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 remix some old footage, listen to those who lived on the gridiron, balance our checkbook, and talk to whales.

Fathom

Director Drew Xanthopoulos is taking us on an aquatic adventure.

On June 25, a conversation begins. Watch as Dr. Michelle Fournet and Dr. Ellen Garland journey to opposite hemispheres on an undertaking as colossal as their humpback whale subjects—deciphering the complex communication of whales to uncover a culture in the oceans older than humankind.

Relax your mind. What you don’t realize as you watch this trailer is just how soothing it is. The editing is glassy smooth, and the tone is so even. Between the rolling ocean views and the narrative being woven into slo-mo shots of whales breaching, it’s a master class in how to present a nature documentary. Besides all that, the story is riveting. They have a month to follow a finite number of whales, all the while trying to chart/graph/interpret their unique mammalian linguistics. Unlike other nature docs that are sprawling in their scope, this feels very focused and dialed into what is being examined. I’m in.

Cinema Toast

A bold experiment that is unlike anything out there.

Produced by the team at Duplass Brothers Productions, a wildly experimental new series from an eclectic group of celebrated indie filmmakers who’ve re-edited and re-scored footage from public domain films and overdubbed them with performances of contemporary actors to tell new, wholly original stories. The varied voiceover cast includes Fred Armisen, Alison Brie, Nicole Byer, Colman Domingo, Chloe Fineman, Jake Johnson, Chris Meloni, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Christina Ricci, Dan Stevens, Lorraine Toussaint & more.

As we just mentioned last week when covering this project, this series available now on Showtime appears to be an amazing use of old footage to make something new. The roster of talent here is amazingly well-stacked, but there also seems to be something more under the surface going on here after reading about the series. Much the same way that Dream On went six seasons by using old footage in order to heighten the impact of the writing, this is also deceptively selling silly overdubs when there’s clearly going to be more bubbling under the surface.

Dark Side of Football

Great content, terrible trailer.

DARK SIDE OF FOOTBALL explores the tension between America’s undying love of the game, and its ability to corrupt and damage those who live and die for it.

This may be brought to us by the people who gave usBeyond the Matbut they should have found someone else to cut this trailer. The quick interview snippets are gold, the rawness of how these guys lived and breathed football is there, but the cut scenes of actors in pads hitting each other and acting like football players cheapens the content. Instead of looking like a 30 for 30 production, it just comes off feeling like it was put together by a team of third-stringers.

Money, Explained

Everyone needs to hear it.

We spend it, borrow it and save it. Now let’s talk about money and its many minefields, from credit cards to casinos, scammers to student loans.

Not only do you have some interesting folks lending their golden pipes to this series (Tiffany Haddish, Bobby Cannavale, Edie Falco, Jane Lynch and Marcia Gay Harden), but the content couldn’t be better timed. Long before the 2006 documentary Maxed Out came out, there was already a need in the market for content that spoke to how average people should manage their finances. Sure, there were classes and articles and things some people would think were common sense, but for the most part, the opacity of the financial world around us still confuses us. This trailer is a solid step forward in showing that the ever-changing landscape of how banks and institutions look to separate you and your money needs constant attention.

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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