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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X-Men: First Class (2011)

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Ray Wise, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Jason Flemyng, Álex González

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Expectations: Super low. These X-Men movies just don’t sit right with me, and the trailer for this looked awful.


Maybe I’m getting too old for this shit. Maybe X-Men was always this juvenile. Maybe I just don’t care about the equality struggle of the mutants anymore. These are thoughts I’ve had over the last few years while soldiering through the mediocre series of X-Men films. After hearing nothing but outstanding stuff about this new & retro take on the X-Men, I hopefully decided to give it a shot in spite of the initial feelings and reservations the trailer brought to my mind’s surface. I kept my expectations as low as humanly possible, but as the X-Men have always held a special place in my heart, I’ll admit I was excited to finally see this one.

The film opens with what looks to be the same footage that opens the first X-Men film, but it’s been several years since I last saw that one, so maybe they re-shot it. In any case, it’s the same scene: a teenage Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) residing in a German concentration camp, exhibiting his magnetic abilities by bending a metal gate when the guards pull him away from his mother. Next we are introduced to a grade-school aged Professor Xavier, walking downstairs to thwart a would-be burglar with a baseball bat. Turns out it’s Mystique. For whatever reason, Hollywood has a hard-on for putting Mystique in every X-Men movie… oh right, it’s the blue skin-tight bodysuit on the beautiful girl, that’s why. Anyway, the rest of the film follows these mutants and the path they take to achieve their place in society as the mutants they are. Sound familiar?

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