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 start off positive by looking at an on-air suicide, witness the real effects of online lynch mob, witness the birth of Metallica, understand the migrant crisis a little more viscerally, shatter the existence of an entire family and get even more bummed out by the upcoming election. You’re welcome.

Kate Plays Christine Trailer

In awe, actually.

I’m a fan of director Robert Greene. He made a dizzyingly wonderful documentary in 2011 on independent pro wrestlers called Fake It So Real and then 2014’s Actress, a movie that was labeled as part “melodrama and cinema verité”, which was all kinds of great. What we have here, though, is something entirely different but equally as sumptuous. It feels, like Actress, is a mix of disparate elements but it works. When we enter this movie’s orbit and understand where it’s going the trailer helps us along to understand why we’re here and why it’s this moment we’re going to spend time dissecting. It’s haunting that the movie is hunting down someone’s past but the way in which things are framed to us it makes perfect sense. I’m not sure how we’re going to come out on the other side but I’m down for the cause.

Metallica: The Early Years Trailer

Never owned a single record from these guys.

So, Spotify is getting in on the original content bandwagon like their iTunes counterparts have with their own documentary efforts as they chronicle the band’s efforts in 1981 through the release of 1984’s “Ride the Lightning”. Now, even though I’ve never felt one way or the other about these guys I am in love with how this trailer captures that sense of a moment in time. Instead of the sweeping documentary that has to hit every year’s milestones like it was an MTV Behind the Music rock-umentary this just sits comfortably focused on these tight 3 years. We get modern Metallica, and what would something like this be without a conveniently timed new release for the masses (never ones to miss a marketing opportunity), but we also get a pastiche of the past and the present that makes sense. I’m all in to see what really brought this band together and what propelled it forward with such force that the world would have no other choice but submit.

Audrie & Daisy Trailer

Just burn everything down and let’s start fresh.

What documentary filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk do here is effectively take a story, hold back the end, and just try and contextualize what you’re about to watch. Unless you’re a savage with a moral compass pointed at the ground there’s just no way to start seeing how some teenagers get caught up in something sinister. A digital lynch mob with no real dog in a fight that should have been battled differently. I’ve been somewhat burnt out on the old and busted trick of using a song like “Creep” by The Scala Choir a la The Social Network trailer in order to bring things down but here, as we get a slow piano version of the Pixies’ “Where is my Mind?” things become wickedly morose and sad right quick. It’s heartbreaking to listen to the rest of narrative but it’s damn effective and it works.

After Love Trailer

Breaking up.

Director Joachim Lafosse isn’t doing anything novel here. The context surrounding this story being one about a separation has been done so many times before you wonder why this was even made. But then, it happens. It mixes kids and mixed emotions. Already it tugs on that part of your heart where it aches to even see a dramatization of a family splintering apart and that’s just in the first 15 seconds. The rest is just a slow and sad fall to the ground where everyone is going to be hit on the way down. The kids, the husband, the wife, the story is as old as time but somehow this makes it feel original. There’s some modern commentary on the current state of how relationships work in this era while also balancing how complicated these kinds of things can get. The pacing gets a little squirreley near the end but it doesn’t take away at how effective this trailer is.

Fire at Sea Trailer

Sicario may have put a gorgeous cinematic lens on drug trafficking but director Gianfranco Rosi’s El Sicario, Room 164 was about as serious as you could get about the drug cartels in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

It would stand to reason, then, that his documentary follow up, 2013’s Sacro GRA, would make good use of being in the moment with our subjects to understand the situational context. It worked. Thus, his latest, this time focusing on the migrant crisis which has affected many countries all across Europe. The trailer doesn’t utter a word, doesn’t contextualize, doesn’t narrate, but even not knowing what this is about should leave the viewer feeling ill at ease. The moments that we’re given are stark in their action. Life on a small island being lived, normal life progressing as it has, ostensibly, for decades, but then, at the minute mark, there it is. We’re left trying to piece together what’s happening but by the time we get any kind of satisfying resolution it’s all over. We’re left hanging. Done.

The Choice 2016 Trailer

This could be the year I just not vote at all. Director Michael Kirk knows how to organize narratives and make them understandable while cutting through the heavy smells of BS that surround every power broker looking to give their own hot take on a situation. Words don’t come close enough in explaining how giddy I am at the new season of Frontline.

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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