Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Open Thread: Children, Wake Up!

If things have been generally subdued here at the site for the past two weeks, that's probably a byproduct of the sluggish trend the film industry has fallen into this year. Everything about this year thus far screams of a sort of sedation and lack of enthusiasm, so much that it makes me question the overall happiness of people these days. No film this year has opened higher than $40 million over the weekend, something that should be remedied this weekend by either the child skewing Rio or the horror genre parody Scream 4. Are audiences really just tired with the theatrical experience, or is it just that there's nothing worth seeing out there? I'd very much like to believe the latter, but seeing as Hop is getting higher numbers than Source Code, we could throw that idea out the window.

Interestingly enough, Hanna seems to be playing better with audiences than I expected it would. The theater I went to see Joe Wright's art house feature in was skewing more towards the younger demographic than one would expect. I'm not just talking about teens and such, but there were young children in the audience, of course accompanied by their parents. It's almost as if they were begging to be observed for their reactions in this really frightening action piece. It actually reminded me an awful lot of Coraline in 2009, filled with kids who weren't expecting a terrifying experience when they initially sat down.

The older demographic's response to Hanna was one of unmitigated shock, and it's something that's completely understandable. I'm not sure if you noticed, but Hanna is an absolutely terrible role model for children. She murders people at the drop of the hat, showing little remorse for her actions afterwords. Obviously, I understand that there's more to Saoirse Ronan's character and performance than that narrow description
allows for. It's one of the many things that makes the film brilliant, how varying she is in her emotions of love, happiness, fear, anger, ambition, and apathy. All the same, you could excuse the parents for dragging their kids screaming out of the theater some time before the end.

However, those kids would have to be dragged, because they seemed to enjoy themselves immensely on this one. The elaborate and beautiful action, coupled with the bad-ass characterizations of the title character are like nicotine for them. It instantly outweighs the aimless and stupid adventures of the rabbit from Hop. Bad role model that she may be, there's a certain amount of empathy kids can relate towards Hanna. The more tender and intimate moments evoke the human and sexual confusion that we all feel at that young age, but that our parents tell us to ignore in favor of the common consensus of what love and relationships should be like. Needless to say, parents would have a tough time explaining their kids' many questions after watching the film. We'll have to wait for the second weekend to see just how much Hanna holds on, but it's managed to hit a unique audience that few films of its kind get a chance at.

So there is something to be excited about this time of year, most especially tomorrow's announcement of which films will playing at the Cannes Film Festival this May. We already know that The Tree of Life will have an appearance, although perhaps a week or two later than when the Brits get a chance to see it. Midnight in Paris is obviously going to open the festival, and it's thankfully the first Woody Allen film I've been excited for since Vicky Christina Barcelona. Just today it was announced that Gus Van Sant's next film, Restless, will open Un Certain Regard, so that makes three high profile directors presenting something at this year's festival. I really hope for the chance to be there in person next year, but I have a reasonable doubt in my mind.

As for the site, you can expect expansion of sorts starting early next month. I'll be giving you readers a flood of reviews for films of the past decade, working towards my personal list of the top films from 2000 to 2009. So far it's been a chance for me to really figure out how I feel about some of these films, as well as a chance to expand my horizons. I'm really excited about it, and I look forward to it. In the meantime, it'd be nice to know what you have been seeing so far this year. Leave a comment below on what you've hated or enjoyed this year, and chances are that I'll respond. In the meantime, here's the song from the title, as well as the song that symbolizes one of my other favorite terrifying kids films, Where the Wild Things Are.


  1. I'm pretty sure Hanna will hold, it was number one on Monday and yesterday. I wonder what little kids were doing in a movie like that though.

    By the way, what movie do you recommmend I watch this weekend?

  2. "Hanna" is my top recommendation for those who haven't seen it. If you're looking for something new this weekend, I'd go for "Scream 4". The first two films of the series had a steady line of laughs and entertainment, even if the third was a bit of an upset. This new one looks more in line with those first two. Of course, if you're not a fan of those films, I can't see you going too far wrong with "Rio". Nothing great, but probably enjoyable.