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 reconnect with our family, eat some wings, question reality, sleep with our wife’s sister and take some bloody revenge. 

Blue Ruin Trailer

“By my count…that’s two of yours and two of mine…”

This is just good trailer making. What director Jeremy Saulnier ultimately is going for, I would imagine, is reflected well in this trailer. Whether or not it can sustain the level of curiosity I had when watching this as it pertains to the full length of the film is debatable but what isn’t up for discussion is how tight this trailer winds your mind. There’s a level of uncertainty and tension that works so well. Yeah, there are clues leading us to try and piece together how we’ve gotten to where we are now and what seems to be at issue but it’s the execution, and the subsequent executions, that carry the weight of the message across. There’s a heaviness in the cinematography and a feeling that what we’re seeing has emotional heft. Whether it’s simple revenge or something far more sinister the only thing it really needs to is provoke a reaction and I think this does it admirably.

The Lachrymist Trailer

I love stories like this.

When we don’t know the nature of reality in a movie, it can make for some thrilling explorations of the human condition. Director Matthew Gowan takes something as simple as a disappearance and is somehow able to have us question everything we see. Unlike a movie like Flightplan which tried to make us wonder what was afoot, this trailer injects elements of danger, mystery, and sanity into it all.

Even though you can’t tell by seeing it, this is a) a short and b) done in one take. It makes me even more curious to see how the blending and bending of reality can happen before our eyes but that’s the insane idea of it all. If you were to truly have someone who might be caught between fantasy and reality they are experiencing it all at once themselves so why shouldn’t we? It’s a bold experiment and seems perfectly suited for its run time. When you think of the way it could twist and turn while staying engaged with our protagonist for the entire run time there is the question of how well it can blur the lines between what is versus what isn’t. What we see here, though, there is no question that it’s an experiment worth watching and consuming whole.

Wind & Rain Trailer

Now this is how you sell me on an independent feature.

Director Kelli Horan has come out of the gate swinging with a trailer that flirts with the husband cheating on his wife genre in a way that is genuinely interesting and creepy. One of the nicer aspects of what we’re given here is that no one ever says a word. The music carries the heft of the emotion and telegraphs exactly what we should know about this story. It’s about a couple, it’s about sisters, it’s about a love triangle, it’s about death, and, as we see, the afterlife. Whether this is going to be a ghost story or all going to be a projection by our protagonists I appreciate deeply that we’re not sold on sizzle. We could linger on the ghostly apparitions for a while, maybe make this out to be something it’s not in order to goose interest, but it doesn’t. It relies on the nuances of the story and about these sisters who, one way or another, will cross each other’s path once one of them is no longer living. Just the right amount of creepy, just the perfect amount of story.

Awful Nice Trailer

I wasn’t sure what I was watching.

I mean, I knew I was watching a comedy starring a very odd looking Christopher Meloni in an obviously outlandish state of dress, to the point I almost stopped watching this trailer, but then our screen brothers start down a very funny path. The trailer perfectly turns what could have been a rather route, stale story about the wacky misadventures of some misbehaving siblings into something worth getting excited over.  Director Todd Sklar somehow gets that fraternal patois down in a way that feels so natural and hilarious that I found myself just transfixed by their antics. Yes, the guitar musical bed sounds like something that would be more useful in a 80′s music video but, overall, this was just made my week a little brighter.

Side note: After watching this, I looked around for Sklar’s earlier work. I eventually hit upon this, one of the oddest and funniest 60 seconds I’ve seen in a while.

The Great Chicken Wing Hunt Trailer

If you’re not already listening to the /Filmcast you need to correct that immediately.

During this week’s episode, Dave mentioned a small film by director Matt Reynolds which caught my attention. Like him, there’s simply not enough time to consume every piece of great entertainment out there. However, sometimes you can find a gem that seems born out of a crazy idea that may just work. And this trailer works. There is just an insanity about an entire documentary on chicken wings but it’s the kind of nuttiness that, if you’re anything like me, is just out of left field enough to make it fascinating.

The trailer works simply because of how streamlined it is. It’s pretty much explained what brings us all here while it also gets to who this cast of characters are while also bowling us over with the fact that they don’t just visit 10, 20 or 30 wing houses. To say this was a 70 restaurant journey borders on insanity. Luckily, there’s also drama to be had. I don’t know how there could be but with hungry people on a mission to find the best wings this could be the perfect late night movie to satiate your documentary appetite.

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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