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 talk about black ops, go out on tour with The National, empower women through super heroics, and have a laugh with a throwback to the 80′s.

Mistaken For Strangers Trailer

There is something compelling about a younger brother with something to prove trying to make a documentary about his famous older brother.

Director Tom Berninger, brother of Matt of The National, doesn’t immediately make his presence known as others do it for him. It is such a curious way to enter this documentary but it’s perfect. It’s a perfect first 30 seconds because not only do we establish who The National are for those keeping score at home but we pivot away from that quickly in order to be introduced to Tom.

It’s damn glorious.

Someone who eschews his brother’s music, someone who looks like a live wire, it’s just too amazing to see how this all comes together. It’s normal tour stuff, sure, but the camera that’s present has someone who’s invested, emotionally, as a narrator. However impartial this venture there are hints that this does become personal at times and it does get intimate. Whether or not we come out on the other side more wise about who we’re talking about than we did at the beginning, it’s clear that this trailer puts that proposition out on the table to either be accepted or rejected. I’m inclined to take it.

Dirty Wars Trailer 

We’ve all been awash in conspiracy theories as of late but this one stood above them all by a smidge.

Director Rick Rowley actually has something compelling to say, or at least can make a great trailer selling his idea. The idea of covert operations, black helicopters, clandestine killings, it’s the stuff that doubters, or those with a critical eye towards our government, eat up. It’s easy to brush it off and chalk it up to nuttiness or paranoia but, geez, there is something here that does not look good at all.

What’s so very nice about this trailer is how effortlessly it takes us through geopolitics and the real gnarled branches of logic that would bog down any explanation of how we’ve found ourselves in this position that this kind of thing can exist. While you can find your mind trying to string together possible explanations for what we see it’s clear that the information presented not only is interesting but it DOES make the case why, in the annals of black helicopters without numbers or marketings, swooping down across the world on unsuspecting villages, executing covert ops, there just might be something to this.

Manborg Trailer 

Many apologies for those who have already tasted the sweet nectar of this visually arresting film but I just have to share.

It seems when this debuted almost two years ago I guess only the cool kids talked about this and didn’t tell the unwashed masses about the wicked patina this thing is bathed in from stem to stern. I have no idea how serious this production was about wanting to capture that special time in the 80′s when high tech was still kinda kitsch in low budget science fiction. In fact, look no further than Marvel Comics Presents, issue #26 when the world was introduced to Coldblood. This movie is calling back to my youthful days when movies had the meaty equivalent of beef jerky and were just as empty on calories. THIS is what makes for good entertainment.

Regardless of its perceived quality, there is an earnestness of how well it pulls off what it’s trying to accomplish. It’s fun, it’s goofy, it has a sense of humor about itself and has the CD-ROM video game like quality of the mid-90′s (props to Film Junk for that visual connection) to make this a passable diversion.

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines Trailer

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan has directed something interesting. Or so it appears.

While a lot has been made of the usage of women in modern pop culture, this looks like a documentary that is ready to talk about how their visage has been co-opted by others and how they’re taking it back for themselves. The trailer makes use of the superhero shows that I know little girls everywhere embraced when they were on in the late 70′s: Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman. These two shows helped elevate physicality and emotional toughness for women and it’s a ripe subject for exploration.

What we see here, then, is a fantastic ride along the banks of feminism. The f word shouldn’t be derided for anything more than giving life to the movement that saw these same young girls come of age in the 90′s when ‘zines were fashionable, riot girrrls were in your face, and the notion that they weren’t only coming to demand equality, they were going to play the game better than men could.

What’s nice as well is that things are aired out a little bit. We’re not quickly getting soundbites, we’re getting complete thoughts. In the land of shot attention span trailers this was a nice compliment to a subject that absolutely deserves some serious thought.

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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