Green Band Trailer

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 get back to old fashioned thrillers, visit some chimpanzees for funsies, we give it up to George Michael, discover the lighter musical side to a zombie apocalypse, and watch a doc on a little band that could.

Jane Trailer

This is human being level fascinating subject matter, to be sure.

Not only is this movie about chimpanzees who are, no question, the only animal I like seeing in a zoo if for no other reason than it feels like I’m looking at a distant cousin but the directorial power behind this is reason enough to hook me in. Director Brett Morgen, who gave us The Kid Stays in the Picture and Cobain: Montage of Heck, seems to be taking nature documentaries to a level that makes the content not only palatable but narratively interesting. The entire trailer is a genteel ride through Jane Goodall’s seminal work decades ago while providing some perspective some many decades removed. There is nothing revolutionary about its presentation or production but it’s exactly that focus on the film’s content that makes this trailer such a delight.

George Michael: Freedom Trailer

Two things: One, Wham!’s “Make It Big” was a revered piece of vinyl in my home when it came out in 1984. Two, some will say “Faith” or “Freedom ’90” was their favorite George Michael single but, for my money, his cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is just bananas every single time I hear it.

Co-directed by George Michael himself before his untimely death and David Austin this is a documentary I am deeply interested in watching. While I never had the opportunity to see the man perform live, the effect that George Michael had on those around the world was incalculable. The trailer here simply sets the table for what hopefully will be a far reaching examination into the man’s accomplishments in music and how he navigated a landscape that both freed him and shackled him. Besides being intrigued on how they’ll approach his sudden passing if he was in the midst of directing this when it happened, I’m equally intrigued by the inclusion of Ricky Gervais and Liam Gallagher as those who are being interviewed on camera. I’m hoping and wishing and asking any spirit who is listening that this doesn’t end up being a toothless EPK that glosses everything over with a thick coat of shellac and doesn’t allow us to get into the rougher patches that made the man such an artist.

Anna and the Apocalpse Trailer

Don’t just take my word for it, ask Jacob Hall for his opinion.

Director John McPhail probably has made the one thing I want to see more than anything else before this year is over. I’m such a pushover when it comes to musicals and when it comes to genre films if you’re able to blend those two you’ve just ensured this guy will come out and support it. Now, this isn’t to say that this trailer is crazy delicious because, frankly, it’s just good enough. I wish it were a little more engaging with its narrative but the back half of what already is a pretty quick trailer makes the best case possible that this should be on many people’s Must See list for 2017. Here’s to hoping I’ll be humming my favorite parts after it’s all over.

The Cadillac Tramps: Life on the Edge Trailer

Adrian Young from No Doubt, Lars Frederiksen from Rancid, Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam. High praise.

Director Jamie Sims Coakley manages to captivate viewers who have never heard of this band (I’m including myself into that mix) right out of the gate and doesn’t waste any time in getting right to the heart of who these guys are. One of the biggest things that resonates with me about this is how the story itself is compelling but it’s really charting the course of a band as they get older and have families and deal with the decisions that were made decades ago that’s the most gripping subject matter. Many of these guys have mortgages and are dealing with child care or raising a kid or just coping with the lives they’ve been given and so a documentary like this with so many people who heap praise on a band many haven’t encountered seems like a recommendation worth listening to.

Never Here Trailer

A final performance.

If you’re going to have your swan song make sure it’s a good one.

Sam Shepard looks to have one more in the tank and the trailer is just good enough that this makes it one I have to put on my list to see. Director Camille Thoman appears to have coaxed a performance worthy of Shepard’s last that’s both interesting and marvelously psychological. I’ve missed thrillers like this and the trailer, propped up by some solid pull-quotes, helps to make the case that you have a genuinely well-thought out plot that takes some twists, turns, with hopefully a McGuffin tossed in there for good measure. It doesn’t give anything away (I don’t think) and this trailer slyly sets up a narrative that hopefully ends up being a good way to spend a couple of hours.

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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