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 snarky and cheat on our wives with Danny Huston, see if the world really will end on December 21st, see cosplay at its finest (or lowest), get enchanted by black and white, and make a run for the border. 

Boxing Day Trailer

Bernard Rose may not fall off the tips of tongues for those who are asked what else this director has done but for a select few who know he was behind Candyman it’s a pleasant surprise to see him pop up like this.

Starring Danny Huston as a speculative land buyer, the story based off of Leo Tolstoy’s work, and the trailer just vibrates with a certain uneasiness that is quite attractive and fascinating. I don’t know why I’m on edge watching what appears to be a pretty mundane story of a land baron who flips properties and a driver for that baron who appears to want to scrap with that man either overtly or under his breath.

Huston just pops in this kind of role, he’s played all manners of evil men quite nicely, but this trailer makes him out to be someone who is to be reviled and slightly evil with the way he cavorts with a woman, his little kids a phone call away. There doesn’t seem to be much indication where events will take us but the last third of this trailer appear to be quite stirring with the way the camera bobs and weaves, and the desperate way in which bodies are moving all capped with the hollow sounds of a helicopter as we stare at the sun. What in the hell all this means, I couldn’t tell you, but these are the kinds of stories I appreciate being tantalized by if done right.

This Time Tomorrow Trailer

If Noah Wyle and Jon Hamm had a kid it would be this good looking man with the fabulous beard, Dave Coleman.

A lot of what happens when you see a trailer starring people you don’t know is finding that thing that grabs you first and accentuating that. For me, it was that damn beard and it triggered a flashback to when I found about the movie In Search of a Midnight Kiss years ago by stumbling onto that trailer just as randomly as I found out about this one.

The two share a few things that really get my cinematic heart aflutter but what these two things have between them is that sense of real, raw emotion at the core and that they both were able to communicate that above all else. Beyond the simple production value, the snappy dialogue, what is present in this trailer is a real heart that is pumping emotion you can believe in and it made a believer out of me. There is a warmth between our couple here and I like that we have this one moment in time to focus on tightly.

Director Shane Bissett has crafted a tale that revolves around the end of the world on December 21st and this couldn’t be more endearing if it tried. There’s not a lot of money on the screen but that’s of no concern to me. The trailer carries us through the lives of these two young adults who are exactly that and it appears that they’ll go through the same ups and downs and emotional protests that pepper the landscape of these types of movies. Dime a dozen, seen it before, take your pick, but if there’s one movie that I am genuinely excited to see more than any other this week it would be this one. It’s nice to be reminded that we were all so impulsive at one time and for those of us who barely remember what that meant this is the story we all deserve to enjoy.

The Girl Trailer

I wish I hadn’t heard the full reviews of this movie.

The latest from David Riker, a director who has made films like La Cuidad and Sleep Dealer, is back with a movie that was helped along by a producer of Maria Full of Grace, one of those movies that genuinely hit you square in the eyes. This movie seems to flirt with the same idea of smuggling, with the exception here of it involving human property instead of drogas.

The beats are well spaced and paced without nary a weak moment to speak of. That said, though, there is lot of exposition that we’re given which they could have held back on a little bit, instead, giving us way too much. Give me a little mystery, don’t spill all the beans which they do fairly well of here. You have a hard nosed woman who finds love and hope in a girl she may or may not feel an obligation to but she flips pretty quick, this just being a function of the trailer and them wanting to show an entire arc happen before our eyes, and it’s barely believable.

I want to like this so much more than I do but it’s in such a hurry to get to the moments that play us out that it’s hard to develop a relationship with who this woman is. It looks like a really compelling story and they should have took a minute to let it all breathe a little bit.

All Superheroes Must Die Trailer

Well, this is certainly indie.

Jason Trost, who many know as the director of from The FP, is back with something that looks like a real independent effort mixed in with some fairly interesting moments wrapped up in comedic production values. I’m not sure what to even make of what’s here other than the bombastic rant of a hackneyed villan whose monologue appears to have been written by a sophomore in a high school creative writing class.

That said,  it’s an interesting exercise in making a superhero movie that is flying pretty low to the ground. The acting is iffy, the premise is just nuts, but the trailer is pretty good at establishing why we’re here and what we can expect. It’s got a lot of moments that demonstrate why those who would be interested in it would want to know more and it’s not shy at giving up some explosions in the process.

I’m not sure if I’m attracted by its lo-fi vibe or I’m really respecting the effort that’s on display but I do know that this looks like something I haven’t seen in some time. Of course, there are the fan videos that have made the rounds in various cosplay capacities. Perhaps this just feels like Comic-Con come to life.

Tabu Trailer 

Miguel Gomes? Anyone?

Not knowing anything about a director when you stumble on things like this is pretty exciting. There are no preconceived ideas of what their oeuvre is composed of, what themes they’re known for honing in on at any given time. A movie like this stands on it’s own and it really does stand tall.

I am in love with this trailer if for no other reason than it begins almost snootily, art for art sake, you genuinely want to take a leather glove and rap the people on the screen with it, but you realize that’s the point. There’s a comedic sensibility that is so subtle at play here that as it starts to woo you with its photography and the twinkling music, you are lulled into its spell. Something is at play with the people on the screen and we are thrust from a genial, gentle moment to Mickey Gilley’s “Lonely Wine”.

The flashback is its own beast but it’s riveting. These characters never say a word in the flashback but the pictures tell me everything. There is a beauty there, a romance with the moments and the people who inhabit that space. Sure, it still may be art for art sake but the trailer is cobbled together in such a way that you are so busy piecing together the love story by the time you look up the trailer is done. Mission accomplished. If there’s a tenth of the story that appears to be afoot here there’s a good chance this is a gem that otherwise would have been overlooked.

Just a tightly focused piece of marketing that not only got me excited for a film I never knew existed but now I’m anticipating it which is even more delicious of a feeling.

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

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

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