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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?


Trailer F*ck my life. Coming Soon. from sonico on Vimeo.

Que Pena Tu Vida (Fu*k My Life) Trailer

I fell in love with this trailer at about the 1:40 mark.

What is so damn great about this thing isn’t so much that it has the kind of emotional sharpness of a katana blade but it has such a heart that you cannot do anything else but give into it. Yes, comedy is subjective, yes, what I find funny might not be funny to you, but there is no denying that writer/director Nicolás López’ vision of a world that has been taken over by Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, et al. has to be a veritable nightmare once your digital life is intimately inter-meshed with someone else’s. Even beyond that, when those lives separate there must be a secondary, emotional fallout once you physically have to acknowledge to the world you’re no longer with someone (What kind of shame or indignity has to be faced when physically clicking that box from “In A Relationship” to “Single”?) and López gets that.

Beyond getting it, and that brings us to the aforementioned 1:40 mark of this trailer, López’ trailer helps us understand what it must be like to contend with not only dating new people after a relationship has fizzled but what these social networks do to us when initially navigating the world of love.

The opening sequence to this thing just brims with passion to tell his story without too much interference. His vibrant cinematography just pops off the screen and even though I’ve never been to Chile, I don’t speak Chilean, I don’t think I’ve even seen Chile in a photograph, but Nicolás makes me understand our protagonist’s world in Chile. It’s not a here or there thing because I feel like this is happening right down the street from me. He’s not accentuating what makes everything different but, rather, and it’s so so subtle, he’s hooked his storytelling wagon on the notion that we all can relate to what this guy is going through; a bad break up, bad dates, heartache, misery, all the while couching this in the technology that’s running our lives.

It’s the universality that made me a fan of this and whoever made this certainly knows how to end a trailer with a couple of solid laughs. This sad sack seems like just the kind of guy who could keep me entertained for 90 minutes and it looks like, if nothing else, a humorous commentary on modern love in digital Technicolor.

Yo, Tambien (Me, Too) Trailer

Me three.

There’s something that this trailer asks from you, implicitly, as you watch this. Not only is it a value proposition for you to see the film but the trailer is asking you to agree that a relationship between a man and woman like this can exist. I’ll be damned but it made a true believer out of me in a short amount of time.

You start out thinking that this trailer is going to be one of those arty, man pontificating on the nature of life and death as he stares at a potato, but after getting past the appropriately placed awards for Best Actor, Best Actress it turns into something inviting. And it is. It’s unlike any kind of love story you’ve ever seen, I assure you, as it deals with a man who has Down’s syndrome hooking up with a suicide blonde lovely who is more than game to give this pairing a whirl.

Understandably, the man’s mother is completely weirded out by the idea that this normal woman would like her son but there are dynamics being explored here I never thought to consider. It strikes just the right balance between serious meditation on the nature of love and what happens when you have a romance that isn’t quite what anyone expected. The trailer balances good natured love with the seriousness surrounding the situation.

I don’t know why this thing touched me in the way it did but I think it’s the honesty and the raw manner in which this movie was filmed by directors Antonio Naharro and Álvaro Pastor that puts this head and shoulders above any serious drama that is on my radar to watch anytime soon. There’s something sweet here, something heartbreaking, at the end of this trailer but that’s welcome around these parts any day of the week.

Who Killed Captain Alex Trailer

This is utterly fantastic.

Words almost escape me to describe what makes this such a fascinating find as a trailer but, make no mistake, this is indeed one of the most awesome things you will behold this week. I have no clue who stars in it, I know even less about who has directed it, but there is something special here which I am chalking up to love. Love for the medium and certainly love for modern technology which seems to have warped space and time to tell a story of, well, whatever the hell is going on here.

How can you not marvel at the physical prowess of some random guy delivering thundering, yet atrociously fake, spin kicks with sound effects so out of sync that even the Asian martial art community would take umbrage with, a voiceover that seems to be delivered by a midget who seems to be riding a Red Bull caffeine high, and a helicopter that literally demolishes a skyscraper by sitting on it. You’ve got guys in Members Only jackets performing intricate action sequences in hand-to-hand combat that they’ve obviously gleaned from a grade school production of the Karate Kid and I even think actual kids were killed in the making of this movie.

Lest you think this all about action, no, no, no, my friends, we’ve got dramatic snippets of men who seem aggrieved with a lady for some unknown reason and want to let her know about it; first, with talking, and second, with a bullet in her head. I don’t know where you come from but, in my neighborhood, that’s pure entertainment. Now, you could nitpick and say that the bullets look all sorts of fake, that they’re computer generated, and that the lighting work makes it seem like the sun is physically situated inside the rooms where they’re filming but these are mere quibbles only a snooty critic would notice.

I, for one, welcome more trailers from Ramon Film Productions as this represents, hopefully, a new wave of action films that everyone could agree would be worth the price of admission a thousand times over.

Tamara Drewe Trailer

Aren’t there any women in the audience who can back me up about this trailer?

I guess if you’re Stephen Frears all the films you make can’t be The Queen or High Fidelity or Dangerous Liaisons. The rent still needs to get paid and those squat little cottages in England don’t pay for themselves with art movies that are critically well received but don’t generate a ton of pounds. You need to get out there and make a film that will appeal to the masses, a Leap Year kind of film that panders to an often ignored subset of the movie going public: the ladies.

And don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of Gemma Arterton ever since I saw her in a role that really was a game changer in my eyes of the talent she possesses, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, but this all just seems like an example of taking one for the team in order to keep that momentum going.

How wrong could I be, making that assertion, when the first time we see her she’s bounding around in some Daisy Dukes, be bopping to Lily Allen’s “The Fear”? Even the narration is cheeky and polished as we’re supposed to believe this city girl has a real problem with the country. It’s a trope that is so played out and hackneyed I am left reeling by the inclusion of the Sixteen Candles style bohunk (shirtless, no less!) which is an obvious requirement for a completely shameless trailer that cumulates with the voiceover actually saying the words, “She may finally have met her match.” And no irony! The horror. The absolute horror.

Do you ladies really want to live in a world that a marketer believes you need to be sold a romantic comedy this way? Will we ever get beyond the notion you can be talked to like you haven’t already heard this before? And another thing, as we head into the final moments of this trailer and we get the requisite pull-quotes from the journalists who think this thing would be a rousing time at the talkies I am faced with a quote from Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail who calls this, “One of the best films of the year.” Look, I don’t know if Baz is a liar or if this is one of only two films they were allowed to see this year after getting out of their cage but, really?

I realize I’m just going off the trailer but this looks like a fun night for 16 year-old girls. I’m willing to bet a crueler this film doesn’t make any legitimate film critic’s Top 10 list at the end of the year but maybe women love to be pitched as if they were drooling idiots as this trailer is a disappointment from a director who I think can do a lot better.

Note 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

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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