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Trailer Tracker: Unknown, The Rite and More

Our featured clip this week is Unknown, the psychological thriller that finds an imposter living Liam Neeson’s life after an accident. To be or not to be? “Be” of course, it’s Trailer Tracker. Be sure also to check out Trailer Tracker’s new segment after the jump: Clip Trip, where we delve back into Hollywood’s archive and pull out a classic clip for your viewing pleasure.

New trailers this week:

Unknown
The Rite
Rabbit Hole
Cars 2
Justin Bieber: Never say Never


Unknown

Memory loss films have had a shaky history in Hollywood. For every “Bourne” franchise and Memento we are subjected to an Overboard or The Forgotten. The fault often lies with the dependence on the suspension-of-disbelief circumstances: ludicrous twists and impossibly complex back stories. In addition, filmmakers often use this as an escape to cheat the audience with a final slap in the face, blaming the amnesia for his insanity, oversights, etc. The amnesia convention is even more abundant in television; finding one long-running series that doesn’t at least spoof the cliché is a challenge all on its own.

Yet what better way to boost possibly preposterous material than with Liam Neeson, and his new-found inner action star, lighting up the screen recently with the sleeper hit Taken and the not-so-sleeper-but-still-satisfying blockbuster The A-Team. In Unknown (previously titled Unknown White Male) Neeson plays a loving husband who awakens from a coma after a horrific car accident to find he is not, well, himself, at least according to his wife and her new “husband.” So it is up to him to uncover the conspiracy and find out what really happened to him that fateful day.

Whatever the final result, the trailer is superb, full of visual flair and dramatic quick-cuts. I would expect no less from stylish director Jaume Collet-Serra, who last year helmed one of the best horror films in recent memory with Orphan. His grasp on tension and ominousness makes him a suitable choice for this complex thriller and teamed with Neeson and a supporting cast including Diane Kruger, January Jones, Frank Langella and Adrienne Quinn, I will be embracing the unknown on Jan. 7 of the new year.



 


The Rite

Right on the tale of the low-budget success of The Last Exorcism, we find a glossier production in The Rite about a disillusioned American and former-to-be-priest who finds his faith at the Vatican performing exorcisms. A truth that has been shown again and again, Hollywood always jumps on the bandwagon when a genre shows promise and this is no exception. The director is Mikael Håfström, who helmed some entertainingly schlocky efforts such as Derailed and 1408, although this looks significantly more serious. Hopefully some life remains, as the last thing we need is another preachy exorcism drama.


Rabbit Hole

No, it’s not a prequel to Alice in Wonderland but a rather morose-looking tragedy about the loss of a child. Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman star as to bereaved parents who try and reassemble their lives following a tragic accident. I have said it before and I will say it again, tragic versus depressing is a delicate line to tread and this initial clip looks manipulative to a T. Of course I have not seen this film, so my mind remains open, I just hope this is more than a tear-jerker that’s only mark is a stack of soiled tissues.



Cars 2

Almost universally considered to be the one “weak” link in Pixar Animation’s stunning streak of critical successes, what it lacked in support it made up for in merchandising revenue. A lot of merchandising revenue. And although we would all love to think as Pixar as the last pure creative entity, they are still a business and we cannot fault them for wanting success. Kids loved these talking cars, and there is plenty of zoom for improvement in the sequel so let’s hope their first sequel outside of the “Toy Story” franchise can pull a surprise shocker in summer of 2011.



Justin Bieber: Never say Never

Over forty? Thirty? Heck, ever 20? If so, I will not fault you if Justin Bieber is not a household name, but this Canuck wunderkind (that phrase is an odd clashing of cultures) is huge, Miley Cirrus huge, and we have seen how here films have fared at the box office.  There is a lot of hate surrounding this 16-year-old, but personally I do not hate him, I do not like him: he is a successful young talent and I respect him in that regard. As for seeing his movie? Call me a curmudgeon.

 


Clip Trip: Dark City

Welcome to the newest segment on Trailer Tracker: Clip Trip (down memory lane that is). With the release of Unknown starring a clueless Liam Neeson, we’ll take a peak at another classic memory-loss film; 1998’s Dark City. Director Alex Proyas’ complex follow-up to the cult-classic The Crow is a masterpiece of set design and entrancing gothic visuals. Dark City finds a man (Rufus Sewell) awakening with no history and no name in a word with no sun inhabited by powerful forces with a sinister agenda. This dark sci-fi mind-bender will not be for everyone, but it is a pure instance of storytelling and vision at its finest.



 

 

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