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 watch a liar in a action, get musical with The Proclaimers, jump off a ledge in a wingsuit, help a starving college kid, and get genuinely touched by the Wainwrights.    

Sunshine on Leith Trailer

When we last checked in on Dexter Fletcher we has bringing us Wild Bill a couple of years ago.

That was an interesting foray as a first time director and this is a fascinating follow-up. It’s subversive because what you think this is at first doesn’t quite end up playing out that way. The trailer starts out as some modern day war tale that has a troubling beginning but we’re not really let in on that. We’re directed to focus on the relationship between these two guys who are coming back from battle. Again, it’s glossed over but it’s nonetheless the entree to how we get to know what’s happening. Eveverything is bathed in a high gloss sheen which ensures we’re not here for its cinematography. Just as well, though, because when the singing starts it all comes into sharp focus. For the uninitiated, this is the film version of the musical which is based, only to find out later, on the music of the Proclaimers. Once that dam is busted open and you get pieces of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and “Over and Done With”. The trailer bursts with the kind of aplomb reserved for musicals made into movies and you can’t help but get swept up in the dramatics that follow.

Sacro GRA Trailer

Gianfranco Rosi makes sense.

What I like about this trailer isn’t that you can understand what’s going on, because unless you speak Italian you can’t, but it’s that it feels like a genteel meditation on the nature of life within the parameters of our film’s subject. And that subject is its namesake, a highway that circles Rome and the people who live around it. Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, you can see glimmers of what makes this such an interesting piece of work. Opening with someone in the back of an ambulance with no context, no information and no music, it’s disarming. You become acclimated to the world you’re being ensconced in by getting different views into the lives of random people. Again, no context, no background. There’s something genuinely intimate about peering through the window of some stranger who is just going about their daily existence. The movie seems like it will let actions and words tell its story but it’s really how the stories are framed, physically, that gives it a little more heft, gravity.

McConkey Trailer

If I had copious amounts of time and resources, I can’t imagine there would be a job any better than following someone around like Shane McConkey.

Directors Rob Bruce, Scott Gaffney, Murray Wais, Steve Winter, and David Zieff released a full sized trailer over a year and a half ago and now we get this in order to whet appetites for what looks like yet another respectable entry into the line of films that can serve as beacons for how to live well. What I like about these kinds of trailers, and this genre really, is that it is all about the movements, the slow-mo, the acrobatics, the “OhMyGod” moments that demand you sit on your hands and pay attention to people who are doing things with their bodies that you only wish you could do with any modicum of skill. With other skateboard, skiing, snowboard, take your pick which X-treme or X-exciting sport you choose, videos it’s a montage of stunts that are genuinely phenomenal and great testaments to the focus and determination of the athletes doing them but, as we saw in the first trailer, this will focus on the life. To me, that’s far more grounding and, as a narrative, more compelling to watch. This here is just yet another example of what you can expect. It marries sight, sound, and voice-over together perfectly and makes that play for your wallet better than many other documentaries simply fail at doing.

Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert For Kate McGarrigle Trailer

I had no idea who Kate McGarrigle was.

Only through nosing around did I realize she is the mother of the incredible progeny Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, not to mention an incredibly accomplished folk singer from Canada on her own. That said, this trailer succeeds on its own merits and charms. And the charms are quite emotional and very raw in how they’re offered up to us to take in, unadulterated. The trailer lingers on the vocal performances of the Wainwrights and their friends but it’s sweet, tender, and unbelievably sad in the same way you feel about those going through something emotionally painful, like the passing of a loved one. In this case, that would be right and even though it is a celebration of life you can feel that heartache just radiating out from this trailer. Your heart simply goes out to these kids. The trailer wins, then, by cutting through all those barriers that keep you at arm’s length from a movie’s subject. We are nearly nose to nose with the subjects and it couldn’t be more wonderful to see such genuine emotion captured so effortlessly.

The Armstrong Lie Trailer

I get that this is a clip and not necessarily a trailer but, man, what a great de-facto preview.

Director Alex Gibney’s latest foray was initially going to be about Lance Armstrong’s 2009 comeback run but, obviously, became something else entirely in the months that followed allegations, and then a confession, that Armstrong had been using PEDs. It’s the confession that’s most curious here as what we’re given above just feels “off” in a way. Not Gibney’s direction, but Armstrong. Yes, this is a brand new world of coming clean and confessing to his sin of cheating the system but, amazingly, we can almost see the wall that is still there between us and Armstrong. It feels false, what we’re seeing, but it’s also riveting because we’re right at the center of this lying, cheating maelstrom. Watching this, I’m ill at-ease trying to internalize what he’s saying but there’s just something about this moment, and it’s delightfully picked, that’s just allowed to breathe a little. There’s nothing more that needs to be said about why you would want to see this documentary if only to know there will probably be more like this in the final version.

Crop Trailer

This is explained easily enough: you have a vampire who works in the black market business of organs and begins to lose his grip on what’s real, what’s not, all while questioning his own predatory nature.

Fascinating stuff for a short film and the trailer here is trying to show what you can help bring to life. What I like about this is that it’s a mood piece. We get no narrative, no interstitials, no words, nothing at all to help bring context to the above plot. That said, there’s a glimmer of talent that is shining through. It’s evocative without being showy and the creepy sound mix is good enough to make this a good promo reel as to why you need help support its creation.

Bottom line is that director Kyle Ginzburg needs 5Gs to get made, it looks like they have a little over $1,500, and if you would like to head on over you can do so here.

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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