This Week In Trailers: Bucket List, Stallone: Frank, That Is, Beginning, True Mothers

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 wanna be popular, we try and figure out why our life is crumbling, get a surprise six years after we adopt a child, and we get to know one of the world's most famous little brothers.

Beginning

When it comes to debuts, director Dea Kulumbegashvili's entrance onto the film stage is visually powerful.

One of the most striking debuts in recent memory, Dea Kulumbegashvili's feature marks the revelation of an exciting new voice in cinema. Shot in luminous 35mm long takes that boldly evoke isolation and longing, it tells a profound story of a woman's resilience facing communal hostility and violence.

In a sleepy provincial town, a Jehovah's Witness community is under attack from an extremist group. In the midst of this conflict is Yana, the wife of the community leader, whose familiar world is slowly crumbling around her. Meanwhile, a detective intrudes on her home with devastating consequences.

The trailer is like a Gregory Crewdson book come to life. Everything feels coated in malaise, trepidation, and the sense of unease permeates from everyone. Some scenes feel like they're living tableaus, a visual representation of a feeling or an emotion. It's like Melancholia, but instead of the world ending it just looks like this one woman's life is slowly imploding. It's a minor story, but it looks like it packs a tight, hard punch to the soul.

True Mothers

Director Naomi Kawase's devastating narrative is Japan's official submission to the Academy Awards.

After a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, Satoko and her husband decide to adopt a child. Over the next six years, the middle-class couple and their young son Asato settle into a comfortable, albeit routine, life. The family's orderly existence is shattered by the arrival of Hikari, a young woman claiming to be Asato's biological mother, demanding his return. As tensions mount, Satoko grows more and more emboldened to defend her family.

Weaving together multiple timelines and genres with a contemplative pacing and keen sense of place, hallmarks of Kawase's work, TRUE MOTHERS is "is a deeply touching celebration of women who assume duties of love, support and compassion" (Awards Watch).

The slow but expedient build-up to the crux of the story should seal the proverbial deal on why someone would want to see this. It's a relatively straightforward approach to what it means to be a family, biological or otherwise, and what can happen if someone tries to redefine that for you. I don't know what this biological mom plans on doing to the adoptive parents after being away for six years, but the results feel so real. You can see why Japan is going all-in with this, and it would be a travesty if this one flew under everyone's radar.

Stallone: Frank, That Is

Director Derek Wayne Johnson has put together a veritable who's who of Hollywood to tell the story of a famous brother.

An inside look into the fascinating life, career and survival of the most unknown famous entertainer in Hollywood.

The life and times of Jim Belushi this ain't. This documentary feels more like a fluffy EPK than it does anything else. Still, I'm fascinated by Frank's longevity in the public eye and the things he's done to keep him there. He has existed on the fringe of being able to break free of his older brother's enormous shadow. There doesn't look like anything scintillating or particularly noteworthy since the trailer can't even muster so much as a slight controversy or two. But for those of us who remember Frank for his battle with Geraldo Rivera on the Howard Stern Show almost 30 years ago, that's probably what we're going to get here: a lot of bluster and no luster.

Bucket List

Brian "The Boz" Bosworth who starred in Stone Cold in 1991 and was a legendary football player before he tried his hand at acting, is going back to his roots.

Bucket List follows outspoken college football legend, Brian "The Boz" Bosworth, as he tours 8 of the best destinations in college football today, interviewing coaches, former star players and fans to determine why each stadium deserves a spot on every fan's bucket list. Schools include his alma mater University of Oklahoma, reigning national champions University of Alabama, Texas A&M, University of Texas, Louisiana State University, Clemson, University of Georgia and Auburn University.

Each episode will feature exclusive interviews with some of college football's greatest. In one episode Bosworth reflects on an iconic NFL moment he shared with Bo Jackson during a Monday Night Football game over 30 years ago. He also sits down with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Texas' Jamaal Charles, and current NFL stars AJ McCarron, D'Andre Swift, Tee Higgins, Christian Kirk, Dee Ford, Justin Jefferson, Sterling Shepard and more.

While many of us don't follow the ups and downs of college football, there's no denying the fervor many have for their alma maters can sometimes be intense. Not satisfied to just be a one-hour documentary, this feels more like a travelogue than it does a movie, and that's just fine. I have always been fascinated to see how and why some deify their sports teams, be it professional or collegiate, so a series like this feels a little less like must-see TV than if-you-have-the-time TV.

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 Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

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

  • The World to Come Trailer – Not that it's a bad thing, but I feel like we've had a lot of forbidden love period pieces between two women lately