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?

Fake It So Real Trailer

Jay Cheel from Film Junk is a voracious consumer of documentaries, as such he makes a great resource for anything out of the ordinary in this genre, and happened to tweet about this documentary about some independent pro wrestling.

A film by Robert Greene, an editor for the excellent documentary that was showcased here months ago, Making The Boys, the trailer is brief at forty one seconds but it doesn’t waste a moment; it’s brevity is only matched by how intriguing it sets things up. Against the backdrop of some grainy VHS quality video, quotes from The Village Voice and Indiewire set up its critical pedigree, as we get into the vibe that this is going to be a wild ride.

With a staccato soundtrack and enough quick clips that get you dizzy just trying to follow what’s happening the action on the screen shows more than enough about what is ostensibly going to show wrestling matches that Aronofsky captured so lovingly in The Wrestler. It’s trashy, glitzy, low-rent, physical, bloody, and it all stops just to get a real moment with someone who bares his frustration and acceptance at his lot in this sport.

It’s amazing how effective some can be with the time they’re given and this is simply a great tease about a movie I’m already sold on wanting to watch more of just based on what’s here.

Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story Trailer

Honestly, these are the kind of trailers that get me excited, give me hope that there are great stories yet to be told.

First time documentary filmmakers Nick Lewis and Ranko Tutulugdzija have found success with the crowdsource model in getting this movie made and God love ‘em for asking $215,000 to get it done and finding donors who came through with over $223,000 in funding. What has resulted from this, then, is a trailer that sets up a sports story about a sport many in this country find lacking in appeal but it does it in a way that’s engaging and dramatic.

From the opening sequence you get the usual details of someone looking to make it. In this case we’re talking a footballer who left America to go overseas and give it a go over there. Learning how unlikely it is that someone of his pedigree (i.e. American) would ever get a shot injects the first taste of real conflict into your mouth. You begin to root for this guy to show those Europeans that this kid can do it even though you have no idea, have any clue, what this guy is capable of. Regardless, the trailer just pops with electricity as we get to know him, his struggles, and the people around him who were impressed by his talent.

There’s something familiar with how we get to know Jay, it seems like a segment that would fit perfectly within HBO’s Real Sports program but the fact that it’s a full length documentary has both the promise of giving people a really great story and the fear that because it’s a movie dealing with soccer people will look at it the way they look at the sport here in the states. I would make the case, though, that this trailer does double duty in not only establishing why you should want to see the tale of a kid who is trying to play with men who are steeped in soccer tradition all their lives but why the film looks expertly shot and edited in a way that is both lively and inspiring.

Don 2 Trailer

I admire director Farhan Akhtar’s style.

Last week I talked about lead actor Shah Rukh Khan’s turn in RA. One but he’s back again this week in a movie that just feels like a fun action film. We’ve grown numb by the constant CGI explosions and robots that turn entire cities to piles of waste so I’m always looking for things that want to keep it simple. With scenes that show a car on the move that explodes forward, guys falling off buildings, hot ladies that look like they serve no purpose whatsoever, guys hanging upside down, forced sexual tension between the two leads, this movie looks like the reason why Redbox was invented.

Would I want to pay full price for this? Without a doubt, not a chance. However, is this the kind of movie that could work under the model of paying a buck to see it? Absolutely. Worst case scenario is you’ve wasted a hundred pennies but at least you could see if this James Bond-esque movie could be as much silly fun as this trailer makes it out to be. Again, I’m a sucker for some of the movies that come out of the Bollywood system as they seem to understand the idea of just churning out movie after movie in the hopes that there are a few blockbusters in there to keep the machine going. It’s like going to the buffet, there’s always more at the ready.

Moments of Fiction Trailer

Over a year and a half ago I showcased a trailer for a film that has really stuck with me, long after the trailer debuted here. It was called City of Life and the film seemed to be a slice-of-life portrait of life in the Middle East when you’re young and a little wayward. Now comes a film by Mohammed Mamdouh with his first full feature that seems to be about inspiration.

The plot is delicately veiled and hidden behind any concrete definitions, we’re only given hints and abstractions, but it’s gorgeous in areas to look at. There are ideas put forth but we never are given a concrete landing upon which to determine what it is we’re supposed to be thinking of. In an age of showing and telling this trailer just wants to show without ascribing any perspective on what to think.

It’s a bold move to be sure, as I think what you could take away is you have a guy who is caught between three women, but that could be completely wrong. Point is, I could make that assertion and back it up with what I see but that’s the deceiving part of trying to figure out what’s afoot. I kind of admire and like that I’m left with a guessing game, a remnant of trying to figure out whether I want to keep this movie on my radar, and you just don’t see much of that nowadays.

I respect this for the effort and that I can’t write any more about the trailer’s delicate construction because there’s no definitive angle it takes that I could pick apart. It’s a rarity, to be sure, but it’s one that lingers a little after you’ve seen it.

Kosha Dillz Is Everywhere Trailer

This man works hard. Bless this guy’s struggles to break through the noise of a crowded and fractured music listening public.

When I first came across Kosha it was when I saw his video for “DooDoo” and it was an ear worm that stayed with me for days. Same thing when I ventured forth and watched his video for “Cellular Phone” and I found myself replaying the song over and over again, his beats and rhymes making you think back to the days of A Tribe Called Quest when lyrics could be fun, insightful, and sharp.

Matisyahu, one of the premier artists of the hip hop scene of this century, is expertly placed at the very beginning of this extra long trailer and sets up everything that comes after. His insights help to define the man we’re about to know. I was marginally interested in this guy before seeing this but, after watching it all the way through, not only are they able to draw you in to this guy’s struggles to make it but you see vulnerability and I don’t think you can oversell that point. Vulnerability in this field is something that never happens but Kosha’s attempts to get people to listen to his music, what he has to say, is presented here in a manner that endears you to him.

He’s shown working, acquaintances are shown talking about him and what his music means, but this is a trailer that gets to the heart of what any struggling musician, who’s worth the effort, is doing in order to have their thumbtack placed on the map of great musical legends. I walked away from this inspired that no matter what happens, as long you keep fighting and struggling and making noise in order to be heard there’s bound to be someone listening.

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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