the REVIEW: HANNA

Hit -Girl… Schmitt-girl? Whatever the point is that Hanna isn’t a comic book story its a coming of age hell-bent on action thriller and I have been ranting about this movie since I heard about it and saw the preview clips.  When it came out I obediently took out my debit card and purchased a preview screening. “So why post about it now (?)”.  Life got in the way, yes, but this film deserved to be written up because it was so damn good.

Daughter to an Ex CIA man (Eric Bana) and brought up to master the core skills of an assassin that all the women of KILLBILL harbour put together, HANNA is a sharp shooting, high-kicking, stealth little madam with her fathers chip on her skinny shoulders. Sent out on a mission whilst being pursued by eerie flame haired Southern Bell CIA bitch Marissa.

At first I was taken aback by how a 16-year-old girl could possibly be so cold-blooded and ruthless, but then pocket holes of  adoration in relationship with her father (barring a fantastic ‘fight’ scene in their shack!) made me think otherwise. As the story rolls on we realise that both Hanna and her father are being hunted relentlessly and side kicking at the enemy only goes so far. Hanna now separated from her trainer/father is on the run and hitch-hiking with a ‘perfect liberal’ style family, whom I can safely say were placed in the story to  highlight the pitfalls and lack thereof privileges of  having a ‘normal’ human relationship.

So it plays out ultimately as a coming of age movie with elements of wholesome violence and thrilling chases running alongside it. Can’t say that its really a tapped market, but it works here. Saoirse Ronan is one bad ass young woman – an Oscar contender from the age of 13 this girl can seriously act and has just proven she can put in the graft to pull off high-octane action movies just as well as her much older peers, in fact better …because she can act. I don’t know if I would have felt as much compassion for the character if it had been another starlet in the role. Ronan brings a sense of humble yet self-assured brilliance to the screen. She’s still a child, she’s clearly innocent in all that she is accused of knowing, however she’s a fierce weapon and will attack when backed in to a corner. Now can Kristin Stewart do that? no.

Kudos to Director Joe Wright for stepping out of his own directorial box and exploring and pushing against the paradigms that usually label a movie like this with the recipe of it containing: Male/ Assassin/ Over 30.

Did I mention Tom Hollander just gets better in everything I see him in? Like Stephen Graham *audience cheer*, Hollander is a man that produces art on camera so beautifully and thrillingly it makes me squeal with pure glee. He’s purely villainous, bringing with it the slightly unhinged humour that scares the audience even more than any villain you would have seen that wasn’t a 5.5″ man, with his own theme tune (chemical brothers obliges) who also has a penchant to kill on sight and perversely enjoy chasing young women across Europe. Last time someone was that creepy and close to the mould was the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang *shudder*.

The fight scenes hold no CGI effects (that I could see) and like the Bourne films them they are choreographed so intricately that it takes your breath away when subjects come in to contact with an object, kick, punch or neck twist. Lastly let me not forget to mention the soundtrack. Unlike Sucker Punch which was a glorified long rock music video, this soundtrack only serves to enhance the thrill of a well acted and well executed action packed film.

HANNA

When I saw the poster I was intrigued.

Initially I thought omgomgomg ugh Miley Cyrus. Then I looked again and thought it was a way too plain and boring cool a poster to be associated with Miss Montana so I did some digging.

Now I can’t stop watching the frigging trailer. Award winning director Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice ) steps away from the corsets and etiquette and with the help of his Atonement star (and brilliant actress) Saoirse Ronan in the title role, has created one of my anticipated movies of 2011.

In a nut *courtesy of Desk of Brian *:

Raised by her father (Eric Bana of Star Trek), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett).  As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity.

Hit Girl has nothing on Hanna.

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TOP TEN: Actresses that cry and still look pretty! (yes, for seriously)

I had the unfortunate pleasure of watching The Time Traveller’s Wife this afternoon.

I could end the sentence right there and feel totally justified in the post because it was that pointless but, as the title of this thread clearly states, this is about more than a lazy production of a complex and very good book.

The film starred two brilliant and understated actors. The versatile Eric Bana and the charming Rachel McAdams. The latter is the reason for this post actually – following many comments between friends – because she is gorgeous, an undeniable natural beauty is McAdams but whilst I watched her perform a teary scene in which she expresses her want for a child I got to thinking to myself  – because concentration on the actual content of the film was low –  ‘damn, Rachel McAdams you even cry pretty’

This got me thinking about the other time I’d seen McAdams weeping beauty in other movies. The Notebook is probably her most prominent and best measure on this topic because she cried bucket loads in that film, we cried with her and if you cried for the part she played then you probably also cried because you realised the injustice of not being Rachel McAdams, crying that much and still looking gorgeous. I mean lets face it, when the majority of us do cry we look like cabbage patch dolls, that person trying to calm you down and telling you to stop crying is not trying to comfort you. They’re trying to put an end to having to look at that contorted expression on your face as your less than harmonic wails bleed out their ears.

So who else can we add to the ‘Actresses who still look pretty when they  cry’ list? Yes. And note they’re all white, but one. Problematic for me as a black woman. There doesn’t seem to be many of us who get to cry on camera – something to do with being strong and aggressive… anyway, let’s commence.

In no order of preference –  it’s just a list of ten – for those of you who get pedantic  –

1. Meg Ryan [circa 80s-90s.] Yes the original girl next door, with her get up and go halo of cropped blonde locks and heart warming smile, Meg Ryan was perhaps the cutest crier over 5. The film that probably cemented for me post Top Gun was most definitely City of Angels in which she starred as the hospital surgeon to Nick (swoon) Cage’s besotted Angel. When she shed tears I did to, okay so the script and her acting capabilities may have had a small part to play in evoking heightened emotions from time to time, but undoubtedly Meg’s skill on cue, the trembling lips, scrunched button nose and large baby blue eyes a glaze just made her look like a cherub.

2. Demi Moore. Ghost. Indecent Proposal. St Elmo’s Fire, even the diabolical Charlie’s Angels. Moore has out pretty cried the best of them. I’d go as far as to say she has the best cry face in the acting world. Let me tell you a little something about Ms Moore’s technique, picture if you will: The parted lips, the slowly water-filled dark eyes, the strained raspy voice, then [pauseforeffect] she lets the one tear fall. Always the one tear, down in a perfect stream on her flawless skin then she lets the rest fall, it’s almost in rhythm it’s that crazy perfect.

3. Marion Cotillard she’s french it was probably already written. This delicate faced mademoiselle has probably had more crying roles in the past five years since she rose to prominence in La Vie En Rose. However I remember her in the beautiful Tim Burton directed fantasy Big Fish where her dimpled face and thick french accent left me in both awe and envy at her natural sensuality. In NINE she was the hard done by faithful wife to Daniel Day-Lewis‘ rogue Italian director. She played the part wonderfully and was partial to a few ‘woman scorned’ scenes where she cried gut wrenching tears of passion and frustration for a man who could not be tamed.  Inception she looked divine, maybe I’m a little masochistic but her crying scenes are among my favourite.

4. Alexis Bledel with eyes as blue and large as Miss Bledel’s it’s not hard to see why I have her in my top ten. All the girl has to do is fix a perturbed gaze down camera and I weep. Was it emotion mash-up series Gilmore Girls? or Sisterhood of Travelling Pants? It most certainly wasn’t that recent ‘movie’ of hers Post Grad (ugh). Either way in Sin City where her eyes shone best she cried and you wouldn’t even know it she looked still looked hot. It’s what I like to call the invisible tears, she cries, we hear the high-pitched shaky tones in her voice but it’s hardly the snotty blood-shot mess you get from her peers like Amber Tamblyn (I’m just saying – she’s awesome regardless)

5. Julia Roberts. Famously banked, once upon a time, as ‘The Most Beautiful Woman’ in the World, it was a given that she was going to make my list. She’s that good. Robert’s can’t do ugly, she hasn’t got it in her to be physically hideous a blessing and a curse. Pretty Woman perhaps cements this with her opera crying scene, employing the Moore One tear,  but she adds her own unique Julia Roberts crying technique twist that is a school of skill that has been adopted by actresses like… Anne Hathaway. It’s the cry whilst laughing or grinning wildly, finished off with the quick hand to cheek tear swipe and the ‘I’ll be okay’ line. She does it so well does Julia.

6. Rachel McAdams Aside from what I said above, she is both charming on-screen and has the crying down pat. She cries beautifully better than the many actresses that precede her. The Notebook aforementioned was a deal breaker, as was Time Travellers Wife (ugh). Her large dimpled smile, big brown eyes and impeccable timing to cry on cue. Even if its streaming down her face Rachel McAdams face glows.

7. Halle Berry [Monsters Ball; Boomerang and Things we lost in the fireMonsters Ball she rocked in, and Things we Lost in the Fire she rectified herself since I last saw her in ahem – Catwoman. She can do the sneer, hard face cry better than anyone and look good doing it.

8. Charlize Theron – okay so this one was debatable. Obviously I have to put in a list of already attractive women who still remain so when crying. Now in a day and age where the current cream of the crop, Theron included, bank on roles that don’t rely just on their looks – she did Monster remember? – and that means looking as ugly or natural as possible. Theron does this well, and so much so that sometimes forget just how gorgeous she is until the next scene. However when it came down to it, I found her prettiest above Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) and Cate Blanchette. It was really her crying scene in Devils’ Advocate and

9. Marilyn MonroeSome Like It Hot put her here. It’s a scene I could watch over and over. It’s an aspirational scene for new actresses to abide by. When she enters Josephine (Tony Curtis) and Blanche’s (Jack Lemmon) room after her brief affair with who she thinks is a Shell Oil heir (Curtis again) is ended, she falls to the bed and cries  softly. Marilyn probably wasn’t the best actress to grace the screens, but she was funny. So I think this scene stands out particularly because she is so sad. Its like she’s not trying to act at all – given all we think we know about her private love life – I can’t help but wonder if she is shedding those tears for a real love. Point is she looks sensational when doing it, and hair unkempt, wispy out of its usual bouncy roller curl adds to the ‘drama’.

10. Emily Vancamp [Brothers & Sisters; Everwood] If you haven’t seen Van Camp cry, hell if you haven’t seen her act then you are missing out. This 24-year-old Canadian TV starlet is so beautiful and graceful and understated it hurts. Van Camp projects the method acting school of crying, she uses all it takes its draining to watch. In a good way, kind of. What I mean is that when she performs she manages to take you the viewer there with her, and having seen her in countless emotional scenes in tear fest Everwood and subsequently Brothers & Sisters, it’s fair to say the girl has done her training. So regal is her beauty, that she manages to emanate some sort of glow when she cries, its captivating. It makes me sick…so I put up two pictures.