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 actually take Spike Lee’s side, wander the world for truly expensive eats, insert ourselves into the FIFA scandal, figure out whether it’s nurture or nature with musicians, and marvel at the trappings of an independent film situated in the Philippines.

Midlake: Live in Denton, TX Trailer

Stick with me on this.

Whenever great bands get together we somehow are able to associate their sound with the places they’re from. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nirvana, The Ramones, 10,000 Maniacs, Poison, they all have a portion of their DNA that is inexorably intertwined with their geography. While the theorem isn’t completely without some issues, you get the point. Sometimes, a group embodies and, to some degree, becomes an extension of that latitude and longitude. Directors Jason Lee (yes, that one) and Eric Noren have such a notion, if I’m reading the trailer tea leaves right, and I’m completely captivated by what’s here. I had zero clue who these people were before I started watching but I genuinely sat on my hands and watched this all the way through and then spent the next half and hour trying to figure out where I could watch the damn thing. I love the way we move from performance to documentary of this town. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my affinity for travelogues but this becomes so much more than just a concert film if you perceive at as part musical performance and part tableau vivant.

Foodies Trailer

I’m old.

There’s this show, whenever it’s on, that I cannot but help but watch. It’s called Million Dollar Critic and it stars one of the cheekiest bastards I’d rap about the ears if I ever met, Giles Coren, who has a column in The (London) Times where his reviews have helped create and destroy food stufferies across the globe. It’s really just jealousy talking as his knowledge is on-point and precise but his antics, that are no doubt ginned up for the viewing pleasure of Ma and Pa Kettle (aka Me), are at times excruciatingly immature. That said, it did help open up a world of high and low brow restaurants and given me a kind of lingua franca by which to assess a place’s awesomeness or terribleness. This trailer is getting at those same things by trying to define what it is that would drive someone, literally, to board a plane to eat at an establishment. Whether it’s now the defunct ElBulli in Spain or Sukiyabashi Jiro (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame) there is an endless list of places around the globe where food is indeed an art form with the prices to match. I’m a sucker for these kinds of peeks over the wall when it comes to these kinds of stories. Whether or not I would indulge in such activity is irrelevant but what this trailer is showing me is the kind of fanaticism one could apply to any other activity and that’s what’s really appealing.

I Am For Peace Trailer

I’m with Spike on this.

There’s amount of outrage that feels false. When Spike Lee announced he was shooting Chiraq in Chicago you would have thought, even before the movie has even yelled action, that Chicago was being blasphemed or is being made to look like a city that does not exist. It does exist. Adults and kids are dying from an obscene amount of gun violence in the city of big shoulders. Director Matt Wechsler is doing something amazing here by not showing the community organizers who are adults trying to solve an issue but capturing the moments of real youths who are literally caught in between the social ills that are breeding this violence but are also trying to find ways to fix it. It’s an absolutely uplifting trailer in that we aren’t given simple answers for what can cure a sick neighborhood but, rather, we’re shown what can happen when you give kids the resources needed to lift themselves up, mentally, and live a life worth fighting for. It’s personal accountability, it’s about personal responsibility, it’s about not throwing money down a hole. It’s all about making tomorrow’s leaders today and getting to them before it’s too late. I’ll admit it, I’m a cynical old coot. But, after watching this, you can’t help but feel there are many glimmers of hope out there that are worth fighting for. Absolutely moving.

Shooting For Socrates Trailer

You honestly could not ask for more of a win.

Hot on the heels of the well-heeled maestros that were hauled off life’s pitch with none of that magical fire extinguisher spray to help ail their corrupt souls, which, as a completely useless aside, seems to bring flopping players back to proper form in a way that not even Swamp Thing could ever hope to accomplish with this moss application skillz, we have this little film that could. Director James Erskine delightfully captures that fervor of a once great moment in Irish history when they were to face Brazil in the World Cup. Not since the foul indignation that the people of Ireland faced when Roy Keane was unceremoniously sent home from the World Cup in 2002, sending many into a anger spiral about what on earth could have sent one of the defensive midfielders back to his motherland, has there been such a story to tell. But, like 2004’s Miracle, everyone has a sports movie that yearns to spin a yarn about their country’s athleticism. Much like every other great to middling sports movie, the true story should be more about the stories surrounding the McGuffin of the titular event which, if any of you are about as die hard about Cool Runnings as I am, should be secondary to just having something interesting to say. It looks like there’s deep context here and, knowing how things turn out, one hopes it will be more focused about the players than the eventual meeting on the field.

Faraway Trailer

I don’t know either so don’t ask me.

I will, though supply you with the IMDB explanation first:

Audrey, a determined young American woman, arrives in the Philippines with a mysterious mission, little money, and no chance of success. But when she enlists the help of two friendly locals, Hazel and Rey, and an extremely unfriendly American expatriate, Nick, suddenly the possibility of success comes into view. All they have to do is cross 300 miles of roads, jungles, and ocean, ward off the attacks of a vicious local motorcycle gang, and keep themselves from killing each other. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

What director Randal Kamradt seems to have done is both confused the hell out of me while completely entertaining my sense of excitement when I see passionate independent filmmakers trying to do something wild. Even though there seems to be amazing vacillation between the expertise of the filmmaking to moments where you wonder if this is the unofficial sequel to Who Killed Captain Alex? I see passion oozing off the sides of this thing and it’s absolutely deserving of your time to watch all the way through. Golf clap? Golf clap.

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: