This Week In Trailers: Possum, Feminists: What Were They Thinking?, Fightworld, 1985, Chef Flynn

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 demand equality, have trouble wondering what's real, travel the globe to fight strangers, revisit the AIDS crisis in its early years, and meet a kid who is already more successful than most of us.


I am a fan simply based on what we see here. I may not be alone in the assessment that Sean Harris is a downright lethal and fantastic as a bad guy. But director Matthew Holness looks to have channeled what makes Harris such a wonderful actor into something that is unnerving and delightfully dark. The synopsis is short and oh so enticing:

A disgraced children's puppeteer must confront his sinister stepfather and a hideous puppet he keeps hidden in a brown leather bag in order to escape the dark horrors of his past.

Yup, it's going to be creepy, and just watching Harris in this trailer is a delight. It all seems to rest on his shoulders, but for someone like him, who has proven himself capable of carrying two Mission: Impossible films as a villain, this could be a scene-chewing extravaganza.

Feminists: What Were They Thinking?

Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing put on full display the double-standards under which women and men live. When it comes to comporting oneself in public and what we deem as acceptable behavior, invisible as it might be to some who can't see it, women still have a long way to go.

Director Johanna Demetrakas is taking an interesting angle by revisiting a seminal 1977 book of photographs that depicted women who were letting go of the traditional, cultural assumptions of what it meant to be a woman. In 2018, it looks like not much has changed. A cultural, sociological investigation into where women are at 40 years hence doesn't seem like blockbuster viewing, but these are exactly the kind of retrospectives we need to keep pushing towards true equality.


If you've never seen 2011's Fake It So Real remedy that. While that documentary, which follows individuals looking to make a name in professional wrestling, and this one, which follows individuals who battle in the ring for real, there are some parallels. It's about finding out why people want to get into the ring with one another to battle for whatever that thing is that will tell the world they're number one.

Frank Grillo is the perfect host for this kind of exploration as he makes his way all over the globe to see if there is a commonality they all share. It's fascinating, to be sure, to understand the need for pugilism that is hardwired into some of us. Across cultures, though, the reasoning behind why some want to fight might show something about ourselves that shows a kind of shared humanity.


Watching this trailer, it made me reflect on Judy Berlin. The 1999 movie starring Edie Falco, who was about to be catapulted into the stratosphere with The Sopranos, was a small and intimate slice of life movie. I remember being moved by its story and how well the narrative kept things tight. This effort by director Yen Tan, then, evokes those same feelings with this movie. Initially unsure of how to respond to where this story was going or what to make of the understated performances of Michael Chiklis or Virginia Madsen, I got it. The pull-quotes most certainly help to telegraph that what you're seeing is something special and, by the time you get to the end, you understand what's afoot.

Chef Flynn

It's being called a real-life Ratatoulie, and I can go with that. Director Cameron Yates doesn't appear to be doing anything spectacular here, and the story itself doesn't feel like essential viewing, but it's charming. The trailer sets up the story of a precocious kid who wants to be a chef and then, as the title implies, actually becomes one. These kinds of stories abound in a series like "Chef's Table" on Netflix, but the throughline for all of these tales is just how people found their calling and then did what they could to make it happen. Based on the merits of that kind of narrative, and seeing how well-received the movie has been with the pull-quotes it has received, it makes this something that could be fun viewing if/when it comes available on a streaming service.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion 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:

  • Holmes and Watson Trailer – What you see is what you get
  • Rocketman Trailer – That voice just yanked me right out of what looks like a well-made biopic
  • Invisible Essence: The Little Prince Trailer – Could be wildly entertaining
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Trailer – Getting real warmed up to what's happening here
  • Vice Trailer – Oh yes
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trailer - As someone who wasn't a huge fan of the first trailer this one is ridiculously good
  • The Conners Trailer – Turning lemons into semi-sweet lemonade, I guess
  • Robin Hood Trailer – Stahp
  • The Upside Trailer – Something your parents will want to see
  • Daredevil Season 3 Trailer – OK
  • Titans Trailer – Pass
  • The Mule Trailer – I like the trailer, but his past heavy-handedness precedes him
  • Mary Queen of Scots Trailer – Fantastic
  • Overlord Trailer – B-movie goodness
  • Aquaman Trailer – I tried, but I can't buy into anything it's trying to sell me
  • Mortal Engines Trailer – Not feeling it, at all
  • American Gods Season 2 Trailer – I'm indifferent
  • Origin Trailer – Could be interesting