Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we try not to get eaten by Shamu, evade the coppers on our motorbikes and four-wheelers, get all artsy fartsy with a subversive Falco tribute, head to Branson for some good ol’ fashioned fun in the heartland and screech in terror at a giant black and white tarantula.

We Always Lie To Strangers Trailer

AJ Schnack, David Boone Wilson are giving us something special.

In the Midwest where I grew up  you had a few choices for vacation when it was time to go on holiday. You could flee for the coasts to hit Disneyland/Disneyworld, you could go north to the Wisconsin Dells for the kind of low pile entertainment that meant carnival attractions, water sports that involve variations of water skiing, and hellacious museums of no importance and makes the Liberace showcase in Vegas look like the Smithsonian.

Or, you could head to the Ozarks and, further west, Branson.

Branson is an odd duck. Packed with performers that pluck banjos instead of a Fender Stratocaster, Borscht Belt comedians who trot out the kind of hackneyed jokes your grandparents think are cutting edge, and acts that have no place in the casinos and cruise ships of the world other than this Bermuda Triangle of hillbilly heaven. That is why I absolutely MUST see this documentary.

From the vocal accompaniment to the gentle, sweeping views of Branson proper, there is a strange attraction this preview has with those who are attune to what it’s presenting. The voiceovers and the way they describe what it’s like to be a part of this scene only intrigues me more as a viewer. It’s damn near haunting the way we cycle in and out of moments as the music almost makes it seem something more morose. However, there is a pride on display and I hope this documentary explores the ins and outs of what it must be like to be one of the hottest stops for those who think Branson, MO is the end-all-be-all for those looking for some Red State kind of fun.

12 O’Clock Boys Trailer

You just can’t kick a cop car. In my thirty some odd years on this planet I do not know much BUT I do know you cannot kick a cop car while it’s in motion. And, you’re sure as hell crusin’ for a brusin’ when you give the po-pos your middle finger.

I’m serious, my mouth was agape when I saw dudes doing what they’re performing on the city streets. The whole first minute of this trailer challenges you on a level to hold in your mind the awe of what it’s like to have bikes, quads, and men riding tandem popping wheelies as it gingerly shows this majesty and then, in another view, be kind of shocked with their literal disdain for the cops who don’t want them rolling through the streets.

But the trailer doesn’t stop there. We get a full-on “Hate Tha Po’ Leece” love fest as the guys scramble when the cops show up but some want to engage, some, as I mentioned, will kick the car, and others will give chase and drive wherever the hell they want in order to catch these guys.

It’s close to anarchy and director Lofty Nathan was wise enough to capture that chaos as well as the aftermath of what these kinds of activities will yield. Dead body in the funeral parlor does the trick for me and it underscores the seriousness of what these people are doing on a daily basis. I have no clue what it all means and why this boy who we’re following doesn’t know better but I’m hooked. I need to know more.

Blackfish Trailer

Gabriela Cowperthwaite figured out how to sell this in a fantastical way.

It wouldn’t be enough to just present this documentary in a straightforward manner as it would just invite the kind of shoulder shrugging that would indicate a “Hey, what can you do?” but if you introduce this subject like you would for Grizzly Man, and create a little suspense, then you’ve got something.

And she has something.

I don’t know why 911 tapes are so riveting here but they flat out work. No exhalations, no congratulatory film fest kudos, no context, nothing. Just the sounds of tapes that say two things that show you how sharp this marketing spot is: 1) The first, being that someone is in the whale tank and to send someone quick and 2) at about :35 seconds the calm way in which someone says that a whale has eaten one of the trainers.

!!!

Whoever that man is talking, he deserves the nerves of ice and steel award for 2013 because I would have lost my mind if this happened around me. Regardless, it’s spooky as all hell and even though I haven’t one iota of indication of where things are going I am so into what it’s selling.

Laurence Anyways Trailer

We can call this pretentious, right?

Xavier Dolan’s previous feature, Heartbeats, sold itself as a hipster version of Threesome if I could be so bold to make the assertion but it looks like he’s taking things up a notch and has crafted a postmodern homage to one of the greatest touchstones in American pop culture: Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” video.

The trailer brings Falco into the 2000′s by incorporating exposed boobs, black ties, a guest list that is off the charts unexplainable, smoke machines, wind machines, wigs, crazy close ups, grandiose locale, the similarities are truly frightening. To be serious about it, and without making an innuendo that the flash to the man riding the bus is eerily similar to the look donned by Falco in the “Der Kommissar” video, this is pretty damn bizarre.

For any studio or in marketing or in the making of this trailer to let this be the initial piece by which people are exposed to the film is a ballsy move. It doesn’t make me want to see this any less, in fact I am REALLY keyed up by the whole carnival of craziness, but I can only imagine how others might respond to this and make their judgements from there.

Again, maybe it’s for the best in that Dolan doesn’t want a casual viewer to experience one of his creations, or he’s of the mind he doesn’t care if anyone ever sees his films, that this is for the hard core, for those who would gravitate to something that looks like it was shot from an HD cannon all the way back from 1985.

I Wish Trailer

When I talked about Hirokazu Koreeda’s latest almost a year ago I talked about how this film looked like a jaunty kid’s adventure movie that’s filled with a little danger, some mirthful playfulness and an overall hopeful sense that there is something more beyond than just these kids wanting to sneak out of their house for a singular purpose.

Well, this trailer is a great A/B example of what something can look like when you decide to make it appear a little more dour. It’s morose, sad and it’s a lot less fun. Which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing. Far from it. The trailer is still wonderfully edited in a way that retains the sense that you have a kid who wants to experience this one thing and he’s committed to it. However, you do get more of the heady emotional stuff that was just hinted at in the first trailer. People are crying, lives seem to be in shambles, and instead of a grand journey we are just going to be rooting for this child to somehow come out of the other end of this having earned something more rich and fulfilling.

The Giant Spider Trailer

I’ll see Russ’ Big Ass Spider and raise him one Giant Spider.

I saw this and could not resist. It probably won’t make anyone’s Top 10 of 2013 at the end of the year but the trailer’s fun, it’s obviously hearkening back to a simpler time in movies and it does trigger those more nostalgic feelings some may have for sci-fi movies that have long since gone out of style.

Is it silly? Absolutely. but that’s the charm.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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