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?

Point Blank Trailer

It’s this time of year when escapism reigns supreme. While I haven’t really found anything that satisfies my need for Crank level kind of amusement this one looks pretty close.

Director/writer Fred Cavayé may not have scored any real awareness with his film The Next Three Days it was the nonetheless a breezy dramatic action vehicle that felt reminiscent of The Fugitive. This film, completed before Days, appears to be something a little more sinister and a whole lot more fun.

Of course you have to show our protagonist in love with his bride. While this cliche is trotted out in order for people to infer that he doesn’t beat on his old lady with the heel of his shoe it nonetheless is a necessary evil when you have to paint in large, Taken-like, strokes. However, it does set up the rather obnoxious plot quite well. A little sizzle, a little explosion, and we see that our story’s “What if…” wants to suppose of what would happen if a male nurse were to save a degenerate after a hit man does one of those sneaky moves where they kill a guy in a hospital but in this case the disorderly orderly comes in and saves the day at zero hour. From there it’s pretty self-explanatory and you can appreciate that his woman is taken hostage so that our nameless bad guys can force the murse to free the man he saved from police protection. Silly, but the trailer makes you believe it’s a wickedly great idea. And you know what, it is. I’m a mild fan of generic European action films (The Transporter, Unknown, etc…) when they’re done right and this looks like a light midday snack of a movie I could digest easily.

Execution is everything and this one is not wasting any moments. The scenes here are so convoluted and mashed together that it not only obfuscates the plot but it shows a wonderful representation of what you can expect from a movie that flat out tells you that our guy has three hours to get the intended target back to wherever the hell he needs to be so he can see his wife.

I honestly could care less what happens to either of them because it’s been a while since I’ve seen a good cat and mouse vehicle and summertime is the right time for something like this movie. Count me in.

Father’s Day Trailer

I realize this may seem like a blatant SEO trick, but it’s not. This is legitimately one of the best trailers I’ve seen this week.

I’ve been a Troma fan ever since, sorry mom, I was about ten and sneaked a peek at not only The Toxic Avenger but Class of Nuke ‘Em High. There was just something endearing and exciting about many of their schlocky productions that it seems as if the ultimate quality isn’t as important as it is about making something that can be enjoyed on an ironic level. Worst case scenario is that you find one that is just mediocre at best. Many times the films surpass many of those actually spending lots of money to entertain and this trailer feels like a warm blanket being tossed over the legs on a cold night; it’s familiar, yet, I couldn’t have come up with anything as close as this even if I tried.

You can’t really argue with the throwback vibe of the opening here and even though I couldn’t tell you what in the world is happening with the plot and what we’re really doing here it just looks flat out fun. The set up is wildly entertaining and the establishment of a real narrative is nowhere to be found. I’ve lost perspective at what I should get from movies that are aiming well below high polished properties but from the obnoxious lighting, to the preposterous acting, and the silly dialogue I’m completely on board at about the minute thirty-five second mark. From the music, the horrifically bad effects, the sheer preposterous of it all, I couldn’t be more pleased.

There are monsters here for reasons I’m unsure of and totally fake mannequins being tossed over a cliff as if to pretend it’s a real being (it’s pretty awesome, I won’t lie) but for the life of me I can’t explain to you, rationally, why anyone would want to see this movie. However, I do and I want to see it pretty bad. It’s probably my inner ten year-old wanting to see whether Troma still has it in them. From the looks of it, they do.[Twitch]

Monster Brawl Trailer

I will admit that I did not see Jesse T. Cook’s previous film, Scarce. If it was anything like what I see here it’s a pretty good bet I don’t need to see it in order to get an idea of the guy’s sensibilities.

This trailer, while not exceptionally alluring in any regard, is pure schlock. I would rank it with the Troma feature above and I don’t think that’s being anything but honest. In fact, the presentation is good enough that I can forgive every misstep. For who among us wouldn’t have at least a fleeting interest in seeing a movie with Kids In The Hall alum Dave Foley alongside wrestling legend Jimmy Hart? For Godsakes, the man with the motor mouth is almost seventy years old and he can still rock a microphone while shucking and jiving with the best of them.

On top of that you have a premise that is beyond laughable yet is packaged in a way that only has your complete enjoyment in mind. Yes, it’s preposterous and yes it won’t be winning any kind of prizes for any originality but that doesn’t take away that you have competitors with names such as Witch Bitch battling Swamp Gut and a werewolf fresh off the set of Teen Wolf. This movie is having fun and I completely get it. It’s not hiding anything about what it is as it fully embraces its silliness.

The final third of this trailer is even better as the fighting is tightly choreographed and, again, looks like nothing but pure cheese. I enjoy the humor that’s implicit in this movie along with showing some solid money shots of extreme violence. I have no bad words to say about a movie that is trying hard to entertain your jaded ass in a way that is oddly interesting and wholly exuberant.


Life 2.0 Trailer

I heard a story about the film on Second Life through NPR’s On The Media last week.

Filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff made a movie about a few people who played this “game” of sorts and found a lot of interesting things with regard to his subjects. From a grown man who pretends to be a little girl to the couple who left their real life spouses, cheating on their significant others in this virtual world in order to consummate their online relationship, there is a lot to digest.

However, the trailer makes it all understandable from the beginning without, oddly, getting into the technology right away. By luring you into a sense of lovey dovey goodness as you see this couple coming together in real life at an airport, noshing on one another once they’re united, it’s seeing what their avatars look like in Second Life only to hear the woman say that her husband is coming, her avatar disappearing completely, that it lays the foundation for what you’re about to see. It hooked me clean.

What’s more is that this trailer is less interested in simply going back and forth with these examples and is more interested in saying that here’s a movie that is hopefully going to show you how the line between addiction and casual gamer can become distorted. The point where reality and fantasy collide is an interesting one and it appears that all of our subjects have some stories to tell about what happened to them in this space. It looks like it wants to marry both the fantasy with the hard reality that these people have to navigate when not plugged into their digital lives.

There is not one wasted moment here, and for that alone it deserves high praise, but it’s the examination of the individuals who we’ll be following that is the real attraction.

You’ve Been Trumped Trailer

I like to see reckless tycoons get their comeuppance just as much as the other guy but I’m not sure the thesis is really made well against the man with the golden locks.

What’s special about this trailer isn’t documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s topic, Donald Trump’s development of a golf course in Scotland, on what is ostensibly Scotland’s most environmentally precious land, but it’s the dramatic fashion in which this trailer takes us from initial concept of the golf course to the hullabaloo surrounding it once it’s being developed. Like I mentioned, I don’t think the thesis is well developed as, if it is, it needs to be better constructed before I think there’s anything more here other than a guy who has a chip on his shoulder and wants to start a row with a guy who would love the attention.

Yes, building golf courses is an exercise of resource depletion from the amount of land that has to be used and the amount of water, chemicals, et al,, that are required to maintain it. It’s boggling to be sure but this trailer feels more like an attack piece that uses the grumpy old neighbor, some tree huggers, and people who live in the community that are butt hurt about its presence to make his point. From where I stand it appears that Trump bought the land legally, he certainly didn’t claim it for his own with a flag of his family crest and declare it his own sovereign nation, so why Baxter isn’t making a movie about those who sold it to him is even more baffling. I could have gotten the level of reporting here by watching my NBC affiliate make a story about this course and I think the million dollar question that isn’t asked when you see this trailer is: Of all the golf courses that are being developed right now and that are doing the exact same thing Trump is doing what makes this such a compelling case? The trailer is the visual representation of a limp fight, really. That’s what makes this such an interesting watch, the weakness of the argument it’s trying to make.

The overly dramatic music, the footage of the cameraman being accosted by the local constable to stop filming, the attempts to get Trump on camera, the huge letters that say “IT’S THE FILM THEY LOCKED UP”, it’s all very funny actually. I get it, though. Yes, Trump is a twit for building a golf course on sensitive land and I feel bad for the guy who has had well trouble because of the land movers but this is really nothing more than a piece that belongs on Dateline, a movie whose net effect will not do anything to derail the plans of a man bent on opening up a golf course.

The Trip Clip

This has made me laugh again and again and again, every single time I play it.

If ever there was a case to be made for films just playing a clip and letting people make a buying decision based on that this film would have had my money even before it was done.

Go see this movie as soon as you can.

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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