This Week In Trailers: The Survivalist, Wakefield, Obit., The B-Side, Menashe

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 bug out in the forest, decide to leave our lives and never come back, find ourselves in the obituaries, get our picture taken by Errol Morris, and try to be a better parent.Wakefield Trailer

I am so in.

What I think speaks to me most about director Robin Swicord's movie about a man who just ceases to exist to the outside world while keeping an eye on it all is just how much it's part fantasy and hardcore reality. Many of us live lives that could use a jolt and for our protagonist he takes it to the extreme. It's wild, out there, but feels incredibly emotional and connected to the larger implications of what faking your own disappearance can do to those around you. It looks like it's part fever dream, part wish fulfillment. Either way, it looks sumptuous.

The Survivalist Trailer

Da fuq?

I'll be the first one to tell you I'm not sure what's afoot here in director Stephen Fingleton's post-apocalyptic vision of something truly dark and heinous but I like his attitude. Without giving us context or narrative assistance we get who our protagonist is, the kind of life he's living, and what dangers await when he allows a couple of stragglers into his life. It's low on depth but it's wide on tension. The trailer mixes action, desire, and imagination inside a cauldron that can only end up badly for all involved by the end. Just how I like it.

Obit. Trailer (NSFW)


I used to work for the Arizona Republic. Not in the editorial department, I was in sales, but invariably I would be walking to the elevator and pass the front desk where there would sometimes be a lone person sitting across from an employee whose job it was to help write someone's obituary. It wasn't ghoulish or sad or anything really, it was just something that happened with predicable consistency. People die and there are those who need to be there to write about it. I think that might explain how director Vanessa Gould's exploration into this profession seems so interesting. Just the profession itself is interesting because you're dealing with death on a daily basis and trying to make sense out of an entire life while making it all fit within a few paragraphs. It's an incredible focused way to write and there's just this passion for this kind of writing that comes across so effortlessly in this trailer. One to watch, for sure.

The B-Side Trailer


Errol Morris always amazes with what he chooses as a topic for exploration and this one is no different. While on the surface it doesn't seem like this kind of thing would be much of interest, the trailer does a bang up job in defining who our subject is and what brings us together today to talk about their talents. Portraiture is such a silly subject in a way as it seems that all it takes is someone who knows how to point and shoot a person's good side but this trailer feels like we're digging in deeper, getting to someone's true self and photography is but a means to get at that core. I went in not knowing a thing about it but I left wanting to know more.Menashe Trailer

I'm in.

One of the things I appreciate about this trailer is just how heavy the gravity feels. What I mean by this is that director Joshua Z Weinstein has shot this movie in a way that makes the reality of this character feel like it's grounded in a place and time that does not feel removed from the rest of the world. I can feel the humidity, the heat, the rhythm of the city, and I feel it just enhances the overall feel of why this movie deserves some of your attention. There's religion, to be sure, but, deeper than that, there seems to be a story of how a father and son are navigating the troubled waters of them trying to be a family. I don't think there has been a movie that has had quite an affecting trailer as this one.

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:

  • Drone Trailer – Provoking angle
  • Beatriz at Dinner Trailer - Eh, could take it or leave it
  • The Little Hours Trailer - What?
  • Lost in London Trailer -Interesting
  • The Hero Trailer – I'm all in for this
  • The Beguiled Trailer – Looks visually lush, I'll give it that
  • The Keepers Trailer – The latest in true crime binge watching
  • Disjointed Trailer – OK, we get it. It was 4/20. Come one, come all with your weed based projects
  • The Mummy International Trailer – Look, if it comes on TNT in the middle of the night a few years from now I may give a whirl