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?


Not Suitable For Children Trailer

We all know where things are going here but when it comes to romantic comedy setups, it doesn’t really get any better than a man losing a nut.

Peter Templeman may be known in his native Australia for his work on television shows I’m simply not aware of (Lockie Leonard, Bogan Pride, Marx and Venus) but these are the kinds of films, in my opinion, that lend themselves more to the performers and the chemistry between them than it is how well scenes are composed and shot. Thus, seeing Ryan Kwanten pop up as our protagonist it’s clear that he’s going to shoulder this farce.

It doesn’t look like it’s going to rock anyone’s world or change anything in it, and it seems like it’s one of those movies that are low on any kind of resonance, but I’m kind of excited to see it. The trailer is light, airy, and sweet enough to be considered palatable enough to be shared by both women and men as what we see balances the needs of both audiences. The ladies get a story of a pretty looking Kwanten, who showed his abilities to be great in roles outside of True Blood in Griff the Invisible, and guys get a story of dude who is trying to disseminate his seed before he’s rendered sterile.

What’s more is that I’m usually down on trailers that explain everything away and leave nothing else to see but part of the amusement I’m getting out of this particular one is just how interesting of a set up it is while displaying a little bit of heart. Yes, unless you’re completely devoid of any ability to put together short sentences, and even then they come right out and say it, you’re going to know which way things are going to end but every now and then a movie like this has a chance to be something that can appeal to a wide audience and actually be good. It might very well be.

To Our Bright White Hearts Trailer

Ayz Waraich has made something scintillatingly sharp here.

When it comes to directors who are out there just trying to get noticed in a sea of white noise of others trying to do the same, sometimes it’s a trailer for their calling card that could be just as important, if not more so, to get somebody to notice. This trailer is amazing in that you are not only left wanting to see the film after getting through this but you don’t have a damn clue what the film is even about.

And that’s fine by me.

The fact that I’ve watched this a half dozen times and every time the hair on my neck raises makes me wonder whether the film could be anywhere near as good as what’s here. Whether or not Florence + The Machine wants a video made for “Cosmic Love” is besides the point as leveraging that song against the backdrop for scenes that are squeezed together by hints of great camera technique really make this trailer so compelling as a narrative. What that narrative is, however, is anyone’s guess but that’s the point. Entice me, get my attention, be something more than just another indie looking to be edgy with your rapier wit and bon mots. Instead, why not just say screw it and not give you any words at all? A gamble that pays off, in my opinion.

Add to the fact that what we get is not just a silent film of disparate clips, these are postcard like moments that come off as genuinely poetic. It makes you want to know more about the film, it engages you, and in a battle with so many other films it’s amazing. As I’ve said out loud, there is no way the movie can be as good as what’s here but that’s irrelevant because all Ayz needs you to do is be interested enough to take that next step and see whether an audience thinks he has the talent to stand on his own. He needs his shot and this is one of the best attempts to get one I’ve seen this month.

Shanghai Trailer

I don’t understand a damn word but this is pretty good.

Dibakar Banerjee somehow has made fighting whilst holding on for dear life on a tuktuk, compelling.

Of course, this is all under the guise of a Bollywood production, resplendent with dancing and ostentatious displays of dancing and shouting, so it can’t be all that violent. From the Wikipedia page:

The bustling Indian city of Bharat Nagar has a upcoming infrastructure project backed by the ruling political party. Meanwhile, four individuals find themselves tied up into a gruesome game of crime and politics. A shocking and disturbing road accident leaves a socialist professor/political activist in critical condition.
That said, the trailer here is engrossing, linguistics aside. The editing is fast, we don’t linger on any one moment for very long, it has a good sense of humor about itself even though the material is a little dramatic, and the story doesn’t reveal too much. Yes, even though the language barrier is an issue for 99% of those who see this it’s nonetheless an enjoyable diversion and testament to how you can blend such things as someone getting rocked by a speeding car and people who break out into spontaneous dance.

Silent Souls Trailer (NSFW)

So here’s a movie that’s been out for a couple of years, knocking around film festivals, popping in and out of the US, and is finally getting a wide release in Australia, Ireland, the UK, and Italy.

Nowhere does the US play into this release schedule but I can say that Aleksei Fedorchenko’s movie about two buddies taking a road trip together, all in an effort to take the dead wife of one of the buddies in question and cremate her, is at least a wild premise.

The trailer is one that combines the very strange with the highly personal. It’s odd that this story begins with an old man’s wife dying only for him to turn to a dude and mention that he’d like to dispose of the body on the DL. The cinematography and the mood, all sullen and bleak, fit well but it’s not oppressive. You are left to try and fill in the gaps whole trying to understand why these dirty old guys are double teaming some sideshow floozies or why some bride is having her undercarriage worked on while she hikes up her dress.

There’s some stumping, deep philosophical  musing but I can’t think of another movie that looks so odd with a trailer that leaves me wondering what in the world is going on in this guy’s life.

Vessel Short

Anyone who has even a tangential hand in The Eric Andre Show gets my full, unadulterated attention.

Filmmaker Clark Baker, for his part, has had some fingers not only in Eric and Andre, but in Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule  and, one of my favorites from last year, Jon Benjamin Has a Van. I bring these credits up to illustrate that what we have here isn’t any kind of comedy or anything resembling a subversive attack on the nature of what’s funny.

Funny is nowhere to be found here.

A short that is jam packed with the kind of talent and promise that you would hoist upon the broad shoulders of someone like Matt Reeves when Cloverfield grabbed people’s attention, Baker’s story about a flight that goes inexorably awry brims with talent. There is a compression, to be sure, of the natural elements that would be allowed to air out over the course of an hour and half but, because it is a short, the relationships that ought to have had some time are offset by wicked effects. Again, because this isn’t a million dollar production you aren’t going to see something you haven’t seen before but you absolutely will see how creative Baker is.

I won’t ruin the surprise about what’s really at stake for everyone but with every lens flare that trails across the screen you are guaranteed to see something truly inspired with how well Clark executes on compressing a full length feature into a bite sized snack that not only showcases the man’s talents but how well he uses every second he’s given. There is no style guide when it comes to building blockbusters but through good fundamentals and an eye for what works, the results here simply impress.

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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