Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Hanna" - in theaters

When I first saw the trailer for "Hanna", I thought it looked... funky. But in a good way. It seemed to be one of those movies that was too cool for it's own good, but didn't realize it. That's not a bad thing, though. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, the story starts with Hanna (played by Saoirse Ronan) dressed in furs hunting in the middle of a desolate, cold forest. As she stands over her pray, a man, Erik, (Eric Bana), whom you later find out is her father, comes up behind her, and suddenly they are in a knock-down drag out fight. You soon find out that they have lived in isolation for most of Hanna's life, after her mother was murdered by Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett). Marissa works for the CIA, and Erik used to be an asset of hers. One his wife was killed, Erik took Hanna off the grid, where he raised her to basically be a warrior.

While Hanna is a lean, mean, killing machine, she also yearns for a sense of teenage normalcy. She wants to know what music is, and have friends. Mostly, she wants to get out of the woods. So when she flips the switch on a locating device, you're not entirely sure whether she's doing it so she can leave or if she wants to kill Marissa.

So anyway, the government picks up Hanna and take her to a "secure facility" (that's what they're all called, right?), where she demands to speak with Marissa. A false one is sent in, whom Hanna promptly kills, and then escapes. She is calm and efficient as she dispatches guard after guard, mostly without the use of a gun. It's badass.

Hanna's capture and subsequent escape were all of a part of her and Erik's plan. So once she leaves the facility, Hanna must get to their rendezvous point. Along the way, she is taken in by an English family on vacation, where she befriends their teenage daughter. Their friendship is sweet, mostly because it's the first time that Hanna has ever interacted with someone her own age.

I could go on about the plot, because it's quite intricate, but that would spoil your fun if you saw this movie.

In terms of performances, I totally buy Saoirse Ronan as this badass teenager. She has this innocent look about her, and you would never expect her to be able to take you out with her pinkie finger. She's wound so tightly that she'll snap at any second, and it's brilliant. Cate Blanchett is simply devilish as Marissa, with her sweet Southern accent and affinity for shoes.

Another highlight of this film is the soundtrack. It's just... cool. Done by the Chemical Brothers, it alone gives the film that too cool for school edge that was apparent from the trailer.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this film a 7.5. It's hip, it's now, and it's worth the ticket price. It could've used more humor. But then again... what film couldn't?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Jane Eyre" - in theaters

I was intending on seeing "Suckerpunch" this weekend, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that "Jane Eyre" was playing nearby. My friend was game, so we made the short trip up the theatre that tends to play the more independent movie set.

That being said, it was a good choice.

"Jane Eyre" is the story of Jane (Mia Wasikowska), an orphan raised partially by her aunt (Sally Hawkins), who then expels her from the house to a hard school for girls. She is there until she receives her first posting, at an estate called Thornfield. Thornfield is in the middle of nowhere, her boss, Mr. Rochester (the delicious Michael Fassbender), is largely unaccounted for, her pupil is French, and the housekeeper (Judi Dench) is a busybody who is desperate for companionship. Clearly the dream situation for a young girl in 1800's England.

But Jane doesn't mind. She enjoys her work and the quiet it brings. She's very passionate about life, learning, and experience, which is part of the reason why she was expelled from her aunt's house. But this passion shines through during her infrequent conversations with Mr. Rochester. I think that what he sees the most in her is potential. More to the point, he sees that he could be happy with her in a way that he was never happy before. And it's these sweet moments when you can see him beginning to believe that, that really make the movie.

But of course, things are not all that they seem. I won't go into it, but just know that Jamie Bell (love him!) makes an appearance and helps Jane out in a time of need. If I told you what happened, that might ruin the story, and we don't want that, do we?

The story has a spooky angle, which I wasn't expecting. I haven't read the book since high school, and so had to be reminded of a few key plot points, but the filmmaker does a fine job of making Thornfield both inviting and menacing at the same time. You can tell that Jane never feels 100% safe some of the time, and neither does the audience. Plus, I'm pretty sure I jumped more during this movie than I did during "The Sixth Sense", hard as that is to believe.

Mia Wasikowska does a great job as Jane. It's hard to make her appear "plain, at least physically. Once you see her personality shine through, there is nothing plain about her. Michael Fassbender, whose voice could literally make my underwear melt off, is fantastic as Rochester. He's a hard ass one minute, then sweet as a kitten the next. And the way he looks at Jane just makes me wish that a man would look at me that way, you know what I'm saying?

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 9. Great performances and a great storyline. This is one I will own, and probably watch a million times. And I suggest that you all do the same.