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 catch up with the always on-point Gabriel Byrne, get blown away by Tim Roth as a dad we all would want, go on a snipe hunt for a chomo that doesn’t exist, get wowed by a real-life ex-con and his old lady, and be utterly underwhelmed by  Zyzzyx Road’s director, John Penney’s, latest.

I, Anna Trailer

Barnaby Southcombe is perhaps the best name working in entertainment today, literally. Sure, he’s had a nice run working on the series Footballers Wive$: Overtime but, as a directorial debut, this has some teeth and I hope it’s as good as what’s presented here.

Longing for the day when we had thrillers pack the multiplex, changing tastes replacing these with the paranormal teen romance/superhero yarns we all know and love, this trailer feels like a movie we haven’t seen for some time and I love it. With Gabriel Byrne and his flowing silver locks looking all morose, complimenting the listless visage of Charlotte Rampling, and Richard Hawley’s “Precious Sight” crooning in the background tying it all together, this is how you sell a movie.

It’s nice to be taken through the story of how we find ourselves in the company of these two people, how they come together, and the pace becomes one of a slow dance to a jog to a full out sprint. We’re not let in on what the hell is happening or how even this even might end. That kind of restraint is impressive as is the entire runtime of this trailer.

The Hunt Trailer

Can we all agree that Mads Mikkelsen is sorta creepy? He plays bad so well that it’s tough to imagine him in any kind of sympathetic role. However, my heart bleeds for him in this trailer.

Thomas Vinterberg’s tale of guy who is wrongly accused (perhaps?) of inappropriately touching a young child is expertly set up not only narratively but in also making Mads one likable fellow within seconds. We feel for this teacher who genuinely appears to be a kind soul, only to be railroaded by some ankle biter, and we see how his life is slowly torn apart.

What’s interesting here is that the story isn’t so much about him fighting these allegations in a court of law but battling it out in the court of public opinion. He literally becomes a social leper, as does his family, and the trailer is able to keep that narrative flow going all the way to the end when he seems to be at wits end and when physical violence is the only way people know how to react to such a thing.

It really does become the mark of the beast when branded with the label of chomo, rightly or wrongly, and this appears to be a fascinating exploration into what one guy does when he’s tarred with that brush.

Broken Trailer

It’s nice to see that a guy who got his start as being casted in a CBS Schoolbreak Special as Registration Teacher back in 1984 could come roaring back almost 30 years later to make what looks like a rock solid drama.

Rufus Norris has adapted Daniel Clay’s book of the same name in what appears to a pastiche of happiness, sadness, violence, coming of age, and a myriad of other things all wrapped up in a tidy package. For a first time director it’s pretty staggering to take on multiple plots and have it look as engaging as this. What’s clutch, though, is how we enter this world. Tethered by Tim Roth’s cool and calm demeanor as a father who appears exhausted by everyday life, the way things spin out of control happen all too quick.

I’m not sure I literally understood what people were saying at times but you can get what’s happening. This looks like a cul-de-sac like no other and what’s being served on everyone’s plate is dysfunction. While it appears to be that the young girl who appears to be Roth’s daughter is our moral compass through this story there appears to be many yarns all leading back to her. No matter, though, as they all look interesting and, more important, intriguing.

It’s hard to put into words how a great trailer makes you want to pull your wallet out and give them a ten spot just to see how it ends but this one makes you want to reach out to Amazon to buy the book.

Hail Trailer

Wow.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a move starring an ex-con who legitimately plays the part. Director Amiel Courtin-Wilson must know what he’s doing as this trailer makes you wonder just how far a person can fall down the rabbit hole before they hit bottom and then try and claw their way back.

Experimental cinema at its finest, there is a certain kind of charm about seeing someone so raw on screen not knowing this movie is essentially a dramatic retelling of Danny Jones’ life with a little bit of psychosis thrown in for good measure. The result is a movie that is selling itself on nothing more than the discordant narrative moments we’re given that make no sense at times. I don’t mind it at all as I get it. There is a wildness to this man’s story and, as if we were seeing the true stream of conscious book “Mrs Dalloway” come to life, it makes sense once you’re in tune with the author’s m.o..

I actually came across a companion piece to this trailer which is the Indio Girls w/Missy Higgins’ video to a song that appears in the movie but it helps, so much, to see this as yet another preview into the world Amiel has crafted for us to dip ourselves into. It doesn’t play out like a normal video, I assure you, but you “get it” once you see it.

This makes you sad, it makes you wonder, it makes you feel something. For that, it absolutely needs to be commended.

Hellgate Trailer 

How do you follow up Zyzzyx Road? Easy, you don’t, but director John Penney is making another go of things. What shocks me most is seeing Cary Elwes and William Hurt in a movie that doesn’t look like it’s anything more that should be playing on the SyFy channel right after Mansquito but right before the latest Antonio Sabato Jr. joint.

Even more than that is how lead handed this trailer is at explaining what brings us all here. From the cheeseball intro of Elwes and his family becoming victims of a car accident that leaves his boy dead to the introduction of Hurt who telegraphs that Elwes “doesn’t have much time” (of course he doesn’t) before he combusts or some such nonsense. Honestly, Bill Pullman did this dance better when it was called The Serpent and the Rainbow and even that trailer did a better job of just letting the weirdness become a part of the narrative. It was a lot to take in, Serpent was, but here it’s just matter of fact and just a simple explanation on our way to being shocked with imagery and makeup.

Take what you want from this trailer but if it’s anything more than thinking it’s going to be a good way to waste a hundred pennies inside your closest Redbox then I have to think you’re going to be sorely disappointed in the outcome.


Freeloaders Trailer 

That old adage that no one sets out to make a bad movie? Let director Dan Rosen explain what wacky hijinks that would somehow, some way, make me think otherwise after seeing this trailer. Good for him at being able to find work, I just know this is on the long list of movies that I do not want to know more about, certainly spend any kind of money to see. (via Film School Rejects)

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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