In the second installment of what I’ve decided needs to be a recurring series, we take a look at the first trailer for Paranoia, the latest from hit-or-miss director Robert Luketic. It stars Liam Hemsworth, who has yet to prove to me (or most everyone else) that he’s more than just a pretty face, alongside heavy-lifters Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford. (It’s also only the latest film to be titled thusly. Imdb lists 36)
Before we take a look at the trailer, here’s a little background: When I say Luketic is “hit-or-miss”, I mean that his biggest hit to date remains his first film, Legally Blonde from 2001 with Reese Witherspoon. Then came negotiations to direct the rebooted “Dallas”, but instead he followed up with Win a Date with Tad Hamilton starring Topher Grace, Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel (in his first feature) and Monster-in-Law with JLo and Jane Fonda trying to out-diva each other. After those two gems came a fairly well regarded drama, 21 (more on that in a moment) and a little comedy called The Ugly Truth, a film I liked for a number of reasons, not just the obvious (remember, ARLTG*). But then he followed that one up with the execrable Killers starring his TUT leading lady, Katherine Heigl (utterly drained of charm) and the perfectly-suited-to-television-so-let’s-leave-him-there, Ashton Kutcher.
Paranoia is Luketic’s first film since Killers and his second with ties to Boston. It’s based on the book by Boston-based writer Joseph Finder. The first, 21, with Kevin Spacey and the crushable Jim Sturges (and again Kate Bosworth – he’s like Hitchcock with those blondes *cough*), was based on a true story written by a Bostonian about MIT students taking down Vegas casinos and partially filmed here. If it ever gets off the ground, Luketic ‘s next flick will be a thriller about jewel thieves called Brilliant. It was initially supposed to film here in Boston with Gerard Butler in the lead**. Its current status is unknown.
Having said all of that, what is Paranoia about? Here’s the official synopsis:
In this high-stakes thriller, Adam Cassidy (Hemsworth) is a regular guy trying to get ahead in his entry-level job at Wyatt Corporation. But after one costly mistake, Adam’s ruthless CEO, Nicholas Wyatt (Oldman), forces him to spy on corporate rival, Jock Goddard (Ford), Wyatt’s old mentor. Adam soon finds himself occupying the corner office and living the life he only dreamed of. However, behind the scenes, he is simply a pawn in Wyatt’s corporate game and realizes he must ultimately find a way out from under his boss who will stop at nothing, even murder, to win a multi-billion dollar advantage.
In addition to Oldman, Ford and Hemsworth, the movie stars Amber Heard, Richard Dreyfus, Josh Holloway, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Lucas Til and Angela Sarafyan. That’s a pretty damn good cast working with some pretty good source material. The screenplay was written by Barry Levy, who wrote the underrated Vantage Point, directed by Pete Travis*, and Jason Dean Hall.
So what did they do with it? Take a look at this:
(via Movie Clips Trailers)
Now, I ask you. Was that designed merely to tease, or is that the entire movie compressed into 2 ½ minutes? Is there anything still left to learn or can you extrapolate everything you need from the footage provided by the first trailer?
JMHO, but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before in dozens of other generic, corporate espionage thrillers. All that’s different is the technology, which was probably dated as soon as filming wrapped. Released on a weekend typically reserved for bone-headed action films like The Expendables, getting butts in theater seats for this one, in the middle of summer, is going to depend heavily on the name brand recognition of the cast, at least in terms of adults. For the teens still out of school, there’s Hemsworth playing the wide-eyed innocent from the wrong side of the tracks (see Jim Sturges in 21). It’s not coincidence that Liam and his blue eyes introduce the first trailer as it appeared on Yahoo Movies. (Bit of trivia, Hemsworth was in The Expendables 2 last August.)
Personally, Gary Oldman is an actor I’d pay to see read the phonebook and I’m looking forward to watching him, along with Harrison Ford, make a meal out of the scenery, so I’m in. I’m also just superficial enough to enjoy the superficial joys inherent in a shirtless Liam Hemsworth emerging from a swimming pool. (Speaking of pools, that family has some seriously attractive DNA. Am I right?)
Bottom line, despite the fact that there are undoubtedly NO surprises to be found after that trailer, I think what we’re left with will be entertaining nonetheless.
Paranoia will be released in the US on August 16. What do you think? Will this one bring you out of the hot sun to sit in the darkened chill of a movie theater or has it been spoiled so badly you’ll wait for dvd or even cable?
Thanks for reading. Check out the pics from filming in Philly, July 2012, below.
*All Roads Lead to G (erard Butler).
**Again exhibiting his propensity for recasting actors he’s worked with in the past, the role in Paranoia played by Gary Oldman, Nicholas Wyatt, was first offered to Kevin Spacey.