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 take another look at an Australian gem, remake a movie about cannibalism  get swole while asking the eternal question of whether you lift bro and top it off with an uplifting story about boys growing into men.    

We Are What We Are Trailer

A low-key remake.

Director Jim Mickle’s re-imagining of 2011′s version which did well, critically, is a curious creation. Instead of the patriarch falling by the wayside, leaving a family of a mother, son and daughter we have a dad who has two girls who forges on without mom. To be honest, I like this combination and it comes through as to why when the trailer begins dropping bread crumbs for us to piece together what’s afoot. It doesn’t exactly hide its secret, the word “Kuru” is displayed quite prominently so that anyone with an iPhone handy could look up and see what that meant, but that’s not a problem. We are slowly drawn into this world by virtue of how well it’s shaped around us with the characters we’re introduced to, the teases of information we receive, and the pacing which is just solid for a movie like this. They’re not hiding what’s behind the curtain and, in fact, they’re taking delicate care to show you that curtain in all its dirty glory. Creepy, sinister, and the illusion of danger. Just like how ever genre movie should be.

The Turning Trailer

So, we’ve seen one trailer already for The Turning, a movie comprised of seventeen shorts, but now it’s back with a little longer version that just melts you to the core.

With a little more conversation and a wonderfully chosen music bed of “Other Friends Have Flown Before” by The Tiger & Me there is something so hypnotic about the imagery, the visuals, the cinematography, it’s hard not to get caught up in the transient nature of what this movie plans to do. Altman-esque in its execution of seventeen short stories, what brings everything together is how loose the trailer feels. Slack, but not unfocused, mind you. It’s acutely aware of what it needs to accomplish and does it through a gentle ballet of precise movements.The stories here are obviously varied in their content and execution so when you are left with the prospect of not being able to focus on developing a coherent narrative, because there are so many, what’s left but to make a collage? And that’s what we have, a narrative collage of disparate, but gorgeous, story swatches.

Generation Iron Trailer

Here’s something that will make all of us feel inadequate for having one of those pretzel burgers from Wendy’s.

Even though this is coming to us by the producer of Pumping Iron I blanch to think that we’re going to hear anything as racy as Arnold said with regard to the ecstasy of “the pump” or smoking dope. That said, I think there’s something exciting about watching this trailer when you see it’s dealing with professional athletes who might have a thing to say. Director Vlad Yudin doesn’t have a pedigree of anything particularly novel but the trailer is the best evidence we have that here might be a documentary that will get in close and let the subjects be the tellers of this story. Again, nothing novel here but these slices of life, especially when it comes to how these men sculpt their bodies to be perfect vessels to show off their labors in the gym, will be interesting if it delivers on the hint that there will be insight beyond just, “Take your vitamins and get a lot of rest.” Tell me what separates you from your peers, what edge do you have? THAT’S the insight I want and THAT’S what I think we might get.

American Promise Trailer

There’s an ephemeral quality to documentaries that take their time to gestate.

Last week, I just happened to watch a documentary on the lives of two suburban families living in Milwaukee that spanned over two decades. It was brutal. Brutal because as you started to get invested in the lives of these people you were hoping for the best only to get to the end and be completely deflated by how sad the outcome was but uplifted by the spirit both of these families were to battle on. What makes this so good is how we go from these little boys to guys starting their road towards manhood. For sheer dedication to capturing and developing a documentary over a decade is an exercise in faith if for no other reason than you won’t know what will come out the other side. What we see here are hints of a story that any one of us could recognize if we could have taken our collective years as youths and compressed it into a couple of hours. Thing is, when it takes a lifetime of development those small changes don’t seem to be as stark. Here, though, we get the luxury of seeing how the trajectory of these boys diverge from where it began and how far afield, or on target, they are. It’s a trailer that gives us enough hints that this is going to take us to emotional places but, more than that, tell a story we could  all appreciate. Hopefully, for directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, it was worth the wait.

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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