This Week In Trailers: Rikers, Betting On Zero, Magicians, Fraud, Almost There, Keep In Touch

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 get sent up the river, get involved with a multi-level marketing scheme and alienate every friend and family member we have, try to make a living as a magician, connect with a dead friend's sibling, take a seat in God's waiting room, and wonder about the reality of a family that may or may not exist.Betting on Zero Trailer

If you haven't, check out this week's Last Week Tonight to get up to speed.

Knowing that this is coming to us by way of the producer of Undefeated and Deep Web made me instantly interested in the material. Director Ted Braun has some gnarly subject matter to wade through to get us instantly connected but the trailer does a bang up job in establishing who the players are, why we should care and, most importantly, what's at stake. This is nothing short of a thriller that has all the markings of a wild drama. The intrigue and the money being spent on both sides of the aisle is dramatic enough but the trailer nails why it is that you should invest your hard earned time and attention to give it a shot. Tell your friends.

Magicians Trailer

It's sad.

I left this trailer feeling almost downtrodden by what I saw. Directors Marcie Hume and Christoph Baaden clearly have a handle on their subject and to see it go the way it does in this trailer just hits you in that place in your heart where if you were to make a go doing what it is you truly loved only to see your aspirations not equaling the reality of the world around you. Sure, I'm sure our subjects would have a differing viewpoint, and the trailer even has one of the magicians at one point say they're doing what they love, but, like Trekkies, this feels like an examination into a world that does not end up with everyone showcasing their talents at the Luxor in Las Vegas 7 nights a week. The ending, I feel, will be much different than that but kudos for at least showing those small moments when people are absolutely engaged with the talents these people possess.

Fraud Trailer


Some may know director Dean Fleischer-Camp from his work on Marcel the Shell with Shoes On but since this is first time ever hearing of the man I was struck by how powerful this trailer was without ever giving us a single word. The video images we're provided, grainy and scuffed, of a family living their life through home movies coupled with the sounds of a metronome-like timed pogo stick in the background, to say nothing of the parting shot a house burning down, make for one ominous experience. It's a giant question mark about what it is, what it's all about, what's real, what's not, and I am completely dialed in.

Almost There Trailer

Slow down.

As I watched this trailer a few times I was struck by how wildly personal it feels. Not personal for the filmmaker but personal for the participants in director Jacqueline Zünd's examination of the lives of three men who are in the waning years in their lives. It's tough to articulate but, visually, that sense of loneliness, isolation, the rage against the dying of the light, all comes through spectacularly. There isn't flash or fanfare but this is not the place for it. Here, it's about connecting to the humanity that many of us will eventually face whether by choice or resistance. Melancholy.

Rikers Trailer


I realize that those who find themselves in the clutches of a prison like Rikers probably weren't the types of people who were selling Girl Scout Cookies outside the local bodega. I also believe in the idea that if you are convicted of a crime and there is a finite amount of time from the time that you go in the joint to when you come out you ought to be coming out on the other side a more productive member of society. Rehabilitated. Recidivism numbers, though, don't lie and there is just a certain number of people who will always be breaking the law. However, those who are looking to get their life in order need to be able and do so and this prison looks like just the thing that will keep the cycle of violence turning. Produced Rolake Bamgbose, Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin, and Bill Moyers this is the kind of examination that's not sexy or thrilling to learn more about but it's vital if you think that living in a democracy means having systems in place to get people back on the straight and narrow. This looks like Lord of the Flies.

Keep In Touch Trailer

To partially quote C&C Music Factory: "I'm just a squirrel tryin' to get a nut"

After reading a little bit about director Sam Kretchmar's journey to get this made I was reminded what a slog it can be when you're trying to balance your artistic endeavors with the needs to actually put food in your mouth. It absolutely helps this film's visibility that the trailer is also so compelling and makes a good case why you should take a couple minutes out of your day to digest what's being set up before us. Further, what I genuinely appreciate about what we see here is a story that is not ensconced with the trappings of many first dramatic features, there's a humanity in here that comes across as believable and earnest.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:

  • Nerdland Trailer – Not completely sure I get what's happening here..
  • The Lego Batman Movie Trailer - Previous incarnations of this trailer were better at selling the funny.
  • Contract to Kill Trailer - Comes off as schlocky, insipid and as nothing coming close to something worth spending any real time with.
  • The Young Pope Trailer - Well, that's different.
  • Valerian Trailer - Looks like hot, neon garbage.
  • Collateral Beauty Trailer – Polished, broad, mass market fare.
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story International Trailer – Best one so far.
  • Underworld: Blood Wars Trailer - Turrrrrible.
  • Beware the Slenderman Trailer – Fascinating
  • Captive Trailer - I should be more interested in the subject matter but the trailer didn't do much for me.
  • Live By Night Trailer – So much better than the first trailer.