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 drop in and tune in to some cinematic shut-ins, watch the movie that is definitely NOT loosely based on Daft Punk, tell you lies tell you sweet little lies, wonder how far we’re going to go with the Second Amendment, get ourselves into a sweet high school, and take another lap around the track that are the conspiracy theories around the death of Kurt Cobain.
The Wolfpack Trailer
Wild and woolly.
Short of this seeming like a story that belongs more on the 6 o’clock news next to Elizabeth Smart and the Ariel Castro kidnappings than it does the big screen, I’m wildly interested. Director Crystal Moselle, though who knows what channels, chanced upon this hermit clan and was given the kind of access that I feel should have ended up with one of the kids fleeing to the tough embrace of the closest cop to tell them that they’re trapped in this place and all they can do is recreate movies a la the Max Fisher Players. The trailer is a curious one in that we don’t ever get told what brought us to this family or why these things are happening but it’s utterly entrancing. The music is down tempo, our subject is down tempo, the pacing is languid, and everything feels like you’re slogging through thigh-high quicksand with steel toe shoes yet it’s perfectly appropriate. It’s a mixture of accolades and some of the most discordant visuals you are likely to get this month but somehow, someway, this trailer lingers with you much longer after you watch it.
I don’t know why I dig this but I do.
When I talked about this movie back in September I thought it was a one and done with the trailer and I’d never be able to see this. Director Mia Hansen-Løve’s ode to French disco kings Daft Punk, which if you believe Hansen-Løve this is NOT a movie about Daft Punk, seems to be more about a sweet love story that ends with people drifting apart and then dissolving away entirely. It seems pretty peppy and the music absolutely fits with the vibe of what we’re watching but then things turn dark and intrinsic. Galloping past the usual boy-meets-girl trope it seems there’s just a little bit more than we’re given which saves this trailer from being just one-note. Thankfully, the pull-quotes and accolades the movie has received shores up any mild doubts about the film’s content and so here’s to hoping I don’t have to wait another nine months to get some more.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets Trailer
“Like, I was over in England. You ever been to England, anyone, been to England? No one has handguns in England, not even the cops. True or false? True. Now-in England last year, they had 14 deaths from handguns. FFFFFourteen. Now-the United States, and I think you know how we feel about handguns-woooo, I’m getting a warm tingly feeling just saying the ******* word, to be honest with you. I swear to you, I am hard. 23,000 deaths from handguns. Now let’s go through those numbers again, because they’re a little baffling at first glance. England, where no one has guns, fffffffourteen deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns-woooo, I’m getting a stiffy-twenty-three thousand deaths from handguns. But there’s no connection, and you’d be a fool and a Communist to make one. There’s no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone.” – Bill Hicks
Director Marc Silver picks apart one of the more egregious casualties in the war against handgun violence. With every possible covert and overt overtones of racism, ageism, choose your ism, the trial was one where the law met media scrutiny. Whether that helped or harmed the eventual, correct, outcome is an interesting one as the trailer delves into one moment and then blows it out for us to see where things went from there. There is no real narrative other than picking up where everything went down and then tracking the aftermath. For a documentary like this, that’s perfect. Even though we don’t get the other side in all of this (in which case it feels pretty one-sided) it still brings up the hoopla and the action it triggered. It’s powerful, to be sure. And, yes, we sure do love our handguns in America, land of the free.
(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies Trailer
Look into your own verbal diary and note how many times you’ve stretched, pulled, exaggerated, embellished or flat out lied in the past year. Week. Hour. I’m sweating even thinking about conducting this exercise.
To some degree director Yael Melamede has hit on something truly fundamental about human beings. I know I’ve never taught my own children to lie but yet they’re fantastic purveyors of the art form without any kind of coaching. I can’t get one of them to routinely brush their teeth at night yet they all will lie without compunction that they’ve done it. The trailer taps into that reptilian piece of our lineage to explain what it is that drives people to do it. You have a pretty dry research topic yet the trailer is nimble enough to navigate science and marry with it some sizzling visuals, examples and by speeding up the pace a bit. The combo works in its favor as this isn’t the most explosive trailer you’ll ever see but it certainly is one that has enough titillation with regard to understanding something that has pervaded our history since we began interacting with one another.
What I see in director Kayla McCormick’s documentary is the same kind of feeling that I had when I watched Steve James‘ Hoop Dreams. There isn’t a “wow” or a “I have to see that immediately” moment in here but that’s the point. This seems like a documentary, though, where it’s going to either live or die depending on how well the story is told. We may get to know some talented youngsters but it’s the delving into these lives and finding a connection with those we stick with that will either ensure this lives on or whether we’ll see it once and forget about it. I’m hopeful, though, because of how well we drift in and out of moments and which moments we’re given. They’re small glimpses, to be sure, but they offer that little bit of hope that here’s a story that deserves to be listened to and, possibly, remembered.
Soaked in Bleach Trailer
This one leapt out at me like an unexpected squirt of perfume, a puff of weaponized fragrance, delivered by an overzealous saleswoman at the local Macy’s.
I was enjoying life, thinking Montage of Heck was getting some well-deserved attention and noodling on why Dave Grohl didn’t show up in it (note: NME has at least one wildly unsatisfying answer), when I received a note that here was yet another Kurt Cobain documentary, brought to us by director Benjamin Statler, who executive produced Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope and Act of Valor. While the trailer doesn’t do anything for me with regard to making me want to see it, I have to admire its Dateline NBC-like approach to telling you that there is still a conspiracy out there that needs telling. Look, I’ve heard all the rumors and all the theories of what “really” happened to Kurt but the fact of the matter is that unless you’ve got something other than innuendo and leads that go nowhere, I’m not really interested. Someone out there may find this to be a delightful companion piece but I don’t see it.
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:
- Nightingale Trailer – Thrilled at the prospect of how intimate this is going to be.
- Scream Trailer – Just not my young adult thing anymore. Doesn’t resonate.
- The Muppets Trailer – Genuinely amusing
- Jem and the Holograms Trailer – I don’t like it, but to those who wrote detailed articles or think pieces commenting on this trailer’s awfulness: THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. I have an 11 year-old girl who’s digging on it.
- Crimson Peak Trailer – Oh yes.
- The Tribe Trailer – Evocative.
- Between Trailer – Too high concept.
- The Intern Trailer – This is exactly what you think it is and, if you watched this trailer, you’ve seen the entire film.
- Minions Trailer – If you have a 3-8 year-old you have yourself their summer blockbuster right here.
- Scream Queens Trailer – Wildly uninteresting.
- True Detective Trailer – Optimistic.