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?


The Boy Mir: Ten Years In Afghanistan Trailer

Put this on my list of documentaries about the wars in the Middle East that I want to check out.

Documentary Phil Grabsky’s expose about the life of a boy who was removed from the actual battling itself is a curious one. The trailer does an effective job at roping me into his story as it talks about a side of this skirmish between two countries I had never considered in any deep way: those just trying to eke out a living.

It’s hard to imagine that there are those who simply go about their day, love their family, put food on the table, and leave the politicking to those in shiny suits. What we see at the outset of this trailer is a little rough, I’ll admit. The interstitials that are used are really flat and lifeless (was Times Roman the only font available at the time?), it doesn’t do much to inspire much confidence in the material being presented, and the way we get to the actual narrative is a bit forced.

That said, I’m drawn in by the story. I’m buying the idea that it is selling. This is a trailer that needs to compress a decade into mere minutes and for this to go from a little boy developing into a man in a country that has been ravaged by politics that are not their own, is pretty tricky. There is a story here removed from bullets and ambushes and late night raids and PTSD. This trailer shows that well and that’s why I like it as much as I do.

Some filmmakers are good at telling their story, not so much with selling the story. While this trailer does an OK job of selling, it’s the hint of what is contained in the film that makes this such a compelling proposition. You don’t see many tales on the fringe of warfare and to have one that charts its effects on a population as small as a family is extraordinary.

New Kids Nitro Trailer

Almost a year ago to the day I was showcasing the trailer for New Kids Turbo.

Well, Fantastic Fest came and went with /Film’s own Germain Lussier catching this newest installment of the Dutch box office equivalent of Titanic. Directors Steffen Haars and Flip Van Der Kuil are back with something that seems rife with comedy and lewd humor, but also has the kind of insightful social commentary that only some of the best sketch comedy troupes are able to focus into something meaningful.

This trailer, though, wants none of your cerebral input. It wants to jizz on you. Literally.

From the promise of a white trash, gangland style brawl that delights in showcasing mullet after mullet, to obnoxious plot twists that include heavy weaponry and zombies, I’m completely on board. The problem, if there is one, with trying to say why a trailer like this works for me is that I don’t know what the hell they’re saying. I have no clue what is being spoken and I am treating this as if I were watching a Buster Keaton film before there were talkies. While there is none of the nuance of Keaton’s brilliance, there are, however, double weapon discharges, ninja stars, lots of pratfalls, and male nudity.

Sometimes it’s the small things that get to me and, here, it’s a sense that there is more than few laughs that will be had at the expense of these merry band of idiots. The friends here absolutely have something in common with the boys of Fubar and that ought to elevate this over any comedy you sample when it comes out for no other reason than if you see a guy strip down to nothing in order to take on a zombie invasion with just his raw knuckles you know it’s playing for keeps.

This is one movie I can’t wait to see.

Sket Trailer

Could someone from England fill me in on what is going on here? Does have something to do with the chav revolution?

I get that writer/director Nirpal Bhogal wants to craft a movie about girl power but not since 1996′s Set It Off have I seen a trailer that depicts inner city violence quite this way. The trailer seems like a fantasy based on empowerment but finding out that there is some truth about the social situation of young women in east London is curious.

I realize that these particular ladies in this trailer are not out to rob banks but what I see here brims with a twinge of originality and is unlike anything I’ve seen since the mid-90′s when we saw the rise of films with narratives that talked about the problems plaguing the inner city. Remember when Ice Cube was actually a forceful presence and not some shill for a cola company? (Hope it was worth cashing in on all that cred.) Remember when Ice-T was a symbol of strength and not a cast member of Law & Order? It’s all nostalgia for me, to be sure, but this trailer actually works for me.

I’m not sure whether this is just female wish fulfillment or something less benign but, to be sure, the story is hackneyed and the players are a bit one note. However, the trailer is snappy. It’s got an energy and a beat that speaks directly to its core audience which, I imagine, are young ladies. It’s relentless with how fast it moves from narrative beat to narrative beat, never letting you get comfortable, and I’m not so sure I have any idea I’m closer to figuring out what is actually happening.

But that’s not an issue with these kinds of productions, is it? Just give the young folks a little bit of the violence, a little bit of sista’ hood, the hint that these ladies are taking back the night, and pump a lot of g-damn bass into the whole thing. I may never see this vehicle but if there was an award for best pitch to a core demographic this would sweep up heartily.

Aliens Vs. Predator Trailer (Sorta)

I love this man. I do.

There’s just something about Stephen Reedy’s sense of humor that I get whenever I think of what my crippled ADD idea of what’s funny actually means to me. Sure, some will point to Bridesmaids as the funniest thing they’ve seen all year but I watch something like this and am pretty damn sure if this guy was given a nice lump sum and a solid cast there is no limit to the quantity of laughs he could deliver.

The man is relentless when it comes to knowing how to tickle the sensibilities of those who are too addled by contemporary attempts to be all erudite with delivering the funny and as soon as I saw what amounted to the best mash-up of genres and fact/fiction there was no question I needed to share. Enjoy.

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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