This Week In Trailers: Bikini Girls On Ice, Mother Of Invention, What's The Matter With Kansas, Eva

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?Bikini Girls On Ice Trailer

"These girls are so hot, they need to be put on ice!" – The film's actual tagline

What does one have to do with the other and why do I not care? I'm not sure, but bikinis and horror just feel like they go together like peanut butter and jelly. And why not cut a trailer that mixes these two, right? I mean, the worst thing that can happen is that it just seems like a bad trailer to a bad film. However, what it does do well is obfuscate its terribleness while also appealing to the lowest common denominator of film fan. Almost like a cinematic jujitsu, if you will.

I'm not going to say this is all a sinister thing, as director and co-writer Geoff Klein's second directorial effort pretty much seals his own deal with a plot that consists of a girl's soccer team traveling to a "bikini car-wash fundraiser," but it certainly knows its audience and is pitching right to them without even considering anyone else. Bold choice.

It may not be anything else but an excuse to show off some flesh but, really, opening with a thrilling blonde with a rockin' midsection going into a dark, dank, and disturbing looking gas station? Alone? Move along, Einstein, this isn't the movie you're looking for and hopefully all the intellectuals have moved on after recognizing this fact. First of all, last time I checked, the median sexuality and hotness of your average girl's soccer team is about as feminine as a high-school running back and, in most all cases, could most definitely kick my ass. This girl has inverted the equation and has bent space/time in order to make this an obvious piece of science fiction.

The marketing here is predicated on getting some schlub who obviously thinks this is a good premise for a film and is willing to go along for the ride. I'll give the trailer a high-five for making these girls about as dumb as particle board for traipsing into an obvious kill box but I'll also give kudos for cutting a trailer that doesn't reveal anything more than the premise and the promise of a full-on slaughter.

Implements of various kinds look to be used to ferry these ladies off to the afterlife, with one waking up in a tub of ice that I found to be a nice touch, (perhaps this will be a subtle mediation on the modern peculiarities of organ donation) and some quality looking kills.

I'm not saying this looks good but the girls appear to be quite hot, the story is all kinds of stupid, and this might just be the kind of film you reach for if you're 13 or if it's midnight on a Saturday night and want something to fall asleep to. If nothing else, you've got girls running around with bikinis and that's not such a horrible thing.

Mother Of Invention Trailer

It's not usual for me to stay with a trailer longer than I think is necessary when someone of note steps in but something happened as I seemed to be increasingly charmed with the strange narrative of this thing.

As I tried to understand what kind of movie is being sold here I was transfixed by Intertube celebrity Chris Hardwick, standing around in man sized Underoos. I didn't have a reaction other than fascination and horror as I tried to figure out what in the hell this movie is trying to say and why this paragon of Internet intellectualism agreed to have his junk crammed into those form fitting briefs for all the world to see.

Co-directors Andrew Bowser and Joseph M. Petrick, who are best known for, well, nothing really, have made a movie that seems strange but it does have the kind of X factor that transfixes you. Kind of like Napoleon Dynamite who wants to build things, the trailer begins with a socially awkward inventor who has a dream of winning a contest. As with any film about a contest you need a villain who our protagonist is trying to trump. BMX's Cru Jones needed his Bart Taylor and so too does this film have an inventor who just drips with all kinds of silly villainy.

The charm here when you get down to it is Andrew Boswer who plays our outcast. Yes, he comes off as a twit who would be better served to pack groceries at a Ralph's  as a "special needs" favor to the community but he's got that lovable loser vibe down pat. Whether it's him running around with a jet pack shooting hot cinders into his boot or whether it's his nerd rage at failing to properly teleport across the room, I genuinely like this guy.

Moving past seeing Hardwick in his skivvies, it's Mark Boone Junior (who we all know as the bad cop who was eating a rain soaked gyro from Batman Begins) who gives a little more levity after appearing once before the camera in an interview and asking for a little makeup. A beat later, he's back in front of the camera looking like a two bit whore. A little bit of funny goes a long way with me.

The movie looks like it has a lot of indie charm and, even better, priced just right as a DVD release. Too many times we can get hung up on figuring out whether something is worth a ten spot to see it in a theater but when the bar is fiscally set so low as a DVD rental this kind of trailer really makes a good case for itself. It would be worth the effort, if nothing else, to log on and slide it into your Netflix queue.

What's The Matter With Kansas Trailer

A couple of things leapt out at me on first glance and made this one I had to include here in the column.

One, was the ringing endorsement from Roger Ebert who called this one of the ten best documentaries from last year. I have never heard of director Joe Winston's movie before stumbling upon the trailer and I certainly don't remember his last documentary feature, 1997's Burning Man Festival. The man has kept busy these last 13 years but he's no Michael Moore with the paltry output he's created. Secondly, I lived in Kansas for many years of my young life. From what I do remember of my stint in the sunflower state I recall a lot of open land, that life moved pretty slow, that it certainly was the perfect incubator/breeding ground for meth heads, and that the only thing democratic about it was the number of times people voted for a Republican president into the White House.

I must have been horrible in history because I don't remember this trailer's opening salvo that tells us that Kansas was a hotbed for the radical and progressive thinking. However, the opening embodies wonderfully the pastoral and rural aspects of those living beyond the reach of the suburbs. The gradient blues that are captured contrast nicely with the view of small town life in an enclave that used to celebrate those who worked for progress.

While I think the subsequent footage of the documentary seriously date the film's main point, which is to show how it went from being a democratic stronghold to one republicans could call their own, the information is nonetheless fascinating in nature; frightening, too, as we see young girls who are barely able to walk alone to school talk about this being a Christian nation along with a woman who thinks that this country is somehow slipping into sin as it moves forward.

The trailer, much like Ebert's quote suggests, doesn't feel like it has an opinion per se. It seems as though this movie is simply taking a mirror to the state and showing what's going on. The film looks like a pretty interesting document in charting how a state can go blue to red in such a small period of time. Also, it's unquestionably refreshing to have a documentary that simply wants to present ideas without getting mired in the viewpoints of its director.

Eva Trailer

In the morass of teaser trailers that fail in trying to everything but tease, this one delivers.

More times than not a teaser will be released in the hopes of generating interest in a film that has yet to have anything to show for it except a spiffy logo and a single money shot. That shot, more times than not, is usually a few second glimpse at what we all want to see in its entirety. Here, though, we get something special enough that it warranted inclusion this week.

Spanish director Kike Maíllo has made something hopefully a little more engaging than Bicentennial Man, at the very least on par with Heartbeeps, but what's amazing is the ambiguity of what's happening on the screen. We're not given any nudging by a written interstitial that would inform what we're about to see but it's all very contained in a nice moment.

The sense of time and place here is presented well enough that as the small girl who is peeping in on the mad scientist who is working in a basement lab, the crunching snow and bright sun disarming any notion that this is going to result in the little girl being kidnapped or stuffed into a small box, we become engaged with the action on the screen.

Daniel Brühl, the last time I saw him he was deliciously getting his comeuppance in Inglourious Basterds, is back in a more genial role as we see him working in air. Somehow, his manipulation of floating objects a la Minority Report is fascinating. It's not dramatic, just matter of fact. The music in the background is wind chime-y with that high pitched, ethereal vocal we all know is supposed to be representing awe and wonder but it works for me in a hokey/family approved kind of way.

I don't know why I feel a sense of affinity for what looks like your basic kids film but I have been suffering through some bad ones as of late. And maybe my positive feelings for this is just a reaction to anything that looks like it could be better than Cats  & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Even kids deserve to have good trailers and this is one that I know would get mine all kinds of riled up with the level of wonder at seeing a robot come to life. Somehow when you pair a robot and a kid looking on there is a mind-meld of sorts for kids to get excited at the prospect that there's a movie out there that might be for them. And, from what I see, there is.

Side note: I love seeing the old school Paramount logo at the beginning; makes me feel nostalgic for the films I saw in the 80's and reminded me how many great films that studio put out. [Twitch]

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

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

  • I Saw The Devil Trailer - I may not know what they're saying but I do know that a few subtitles would only enhance what looks like a violent, thrilling film. Excellently paced and hits just the right emotional points.
  • Jack Goes Boating Trailer- You know that scene in Big Trouble In Little China where Kurt Russell is leaning on that guy's throat when he's trying to determine whether a perp is telling the truth? That's where I am with this trailer in wondering whether this is a sincerely good film or just trying too hard to seem "indie."
  • The Loved Ones Trailer - This is insane, scary looking and I totally want to see it after seeing this trailer. What looked like your average film about a jilted girl appears to be something akin to Misery with a little Hostel thrown in for good measure.
  • The House That Drips Blood Trailer - Well, that certainly qualifies as a teaser trailer. Technically speaking, it's a true statement. However, as a marketing tool it's kind of a limp effort. Try again.
  • The Splat Pack Trailer - Now this is a trailer that delivers on the gore while also interspersing some insightful commentary about what happened with horror as we ended one century and started a new one. Does what it needs to do and is entertaining all the way to the end.
  • The Expendables vs. Julia Roberts Trailer - The world needs more Andrew W.K. and certainly needs more trailers like this. How can you not applaud someone for saying exactly what dudes have been thinking for some time: the box office has been taken over by glittering, shimmering vampires. Brilliant creation.
  • Devil Trailer - This thing should have ended twenty seconds before it was actually finished. Is it really necessary to give away all the money shots after setting up what looks like a perfectly good Twilight Zone episode? It had the chance to be something mysteriously great but instead opted to turn over a lot of its cards.
  • It's Kind Of A Funny Story Trailer - This is, perhaps, one of the biggest surprises this week. The movie looks like a small little yarn that has the potential for being a solid sleeper. I appreciate the way the trailer gives a great set-up without revealing too much but just enough to get primed and excited to see the rest.
  • Due Date Trailer - Are you exited about this? I'm not excited about this and I am wondering if it's just me. The story feels pretty flimsy (Haven't we seen a version of this already in Forces of Nature?) and I just can't help thinking everyone is trying too hard to be funny.
  • Howl Trailer - I am interested in this. I am. However, the cinematography doesn't move me in any meaningful way and the courtroom drama feels more like a procedural I would see on TNT, not the silver screen.
  • Exam Trailer - I am more curious to know if this film can sustain its high concept for the entire running time than I am with a trailer that doesn't reveal much more beyond its premise. Yeah, there is a cavalcade of action near the end but I don't think it sells the film as it does show you how things devolve.
  • The Social Network Trailer - Everyone needs to calm down. Yes, this is a great trailer if you discount every time you see Justin Timberlake being not unfunny. I loved him on SNL. Anyways, this is Jesse Eisenberg's movie and it shows.
  • The Town Trailer - Geez, where to begin? Besides looking like Four Brothers meets The Departed meets Heat meets Point Break I was left thinking there wasn't much more to figure out about this movie from the metric ton of money shots it gives away. Hold something back, would ya please?
  • Wind In The Willows Teaser Trailer - Is this a teaser trailer or an e-book? Lots of reading going on here for little payoff. I understand this is a teaser trailer but there's not much here to be teased by.