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?

[REC]³ Génesis Trailer

A couple things…

One, it’s pretty bold to start off a trailer from Spain, hola!, and have the narration in English. Just my opinion, but that feels a little bait-and-switch-y. I mean, I get it, I see why they’re doing it and why they feel they have to do it but it seems a bit disingenuous and I would be genuinely interested in director Paco Plaza’s take on the first 40 seconds.

Two, again, around that 40 second mark we essentially have 39 seconds of nice build up about how where we’re going, how we got there, and perfectly acceptable visual cues about why a camera crew is following our heroes. However, after all the carnage that we’re about to experience, seeing our loved ones holding hands after a sinister evening of killing almost takes the fun out of wondering who comes out on the other side. It’s slightly disappointing, and maybe there’s more to see after this moment, but, again. I’d like Paco’s take on this and wondering whether it’s all bueno to essentially give us the ending in a way.

That said, I love this trailer. The baddies look menacing, our bride is getting into the thick of things with these monsters, and the pacing is tight. There isn’t much more you could ask for in a movie about reanimated dead people and it looks to build on the mythos that the previous iterations have already done. It’s nice to be excited for some horror like this, even though the marketing is a little disingenuous, however nitpicky that sounds.

Berberian Sound Studio Trailer

I know what you’re thinking, I know what you’ve been wondering: What in the hell has Toby Jones been up to since Hunger Games and Snow White and the Huntsman?

Fear not, he’s back and it looks like a wondrous escapade filled with oddity and creativity. While I get the essential moving parts of Peter Strickland’s latest opus there is a weirdness to this that not only appeals to my dulled senses but it excites me that this could be one of those dark horses in my summer movie pool even though the closest I’ll get to this film is Ireland as that’s about as far west as it’s going.

What’s nice about this story is how it feels literary in a way. Man takes on job, starts executing on his plan, only to find out things don’t really jive with his expectation. Jones seems to be able and capture that sense of awkwardness wonderfully when you’re trying to explain that surely there must have been some mistake and that, no, you’re not going anywhere.

The aural field of the trailer plays with your ears as syncopated sounds dash in and out, only to represent the confusion that abounds in this guy’s life as a movie is being made before his eyes. It’s bizarre in that we jump so quick from moment to moment without so much as a sliver of insight into what is happening here but it makes sense in the grand scheme of things as we’re to believe that Toby is slowly coming undone by the process of having to endure things he, seemingly, hasn’t ever encountered. I don’t know if we’re to infer that this represents some kind of giallo film making at its goriest but I’m interested to see how the combination of sound and strange collide.

Grabbers Trailer

“Funny, gory and with some feckin’ good CGI”

Jon Wright has made something that not even I can really comprehend but when you start off your trailer with a quote like this, you have my attention.

This trailer feels like a silly horror movie, something akin to Ghoulies or Tremors so it almost feels nostalgic in a way to see a film that wants to be a little frightening but a whole lot of fun. There are times when taking things from the top and explaining everything can be a real detriment to a movie’s marketing as it pertains to a film’s trailer but what’s excellent about this is that it plays like a little horror film. You have the initial killshot that starts it, we get introduced to the people sent to investigate, we’re exposed to the townspeople who can’t believe what’s going on, and then we’re presented with the battle against the alien force that involves heavy amounts of alcohol.

When you reveal, as your secret weapon against an alien horde, that being drunk around a flesh eating monster is the only thing that will save you because it doesn’t like the toxic taste I’m completely into what you’re selling. It has a really small film feel while the hints of CGI really are pretty impressive as it hearkens back to movies when invasions were contained in a small town with a small cast of characters. There seems to be no shortage of those along with the sweeping views of northern Ireland to serve as a picturesque backdrop for this zany tale.

The trailer moves quick as the beats are hit fairly quickly, only to stop for the occasional punchline, and we get through everything in a minute forty without any wasted moments. The interstitials could have been formatted a little better, a little larger, but, overall, this trailer should get anyone with a passing interest in the horror comedy genre all hot and bothered.

Petit Nicolas Trailer

Sometimes it’s not that hard to get me to like something.
There’s just an ebullience to watching this trailer that it’s just hard not to get caught up in the multiple storylines here. Director Laurent Tirard appears to have made a movie that is light and airy, not unlike his country’s mainstay, the Madeleine, that seems comforting in a way. I appreciate that it willingly accepts its fate as a french spoken import and doesn’t hide itself amongst flashy imagery or slick voiceovers but, more so, I like its jubilation. We get to know this little pack of boys and their world. We see their personalities and feel like this is a pretty safe bet that won’t rock a lot of people’s critical world.
Then we get the dad laying into the mother. The fighting that happens between these two just made me laugh as not only has the dad had enough with his wife complaining but when she insinuates that he’s working too much and he lashes out, it’s winner winner for me. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t take much and in this climate of really serious minded fare it’s just plain nice to see something that deals with the lives of little kids and the pains that parents have to endure with their brood. I have a sickening feeling it’s France’s answer to Diary of a Wimpy Kid but it’s OK with me. This trailer just tears through its run time and, in any language, that gets a vote of confidence from me.

Thursday Till Sunday (De jueves a domingo) Trailer

386 views? That’s it?

There’s just something original that’s being said about the dynamic that exists within a family. Director Dominga Sotomayor Castillo looks to have created a story that wonderfully captures what it’s like to be caught in a cramped car with your family for days on end but shows the wonderment that might come out of it.

What is so remarkable about this trailer is how we’re let in on the sad little secret of this movie and that seems to be that the dad is leaving. The parents are separating but it’s only hinted at with literally a couple of spoken words and a glance or two. It’s sad in a way to see this unfold as the mom and the dad appear to be putting on their happy faces with the kids who think this is all just a holiday. However, we see that one of the kids might have a clue what’s happening and the one shot of her seeing her mom’s head from behind as we see her wipe a tear from her face while still focusing on the headrest, barely making that out, was amazingly effective.

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

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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