Hanna Barbs Don’t Stick

Tuesday, August 30 2011
Hanna Barbs Don’t Stick

Its reviews were wildly varied – the film is either one of the year’s best, or a stinker, depending on who you listen to – but there’s no denying that, whether they liked it or not, critics were compelled to write about Hanna. The thriller was, as our weekly round-up of home entertainment in the national press proved, the most covered title of the past seven days. And in a strong showing for Universal as a whole, there was acres of press for its titles, including more for last weekend’s strongest, the Blu-ray debut of The Big Lebowski, and, at the opposite end of the spectrum from that, animated title Hop.

Our week in reviews starts, as ever, with the Metro on Tuesday, as the free newspaper pulls together releases that were out last week. Its lead review was Scream 4 (EV), which got a fairly decent notice. Others covered included Lionsgate’s Little White Lies (we agreed with its comments, which, like many reviews, praised elements of the film but felt it overlong), Warner’s Red Riding Hood (capping a decent performance in terms of column inches for what many perceived as a so-so film) and Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema imprint release of Colossal Youth. Its regular Cult Vulture slot (Oddball Choices For Sofa Loafers) was given over to Optimum’s pairing of Chris Marker flicks, La Jetee and Sans Soleil, which has also got some good notices.

On to Friday and London’s other free newspaper, the Evening Standard, covered a few titles already mentioned by the Metro, Little White Lies, La Jetee/Sans Soleil and Scream 4 (“self-aware meta-shit, stick a fork in 1996 already”). In addition there were further reviews for Mammuth (Axiom), Our Day Will Come (Optimum) and Eureka’s Bounty Romanian vampire flick, Strigoi.

On to the tabloids and Trust led the way in Alan Franks Small Screen page in the Daily Star, earning itself a nine out of 10 review and a competition giving away a Blu-ray player and copy of the film. Frank also reviewed Hanna (Universal), Hop (also Universal) and another Universal release, its Clint Eastwood Collection.

The Sun covered Scream 4, Home Time (2 entertain) and Winnie The Pooh (Disney).

The Daily Mirror’s The Ticket supplement led with Hanna, giving it a four star rating (“one of the most exciting films of the year makes its debut on DVD in a package that comes with some decent extras”). It also covered seminal 60s surf film The Endless Summer (Go Entertain), gave a scathing review to Hop and Beastly (Lionsgate), but was more complimentary about Killing Bono (Paramount), The Veteran (Revolver) and Trust (“a profoundly moving experience”).

The Guardian’s regular Your Next Box Set feature was given over to Universal Playback’s The Kennedys, offering a reappraisal of the series (“it’s not nearly as duff as some reviewers said”).

The Independent went from overt praise (The Hour “has been, by a country mile, the most enjoyable TV drama series this year” and The Big Lebowski is “the Coen brothers’ most quotable, re-watchable and funniest film) to merciless attacks (“Hanna is right up there among the very silliest of Hollywood thrillers, along with Derailed, The Long Kiss Goodnight and the impossibly silly 8 Million Ways to Die. Perhaps, two decades from now, Joe Wright’s nonsensical actioner will be viewed as a cult classic. But, right now, it’s a stinker,” and Scream 4 is “sometimes smart, often tiresome” relaunch of a franchise which, it added, “stopped being funny 10 years ago”.

Moving on to Saturday, and as we noted last week, given its recent post-News Of The World revamp, it’s a shame to see no mention of home entertainment releases in either The Sun’s TV Buzz magazine or its other supplement, Fabulous. There were smaller mentions for releases in both the Daily Mirror’s We Love Telly magazine (a competition for 2 entertain’s The Hour) and in the Daily Mail’s Weekend television listings supplement (season five of Bear Grylls’ Born Survivor from Demand Media).

On to the quality press, and the Daily Telegraph’s Review section gave the DVD of the week slot to Hanna, with four stars, as well as covering Trust, Killing Bono and Winnie The Pooh.

The Guardian’s Guide gave over its main coverage to the latest from Stargate Universe (Fox), as well as covering Hanna, Wrecked (also Universal), Minder – The Dennis Waterman Years (Fremantle) and Second Sight’s excellent The Colour Of Pomegranates.

Hanna also appeared again in The Times’ Review section, alongside Cold Comfort Farm (Fremantle) and Midnight (Arrow).

Only the weekend edition of Financial Times opted not to cover Hanna among the qualities, preferring instead Outside The Law (Optimum), Love And Other Impossible Pursuits (Showbox), Killing Bono and Trust.

It was back to Hanna on Sunday, however, the title earning a four-star review in the Daily Star Sunday (“great stuff”), appearing alongside Killing Bono and the second season of Stargate Universe.

The Sunday Mirror also covered Hanna, as well as the Lovejoy Complete Collection (Revelation). The Sunday Mirror has, circulation-wise, been one of the big winners out of the demise of the News Of The World, as has the Mail On Sunday, which had plenty of coverage across its assorted supplements this weekend. In the bloke-friendly Live magazine there were mentions for Fast And Furious 5 (Universal), Black Heaven (Arrow), Minder: The Dennis Waterman Years and Water For Elephants (Fox), while its Review supplement offered Jason Solomons’ thoughts on Red Riding Hood, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec (Optimum), Faster (SPHE), Kaboom (Artificial Eye) and The Great Debaters (High Fliers).

The People covered Minder by having a competition for the TV series, as well as another TV-related Complete Collection, this time Acorn’s Pie In The Sky.

The Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine featured Source Code (Optimum), Little White Lies, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec and Before The Revolution (BFI).

The Observer’s Mark Kermode was his usual strident self, finding fulsome praise for Hanna (the sum of which, he noted, “all adds up to a thrillingly visceral experience; ill-disciplined, unruly, uneven and enjoyably overcooked”); Trust, which, Kermode said, “deserves to find a wider audience on DVD, where it may well provoke constructive discussion”; Killing Bono (“there’s much to like about this low-budget, homegrown production”); and Hop, which, being released on DVD long after Easter made it “both awful and out of date”.

Kermode, one of our favourite reviewers, also has a book coming out, and there was a lengthy extract from it featured here, in which he attacks (for the umpteenth time) Michael Bay, it’s worth having a read here.

We’ll end not with Kermode, but instead with Radio Times, which took in, somewhat unsurprisingly, Hanna, mentioning its Sky and DVD, Blu-ray and download releases, while its DVD of the week was Hop. Its box set of the week was Lovejoy The Complete Collection.

 • With thanks this week to Nick Aldrich for his help in compiling this article.

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