Fewer 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 go back into The Office, journey through history to a simpler time, get sober with Willem Dafoe, goof on the paranormal, and see why Cubs players would eventually destroy Sammy Sosa’s boombox.

Tommaso

Director Abel Ferrara is giving us intensity in the human form of Willem Dafoe.

Abel Ferrara’s first dramatic feature since 2014’s Pasolini reteams the filmmaker and his frequent lead Willem Dafoe, who delivers a career-best performance as the title character, an older American expat living in Rome with his young wife and their daughter. Disoriented by his past misgivings and subsequent, unexpected blows to his self-esteem, Tommaso wades through this late chapter of his life with an increasingly impaired grasp on reality as he prepares for his next film. Tommaso is easily Ferrara and Dafoe’s most personal and engrossing collaboration to date, a delicately surrealistic work of autofiction marked by the keen sensitivity of two consummate artists.

This is just exquisite. The power brought to our eyes within seconds of this starting is staggering. Even though we do not know what has brought us to this moment, there is a power in Dafoe’s performance with all the brief moments we’re given here. It tells you everything but tells you nothing, and this has instantly become the next thing I need to see. .

As well, if you’re interested in seeing this check out Kino Lorber’s site to see where you can watch this in your home while supporting your local, independent cinema.

Fan Level Midnight: Devoted to The Office

Director Shawn Cauthen gave us Netflix vs. the World so this caught my attention.

One of television’s most popular comedies of all time, The Office, is the subject of a new docuseries that sets out to discover the show’s enduring appeal to fans.

Filmed in locations across the United States, Fan Level Midnight: Devoted to The Office, will allow audiences to visit, the “real life” Dunder Mifflin, stroll through the LA studio where it was filmed, and meet fellow fans, like an auto mechanic who saved a woman’s life using CPR tips from the show. Fan Level Midnight: Devoted to The Office features original interviews from Paul Feig, Leslie David Baker, Andy Buckley, Kevin Reilly, Robert Shafer, Calvin Tenner, and many more.

Even though getting Paul Feig is a big win, actors Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and many other more prominent cast members are noticeably absent. I don’t know if this will make the documentary a little less exciting, but it could be interesting enough for a spin on VOD.

Superhuman: The Invisible Made Visible

Thank you to director Caroline Cory to give me something to smile about this week.

Award-winning “Superhuman: The Invisible Made Visible” is based on the jaw-dropping experiences of individuals with extra-sensory powers that seem to defy the laws of physics known to man today. Producer and host Caroline Cory, who has her own extensive experience in the field of Consciousness Science and Extra Sensory Perception, takes the viewers on an extraordinary journey to achieve tangible and measurable proof of these seemingly miraculous phenomena. Through a series of groundbreaking scientific experiments and demonstrations, viewers will find themselves connecting the dots about the true nature of their own consciousness, the relation between mind and matter and discover whether they live in a simulated matrix or if they can have control over their physical reality and create a fulfilling human experience. The film ultimately shows that once the invisible worlds are made visible, this attained higher awareness will transform humans into superhumans.

Look, not every documentary is about finding lost children or figuring out whodunit or discovering some lost treasure. Sometimes, you just want to laugh. And it’s hard not to keep a straight face watching this. The content is appropriate for something like the History Channel. This is a film where you might learn something new about the world you may not have known before. Namely, that there are fellow human beings who believe in this, and their sincerity that this is real is weirdly comforting.

Fanny Lye Deliver’d

I don’t know what director Thomas Clay is doing here, but I like it.

Fanny Lye (Maxine Peake) lives a quiet Puritan life with her husband John (Charles Dance) and young son Arthur (Zak Adams), but her simple world is shaken to its core by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious young couple (Freddie Fox and Tanya Reynolds) in need. An unexpected visit from the local Sheriff causes events to escalate that changes Fanny’s disciplined life forever.

This is something in-between a western and a period piece with a little more kick. I would normally stick something like this in a pile to be watched later, but the pull-quotes, without question, elevate something that would otherwise be another blip in the trailer landscape. It’s telegraphing its worthiness for your attention with a solid editing job. It moves briskly, doesn’t get mired in its own narrative, and simply lets the moments speak on their own. Impressive, to be sure.

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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