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 hate on the Nazi party, get weird with Stephen Chow’s latest, think globally but act locally buying organic, get confused with my inability to decipher what Tim Roth is saying, pick up a sixer of talent, and get all emotional with a movie that took five years to make. 

Everyday Trailer

With all the hubbub as of late about Michael Apted’s UP series and the decades long journey it has been on, it’s hard to admire Michael Winterbottom’s five year dedication to a movie that seems absolutely riveting in its premise. Taking an incarcerated man’s life, his wife and children, and show what missing out on some crucial moments can actually do to the idea of what it means to be a family.

The trailer proper, though, is a lot more thorough than the previous teaser which still isn’t saying much when you actually experience this one. However, this couldn’t be a better trailer that exemplifies the idea that sometimes you project your own experiences, thoughts, life stages, etc… on what you’re seing. And this one got to me, I’ll be perfectly honest.

Not only is it structured so wonderfully, interweaving pull-quotes at just the right time and not leaning on them too heavily, with the way we don’t know why this guy is in prison or what we did but we’re made to see him as a sympathetic person. More importantly, we see him as a father, we see his wife as a woman who is keeping the family together and looks emotionally weather beaten  Just downtrodden.

And then the music kicks in. Maybe it’s my time of the month, maybe I’m going through some hormonal changes, but being a father myself and seeing how this story is pretty much going to hinge on the idea that this man is missing out on the moments he should be there for is just heartbreaking. It just tore me up to see this. And it’s a damn movie! Fakery of the highest order! I don’t know about its commercial appeal but it has the emotional angle down perfectly.

I may need to see this just because I haven’t had a good cry in years.

In Organic We Trust Trailer

I do love these kinds of documentaries.

Documentarian Kip Pastor is hot on the heels of a study that recently showed that organic food is no more or less nutritious than its non-organic brethren. He’s also hitting at a time when farmer’s markets are seeing growth of almost 10% in the past year.

What I like about the trailer is that it takes us on an overview that establishes not only what the big deal is about the organic movement, for major corporations it is yet another flavor of the month marketing initiative that will be replaced when something else occupies our attention, but what we ought to be thinking about instead. It’s interesting that we pretty much get an essay from beginning to end with a supplied conclusion but it’s helpful, as a viewer, to see that it’s not all about vilification but, yet, it’s about options and answers.

It looks like this will be an exploration of where we’ve been with the organic movement and, hopefully, what’s the endgame possibly could be. More importantly, I’m insanely curious about how this altered, changed or affected farmers in general. While it’s not a dissertation on the state of the prison system or an indictment of healthcare in America it nonetheless is a timely topic, again, based on the number of parking lot farmer’s markets that are popping up all over this country.

Journey to the West Trailer

Stephen Chow’s brand of reality bends all kinds of rules.

He’s got a Gilliam-esque way of looking at the world and that suits me just fine. For some it may border on distraction but, I would assert, it allows him to treat moments with elasticity, an exaggeration.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what in the world this about just viewing this trailer. You’d be hard pressed to definitively walk away from watching the preview and proclaiming you have the answer.  Now, that said, even after finding out it has to do with a Buddhist monk and a quest of some kind I still don’t get it but I like this a lot. It has that Stephen Chow charm that I’ve grown to enjoy and even though there’s enough discordance to make anyone’s head spin for a bit, that’s fine.

It’s the visual appeal that’s selling me here and I’m sure the core audience who enjoy Chow’s work will all be lining up for a chance to see if he’s created another King Fu Hustle. I, for one, welcome the insanity.

The Joy of Six Trailer

Stick this in the better late than never category.

For you Brits who were able to see this a couple of months ago, I await a response about whether this is something worthy enough to keep a flame going for based on this trailer. True, the music is absolutely, without question, dreadful but the content is what sells it for me. As well, considering that a quick glance of the directors listed for this series of films don’t stand out (Douglas Hart, Will Jewell, Dan Sully, Romola Garai, Chris Foggin and Matthew Holness) what you have is some real fresh takes on small material.

While people like Robert Altman made it seem so flawless to interweave handfuls of narratives into a singular quilt of interconnectedness the idea of banging through six short films as one handy package not only appeals to the short story lover in me but it also tickles my ADD nerve. Even if you got a clunker in there you still have the chance scratch off another place on this lottery ticket and hit big. As well, the trailer does a superb job with selling every one of these stories.

We have six very different tales to tell but the marketing works in a cohesive manner; it ties everything together, again, in a wrapped package that you just want to shake. The questions I’m left with and want answered overpower any shortcomings in its musical selection.

The Liability Trailer

Even though I don’t know what language Tim Roth is speaking I could listen to him emote however he damn well pleases for hours on end.

One of the things that sticks out from director Craig Viveiros‘ tale of wanton violence and snappy characters not only comes across well but we’re launched into the action of the film with absolutely no back story of why we’re here, what we’re doing here or how a girl gets roped into the whole death and killing thing. There’s no regard to establishing a clear direction of how the narrative is going to go but that’s its charm.

I like that it’s playing fast and loose with its structure. Either being completely evasive with the details or giving out way too much information is how you can go and this one decides it’s not going to do either. Filled with the kind of black humor and sinister deviancy that made Snatch such a fun romp, it feels like there’s a reincarnation of sorts here.

Skokie: Invaded, But Not Conquered Trailer

I am not sure the percentage now but Skokie, Illinois, in 1977, had the largest percentage of holocaust survivors in the U.S. living within its borders. Not New York, not California, not any other enclave people would assume, but in a sleepy hollow just south north of Chicago, there they were.

Producer Todd Whitman’s trailer about the very same Nazis that infuriated Jake and Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers‘ absolutely drew me in with how obnoxious these fascists appear now that we’re so many decades removed from the moment. The amount of footage being shown from this time feels like a fuzzy time capsule from a time that has long since passed, knowing that we’ve moved men marching in Nazi uniforms to other such acts of human stupidity, but the information is exciting and engaging.

The narrator popping up and offering his two cents along the way, comedian Aaron Freeman, is perhaps the most distracting part of what could have been compelling all on its own. You have these individuals who were around then and are talking about nazis and their defense by the ACLU, Freeman popping up to make us all well aware of this in the most obnoxious way possible, and all I want is the information not a two drink minimum.

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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