I’ve been catching up with Helen’s projects from 2019 that haven’t been screencapped – and with many thanks to the great Mouza, I have not one but two fantastic updates for today. First up is “Anna”, Luc Besson’s KGB assassin thriller that was released last Summer and stayed completely under the radar, most certainly due to the allegations against its director. The film certainly didn’t deserve it. While you have to look past some incredible goofs (USB drives and Windows laptops in the early ’90s?!) I thoroughly enjoyed this film for what it is – popcorn entertainment. It also boasts one of Helen’s funnier characters of late, as Anna’s frosty superior Olga. There’ll always be films about sexy assassins, probably as long as Besson is making movies, but the real stretch would be to give Mirren’s Olga a franchise. Screencaptures from the Blu-Ray, including the making of, deleted scenes and an interview with Helen, have been added to the photo gallery.
An all-star cast leads the electrifying action film, Anna, arriving on Digital September 10 and on 4K Ultra HD™ (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand September 24 from Summit. Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins. An electrifying thrill ride unfolding with propulsive energy, startling twists and breathtaking action, Anna introduces Sasha Luss in the title role.
4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
• “Dressing a Doll: Costumes of Anna” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Scene: Restaurant Fight” Featurette
• “Unnesting a Russian Doll: Making Anna” Featurette
• “Constructing the Car Chase” Featurette
After a very muted US-release in June, Luc Besson’s “Anna” has been rolled out to international theaters beginning last week – it can be seen in the United Kingdom since July 5, in France in July 10 and will be released in Germany on July 18. Reviews have been mixed in pretty much every country – my favorite review is still courtesy The Toronto Sun’s Peter Howell: Mirren sheathes her character’s intentions behind a granite visage that suggests what Fran Lebowitz would look like as a Bond villain. At least we get a glimpse of a little bit more promotional material with the international releases. There has been a b-roll, a couple of making of featurettes and on-set interviews, all featuring Helen Mirren. You can find all new clips below. The photo gallery has been updated as well with new on-set pictures.
“Anna”, Luc Besson’s action thriller starring Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans, releases select theaters today to almost no promotion, premiere or any kind of buzz, except some disappointing reviews. Most articles on the film touch the matter of the recent accusations against Besson and how it hurts the markability and mainstream effect of the film. A collection of reviews can be found below. The photo updates above are accompanied by more clips from the film – international trailers, television spots, a clip and an on-set interview with Helen.
The New York Times, Bilge Ebiri (June 21, 2019)
“Anna” is entertainingly put together, but it might be hard to be entertained by it. Last year, the director was accused by a number of women of sexual assault, which he has denied. It’s hard not to be reminded of such matters when watching a film that often turns on seduction and shifting power dynamics in male-female relations. “Anna” can’t live in a vacuum.
Variety, Peter Debruge (June 21, 2019)
Will anything in “Anna” take audiences by surprise? Nothing so much as the fact that such a broadly appealing mainstream thrill ride should be released so unceremoniously as this, almost as if it were being done to fulfill contractual obligations. It’s nowhere near the embarrassment of Brian De Palma’s “Domino,” or any number of recent studio tentpoles. Nor is it fresh enough to pretend that audiences had missed out on something special if it had been buried altogether — except perhaps for Luss, who’s bound to get another shot.
RogerEbert.com, Peter Sobczynski (June 21, 2019)
Helen Mirren, evidently using this film as an audition reel for the role of Edna in the inevitable live-action remake of “The Incredibles.” “Anna” is so aimless and listless that you can hardly believe that he was even on the set for the majority of its production. All he has to offer here is the aforementioned two decent action scenes, some interesting underwear and a Helen Mirren performance that is mildly amusing, though it will not take up too much time in any future Lifetime Achievement highlight reels.
The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore (June 20, 2019)
Helen Mirren, the film’s first spark of life. Cillian Murphy is as jarring in his role as Mirren — they’re too lively and intelligent to play the film’s color-by-numbers game, and look like they might be working an angle: What if they just keep being the only people worth watching until Besson decides to pivot, making this a Tinker, Tailor-style game of string-pulling spymasters? No such luck.
The Los Angeles Times, Noel Murray (June 20, 2019)
“Anna”’s underlying themes just don’t resonate as they’re meant to. The film falters when it tries to be an aspirational tale, about a woman tired of being shuffled from one “grey box” to another (from a pauper’s apartment to a military academy to a cramped models’ condo), and who’s exhausted by the piggish fashion photographers and demanding spy-masters who dominate her days.
The Toronto Star, Peter Howell (June 20, 2019)
Olga, played by Helen Mirren, is one sharp shot of vodka. She lights her cigarettes with a grenade-shaped lighter and tells a story of having once walked for three days in the woods with a wolf trap attached to her leg. “Trouble never sends a warning,” she advises Anna. Olga functions as both a serious figure of menace and comic relief. Mirren sheathes her character’s intentions behind a granite visage that suggests what Fran Lebowitz would look like as a Bond villain. Dark humour ripples through Besson’s jigsaw screenplay. Spy fans will be amused at one discussion about how best to cut off a hapless victim’s finger, to avoid casting suspicion of CIA involvement.
Lionsgate’s Summit label has decided to give Luc Besson’s Anna a high-profile summer release. The crime-thriller, starring Russian supermodel and actress Sasha Luss opposite Helen Mirren, will open in theaters on June 21. Anna’s opening was put on hold last year when Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy filed a complaint in May 2018 accusing the director of drugging and raping her at a Paris Hotel. In November, five more women came forward in a report in French investigative magazine Mediapart, alleging sexual misconduct. In total, at least nine separate women have accused the director of sexual assault and harassment. In late February of this year, the Paris prosecutor’s office dismissed the rape charges after an investigation failed to turn up evidence to support Roy’s allegation. Nevertheless, promoting Anna could prove problematic in terms of putting Besson in front of the press. Lionsgate and Summit acquired domestic rights to the movie before the rape charge and other allegations. The movie is his first directorial effort since Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets — which featured Van Roy — hit theaters in 2017, grossing $225 million globally. Anna also stars Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Eric Godon and Anna Krippa. The story follows former model who turns government assassin (Luss). Mirren plays her boss. Toy Story 4 and Child’s Play also open nationwide over the June 21-23 weekend. Edit: An international teaser trailer, which features completely different scenes, has been added as well.