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 have to endure the slings and arrows of video gamers and their comprehensive use of the English language, get the arm butter out for Dolph Lundgren in a soon-to-be-direct-to-DVD classic, talk to the master of modern pizza making, revisit Vietnam in the backyard, and take a moment to talk to comedians about the nature of comedy.

In Country Trailer

It’s like reality but different.

Initially, as you enter the atmosphere of director Meghan O’Hara and Mike Attie’s world you assume that what we’re talking about is actual war and as you see the images that are flashed on the screen we’re all reflecting on what is essentially the meniscus of our country’s military history. The savagery, the moments, and then, the pick-up truck. Things take a quick dogleg left before you start to understand what kind of narrative is being constructed. We’re learning about this conflict through reenacting but what separates this band of misfits from chubby historians those who don ye ol’ garb and recreate the Battle of Lexington with ill fitting uniforms and awkward moments of grown men buckling to their knees to indicate imminent death is how it then course corrects into something far more intimate. Seeing how former soldiers of the military speak about their experiences and how it relates to the context of this playtime offers a deeper layer of effectiveness that definitely helps win hearts and minds.

GTFO Trailer

One of the things about Shannon Sun-Higginson’s documentary about women and gaming is how spot on it is.

At a couple different points in this trailer not only should you want to form a coalition united by the idea that we all should find, visit, and beat mercilessly with a sock filled with bars of Irish Spring, those men who feel that threatening women is a perfectly acceptable form of behavior. Not only that, but some truly salient and valid points are raised and, once again, another examination into this topic seems wildly interesting and engrossing while further casting (validly) a subsection of the gaming community in a light that’s akin to entitled white men grousing over their highballs after a round of golf at the local country club that they’ll soon have to allow coloreds to play alongside them. It’s a vile subset, to be sure, and just like you would deal with a fungus, the more air and light you put on it the better it is for all involved to keep this at the forefront. Entertaining while not being too preachy, using personal anecdotes to provide context, keeping things light but speaking to their truth, it all builds to a great pitch as to why this deserves your time. And, if this kind of guy speaks to your own truth, I have no words to describe the embarrassment you bring to your own gender.

Misery Loves Comedy Trailer

Punny.

Apprehensive about a documentary that’s a little too twee with its name is one thing but knowing director/comedian Kevin Pollack is the one guiding things is something else entirely. What makes this such an engaging and smart trailer is how well the music plays around everything. I know that may sound weird but the music is perfectly chosen as it sets this up as not a quick cut, soundbite montage of insights from some of the masters of this craft and literally sets the tempo that we’re not going anywhere too fast. And I like that. These are the kinds of examinations and moments that actually can be illuminating in a way that joke dissection cannot. You are made to feel welcomed into a world that is indeed filled with pounds and pounds of angst and frustration and anger but, what comes out on the other end, is endlessly fascinating yarns from people whose livelihood is taking that yarn and making something out of it.

Hyena Trailer

The first thing that should leap out at you is the knighting that Nicolas Winding Refn bestows on this movie’s shoulders.

Director Gerard Johnson has certainly crafted something that looks like a pastiche of a Refn crime thriller mashed with the directorial styling of a calmer Guy Ritchie. The colors here pop, the acting seems visceral, and the action feels like we’re right behind the shoulders of it all. I don’t know anything about what in the world is happening but I could care less. There seems to be a nice mix of crime and violence with just enough artistic flourishes to make it all look like a fantastic thrill ride that I can absolutely see myself consuming whole. What’s more is the final seconds of this trailer at about the 1:15 mark. The use of music, sound, words, font size, speed, it all comes together so that you have no other acceptable reaction but to ask yourself not if you’re going to see this but when.

Skin Trade Trailer

“Negotiation…over.”

Ok, here’s the thing: None of you should pay more than a dollar to see this.

That said, you NEED to see this. My inner 12 year-old would be begging me to rent this on VHS and make it a triple feature of this, Showdown in Little Tokyo and Red Scorpion. Regardless of whatever vitriol comes from critics who don’t know better, director Ekachai Uekrongtham appears to have resurrected those moments that made Cannon films the watermark for great action movies. We don’t need special effects, we just need people who act like badasses. The dialogue is atrocious, the plot is thinner than bible paper, the one-liners are littered everywhere, and the acting is more than questionable. But, what it lacks in any kind of fundamental proficiency it more than makes up, and it doubles down on it, in ass kickery. I don’t know why this hit such a pleasant nerve but watching these kinds of films are what made action movies fun to watch as kids. Nowadays we need our heroes to be conflicted or subjected to the kind of extensional crisis that not even Kierkegaard would have an answer for. No, sometimes you need just enough production value to elevate your mindless violence to justify renting a movie like this and enjoying the hell out of the fun you know they were having on set.

Chris Bianco Documentary Trailer

I would absolutely watch this based on what comes out that man’s mouth.

I make no qualms about it: I would leave Arizona behind in a moment’s notice to go back to Chicago. Not even a moment’s notice. You could say the words, “Would you like…” and I would be on a Vespa to ride all the way back to Illinois. That being said, there’s a certain amount of pride of being in a state that has someone like chef Chris Bianco. I’m no foodie but when you check the list for the nation’s best pizza his is the name that usually is somewhere on that list, associated with his restaurant called Pizzeria Bianco. Scores of people every night crush and wait to get in, enduring hour-long waits just to get some of that ooey gooey goodness. It’s interesting, then, to see a trailer like this capture the reasons why anyone would want to spend some time with a guy like Chris. The flow, the use of music, the transitions, it’s a slow ballet of movement and straight talk that equals one of the best reasons to eagerly anticipate a movie about a guy you’ve probably never heard of.

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: