This Week/Month's Advice: See Hanna!

Cate Blanchett in Hanna (review below)

Arthur ★★½
I really wanted to like this. The film is funny-ish and it has some decent performances, but something about the whole movie just feels…off.

Dogtooth ★★★½
It’s all Greek to me, but I enjoyed this strange and morbid nightmare! Definitely not a film for everybody…

A Summer in Genoa ★★½
What a disappointment! Who thought that a collaboration by Colin Firth, Catherine Keener & Michael Winterbottom would be boring? 

Win Win ★★★★
Hilarious and moving, this comedy by Tom McCarthy (The Visitor, The Station Agent) should be enjoyed and appreciated by all. Perfect script and an excellent cast, especially Paul Giamatti in another great lead & newcomer Alex Shaffer as Kyle. 

Funkytown ★★★½
A fun look at Montreal’s disco scene. The film takes a surprisingly dark turn and it has one plot thread too many, but Funkytown offers a snapshot of an important point in history. The film culminates with the 1980 referendum, which could be a whole film itself. Perhaps Funkytown would have worked better as a miniseries? 

Hanna ★★★★½
It's was inevitable that as soon as I declared Jane Eyre to be the best film  released this year, something better was bound to come along. That film, of course, is Hanna, Joe Wright's audaciously original spy thriller. Hanna should appeal to both mainstream and art-house audiences as it's a fast-paced cat-and-mouse actioner, but it's also assembled quite spectacularly. Wright makes a surprising departure from the prestige of Atonement and Pride and Prejudice and offers a gritty and frenetic film: Accentuated by the hyper-kinetic beat of the brilliant score by The Chemical Brothers, Hanna is a film that truly feels "contemporary."

Hanna also marks the second collaboration with Wright and actress Saoirse Ronan. Ronan stars in the title role, and she really carries the film with a performance that's just as impressive as her well-poised debut in Atonement. Ronan's Hanna is on the run from Marissa Weigler, a ruthless CIA agent/duplicitous bitch played by Cate Blanchett. Blanchett's a real scene-stealer in the film and her beguiling cat-like appearance makes her the perfect foe for Ronan's innocent Hanna. Ronan and Blanchett make Hanna an exhilarating fairytale cum nightmare. And Joe Wright fans needn't worry - Hanna still features one of his signature tracking shots!

I'd also like to get a few words on Mildred Pierce. The HBO mini-series ended last night with a two and a half hour conclusion, and all I can say is "wow!" I was in awe of the Todd Haynes's melodrama after the first week, but Mildred just picked up steam as it moved along. Lots of the kudos belong to Kate Winslet, who gives some of her better work in the title role. I was also thrilled by the performance of Evan Rachel Wood, who appeared as the older Veda in last night's episodes - that was the daughter from hell I'd been hoping to see all along. Top marks go the the rest of the supporting cast as well: Guy Pierce, Brian O'Byrne, Mare Winningham, and Melissa Leo.

As I said after the first week, Mildred works best because it steers clear of the 1945 Joan Crawford film, and offers a different take. This Mildred is just as good as the previous version, but more importantly, Haynes crafts the film in a way that allows you to appreciate both films in different ways. Mildred Pierce is easily the best HBO miniseries or movie since Angels in America.

*As an aside note, classes are done and final essays/exams are underway, so full reviews will be returning soon!

Hanna is currently playing in wide release
Win Win opens is currently playing at the Empire 7 
A Summer in Genoa is available on DVD