for another great review, Vern. But you should definitely watch »Pride & Prejudice«. I think it’s one of the best romances ever captured on film. The exact opposite of a boring custume drama. Wonderfully written and directed, with great performances, humor and genuine emotions.

  2. So there’s no bullshit obvious twist of “her dad is just using her for his own scheme and lied to her, and Cate Blanchett is actually her mother and not that evil”? Count me in then.

  3. I’m considering training my daughters in a similar manner (I think it’s cool to have girl bodyguards) but I am undecided. This movie may help me make up my mind about that.

    I also feel this is a great review, Vern. It’s funny, when I declared my dislike for Kick-Ass, people assumed I had some moral objection to it’s story. No, I said, I just think it’s a shitty movie.
    HANNA looks like a treatment of the girl assassin sub-genre that is more my style. Your comparison with THE AMERICAN leads me to believe this. That film was badass and classy and classic.

  4. I thought the movie reminded me a lot of “The Man From Nowhere.” You’ve got premises that lend themselves to all out mayhem from about the thirty minute mark– The Man’s neighbor girl getting kidnapped, Hanna flipping the switch and yet it still escalates carefully instead of all at once. You also have your cartoonishly effeminate villain (by which I mean the guy chasing Hanna), you have a bad ass killer of unknown origins with impressive knife fighting skills. Remember how Hanna Man from Nowhere’d the fuck out of that one guy in the shipyard?

    I think another comparison you could make with all the fairy tale shit is Running Scared although the allusions don’t really pop up in the same way. Both films, hell all three (since we’re talking Man from Nowhere as well), have inspired and nutty ass climaxes.

    So yeah, I think Hanna is what would happen if you put 3 parts Man From Nowhere in a blender with one part Running Scared and topped it off with some fruity shit girls like to drink (because that’s how you get your fourteen-year-old heroine). It’s also pretty much one of the year’s most delicious drinks.

  5. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    April 11th, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Sounds like a cracker, will keep my eye out for it. Is it a cinema release or is it on dvd?

  6. Cinema. UK Release is on the 6th of May.

  7. Darryll, hilarious! The idea of some guy using this film as a parenting manual cracks me up.

  8. I’ll qwatch this movie just for the fact it has Saoirse Ronan as an action girl and Cate Blanchett as a CIA spy bitch from hell. What’s not to love? And from the director of ATONEMENT? Fine by me, because i think that movie is excelent.

    I rather trust a director who used to make period movies and then decides to make an action movie, then a director who only makes action movies and then decides to make a period movie (hello, Pearl Harbor!).

  9. brandon curtis, what does this movie HANNA have to do with a 1980s cop buddy comedy staring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines?

  10. Isn’t it a tad underwhelming to say things like “This is one of the better movies I’ve seen this year” when we’re in the month of April? Not a criticism against Vern in particular – I’ve noticed other critics firing off this phrase or similar ones. The compliment seems equal to “You’re the best around.”

  11. Ronald, or maybe they just mean to say that is one of the best movie they have seen this year. As of April.

  12. Asimov- I meant the 2006 Paul Walker vehicle. It’s chock full of fairy tale allusions and such. Forgot about the Crystal-Hines flick and took for granted people would know which one I meant. Apologies.

  13. Weird, new style response boxes. Vern, is there an unusually high body count for this film?

  14. Ronald – yeah, I guess “one of the best I’ve seen in a while” would be more accurate but I think I use that one too much. The truth is I liked it alot but didn’t want to say “I loved it” because I’m wary of the ol’ hyperbole.

    Lawrence – no, it’s hardly a massacre. Maybe a fun-sized massacre. I’m not sure what the total is but it’s less then Rambo in my opinion. (More than First Blood.)

  15. I plan to see this tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to inject some much needed commentary here on the sexual issues that confront viewers every time a 10-22 year old girl kicks ass in a movie.

    So she rides the undercarriage of a vehicle? Not bad, coming from a British girly novel adaptation filmatist, but in BANGKOK KNOCKOUT, there’s a full blown fight on or below the undercarriage of an 18 wheeler in motion, as well as simultaneous action in the truck’s trailer. No bows & arrows, though, so maybe it’s a draw.

    For real though, the HANNA preview looked tight.

  16. You bring up an important question. Is it exploitation or empowerment? ‘Cause obviously it has to be one or the other if it has a girl in it.

  17. Or maybe it’s exploitation of empowerment. Considering that the vast majority of the movies made in USA are commercial and not artistic in nature, the exploitation angle is never far behind.

    It’s not the girl power thing that makes me want to watch this movie. It’s the fact that stars Saoirse Ronan as an ass-kicking action girl and Cate Blanchett as a CIA spy bitch from hell.

  18. Okay, Vern, I think it’s time you started keeping track of how many times you mention “Kick Ass” in a negative way when writing about another film. Believe me, as a big fan of the comic I was really dissappointed in the changes they made for the movie, as well as the choice of zany music. But it is not the total crap fest you are making it out to be. Not to mention the fact that you have given alot more slack to films that are total crap fests. And I hope to see “Hanna” this coming weekend. I saw “Your Highness” this last weekend and it was an enjoyable little odd-ball film.

  19. Dan Snoke- Everything I read about your Higness lead me to believe, as a stoner and a fan of Danny McBride and James Franco, that it was a crappy rushed script with horrible CGI and too many jokes that rely on the same few gags. Is that true?

  20. diselboy, I’m assuming if you’re really a fan of all of those things you’d just go see the movie.

    Anyway, Vern, Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) will be remaking They Live. Of coarse he’s saying he’s doing a faithful adaptation of “8 O’Clock in the Morning” but we know.

  21. dieselboy- I didn’t find Your Highness to be any of those things. I’m not a stoner, but I do love Danny McBride and the Apatow crew, and to me, Your Highness played really well. It’s a very simple conceit: An epic-fantasy with jokes. It’s not the kind of movie that had me laughing hysterically from end-to-end, but it put a big goofy smile on my face from minute one and that smile never wavered. The third act is really when all the humor picks up, and then I WAS laughing at pretty much everything. I the thought of Justin Theroux in a wizard costume screaming, “The Fuckening has begun!” makes you giggle, Your Highness is the movie for you.
    There’s also like two weed jokes so I’m not sure why they played the stoner angle so hard.

  22. Oh yeah, about Hanna, it’s pretty good. Definitely one of the better action movies in a long time but what the hell is that saying. I think some of the internet guys like Devin are bing thrown by the pedigree of the talent in front of and behind the camera. If it had a more standard action movie cast and feel, they’d probably be nitpicking the narrative more, or spending more time calling out the heavy-handedness of the fairy tale imagery and things like that. But yeah, a really pretty good movie.

    For my money, what makes Hanna interesting is the way it recalls the arty, character based action movies you got in the 60’s and 70’s. The way Wright uses his camera, the score, the abrupt, circular ending, it put me in my mind of things like POINT BLANK and DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY and other pictures of that ilk. Which is nice.

  23. Dan – Okay, fair point. But since the other internetters still (but not for long I’d bet) talk about “Hit Girl” as this great icon I thought it was relevant to point out that this is my preferred approach to that type of character. I mean really I just said “to me” this is “more interesting” and did not say anything about KICK-ASS being crappy.

  24. Vern – I dunno if you ever referred to it as crappy exactly, but you have definitely seemed to have a chip on your shoulder about that movie for some time.

  25. dieselboy, what Vern feels about KICK ASS can barely be considered a chip on his shoulder. you don’t know what a chip on one’s shoulder is about a movie. a chip on one’s shoulder is what i feel about JJ Abrams Trek movie, and it’s epic. You would know the difference. If anything, what i think Vern feels about Kick Ass is more a case of mild anoyance and bewilderment at the movie’s popularity among the interneters. I liked the movie better then Vern did, but i really understand his feelings.

  26. But they’re warning me to be careful not to have that type of chip on my shoulder, and I appreciate it.

  27. “You bring up an important question. Is it exploitation or empowerment? ‘Cause obviously it has to be one or the other if it has a girl in it.”

    That’s an excellent point actually, Vern. What is it about female characters in films, especially ones in “action” roles, that seem to voraciously attract debates of whether they’re feminist icons or sex objects – both of which seem like “reducing” them to a symbol of something, not an actual believable human character? And how come men are almost never debated in the same way?

    (Actually, I get the distinct impression that if I watched “Sucker Punch” I’d get an answer to that first question. But still, interesting point.)

    When “The Full Monty” came out in Britain, it was funny and refreshing to see this kind of criticism directed at men. You haven’t known “surreal” until you’ve read an article discussing whether Tom Wilkinson baring his all has different political ramifications to Helen Mirren doing the same thing in different context.

  28. I think the exploitation vs empowerment debate is an interesting one. For sure, it pigeonholes female roles as having to fit into one of two categories. The classic fallback for me in this case is Alien and Aliens era Ripley: Scott/Cameron were trying to seriously portray a future in which gender divisions were simply not as much of an issue, and rather successfully avoided bringing that shit up in the first place. (If you got a boner from Ripley’s tiny undies at the end of Alien1, well, that’s your beef man, can’t a badass enjoy a moment of relaxation after kicking alien tail?). (Also, I really like Alien3, but of course that’s the first one where her female-ness comes front and center of the conflict, so I’m not sure if it fits with this scheme).

    I also tremendously enjoy Ammara Siripong in Chocolate, but would never claim that the movie isn’t operating on exploitation.

    Last point: I don’t think you can say that because commercialism is the driving force behind the Hollywood machine, that automatically makes their films inartistic. Even commercials themselves can lend themselves to artistry, employ graphic artists and photographers and actors, etc. And, just because something is bad art, doesn’t mean it’s not art.

  29. Vern- I just don’t want you to over use the “Kick Ass” too much when it’s not clear if the movie has had any kind of impact on anyone yet. Save your ire for a big hit movie that really has a negative effect. I don’t spend as much time on the net as you I’m sure, so I haven’t been as pissed at the fanboys about it as much as you have. As I said, my main grip with the movie is that every change they made to the comic made it more of a super hero movie and less of the sick comedy the comic was. I was someone who was getting my hopes up way too high pre-release. The wacky music on the trailer should have made me less hopeful.
    As far as “your highness”, I really don’t think there was much stoner humor in it, although maybe all the dick jokes were for the soners to giggle at? It didn’t have that many real jokes in it, but there were enough that between that and the gory fantasy set pieces, I was pretty satisfied.

  30. Teddy Jack Eddy

    April 12th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    “…grew up…in..the Arctic Circle and spent all her time training in combat, hunting and the speaking of multiple languages.” THAT’S THE PLOT OF DOC SAVAGE!!!

  31. Jareth Cutestory

    April 12th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Dan Snoke: Do you think KICK ASS would have went over better with the public if it was as grim as the source material? Or was the failure of the film with mass audiences due to the fact that it didn’t go far enough into familiar territory (wacky music notwithstanding)?

  32. “And how come men are almost never debated in the same way?” Aren’t that our fault, Paul? Women basically don’t watch the same movies as us, so they can’t really comment on wether Lundgren or Van Damme is the sexier action hero. The big question is; are we secure enough with our own sexuality to even have the discussion?

  33. Pegsman – well in all fairness, isn’t that because the answer is so obvious? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a guy with a sexy accent, which JCVD has in spades. But when it comes to beautiful men, Dolph’s chieselled jawline and perfect abs & pecs make me weak at the knees. Plus he has a degree in engineering, and we all know intelligence is sexy.

    Funny… I’m sure I wasn’t a thirteen year-old girl when I started this post…

  34. I’ve only seen Saoirse Ronan in The Lovely Bones, but she really, really impressed me, I probably should have seen Hanna, but it flew under my radar, oh well

    and speaking of Saoirse Ronan, has anyone seen that movie she was in called City of Ember? I saw parts of it on tv a while back and it seemed like a really cool movie and right up my alley, but it was completely ignored when it was released in theaters and it has yet to get a blu ray release despite being a movie from 2008, what’s up with that?

  35. and I’m one of the assholes that enjoyed Kick Ass, but I admit it’s not a movie I have a strong desire to re-watch anytime soon

  36. Thanks for the review. I’ll check this movie out.

    Although I already fear that we’ll soon see a reboot: Ri-hanna

    Tagline: An umbrella-ella-ella can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands.

  37. I just recently read the Kick-Ass comic book and it’s not that good so it doesn’t surprise me that the movie wasn’t that good either.

  38. Personally, i welcome action movies where the hero is a lady. and it’d about time there’s action movies where both the hero and the villian are females. Truth be told, i’m starting to get a bit fed up of the male predominance in action movies.

    Unfortunatly, the female action movies being made this days mostly are of the silly fantasy-action type. What is fantasy-action type, you might ask? All those which are not like realistic or reality plausible in their style. You know, the Charlie Angels’s type.

    I’m fed up of action movies with baby oiled muscled big dudes. It’s about time the ladies show up. The action genre is in need of the lib movement. And this is a guy talking.

  39. Griff, you should see Saoirse Ronan in ATONEMENT. She is fantastic. Her oscar nomination was no mere fluke or just a “nominate the cute kiddie” type of deal. No, it was the real deal. She fully deserved it. And really, watch ATONEMENT.

    This is for every one of you , you should watch ATONEMENT. You too, Vern. Maybe you action movie afficionados would think there’s nothing for you in such a period movie like ATONEMENT. You would be wrong. It really is a very good movie. I know, because that was my attitude toward it when i went to watch it. Thankfully, i went to watch it. Haven’t regreated it in the slightest. Damn good movie.

  40. pegsman: “Women basically don’t watch the same movies as us”

    That’s nonsense. I know quite a few women who watch the same movies as the guys do and enjoy them. I know some who refuse to watch the so-called “girly movies”. I suspect either you do not know the right girls and thus it gave you a wrong idea about them as this monolithic group of hive-minded Borg like creatures, or you guys in the USA have a real huge division between the genders.

  41. Griff, yeah, I saw CITY OF EMBER largely because I am a fan of Ronan. And Bill Murray, of course. Pretty much the only thing I remember about the film is that it is forgettable. It wasn’t a bad movie, just a little too by-the-numbers, in my opinion. I prefer HANNA, THE WAY BACK and ATONEMENT by a wide margin.

  42. “Women basically don’t watch the same movies as us,”

    Meet more women.

  43. Some movies I really like:

    THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, BITTERSWEET LIFE, I SAW THE DEVIL, BEDEVILED, HOSTEL (1 more than 2), JU-ON, MERANTAU, ONG BAK, CHOCOLATE, LE SAMOURAI, GHOST DOG, THE LONG GOODBYE, BREWSTER MCCLOUD, THE FLY, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NO COUNTRY…, the ALIEN quadrilogy, PREDATOR, MOON, BLACK SWAN, SOURCE CODE

    Some movies I really dislike:

    THE LOVELY BONES, DAWN TREADER, TRANSFORMERS 2, A SERBIAN FILM, THE LAST AIRBENDER, CLASH OF THE TITANS

    Film critics I like:

    Vern, some of the FFC guys, some of the time

    AsimovLives – where are you? I think I’m ready to leave this ass-backwards country…

  44. Griff — I liked CITY OF EMBER quite a bit. It’s from MONSTER HOUSE director Gil Kenan, and like that one feels more honest than most movies these days about its children protagonists; that is to say, it gives them personalities and motivations that feel like actual young adults, and is willing to put them in dangerous and unsavory situations. Despite this and some nice touches (including a nicely smily Bill Murray), the movie as a whole ends up feeling a little rushed and a bit insubstanial, but definitely worthy of more interest than it got. It’s worth a watch for sure, just don’t expect to fall in love.

    Woman in USA — wait, you liked HOSTEL and ALIEN 3/4? Burn her!

  45. AsimovLives and renfield; As you might have read in the Stand by Me thread (or not), I’ve lived with a woman for 20 years who love action movies as much as I do. But, as this page (and others) show, DTV action and badass cinema are mostly a man’s game. Mostly. And my comment earlier was a jokey statement about the fact that we (us men) seldom comment on the sexyness of, let’s say Steve Austin or Steven Seagal.
    PS! I’m Norwegian, not American.

  46. O’ll only get to see HANNA on July 7th! What piss! On the bright side, it means that at least i’ll have one good movie to watch this sumemr, instead of the usual blockbuster tosh! The welcome alernative to Mickey Bay’s Trashformers 3!

  47. Woman in USA, it’s TETRALOGY. Quadrilogy is some bullshit neologism invented by illiterate executives at 20th Century Fox. The word doesn’t fucking exist on account nobody had been stupid enough before to dare invent it.

  48. I’m not saying that there aren’t movies we typically associate as being “guy movies” or “chick flicks” or whatever, but the notion that men and women don’t like the same kinds of movies seems a little insane. pegsman said it like it was a cliche or something, but it’s not one I’ve ever heard in my life. Seems like it’s extrapolating the whole “men and women are different” observational comedy to a surreal degree. “Men like Dr Pepper, but women only drink Mr Pibb!”

    I know his claim is crazy because the reason I saw movies like ALIENS and the first two TERMINATORs and other action, horror, and/or sci-fi classics from that era at such a young age is because my mom loved them and showed them to me.

  49. Woman in USA, i live in Portugal, wich if you want to locate it in the map, it’s in Europe, in the western extreme of the Peninsula Iberica. A country which until recently it was pretty chauvinistic toward women. We catched up with the world pretty quickly in this past 20 years.

    By the way, we don’t speak spanish, we speak portuguese, we have our own language. Yeah, we kinda get upset when ignorant foreigners make that mistake. It’s understandable, if you consider we had fought 3 full scale wars of independence against Spain in the past 700 years. We earned our pride.

  50. pegsman, if you ask me, bad action movies are a mostly man’s thing. All those movies with those oiled up muscled men. I gues most women ar enot into that kind of gay.

    Proper action movies? Try Michel Mann’s HEAT. That’s a proper action movie.

  51. And pegsman, it’s not the first time i have seen a scadinavian act and speak like an american. The msot anoying obtuse fuck i ever met, which was on AICN, is swedish. And i have always admired and respecte dthe swedish people, i rate them one of the msot intelligent people in the world. Likewise the norwegians. So, i have to ask, don’t you have any pride in being norwegian? why you act all american, man?

    I mean, like, you guys in Norwegian made one of my all time favorite slasher movie i ever seen, the COLD PREY movies. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a fine damn one. I really liked both of them, slashers at it’s best, Halloween like quality. Be prioud of beign norwegian, man! I wish i was one. The only thing we portuguese beat you is in food and wines.

    By the way, if i were to spend a holiday in your country in the summer, what would be your advise?

  52. Dan Prestwich, your mother is cool. I bet she’s about of my generation (i was born in 1971).

  53. Ha ha, I’ll let her know you said so. She’s actually a bit older than that, but I use my real name on here so I don’t want to “out” her actual age.

  54. Dan; Sure men and women like the same movies. What I meant to say earlier was that most women aren’t that into movies like Hunt to Kill and Universal Soldier: Regeneration, and that’s why people like Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude Van Damme – unlike female actors – are judged by their skills and not by their looks. Fair enough?

  55. I stand corrected. I like the ALIEN TETRALOGY, including 3/4. Thank you, oh wise blogging men of outlaw vern’s website (should outlaw vern be all one word? Capitalized? gosh! I just don’t know!).

    AsimovLives – Oh! Portugal is in Europe?? You speak Portuguese in PORTUGAL? Gee, I’m just a silly woman who’s never looked at a map or traveled to say, Brazil, where they speak this funny sounding Spanish….

    pegsman – you are not my reason for thinking Americans have a problem with gender discrimination. That’s nice that you’re Norwegian. Sorry you have an idiotic girlfriend who’s only enjoyment of action films comes from her drooling over sexy men. That must be difficult for you.

    Cheers! :)

  56. AsimovLive; In what way do I act American and not Norwegian? Sure I like living in Norway, but I don’t think it would be of interest to anyone if I sounded like a tourist board all the time. But , if you’re coming to Norway I guess what we have to offer that no one else have is lots beautiful nature. So if you’re into fishing, hiking or mountain climbing, Norway’s your country. In fact it looks a little bit like New Zealand, so if you’ve seen the Lord of the rings movies you have an idea what it looks like. By the way, there are three Cold Prey movies now. The last one’s about how the boy from the first one became The Mountain Man.

  57. Woman in USA; It’s probably because English is not my first language, but I was actually saying the opposite. I think. I don’t really know what we’re discussing anymore. I was trying to say something about the fact that female actors are constantly judged by their looks and men aren’t.
    PS! I think you owe my girlfriend an apology.

  58. I love it when movies have a kind of self-contained plot with a symmetry & imagery that hints at some meaning outside the narrative but which is also exclusive to the film.  HANNA definitely has that.  

    Very impressive work from the guy who did ATONEMENT, which was not as good as Ian McEwan’s book but still not bad at all.  (By the way, that reminds me — it’s Mr. McEwan’s good friend Christopher Hitchens’s 62nd birthday today.  Let’s hope he has many more.)  

    SPOILERY HANNA NOTES: 
    -I have to pat myself on the back for correctly guessing Morocco immediately after her escape.  Something about the costumes & the writing.  

    -I was entranced by that damn German stripper music, so I was glad it persisted throughout the movie, otherwise it would have been stuck in my head and distracting me from the action.  Gotta Rhapsody that.  

    -A good way to detect a lie is to have the suspect tell his/her story backwards.  I was hoping Hanna’s background stories would be tested in a scene of witty interrogation room banter.  

    -I knew Marisa’s choice of footwear would come into play, either b/c she’d have a secret explosive item in the heel or b/c she’d wish she’d gone more sporty-practical for a chase through a huge playground.  

    -Vern & I were being sarcastic earlier when we said any movie with a teen girl necessarily is a statement on either empowerment or exploitation, but HANNA has some strong messages on the perils of the superficiality of most modern women.  
    ——-It’s easy to read into the liberal mother figure who preaches against the application of makeup as a stark contrast to Marisa, who is so obsessed with her image that she brushes her teeth until she bleeds and indeed pays the ultimate price for rocking designer pumps.  
    ——Marisa’s final appearance before the fatal wound is when she emerges from something that resembles the Hell-Mouth of medieval & Elizabethan theatre conventions.  
    ——-It also interests me, now that my over-analytical English lit college boy juices are flowing, that Marisa sends in a younger, more attractive ginger CIA agent the first time to speak with Hanna in their first encounter.  That’s right, she sends, or projects, a more made-up, prettified version of herself, and Hanna, who has never dealt with or been exposed to any of the superficial trappings of youth or modern womanhood, promptly kills her.  Hanna is virginal & innocent, but she’s a brilliant killing machine.  A girl who was to be aborted, to be killed at her absolute most defenseless state as a fetus, but became someone who kills a woman who is anti-motherhood (and who often leaves unconscious men in the fetal position).  And in the cabin she has to pass the ultimate test of defending herself while asleep, while at her most defenseless position, before she is truly born into the world.  Abnormal, indeed.  And did you catch the look and the uneasy drawing in of breath when Marisa is asked about motherhood, before she kills the one character who talks of nothing but motherhood?  

    Good stuff, well worth my money.  Fuck it, let’s tweet Stallone about Joe Wright for EXPENDABLES 2.  

  59. pegsman: Then I agree with you on both points – I apologize to your girlfriend. Thought I was playing along with the pseudo-sarcastic comments on this thread, but I didn’t mean to take it too far. Vern’s bloggers are generally much more respectful than other film site bloggers, and I really appreciate that.

    Looking forward to seeing Hanna! There’s exploitation and empowerment of women, men, chickens and turds in all movies. To me, it’s just about the way that exploitation/empowerment is contextualized.

  60. Jareth Cutestory – Why did “Kick Ass” fail? The directer and the scripwriter decided to lighten things up, I guess so it might appeal to more people. I don’t think it would have been a big hit either way, so I think they should have stuck to the book which was much darker and would have suited me better. I’ve heard that “Super” might just be the movie I thought “Kick Ass” would be.

    As far as watching action movies with my wife, she really doesn’t enjoy them that much anymore. But I admit that the only time I watch the British Costume Dramas with her is when they star someone like Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice mini-series). I really am abit shallow like that. Maybe if Colin Firth would appear in a hard R action film she and I could watch something together with the same enthusiasm.

  61. If Colin Firth had just judo chopped or jump kicked somedamnone in THE KING’S SPEECH, it would have been deserving of its many Oscars.

  62. Hey guys, guess what time is!

    Time for me to bring up SOCIAL TRANSVESTISM and THE MALE GAZE!

  63. If they ever make a KICK ASS 2, would Vern have to avoid reviewing it if he’s still providing the column for CLiNT(the magazine created by the comic’s writer and which is currently running the comic’s sequel)? Or does that only apply to potentially positive reviews?

  64. Women / Asimov – I live in Wales, which is fairly unique, in that not only can most foreigners NOT locate it on a map, but the ones who can do so generally don’t want to.

    Mouth – literally the only thing that makes “Bridget Jones” worth watching is Hugh Grant sucker-smacking Colin Firth with a dustbin lid. That one scene is – and I say this without any irony – one of the funniest one-and-a-half minutes of film that I’ve ever seen. Largely because it’s all seen through the eyes of a completely superfluous crowd of staff and customers of an Indian restaurant, none of whom are ever seen again. (“Wow! It’s a REAL FIGHT!”)

    Dan – you’re lucky, because the P&P adaptation starring the volumptious Jennifer Ehle is pretty much the only British costume drama worth watching. Or to put it another way: if it starts with a stagecoach driving up to a ridiculously large house, which by the way they ALWAYS do (it’s the law), it’s probably time to turn the TV off and hide behind the sofa.

    Stu – if they ever do make a “Kick-Ass 2”, I rather expect Vern’s review to be more entertaining than the film itself. I wouldn’t say that was necessarily true of the first film, but it was close; and the law of diminishing returns generally affects movies more than movie reviewers.

  65. “Shall I bring my swords or my duelling pistols?”

    And every time Firth breaks something, all Brit civility: “I’m sorry. I WILL pay.”

    I like Bridget Jones Diary.

    Also: “CAREFUL you HAMFISTED CUNT!” i mean the film had a degree of credibility I thought. whatever.

  66. I like how literally 15 minutes after a female posted here, Mr. Subtlety put out the call to “burn her!”

    Paul, no I will not come over and watch BRIDGET JONES with you.

  67. I really don’t get all this hatred towards Kick-Ass. It’s a damn funny, action packed little movie that due to it’s very English tone could never be huge hit all over the globe. Here in Norway it’s regarded as a masterpiece.

  68. Pegsman – I guess it’s a bit of backlash against the geek lovefest that it got when it was first released. Vern’s review was pretty negative. To me, as I said in the “Sucker Punch” thread, I found it ok – not as bad as Vern’s review suggested, but nowhere near as good as some were saying it was.

  69. It was pandering, lame duck nihilist-chic patter. There was no ‘backlash’ against Kick-Ass so much as there was well placed hype from paid off tastemakers that never translated into actual buzz. Consequently, when the film came out, most people disliked it, as they always would have, but it SEEMED like a ‘backlash’ because we had been marketed to very well.

  70. I don’t know one single person who disliked Kick-Ass, and I’ve never read a bad review in any European newspaper. Maybe it’s a cultural thing…

  71. Woman in USA, you would be suprised at how many people in USA couldn’t find Portugal in a map without wikipedia. And it’s not just the common people. Some years ago, an american government document adressed to the justices of Portugal was sent to Madrid, spain, because those who sent it believed Portugal to be a spanish province. You know what americna state agency was that? The FBI. So yeah, american ignorance about Portugal is pretty great. Recently it has became better, possibly because nowdays there’s some luso-americans (americans of portuguese ancestry) of some proeminence in politics and finances.

    The portuugewse spoken in Brazil is actually different form the continental portuguese spoken in Portugal. It’s a bigger difference then the one that exists between americna and brotish english. While brazilians and portugueses can mutually understand each other faily enough times, there are in fact so many regional dialect variations from both portugal and brazil with can make some peop,e not be able to understand each other. In fact, the regional dialact differences can be so great there’s some brazilians who can’t understand a brazlian from other states.

    And then there’s the matter of the complexity of the portuguese language itself. Brazilian portuguese is actually a sport of simplified form of Portuguese, while curiously retaining some arcaism from the portuguese language that have been absent from continental portuguese since the 19th century. So, no, don’t presume to know you actually know how portuguese sound just because you once visited Brazil. It’s like guessing how the english talk by listening to californians.

    And in portuguese we say Brasil.

  72. pegsman, well, it was easy for me to read you as an american, by the way you wrote your stuff and your coments. Also, it helps that your english is excelent. But i heard that norwegians in general speak excelent english.

  73. The discussion of Kick-Ass seems to be straddling both the Hanna and Sucker Punch comments, but I’ll post mine here anyway.

    I always found it interesting that Vern wasn’t very fond of Kick-Ass because in many ways I see it very similar to Sucker Punch. It’s a film that had a lot of mixed critical opinion that was perhaps only fondly reviewed in the geek press, and those positive reviews were either:

    “stop analysing it, it’s just crazy, extreme fun! That’s all!”
    or
    “I’m not sure if this was what the film’s intended message was, but I was able to draw out these interesting discussion points”.

    I liked Kick-Ass a lot because of the second view, I’m not sure all the interesting analysis I got out of the film was actually intended and I do think there’s a possibility the film makers were just going for the first, which is similar to Vern’s reaction to Sucker Punch. Lots of interesting things to discuss, but how much of that was ever intended is perhaps open for debate – but essentially doesn’t matter.

    So yeah, not sayin’ Vern’s opinion is wrong, because it’s opinion and all, just intrigued that Kick-Ass and Sucker Punch are both films that, from my view, have a lot of interesting discussion to be drawn from them, but the more you discuss it, the more you find bits of “oh, maybe it’s just what I’m bringing to the film and seeing in it, rather than what the film is actually providing me with”.

  74. pegsman, sorry, i hit the post buttom by mistake.

    Thanks for the advise on beautiful Norway. I really have wanted to visit your country for a long time. I also heard you are one of the nicest people, very welcoming. I also heard you don’t have a very active turism industry going on because foreign turism is a recent thing in your country. But i’m sure i would love a few days stay in your country. Are there any historical landmarks in your country? Monuments to visit? Palaces and castles to visit? The last repouse of Erik the Red before he was banished to Iceland? Reconstructed old viking hamlets? Reconstructed drakkars?

    I wont deny that i do have a bit of fascination with the old vikings. and unliek mos,t i don’t take viking history lessons from Holywood movies, i actually read historical stuff about them.

    So the new COLD PREY is a prequel. kind amakes sense, because a sequel to the second movie would just ruin it. The second movie has such a definitive ending that to invent some idiotic reason to keep the Cold Prey saga going would just be an obvious ass pull. A prequel is better, though it robs the tension of how the victims will deal with the killer, since it’s a fait accompli that the killer will not get killed.

    I loved the final girl actress of the two previous COLD PREY. Is she a well known actress inyour country? She really was a fantastic screen presence, i find it very easy to root for her all the way through. i kinda felt in love with her character even before the killing started.

    In fact, one the the best thing in the two COLD PREY movies i saw is that the movies are mercilessly absent of the usual assholes that populate slasher genre. Everybody in those movies are nice people and if they sometimes act with less tact, they have good reasons (mostly because they are unaware of something). It was also good to see the cops in COLD PREY 2 act like what real cops would do in such a situation. Nobody acts like idiots in the COLD PREY movies.

    Another horror norwegian movie that i enjoyed quite a lot too was the much sillier DEAD SNOW. I found the movie hillarious like hell, when it goes for comedy mode. Nazi zombies in snow? Brillant!

    You guys in Norway are on a roll with the horror genre. You guys are the new South Korea. There’s this other norwegian comedy movie i have but which i haven’t seen yet called FATSO. I guess i should get bitching on it, becaus ei heard good things about it.

    By the way, the original INSOMNIA is great. I really like the Christopher Nolan’s remake, but your orginal norwegian movie is better. More, shall we say, morally ambiguous. And no final redemption, just a dubious possible oblique punishment.

  75. Paul, i’d love to visit Wales. and i can detect it very easily on a world map, much less a britain islands map. I mean, Wales is even a partial peninsula set west of england, it’s not like it’s lost in the middle of the Midlands, is it? Not knowing where Wales is is like not knowing where Scotland or Cornwall is, it’s just too dumb.

  76. I’m a guy and i liked BRIDGE JONES’ DIARY. It make me laugh quite a lot. The Colin Firth Vs Hugh Grant fight is one for the ages. It’s also very funny in hindsight to see Baltar playing Jones’ obligatory gay friend. That guy is histerical and an excelent actor.

    If all chick flicks were like BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY, i would watch them far more often.

  77. AsimovLives; Ingrid Bolsø Berdal who plays Jannicke in the two first Cold Prey movies is pretty famous here in Norway, and next year she’ll have a bit part in Tommy “Dead Snow” Wirkola’s Hollywood movie Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. If you’re into viking history there’s two places you have to visit here in Norway. One is the folk museum, the other is the Viking ship museum. Both placed right outside of Oslo. In addition there’s a lot of old viking graves and stuff around the countryside.

  78. I liked KICK-ASS. The thing i liked the most about it was the anti-PC humour, which was refreshing. The first scene we meet Big Daddy and Hit Girl made me and my friends roll in the floor laughing.

  79. pegsman, since you are a norwegian and thus descendent of vikings of old, i ask you: did you watched the movie VALHALLA RISING?

    Thanks for the infrmation about Viking stuff. I really need to visit your country. You guys like foreigners and speak to them? I hope you are a bit more open then what seems to be the strangers shyness that seems to infect your swedish and finnsh neighbours.

    Good to know the actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal is a respected figure in the norwegian scene. I really, really liked her in the Cold Prey movies. She played the best final girl since Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN.

    One thing i love about the Cold prey movies is that though they certainly are derivative of countless previous slashers and it really doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, the movies are still made by people who actually liked what they where doing, and their love for the genre and the movies they were making does show. Which helps making those movies so much enjoyable and, well, good. There’s no slouching in the Cold Prey movies, and i appreciate that a lot.

  80. pegsman-“I don’t know one single person who disliked Kick-Ass, and I’ve never read a bad review in any European newspaper. Maybe it’s a cultural thing…”
    Same here. It seems to have gotten a good reaction in the UK. I really don’t get what the point is of hating on geek hype over it. It ruins some of Vern’s reviews for me, as that stuff shouldn’t really have any bearing on whether it’s good or not, and it’s not as if there isn’t a non-geek equivalent(because what is THE EXPENDABLES if not the action movie version of reference-filled, geek-friendly actor casted movies, with a huge heaping of nostalgia thrown in).
    I think at least KICK-ASS deserves to be recognised for being a movie that the makers didn’t compromise with the studios to get made, instead Vaughn getting his own rich friends to finance it so they wouldn’t have to tone it down so much.

  81. asimovLives, I guess I’m a bit indignant by your presumed ignorance of Americans as well.

    i am sympathetic to why you would think so, of course. when i myself travelled to Bra[s]il, I was told the following repeatedly: “Oh, you speak Spanish? No problem! Portuguese is the same!” What a fucking joke that turned out to be, of course. I couldn’t pronounce my way around a single written phrase, let alone communicate about simple things like “how much is this hotel room for two nights?” So yeah, I can relate to wanting to pick apart the fallacy that all those foreign tongues are just the same or slight variations on each other.

    but I did spend summer bumming around that south american nation and grew to greatly appreciate the language, which is honestly in my opinion probably the most beautiful language spoken on the planet (listen to the old-school psychedelic/tropicalia era Gal Costa (before she was a vapid diva) or Os Mutantes and I’m sure most would agree), and I refuse to have that taken away from me simply because, like many languages, it contains many dialects. I still bet you that based on my familiarity with Brazilian Portuguese, I could distinguish, erm, Iberian Portuguese from, say, Italian or Spanish. I mean you aren’t still carrying post-imperial baggage against Brazil are you??

    Also I highly recommend the book BRASYL by Ian McDonald, a quantum-fi/historical epic in the spirit of Douglas Adams meets Neal Stephenson.

  82. (Women in USA)
    AsimovLives – didn’t mean to offend. I understand that the same language will produce a variety of dialects in different regions and continents. But I don’t say that I speak ‘American’, I speak English. I don’t call Spanish spoken in Mexico, ‘Mexican’ – I call it Spanish. I wouldn’t say that Arabic spoken in Morocco is ‘Moroccan’, and so on. Perhaps I’m being a stupid American, or perhaps you’re being a tad too sensitive? Or maybe you’re just a language and history buff – I like that. I can’t claim to be super knowledgeable in those departments, and I thought your post was both interesting and informative. Frickin FBI! Grumble, grumble. By any chance, was that done during the GWB travesty? But anyway, let’s talk movies.

    I saw that you mentioned VALHALLA RISING…I really love that film. I think it’s one of the most unique movies I’ve ever seen. Sort of like a Jodorowsky film, say EL TOPO or THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. But I found VALHALLA a lot more immersive than either of those, and ultimately more effective with its comparatively subtle metaphors. The acting is phenomenal, expressive through body language and camera movement rather than dialogue. The crusaders are hilarious in their brute stupidity and condescending religious morality, great counterpoints to One-Eye and Are….the scene when they’re all dying of dehydration and One-Eye starts drinking the water, having realized before anyone else that the water is now fresh (not salted)! Classic.

    As everyone probably knows, writer Nicolas Winding Refn also did the screenplay for BRONSON – yet another badass film. So has anyone seen PUSHER? I know Nic wrote the 1996 version, but if you’ve seen the 2010 one, I’m interested to know about that too.

  83. Oh! Asimov, I forgot to mention that the whole language discussion made me think of PONTYPOOL. Have you seen it? Good movie, all about the dangers of the English language…

  84. renfield, to tell you the truth, Portugal actually got rid of Brazil so we could settle a civil war we had during the early 19th century, what was called the Liberal Wars. Two sucessors to the throne of Portugal were fighting to see who would get it. Eventually, a truce was settled, and the “losing” party got to have Brazil all to himself, and governn it as an independent country. That prince then became the first (and only) Emperor of Brazil. After his death, Brazil became a republic, which is still to this day.

    Maybe you could detenct the diference between iberian portuguese from iberian spanish (castellano is actually the correct definition of wnat we usually call spanish language) and italian (or romanian, because it’s also a romance language with sounds suprisingly similiar to spanish, italian and evne somewhat portuguese). But if your point of reference is the brazilian dialect, then maybe not. It’s aid that brazilian portuguese is the language of songs, while iberian portuguese is the language of poets. Too many linguists have agree with it. Maybe to your ears iberian portuguuese would sound a bit rougher, but it can also be an incredibly melodious alanguage as well.

    Check this out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-2GUXItMmI&feature=related
    (that song is also partially sang in cuban spanish)

    And this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-dvJbp6MVY

    And this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU6zbbjiefU

    And this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuXjmPzBTqI

    I hope you enjoy.

  85. WiU, i think i share your love for the magnificent and awesome VALHALLA RISING. That movie just blew my mind. I bought the DVd already, and the audio comentary by director Nicolas Winding Refn is very good and ifnormative. Thanks to VALHALLA RISING and BRONSON he now became one of my top favorite director. I have sen the PUSHER movies, mor correctly, i saw the first and second, yet to see the 3rsd. but they are good movie, pretty good movies. but you would be su+rised to see the differences in style of those compared to BRONSON and VALHALLA RISING.

    Nicolas Winding Refn said that he considersVALHALLA RISING to be his 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY. He even call sit his space movie. And i think i understand why he says so. In fac,t he rates 2001 has his most important inspiration for VALHALLA RISING. I see what he means.

    I really love that movie, i have seen it like 8 times already (maybe more), and i learned that the movie will get a theatrical release soon in my country. Which means i’m going to watch it again, this time on the silver screen. God, i love that movie!! I wish Vern would review it, i would love to see what he has to say about it. Maybe he would love it too, who knows? He’s a fan of THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, after all.

    I think that after 700 years of history, i can feel soem pride in my country’s culture and language. Not on the politics, of couse, because the politicians in my country are a bunch of fucking retards who have consistently fucked up my country since 1986! Politics-wise, my country sucks! Culture, food, beer and wines, my country rocks! And hot girls, of course!

  86. And speaking of Nicolas Winding Refn, i heard he’s now attached to direct a remake of LOGAN’S RUN. That news is all kinda of pure unadultered awesome! Best film news i heard all year.

  87. Although it’s certainly worth watcing, I have mixed feelings on “Hanna.” There are some stunning moments, to be sure, bolstered by the awesome Chemical Brothers soundtrack, but I guess I had the same reaction to Wright’s “Atonement.” I admired the visuals and technical flair but was never really emotionally invested in the story. The writing also seemed to get a little sloppy in the film’s final third.

    In one of the prior comments, Brandon Curtis compared this to “The Man from Nowhere,” and while I also thought of that movie while watching “Hanna” (at least during its action scenes), it wasn’t a favorable comparison for me. I think “Hanna” basically lacks the memorable choreography, coherence, and pure visceral impact of “The Man from Nowhere”‘s action scenes. And while I don’t want to bash Soirse Ronan’s excellent performance, I thought her physical limitations at times hindered the fight scenes, even the one that was my favorite part of the entire movie (the dock chase/fight sequence). I had the same problem with Uma Thurman in the first “Kill Bill”; sometimes the actors’ movements looked too stilted and sluggish which momentarily took me out of the films. Obviously, not every actor needs to look like Donnie Yen or Michael Jai White during fight scenes, but it still bothers me from time to time.

  88. billydeethrilliams

    April 16th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Could’ve done without the fairy tale bullshit.

  89. I am fucking mad that I watched the piece of shit SCREAM 4 instead of this. Damn that last bit of faith I had in Wes Craven. Well at least one thing I got out of it is that Craven is officially dead to me. Thanks for the memories but fuck your new shit. I will have to definitely catch this one next weekend. One take fight scenes featuring Eric BRUCE Banna sounds enticing.

  90. I feel like the supposed [or anti-]fairy tale aspects of HANNA would make for an interesting study in a compare & contrast with the awkwardly pervasive hooker-teacher fairy taleness of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, but maybe I’m an idiot.

    At least I spent money on HANNA before I watched the shitty new Wes Craven joint. Don’t feel bad, Broddie. Idiot.

  91. LMAO

    Yeah man I just have to live with that loss. To make up for it the next 2 I watch will be this and FAST FIVE. I want to see 13 ASSASSINS and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN as well but can’t find them anywhere out here in NYC. So weird that there isn’t a cinema ballsy enough to carry either considering some of the shit I’ve seen at independent cinemas.

    I know 13 is playing on demand but I don’t want to see a Miike Samurai epic in my living room I want to see it on the big screen. But if worst comes to worst I’ll have to give in and just rent the damn thing. Now if only they also had HOBO as well and I could make it a double bill. The way you’ve been talking up HOBO it sounds like Rutger has managed to outdo BLIND FURY which in my opinion is no easy task in the annals of badass cinema.

  92. Its deliberate B-movieness makes it difficult to judge or rate, but I’d say HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is about as good as SURVIVING THE GAME, with Ice T & Rutger Hauer & John McGinley & Charles Dutton & that kid from CHASERS & Murray Abraham & etc., but not nearly as badass as BLIND FURY.

    Re: Miike
    I encourage everyone to see Jean Renoir’s film LA GRANDE ILLUSION first, because I see a wonderful, favorable comparison to that multilingual classic, but 13 ASSASSINS will register as a great regardless of relativity to a masterpiece endorsed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 3 quarters of a century ago.

  93. Never seen LA GRANDE ILLUSION, will definitely now at that to the queue.

  94. *add

    damn hennessy and how it makes my mind trip sometimes.

  95. YAY! This finally came to cinemas in the UK! And it was… ok!

    Gotta be honest, the film it most reminded me of – bizarrely enough – was the original “X-Men”. Both films deal with young, insecure, unworldly girls from sheltered lives with superpowers. Both also descend into farce in their third acts. “Hanna” even does that thing I hate where they repeat the exact same dialogue at the end of the movie as at the beginning, but in a different context. I don’t care how you use this technique, it will never ever make any kind of sense because people don’t do that.

    The good: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett are all excellent. And DAMN is Cate Blanchett scary when she’s got something to work with. I thought she was wasted in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” but she’s fantastic in this. The fact that she’s not just a plain psychopath and has some depth to her character is even scarier, because it’s believable that a normal human being would do what she’s done.

    I loved the scenes with the family that Hanna meets along the way, which makes it all the more frustrating that we don’t see what happens to them. Are they killed off, let go, shoved in a dungeon somewhere? I want to know.

    Also the Chemical Brothers may have produced some of the most irritatingly ubiquitous faux-Prodigy big-beat dance anthems ever (“Block Rockin’ Beats” anyone?) but they do a fantastic job in this. The film’s beautifully shot as well.

    The bad: just about everything that happens in the third act.

    The meeting between Hanna and her father? Letdown. The meeting between Hanna’s father and Marisa? Letdown. The meeting between Hanna and Marisa? MAJOR letdown. And why, when Hanna’s been established as such a badass early on, does she spend so much of the third act hiding?

    Then there’s Tom Hollander. Maybe this is just because I’ve re-watched “Kill Zone”, but I don’t find him a threat at all. I think his whistling is supposed to announce him as a badass, but it just comes off as a bit silly. There’s one scene where he’s torturing someone that’s legitimately un-nerving but it’s largely because we like the guy who’s being tortured, not because of the one doing it.

    Most of the stuff I don’t like is in the last act, but there’s one scene earlier on which really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s when Hanna and Sophie sneak out to a dance and Hanna gets to kiss a guy. They could’ve played this as her way of regaining some of her humanity, and it could’ve been quite poignant. Instead they have to do the usual cliche’d thing they do where the superpowered chick gets nervous and overpowers the guy and her friends have to drag her off and call her a freak. Look, this may have worked for Faith in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, but that was going on for fifteen years ago now, and it’s been done in every other film / TV show with an ass-kicking girl protagonist since. Do we really need this scene played out yet again?

    There are also a lot of little things that don’t really make sense, and could’ve been fixed easily if someone cared enough to do it. For example, Hanna can kill people in seconds but doesn’t know what a passport is? Isn’t this kind of an important thing for someone in her position? Don’t understand why her father didn’t let her know stuff like this.

    The verdict: yeah, it’s pretty good. It could’ve been great though, and the reasons why it’s not are rather frustrating. On the off chance that someone somewhere gets an even later theatrical release than we’ve had in Britain, it’s definitely work seeing, if only for the great perforamnces from Ronan and Blanchett.

  96. Nope, not gonna acknowledge. Nothing to see here.

    But if there were a post above this one written by someone who had just seen HANNA somewhere in the United Kingdom, I would praise its overall approval of HANNA and its call for more violence & badassery, but I wouldn’t even know where to start with how misguided some of it is.

    I reckon I’d tell him/her that the clean-cut symmetry of the beginning & the ending combines with the blatant fairy tale imagery/motif (and eerie whistling) of the main body of the film to suggest a level of symbolism that obviously escaped some viewers. I’d point out that the bookending scenes also suggest a kind of architectonic structure that some literary formalists can appreciate perhaps better than less analytical audiences. I’d refer the commenter to Mouth’s comment way upthread for more.

  97. ““Hanna” even does that thing I hate where they repeat the exact same dialogue at the end of the movie as at the beginning, but in a different context. I don’t care how you use this technique, it will never ever make any kind of sense because people don’t do that.”

    That’s called a refrain, and it is one of my absolute favorite literary devices. I will not write screenplay unless I have at least 2 or 3 good refrains for it.

  98. {hi-5’s Hunter T. Hepburn}

    I love that stuff.

    In my world, people *do* do that.

    Refrain, architectonic structure, doubling back, whatevs. I recall a similar convention being present in many of the compositions I played in recitals as a young pianist.

  99. I also have a freakish memory. So, I sometimes have the same conversation with the same person twice. And it means something different that that on an anniversary I can recall large chunks of a first date/dalliance verbatim.

  100. this is a test post, ignore this

  101. I really hate having the same conversation twice in real life. It makes me feel like the person doesn’t remember he’s already told me this, so it’s clearly all about them because my feedback wasn’t and still isn’t important. I’ve even tried to tell people, “Yes, you’ve told me that before. We talked about this. Remember when you said…” and they still continue finishing their story.

    Never really bothered me in movies though.

  102. Irony incarnate: I just reread my post about having a freakish memory thinking that someone else wrote it because it begins with “I also have a freakish memory.”

  103. Tawdry – that’s because you have a freakish memory.

    Mouth – I agree with you about the symbolism in the film (especially regarding the fake / made-up versus the natural). So much so, in fact, that I didn’t really feel the need to add to it.

    I did notice a theme of corrupted childhood ideas running through the movie though – especially when the magician [SPOILER] gets hanged. I guess the whistling also comes into it, although I didn’t see it that way until I re-read your post. I guess all of this comes to a head in the amusement park when Marisa walks out of the dragon’s mouth, literally.

    But I still gotta say I don’t like Hollander’s character. I don’t see anything about him that would send Hanna running to hide underneath the bed. He’s never really set up as a badass. I guess it’s true what they say: once you’ve been Jing Wu’d, nothing else can quite compare.

  104. I’m listening to the soundtrack right now. I’m a huge Chemical Brothers fan since the mid-90’s, but since the score was only available on iTunes and I stopped doing illegal downloads years ago, I had to wait till it popped up somewhere else.
    I mostly like it. It sounds like a typical Chemical Brothers album, so they didn’t try anything completely different, like Daft Punk did with TRON. It’s just that without having seen the movie yet, some of the shorter tracks, that are pretty much between 50 seconds and 2 minutes of a single buzzing noise or something like that, don’t make any sense to me. This is stuff that they wouldn’t even use as a b-side. I’m sure it will work much better with the accompanying scene in the movie though and to be honest, it made me even more excited for the movie, than I was before.
    So yeah, soundtrack wise I approve. Now I have to watch the movie. Don’t know if it’s out yet.

  105. A buddy of mine, posted this on histwitter. I really like the site, looks great ;)

  106. So I saw this and Colombiana on the same day (strangely the more feral of the feral-woman assassins was in the movie NOT involving Luc Besson!) And yeah, my feelings are mixed as well. I’m actually really surprised nobody pointed out the HUGE similarities between this and Firestarter – (SPOILERS – daughter made from a government experiment, dead mother, father and daughter on the run, the government villain chasing them, the girl and father can both kick all kinds of ass, the father dies at the end) In fact this script basically seems like a kind of lazy cross between Firestarter and Bourne, with a dash of Freeway-esque fairytale analogies that don’t really interest me enough to try to decipher them.

    All that’s left is the filmatism, which admittedly, is excellent. The score is interesting, the action scenes are good*, the acting is alright (even though why do all non-American actors always seem to adopt vague Southern accents when playing CIA agents? Then again I remember American Peter Saarsgard had one for about a scene in Knight and Day. Maybe alot of CIA agents are Southern?)

    *Not sure what was going on in the anticlimactic playground battle, with Eric Bana spinning around one of the assassins and the gay guy holding on to the swings posing like Willem Defoe in Platoon. That scene seemed like an Andy Samberg SNL skit and was seriously the biggest (intentional?) laugh I’ve had in a long time.

    Side rant: There’s been a lot of excellent talk on these boards about Superman, and how his most interesting conflict isn’t really with the bad guys, but more his inner struggle to exercise restraint of his powers, and how it was good he learned values and humanity from Ma and Pa Kent, because who knows what would have happened otherwise. (Thor and Soldier and tons of other movies use this same device) So we figure Hanna was going to learn SOMETHING from the family she tags along with, but instead, as Vern pointed out, the daughter is a horrible, obnoxious person, and the hippy parents are kind of embarrassing. And we don’t even find out what happened to them! Hanna seems to be made by really intelligent people, which makes it even more disappointing that it doesn’t seem to have much to say or doesn’t say it convincingly.

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