Thursday, July 5, 2012

Three Trailers

Mark Wahlberg is playing against a Teddy Bear come to life in Ted. Eugene Levy is an embezzler forced into a safe house run by a Southern Mammy (Tyler Perry) in Madea's Witness Protection and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold  Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li do not play celebrity competing chefs on Chopped but chop off some heads in The Expendables 2. It’s hard to tell a book by its cover or a movie by its trailer, but in a world of exceedingly listless trailers, these trailers are all a source of hope. The movies themselves are likely to be another matter all together. A smoking, drinking and  cursing Teddy bear who looks under women’s skirts, rags on his owner and even beats him up is definitely an imaginative invention to be reckoned with. The notion of the toy or puppet come to life is of course goes back to Pinocchio and is a staple of the fantasy and horror genres, but Ted is plainly a ribald comedy that will have to work hard to extend its high concept for ninety minutes. Madea's Witness Protection comes on heels of the death of Henry Hill, the famed Lucchese crime family lieutenant, who was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. The trailer’s success depends on the fact that Eugene Levy’s character could never be played by Ray Liotta who was Hill in the Scorsese film and the humor of the trailer at least depends on the fact that Levy needs protection from his protectrice. The very thing that makes The Expendables 2 a trailer worth seeing is precisely what will mitigate against its success as a feature length film. Thinly drawn stock characters and action sequences which require the use of stunt men usually don't sustain a narrative.

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