This Week In Trailers: Sole Survivor, The Wall, Room 8, The Forge, The Great Beauty (Le Grande Bellezza), The Source Family

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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we survive a plane crash, talk about suicide, get trapped in an invisible box, join a cult, and make it all better by going to Italy. Sole Survivor Trailer

My uncle was killed on American flight 191 that left O'Hare International Airport on May 25th, 1979.

I was too young to know him but I wrote a book a couple of years ago that included a chapter devoted to what it must have been like to feel the ascent of a jumbo jet only to bank and manically twist into a terrifying, unrecoverable roll that resulted from an engine completely detaching from the plane. It's horrific to even imagine, and no one survived, but this is the kind of trailer that taps into that terror some of us face when we feel helpless in the sky. For those who are able to disengage and accept the inherent safety precautions that make a crash all but a statistical anomaly this may not resonate as well. However, this is real drama, and director Ky Dickens captures that in the trailer.

It's hard not to listen to those who have had to push on without loved ones. To make sense of "Why me?" while also knowing that the violent way in which they were spared an all but certain demise is the stuff of raw emotion. The trailer may veer slightly into making grand platitudes about life and ask some rhetorical questions that feel a little out of place, the people IN the trailer are doing the heavy emotional lifting so you don't need to go down that superficial road, but the overall effect of this trailer makes you feel lucky to be alive. These people not only have to deal with their present circumstance but to have to be reminded of their past every single day through no fault of their own is enough to make you curious about how the living can indeed go on.

The Wall Trailer

When I was a kid, there a movie that made me afraid of going under the water of a swimming pool. It was 1978's The Legacy and it completely messed me up when it came to aquatic endeavors.

This trailer, from director Julian Pölsler, shows hints why it's won major kudos and accolades. It feels psychologically oppressive while having a nice sci-fi bent. Much like Cabin in the Woods this, too, deals with someone who's trapped in an invisible bubble to which there's no escape. Instead of there being a cadre of bizarre creatures awaiting to take out the living, we have a woman who has to ponder her circumstances and simply endure.

That's the real hook.

Instead of the tight window of a day or a night in order to figure out a way out of this situation it appears to be a marathon of endurance testing. This woman has to adapt to this invisible box and whether we find at the end that it was all psychological or there's something else afoot, I would argue that as long as what we see on the screen is true to this woman that is what's going to be so alluring. What's here, though, shows more survivalist than hysterics so I'm thrilled to see how it all ends.

The Source Family Trailer

What in the hell?

I get that the 70s were a different time and that this seemed to be the time for spiritual reawakening after psychedelia of the late 60s had people looking inward. Groups like this seemed to be everywhere but it looks like first time filmmakers Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille have found something worthy enough to ride out 90+ minutes. The trailer, though, is trippy.

It establishes who this guy was, Father Yod, we listen to his words, we see his visage, we see his harem, the man seemed to have the rapt attention of many. The music just grinds it out as it gets more and more intense; it seems to mimic the way in which things start to spiral out of control and to that point where most of these hyper-splinter religious cults of personality end up: in violence. This one is no different and its conclusion isn't revealed but, no matter, because as charismatic as Father Yod was this trailer captures enough of it to sell me on the notion that the craziness will make for a very entertaining ride. Get on board.

Le Grande Bellezza Trailer 

So, last week I looked at the teaser for this movie.

Paolo Sorrentino's tale of a man bitterly reflecting on his youth seemed so gorgeously breathtaking that I was entranced by its first impression out of the box. Now we get this and it seems like an entirely different film.

Sure, it has some Pedro Almodóvar-ian flourishes and some Fellini-esque moments but there appears to be something really interesting going on here. Even though I couldn't tell you what they're saying, just knowing this is a guy who appears to be going into his 65th year on this planet and taking stock of his life is enough to at least get me interested. Our man Flynn is doing some pensive thinking and the locations are just adding another layer to this serene, almost sad, story of a guy who may not have wanted life to turn out this way. Who knows, maybe he's happy and is just trying to figure out how to get more young, nubile ladies in his bed but there's something afoot here that is both emotionally appealing and fantastic to look at.

The Forge Teaser

I've talked about director Stephen Reedy before and he's back with something a little different. I only know his style as bombastic and intense but this is something else entirely.

It's a teaser for a short that you can find here. It's based on a real suicide and is told through the eyes and words of a brother who has lost his sister. It's incredibly personal but, for those touched by suicide or who have ever contemplated it, it's worth a few moments of your day.

Room 8

This epitomizes what mediums like trailers, and shorts like this one, are able to accomplish with just a little ingenuity.

Just reading the short's description was enough to at least make me push play:

Room 8 is one of five different films from the same script. As part of Bombay Sapphire's Imagination Series, Oscar winner Geoffrey Fletcher wrote a script stripped of any stage direction and asked people to imagine their film.

That said, the man behind Precious' screenplay let people do their own thing with a 1 page script he drew up for Bombay Sapphire. Filmmaker James W. Griffiths takes this little slice of instruction and let his imagination truly run wild. It's bizarre, fresh, and worth a few minutes of your time if only to see how this thing ends. It's always good to see how well someone can work in this medium and the hints of talent you see out of Griffiths' previous few minutes display something worth noticing.

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 or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

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

  • August: Osage County Trailer - Feels like a heap of melodrama.
  • Fruitvale Station Trailer - Looks incredibly polished and riveting.
  • Arrested Development Trailer – It's "The Final Countdown" that does it for me.
  • The Congress Trailer - Insane, thrilling, and mind-bending.
  • As I Lay Dying Trailer - Trailer didn't really capture my attention, or interest.
  • Rapture-Palooza Trailer - The jokes fall flat, it has the charisma of a Triscuit, and seems genuinely painful to watch.
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Trailer - I could take it or leave it. Nothing here grabs me or stands out.
  • About Time Trailer - Really high concept trailer that doesn't really sell how well it go the distance.
  • Berberian Sound Studio Trailer - Creepy and evocative. Like it.
  • Rio 2 Teaser Trailer - No.
  • Riddick Trailer - There's a certain flimsiness that comes across in this trailer.
  • V/H/S/2 Red Band Trailer - Know that this is all about gore, that's what this trailer tells me.
  • Pacific Rim Trailer – Little boys probably couldn't be more thrilled at the prospect of this.
  • Last Vegas Trailer – Look, fish meet barrel meet gun. I won't see it but I'm sure my parents will.
  • The Hangover Part III Red Band Trailer – If there's anything you can depend on Hollywood to do, it's to beat a dead horse. Then, resurrect it with electricity, beat it again, let it die again, and then bring it back to life through black magic, voodoo, and some extra zeros on paychecks. There's nothing remotely interesting in this trailer.