Mary and Max (2009)

Starring Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Humphries, Eric Bana, Bethany Whitmore, Renée Geyer

Directed by Adam Elliot

Expectations: Moderate. Heard good things.

The past few weeks I’ve been doing my best to wipe my cinematic slate clean of everything that’s been clogging it up for the past year (or more). While this is theoretically impossible for me with my Netflix Queue maxed out at 500, another couple hundred on the Instant Queue and hundreds of other films I’d like to see not represented there, I’m doing my best to prioritize and pave the way for an upcoming year filled with new and exciting movies. What I’m getting at is that I’ve intended to watch Mary and Max for the past thirteen months. My co-worker watched the film in October or November of last year and highly recommended the film to me. She knew I was a huge fan of claymation, and she cited the character depth in the film as something that I would probably connect with. I took the film home with the distinct intention to watch it within a few weeks. Time passed and I soon found myself at the end of December, a period in our work schedule where an imposed furlough makes it so that we’re all off work for the final week or so of December. I said to myself, “Perfect. I will finally get to that Mary and Max movie during the furlough.” You can probably see where this is going, and perhaps I’m revealing too much about my procrastinating tendencies, but I never did watch the film. Instead it languished in my mind for the entirety of 2011, until I found myself once again at home on the first day of our December furlough. When I thought of Mary and Max again (as I do every few days or so) I realized just how long it had been “something I’d get to.” Lately, I’ve forced myself to schedule things like this to bring order out of the procrastination chaos, and after my realization that it had been a full year, I decided right then and there to finally watch it this week. And I did. And I loved it.

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Hanna (2011)

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Jessica Barden, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Michelle Dockery, Vicky Krieps, Martin Wuttke

Directed by Joe Wright

Expectations: The lowest of the low.

I never had any interest in watching Hanna. I saw the trailer a few times in the theater and thought it looked dumb. One of my co-workers wore me down and talked me into watching it, promising nothing more than a fun film. Note to self: trust your instincts. Hanna was pretty much awful right from the beginning, an absolute mess of inconsequential drama and ridiculous, unbelievable, poorly shot action. I thought director Joe Wright’s Atonement was a poor, overly praised film, but Hanna makes Atonement look like a genuine masterpiece.

Saoirse Ronan plays Hanna, a girl living with her father (Eric Bana) in a snowy forest. Bana teaches her survival tactics and reads her entries from an encyclopedia to beef up her intellect. She desires something more than the cabin in the woods can provide though (More INPUT!), so Bana makes that option available to her by digging up a beacon buried deep in the snow and giving Hanna the option to flip it on whenever she feels ready. He warns her though that as soon as she does, the evil Cate Blanchett will be after her! Oh nos!

While this isn’t a bad setup for a thrilling chase film, the film’s trailer covered every plot point I mentioned above, in addition to the following fifteen minutes as well. So the first half hour just rehashed everything I already knew about the movie from watching the trailer which I thought looked dumb. Great. After we move out of trailer country, the film picks up right? Right?

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