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?
Mile…Mile & A Half Trailer
Sometimes you just want to bag it all when it comes to marketing.
The noise, the ploys to be creative, the switchbacks composed of visual pops and flourishes, it’s all too much. Then you have a trailer for a movie like this that seems like something out of a handbook for male erectile commercial production and it just feels like a warm bath on tired feet.
Co-directors Jason Fitzpatrick and Ric Serena waste no time with couching this movie in a reality that is born of our naturalist forefathers who recognized the splendor of this nation that is found amongst the trees and backwoods of these states of ours. It’s a trailer that just feels genuinely inspiring; not so much for the way it frames the adventure, but that it doesn’t feel threatening or intimidating, it seems welcoming.
The trailer is motivating in the way it sells the idea of a journey as it pertains to these people while never feeling like it’s something that could easily be skipped. It’s a story of individuals who go on a journey, to be sure, but there’s just something about the way the trailer captures the beauty and grandeur of the great outdoors. It’s a combo that somehow negates the need to have some drama, some key point that puts everything in flux. Like I said, there’s a time and place for everything and knowing this is drama free is somehow reassuring.
Maïwenn is the kind of director who you just watch to see what she’ll do next.
Her last film, Le Bal des Actrices, was a fascinating expose into the lives of actresses, those who we would consider the most narcissistic, obsessed, detached from the real world that you and I inhabit. But it was the in-your-face honesty that allowed these subjects to not only hoist themselves on their own petard but made for a hilarious decent into plastic madness as these starlets clutched to the very thing they think will make them whole. Her new film, though, is taking a decidedly more thrilling angle.
What I like about this trailer, and it owes much of its appeal to the way in which it mixes pull quotes which absolutely help ballast it from the depths of obscurity where the real benefit of a positive critical reception could give it a fighting chance, is its quickness. We get in, we get to know this world, and we inhabit the lives of the characters that live in this reality.
Further, we aren’t given much by way of plot, specifically the inner lives of these police. Some are real rule breakers, real mavericks as they dramatically push paper off desks (we get that twice), but I get that this is supposed to be gritty and filmed with a focus on the kinetic qualities of the team we follow here. In any language, what we have here looks like a solid drama filled with thick layers.
Comics in Focus: The Image Revolution Trailer
Full disclosure: I was seventeen when I went to Randhurst Mall to stand in line in order to meet Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and a host of others associated with the newly launched Image Comics. I am partly to blame for that glut of speculation but I know that there were some fun titles in there that I genuinely enjoyed for their superficiality: WildC.A.T.s, Wetworks, Team 7, Gen 13.
There was a time when it was about fun and the excitement about what these eight creators would do and this documentary might just shed some light on this time in history that many of us who collect comics got caught up in when these titles started to launch.
The trailer here is interesting in that it takes things from the top (with a soundtrack that sounds like the opening riff from Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home”) as we get an idea for why these guys made such an impact when they went off on their own twenty years ago. Directed by Patrick Meaney, who directed documentaries on Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, we go from the history of Image to the retrospective opinions of those who were at the epicenter of a creative maelstrom.
There’s not much to nitpick or take contention with, although, to be fair, the production value at times seems pretty weak and doesn’t make the best case it could as to why your Kickstarter donation would help make this dream into a reality. It’s certainly a great tease but I would love to have to have heard any grain or nugget of conflict between these egos. With every great story there has to be friction and it would have been nice to know whether my donation would uncover these things or if this is going to be a 90 minute stroke job of a guy who was in a jean commercial, of someone else who made a movie with a farting clown.
Nobody Else But You Trailer
It’s The Sonics that did it for me.
What started out as a trailer for a movie about some mystery involving a lass who liked to choke down wedges of cheese got real interesting as “Shot Down” cranks the interest I have in this movie to an eleven on the Awareness Meter.
Director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu has made a movie that feels like something that’s a cross between Twin Peaks and Fargo. It’s steeped in the mystery of who killed this fromage loving fraulein and the way we have to put the pieces together as things get downright weird is absolutely fun. I’m not sure if this mystery writer is in any personal danger as he pulls back the layers of what happened to this girl but as he starts to hallucinate there is the sense he is going to find out things which may very well make him a target.
I’m even more delighted that we’re not given any secrets that might negate the need to see the movie but when the pull quote from the Hollywood Reporter affirms the superficial connections with David Lynch and the Coen Brothers based on the trailer it’s a one two critical punch that makes this a must see for me.
Never Stand Still Trailer
That was Mr. Noodle!
First, just bite a leather belt for a few seconds as some golden oldies talk about the nature of dance. Honestly, I’m not trying to be too harsh but someone needed to apply a little foundation to these people because as soon as we get their input on what makes dancing so vital to one’s life I’m mesmerized.
Director Ron Honsa is a curious case as his last film, which also dealt with dancing, was released in 1990. I don’t know what took 20 years to create something new but as people are tossing themselves across the stage I am hooked.
There is just something to be said about the struggles that actual performers have to go through and this trailer is slick enough to capture the snippets of the life they lead as they go after their dreams. You know there is inherent pain and misery with the amount of competition they face every day of their lives and to know that there is a finite amount of time they have before their bodies give up there is a true biological clock clicking everywhere you look in this trailer.
You can just feel the strength and hope they have and there no question that the thumping drums and the quick edits compliment one another get those who are interested in the work that is put into this kind of choreography all kinds of giddy.
Strippers Vs. Werewolves Trailer
Well, this exists.
Director Jonathan Glendening has made something that makes the 13 year-old in me very happy. The older version of me? Not so much.
With the exception of Robert Englund elevating things ever so slightly and the cover of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like A Wolf” I had a great time laughing my way all the way through this.
Consider this your empty calories for the day.
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:
- Five Year Engagement Red Band Trailer – I think it looks like harmless fun and the trailer doesn’t really divest me of that notion.
- The Impossible Trailer – I’m on board with this. Fascinating premise.
- Virginia Trailer – This is the visual equivalent of a drunk grandma who has had too much Franzia and is weaving all over the road.
- Mansome Trailer – I’m fascinated at the premise and execution of what they’re going for.
- A Buddy Story Trailer – A little too strange and twee for my taste.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation Trailer – I’m still high on life watching this and I don’t know why. Embodies all these little elements of what makes me giddy about summer movies.
- Brave Trailer – I don’t know why I’m not frothing at the mouth to see this but these trailer just leave me hopeful, not won over.
- Lawless Trailer – A trailer that sells violence and bootlegging in the right way.
- Samsara Trailer – I’m hopeful that it’s as epic as it looks in scope and meaning.
- Hotel Transylvania Trailer – I’ll be honest, it looks like something I would take my kids to as well as something I wouldn’t mind sitting through.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation International Trailer – International, domestic, foreign, any way you slice it I’m hopeful that this is just fun.
- The End Trailer – A good trailer that keeps things vague and doesn’t reveal much.
- Hope Springs Trailer – This year’s It’s Complicated. Mom and dad, enjoy.
- Hicks Trailer – I think while there is promise in the deep recesses where it’s trying to get to, the trailer is all over the road. Tighten that focus.