This Week in Trailers

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’re headed to the woods to clear our heads, steal an election, check-in with The Boss, give a little love, and attempt to not give up on our dreams.

Black Bear

Director Lawrence Michael Levine is letting Aubrey Plaza be her best self.

Black Bear is an intriguing and unexpected comedic thriller starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon. At a remote lake house in the Adirondack Mountains, a couple entertains an out-of-town guest looking for inspiration in her filmmaking. The group quickly falls into a calculated game of desire, manipulation, and jealousy, unaware of how dangerously intertwined their lives will soon become.

It’s moody, it’s dark, it’s unnerving, it’s everything I didn’t know I wanted right now. Following this pack of bougie hipsters that deserve everything they have coming to them, along with a very focused Plaza, feels wildly appealing. While we’ve seen movies about people with ulterior motives in so many different iterations many times before, this version of that simply pops. The Sundance Film Festival seal of approval, the positive pull-quotes, all elevate what we’re given here.

Yellow Rose

What director Diane Paragas does here is nothing short of beautiful.

Yellow Rose is the timely story of a Filipina teen from a small Texas town who fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has known.

I can’t tell if it’s the so-good-that-it-hurts soundtrack that plays along with what we see, or if it’s something to do with the narrative, but this is moving stuff. The plight of a family that struggles to stay together, while our protagonist attempts to achieve something greater in her own life, is well-navigated without it ever seeming too much. This has all the makings of a movie that will stay under the radar, but it looks more like a little gem that should be given a chance. The music 100% helps to elevate an otherwise heart-wrenching story into something more delicate.

The Antidote

Directors Kahane Cooperman and John Hoffman are giving me a little hope.

Made in response to the times we are living in, THE ANTIDOTE is a feature documentary that weaves together stories of kindness, decency, and the power of community in America. It’s about everyday people who make the intentional choice to lift others up, despite the fundamentally unkind ways of our society, which are at once facts of life in America and yet deeply antithetical to our founding ideals.

THE ANTIDOTE aims to drive a national conversation about the roles that kindness, decency, compassion and respect play in a civilized, democratic society. While it’s easy to court despair in the face of monumental, structural problems, THE ANTIDOTE tells stories of compassionate people intentionally leveraging the resources within themselves and their communities to give others a chance at a better life. THE ANTIDOTE isn’t about an idea or a policy; it is about how we treat each other. It is about who we are.

Cooperman was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on Joe’s Violin, a story about kindness and goodness, and it looks like she’s continuing to focus on positivity. Even the most cynical among us would be hard-pressed to say anything foul about what is here. It’s a message of hope showing that even though negativity is dominating our everyday lives, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You

Thom Zimny has directed over 20 projects focusing on The Boss. And here’s another one.

A new documentary film that captures Springsteen recording live with The E Street Band for the first time in 35 years.

The last time I seriously had any reaction to Bruce Springsteen was in 1985. It was the video made for “Glory Days.” As a child of 10 years old, this video somehow transfixed me with a message I think I understood. (It’s those last seconds of ol’ Bruce throwing meatballs on a little league field that I remember most vividly) The E Street Band’s total domination of the mid-’80s was legendary. Fast forward 35 years and here we are with a follow-up. While I have no feeling either way on the guy, I can easily see how some who count “Born in the U.S.A.” as a touchstone might get all giddy about this. Good for them.

537 Votes

Director Billy Corben, director of 2018’s amazingly well-done Screwball, is focusing on an election.

The international custody battle over six-year old Elian Gonzalez triggers a political earthquake in Miami-Dade County in 2000, swaying the outcome of the presidential election.

The election was lost in many different places, but stolen in Miami.

Yes, we’re up to our eyes and ears about the current election, this documentary looks to be well-timed to show us what can happen when it gets too close to call. Those who remember this time know it was one of fiery emotion and political wheeling and dealing. A proper retrospective like this helps to contextualize what is now a two-decades-old controversy. Corben proved himself adept at taking a fresh angle with a story focused on baseball. Here’s to hoping he can do the same with politics.

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:

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