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Trailer Tracker: Total Recall, Ted and More

Can’t remember where you left your car keys?  How about not knowing whose side you’re on in a mounting conspiracy, who are your true friends and whether or not you are, in actuality, an ass-whooping super spy? Better start taking those ginkgo biloba tablets because the remake of Total Recall is here. Next, bastardizing all those childhood wishes that your favorite stuffed animal would come alive is Ted, the first feature film from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane about a foul-mouthed teddy bear who causes an inconvenience in the life of his owner.

Following up his Oscar-winning Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen is back behind (and in front of) the camera in another travelogue entitled To Rome with Love. Finally, rising young star Jennifer Lawrence skips back to her indie roots with House at the End of the Street, a horror film told in jumble sequence, better known as Memento­-style. It’s a crazy world out there, welcome to your slice of cinematic sanity – it’s Trailer Tracker.

 

Total Recall

From 1982’s Blade Runner to The Adjustment Bureau from just last year, infamous sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick has been providing influences on the genre (directly and indirectly) for 30 years. Although Dick has 49 novels and 24 short stories to his name, it’s back to the very familiar well that is We Can Remember it for you Wholesale, which became 1990’s Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and will now become 2012’s Total Recall starring Colin Farrell, albeit with a decidedly different tone and style.

The original Total Recall carried director Paul Verhoeven’s distinct tongue-in-cheek approach to sci-fi and the campier style of filmmaking that accompanied all of Schwarzenegger’s films. It is the weighty material that stands to give an adaptation some real potency and as long as director Len Wiseman and his crew don’t tamper with that, I see no reason why this update couldn’t work.

The loose plot of the film is that a factory worker ventures to a “virtual vacation” enterprise and is implanted with the dream that he is a spy, which inadvertently triggers the memory that he is in fact a highly-trained government agent. But whose side is he on? This lavish first trailer easily calls to mind Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report (another Dick brain child) in set design and overall presentation as well as the slick action that Wiseman previously brought to the original “Underworld” films.

Joining Ferrell are Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel as other super-spies, as well as Bryan Cranston as the ruthless Vilos Cohaagen, so the cast is certainly no slouch. One of the most famous Schwarzenegger quotes from the original (in expectedly goofy delivery) is “Come on Cohaagen you got what you want. Give these people air!” I mention that because Wiseman and company should take that line to heart and give this revisit some breathing room from the original.


Ted

Now, many of us likely had imaginary friends of some kind during childhood, but what if imagination became actualization, which than became inebriation. The outcome would probably be something akin to Ted, the upcoming R-rated comedy from Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad). Ted is set up like a standard romantic comedy, whereby John (Mark Wahlberg) and Lori (Mila Kunis) meet awkwardly in a club and subsequently fall in love—except that Jon’s sentient stuffed animal (also voiced by MacFarlane) still lives with him and throws a kink in the romance.

The execution of Ted is nothing like I originally suspected, as the concept seemed to indicate the story of a man who could hear his teddy bear while nobody else could, but instead, the cuddly fuzzy stoner is indeed quite real and recognized by everyone as a very real entity. As many jokes in the trailer made me burst as they did invoke stoic disbelief, but Ted promises (regardless of quality) an extremely raunchy, live-action Family Guy that should pander to the many juvenile (un)sensibilities lurking in all of us. Prepare to get stuffed July 13.


To Rome with Love

Though Woody Allen has been making movies since 1966 (with many hailed as classics to boot) its has nevertheless been roughly 26 years since I have truly loved one of the prolific filmmaker’s offerings, and 56-and-counting since I have excitedly looked forward to one. But lo and behold, not only did the trailer for To Rome with Love make me laugh more than any Allen film in recent memory, not only does it boast one of my favorite casts of some time – Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Roberto Benigni – but also for once I look forward to this upcoming effort. To be fair, I am not that naysayer in the back row, continually hurling “boos” but rather that I fail to be moved by the prospect of another Woody Allen feature, especially when there is a new debut every year (sometimes two). But, there is a first time for everything it would seem. This multi-threaded comedy lands in theaters June 22.


House at the End of the Street

As has been the case many times before, when an actor makes it big, studios finally have the opportunity to debut some languishing property that would have been far less profitable before their break. Following Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone and starring roles in acclaimed blockbusters X-Men: First Class and The Hunger Games, Relativity Media has deemed it fitting to launch House at the End of the Street, a horror flick told in a mixed chronology – or so the confusing trailer seems to indicate. “House” very much calls to mind this year’s Silent House with Elizabeth Olsen, another indie horror movie with a gimmick and starring a young female up-and-comer. I would expect more to be revealed about the actual plot in upcoming promo material, but for now we can just marvel at Lawrence’s abundant cleavage.  

 

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