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 cut sugar out of our diet, feel what it’s like to be epileptic, go on the hunt for one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords, listen to some truly heinous Christmas music, and we go on a killing spree this July 4th.

Electricity Trailer

I love what’s happening here.

One of the things that’s never left me is how Darren Aronofsky captured the sensation of being a drug addled junkie and decoding the physicality involved in getting high in Requiem for a Dream.  It’s hard to judge director Bryn Higgins’ own attempt to capture the soft edges and mental fractures that happen within our protagonist here but the trailer is certainly striking. We are offered nothing by way of narrative exposition of who we’re looking at, why we’re here, why we should care, or even what’s at stake. However, as we sit and soak in the moments that are offered up you can see that what’s at play is the difference between someone who has it completely together and someone who is afflicted with epilepsy, who is slowly delving deeper down a fantastical world where sight, sound, and reality, become distorted. It’s ambitious, to be sure, in trying to bend our perceptions of what’s real and what’s imagined but, like in Requiem, the surreal should hopefully only provide context to what matters most: the story.

That Sugar Film Trailer

Feels like we’ve been here before, right?

First, with Morgan Spurlock by way of his McDonald’s marathon and, now, this chap. Director Damon Gameau absolutely has to be able and communicate why this particular exercise deserves any more attention than any other boob who decides to do X for X days while recording the progress. I think he does it insofar that we’re here to bury sugar, not praise it. It’s not a company, a corporation, or business of any kind and, I think, this helps elevate the message to levels where we all can find common ground and genuine interest. It helps that we get glimpses of Stephen Fry and other talking heads to chime in on the subject while the trailer, overall, has a zippy pace. Further, it’s pretty engaging. Yes, we’re going down that road of doing X for X days but the subject matter seems wildly more interesting than the sample size of 1. I’m open to hear new ideas and if he’s got information, and from the looks of it he has animations galore, I’m willing to listen simply based on the presentation here.

Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty Trailer

I love Chicago and I’m fascinated with the Mexican drug trade. When you combine these two passions you get a rock solid piece of reporting that came out last year detailing the link between the windy city and the narcotics activity within its borders.

It would follow, then, that I would be there to at least give a gander towards filmmaker Angus MacQueen’s documentary on finding the man who authorities could not capture and who resided directly south of the United States. What added to the sales pitch for the movie is that this is coming to us by way of a producer for Searching for Sugar Man, The Imposter and other seriously sharp docs. The trailer itself is about as cut and dry as it comes. There is a little explanation of how notorious El Chapo was and how effective his evasion skills are but what really gives this preview impact is how it couches this personal manhunt against the backdrop of everything dire that has been a result of drug trafficking. The net net is a trailer that gives us a personal look into the machinations of a drug lord who doesn’t want to be found, a security team that would rival most metropolitan police forces, and a taste of what it’s like to live among men who are bent on retaining their power.

Jingle Bell Rocks! Trailer

Fact: The very best Christmas themed song that exists today on any continent and is, perhaps, the only Christmas song you’ll ever need in your life is Low’s “Just Like Christmas.”

I heard about Andy Cirzan while listening to a podcast a couple of years ago. I didn’t realize there was such a fervent underground fascination across the globe among some focused music hunters who compile the kind of holiday music only Santa could love.

I don’t know why director Mitchell Kezin would go down a road to capture this kind of activity but, since I’m a label snob and saw that Oscilloscope put its stamp of approval on it, I was completely in. The trailer doesn’t mess around with getting us acquainted with the kind of passionate soul who would willingly hunt out only the most head-scratchingly strange holiday tunes. What we see in the eyes of these collectors is a real thrill in the chase for the ultimate in holiday chintz. While the trailer itself isn’t all that revolutionary on its own, it just communicates the value proposition of its existence so well. It’s not braggadocios about why it needs to be seen but, rather, it lets these collectors speak their minds. They sell it themselves. It’s timely, could provide just the right kind of anti-programming that the world needs heading into the holiday season, and is strange enough that it has a lovable charm all its own.

You Are Not Alone Trailer

There are some films I’ve been tracking like little errant satellites for some time.

This happens to be one of them.

I really enjoyed director Derek Mungor’s trailer for a little film that could so much that I’ve been keeping tabs on it as it progressed through its various stages of development. Sometimes a trailer is that effective it makes me a little obsessive and I finally had a chance to see it. Full disclosure: it was wonderfully produced, acted, and executed. I told Derek it has a scuffed up look that feels genuinely natural. The 1st person POV takes a moment to get used to but, once ensconced into this world, it has the patina of a world that is situated in reality. This trailer deviates from the esoteric nature of the first trailer but communicates its value proposition well while being completely up-front about what’s about to take place. It doesn’t give up more than it has to, owns what it is, and still delivers a compelling message about why this deserves your time because it absolutely does. It’s a different kind of filmmaking and I celebrate its charm.

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:

Cool Posts From Around the Web: