This Week In Trailers: Woman At War, Gaza, PEN15, Dogman, Mutant Blast

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 wade into conflict, go back to middle school, get bullied as an adult, get schlocky, and deal with an environmental terrorist who seems kind of sweet.


Documentary filmmakers Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell aren't here to solve the issues surrounding the Gaza Strip as they seem more interested in finding stories of those who are just trying to live their lives.

Gaza brings us into a unique place beyond the reach of television news reports to reveal a world rich with eloquent and resilient characters, offering us a cinematic and enriching portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict.

The trailer hums with life. Peppering in the danger of what it is like to live so close to strife and conflict, the trailer spotlights the nuanced narratives of people fighting to stay where they are. None of these things will sit well with everyone, but as long as people are willing to keep fighting, there will never be an end to the violence on the Gaza Strip.


I do not care that we are at peak TV, when you have the Lonely Island trotting out a new series, there is always room for more. Middle school-aged girls at the turn of the millennium? Not sure why it needs to be set around the aughts, but I do not care. It's been far too long since I've had a good laugh, and this trailer delivers. Lots of awkwardness, for sure, but the way in which this series seems bathed in something real more than elevates its simple premise. I don't know why I want to be president of this series' fan club, but it's hard not to love every moment we're given here.


Director Matteo Garrone, who gave us the brilliant Gomorrah, knows how to capture the nuance of what it's like to deal with petty thuggery. Here's the synopsis for his latest film Dogman:

In a seaside village on the outskirts of an Italian city, where the only law seems to be survival of the fittest, Marcello is a slight, mild-mannered man who divides his days between working at his modest dog grooming salon, caring for his daughter Alida, and being coerced into the petty criminal schemes of the local bully Simoncino, an ex-boxer who terrorizes the neighborhood. When Simoncino's abuse finally brings Marcello to a breaking point, he decides to stand up for his own dignity through an act of vengeance, with unintended consequences.

The trailer starts so quaintly and quiet, but when our protagonist starts on his slide down a hill that involves violence, this family man's story becomes something of a fascination. What someone will do to protect what is his and the effects it has when they're pushed too far is always entertaining. It helps that the trailer sells a story that balances violence and love in near equal parts.

Mutant Blast

All you need to know about director Fernando Alle is that he is keeping the spirit of Troma Films alive. It's not hard to spot the aesthetic of what makes these kinds of movies such enjoyable fare, but this trailer promises something that looks cheap, flimsy, and oodles of fun. Don't overthink it, enjoy it.

Woman at War

I may not know director Benedikt Erlingsson, but his narrative about an environmental activist that hints at being a wildly entertaining watch is something of a minor miracle.

Halla is a fifty-year-old independent woman. But behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist. Known to others only by her alias "The Woman of the Mountain," Halla secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminum industry. As Halla's actions grow bolder, from petty vandalism to outright industrial sabotage, she succeeds in pausing the negotiations between the Icelandic government and the corporation building a new aluminum smelter.

The film's description may seem a little heady, but the trailer is bananas. It's a bit complex in what is really at stake for everyone involved, so while there are issues of adoption, terrorism, violence, there is a lively tempo encasing it all.

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:

  • Fyre Fraud Trailer – Schadenfreude
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer - Please. I was on board before the trailer began.
  • Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Trailer – Disturbing
  • Little Woods Trailer - Can-not-wait
  • Black Earth Rising Trailer – Intense
  • The Widow Trailer – Pass
  • Paddleton Trailer – Yes
  • High Life Trailer – Whaaa
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Trailer - Bubbly
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 Trailer – Just pure fun
  • Five Feet Apart Trailer – Teen girls, rejoice, I have something new for you
  • High Flying Bird Trailer – Like the tempo here
  • Happy! Season 2 Trailer – OK
  • Now Apocolypse Trailer – Not sure I care about any of these people
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot Trailer – Consider me all in on this
  • Lords of Chaos Trailer – (Insert sign of the horns here)
  • Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase Trailer – Actually, this had its moments
  • The Hummingbird Project Trailer – Could be a fine diversion