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’re giving up our freedoms online, watch the mother of all nuptial meltdowns, get inspired by an indie short that packs a real punch, try to make sense of a new Paul Walker vehicle, and watch Steve Coogan at his best.
Breakup at a Wedding Trailer
There’s just something about this one.
Knowing this is coming from a producer of Margin Call is one thing but a producer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? That bought this trailer exactly a minute and a half of my attention.
Victor Quinaz doesn’t immediately leap out as a name anyone would recognize but every director needs to leave their mark and this seems like a great way to make your presence known. This trailer shakes up the mockumentary genre by metaphorically hangin’ brain and just laying bare its nuttiness. The characters are off the wall, the situations are grounded in a reality we are all probably familiar with, but there is a genuine sense of humor that carries this thing so well for the entire running time. There is just a gonzo approach to just hammering moment after moment without letting up. While I don’t know whether it can sustain this kind of craziness for an hour and a half what I do hope it does is establish a story that doesn’t depend on one crazy thing happening after another. It looks like there are glimmers of realness here and there but when you’re trying to sell a comedy you’ve got to trot out the clowns. And this absolutely does. A tiny car full of them.
Terms and Conditions May Apply Trailer
What a timely trailer.
In the annals of right place right time, nothing says NSA better than a movie about online privacy. Director Cullen Hoback comes out swinging by having Mark Zuckerberg hoist himself on his own privacy settings petard. This then sets up the lunge to the digital jugular by establishing Google’s valuation not at the quality of its products but of the information it can leverage. It’s the world we’re living in and it’s the not-talked-about agreement between us, the people who love free stuff, and the companies who are letting us use their services (iTunes, Google, et al.) at no cost. We want to moan about ads and pre-roll but someone’s gotta pay for the free Internet, right? But, when it moves beyond free Internet, especially when this trailer hits the minute mark, you start to see how deep this logic runs within our country. We’re tacitly OK with the government wiretapping us because, as the saying goes, you’ve got nothing to hide, or do you? This is an incredibly relevant documentary that might have even more information to share about the digital culture we’ve become but at least the trailer makes you stop and, even if it’s just for a moment, consider what your free Internet is costing you.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa Trailer
How can you not be giddy at the thought of more Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge?
Declan Lowney is back to direct Coogan once more in a trailer that captures what makes Partridge just a fun fop to point at and have a good laugh. And this trailer delivers on the laughs that you would expect from a guy who is about as clueless and dimwitted as David Brent. However, what makes Alan such a good character is that he has these qualities but he’s also incredibly sharp and that’s where the brilliance comes out. Look, this isn’t going to make any Top 100 lists of the greatest comedies ever told, we already got our comedy about a radio station being held hostage and that was called Airheads, but any time you get a chance to see whether Coogan is bringing the heat with his derisive, passive aggressive style all you need is a trailer showcasing some good zingers and this trailer delivers on that.
Pawn Shop Chronicles Trailer
Wayne Kramer’s name doesn’t immediately leap from the page.
I think those who saw The Cooler agree that it was a great independent gem but with things like Mindhunters, Crossing Over and Running Scared following right behind that, you could question the pedigree. This trailer is just nutty and I mean that lovingly. It has a flavor all its own and even though I hardly understood a damn thing in this thing I still liked how strange and humorous it was. There’s something to be said about a movie that just wants to ditch the conventional way of telling a story or putting together the way in which we’re given information and it feels like someone put various pieces of a movie in a blender, set it to puree, and this is the result. Kudos for taking a chance.
Tonight I Strike Trailer
What a difference a year makes.
A little more than a year ago I talked about the trailer To Our Bright White Hearts which eventually made it to my Top 10 list of 2012. So, when director Ayz Waraich came knocking with a short he helped produce and co-write, I decided to give it a spin.
This short, directed by Dan Gaud, is pretty fantastic. Dan, you should know, has made a name for himself in the VFX world by working on projects like Watchmen, Iron Man 2, and District 9. There is a distinct confidence in the work here as it feels so assured and incredible to look at. For someone looking to break out to do their own thing, especially considering just the cost alone of effects work, in this field requires the careful measuring of what your budget will, and will not, allow you to do. Thankfully, the choices made are the right ones because you don’t question how much it cost him to make because it’s just so seamless.
The extraordinary nature of the story is wild enough on its own so I invite you to check it out and let me know what you think below.
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:
- Only God Forgives Trailer - Moody, atmospheric, slightly vague about the particulars of what’s going to happen, and I’m OK with that.
- The Wolf of Wall Street Trailer - Nothing but kudos for this. Seems a bit Wall Street-ish, though, but that doesn’t temper my excitement to see more of what’s here.
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Trailer – Great, another paranormal franchise wannabe targeted to young adults.
- Riddick Trailer - Nothing stands out about this other than its ridiculousness.
- Touchy Feely Trailer – It’s endearing and sweet.
- Killing Season Trailer - Are they serious with this?
- Frozen Trailer - Seems genuinely underwhelming.
- Letters to Jackie Trailer - Doesn’t seem engaging, or interesting, from a visual standpoint.
- The Lego Movie Trailer - I’m sure if I had a kid who plays with Legos I’d be required to see this but since I don’t, I won’t.
- Anchorman: The Legend Continues Trailer - Looks like a continuation of what we’ve seen with the first installment but now, unnecessarily super sized, because you demanded it.
- The Spectacular Now Trailer - Genuinely looks sweet and powerful.
- Free Birds Trailer - I’m usually up for some mindless kid fare but this trailer just doesn’t make me want to see any more of it.
- Smurfs 2 Trailer - I’m not even watching this.
- Drinking Buddies Trailer - Was not expecting to like this as much as I did.
- Empire State Trailer - Looks worthy enough for a basic cable spin but that’s about it.
- Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus Trailer - Seems rather bland and middling.