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 rush a frat, get the straight dope from NASA, use a possibly/maybe/probably real UFO event as a springboard for something fun, and raise the undead once more for an interesting yarn.

Burning Sands Trailer

Strong.

First time director Gerard McMurray looks like he’s coming hard out of the gate with a serious drama about fraternity life, specifically Hell Week. While it does share many elements from last year’s Goat there doesn’t feel like any gratuitous sensationalism although it does share in the more violent aspects of both films. Somehow in the 21st century even after we’ve moved past many of the antiquated behaviors that define social groups like this with all the crackdowns on hazing, underage drinking, take your pick of vice, there still exists this idea that these barbaric initiations are still happening. That they are one of the last vestiges of urban legend, or urban fact, makes stories like this so alluring.

Here Alone Trailer

OK, then.

Look, most of us are all burnt out on zombies. What director Rod Blackhurst, who last gave us the Amanda Knox documentary that came out last year, is doing here helps to move past the typical zombie fare and into something a little more substantive. The trailer does a solid job in establishing why we’re here and what the stakes are. While there are some common tropes being played out (not knowing who to trust, being one) there’s a freshness here that I enjoyed immensely. While I don’t know if the sum of its parts will make for a satisfying whole, this trailer is one way to get at what makes the undead such a great subject to mine.

Mission Control Trailer

Grandad would love this.

As a history buff there is no substitute for well-polished or well-made movies like Hidden Figures or Apollo 13. Sure, they’re there and they inspire an entire legion of a populace with their stories but to hear it from the old son of a gun’s who managed the operations or were a part of them there is just that certain fascination and reverence we should have in listening to their stories. Director David Fairhead does exactly as he should in presenting these talking heads as they reflect on what it was like to be within mission control’s nerve center. It’s damn riveting to see these guys talk and reflect and, to me, has more impact than a fictional recreation no matter how close it hews to reality.

Phoenix Forgotten Trailer

T.S Nowlin.

Nowlin is currently the guy credited for crafting the script for Pacific Rim: Uprising and the screenplays for all the Maze Runner installments. This movie, directed by Justin Barber, who worked as a producer on an utterly not-seen-by-enough-people favorite of mine, The Myth of the American Sleepover, has his own share of producing help by the folks who gave us The Martian and 300. The net-net of this seems to be right in line with a smaller production joint that looks to leverage the jump scares more than wanton evisceration and gore. I’m not sure how far this will get with audiences but it looks like it’s good enough to get people to submit to its premise. The Phoenix Lights was all people could talk about when it happened in my backyard 20 years ago (ugh, I’m so old) so it’s a fascinating ripped-from-the-headlines approach to a story that may have some legs. Or antennae.

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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