Green Band Trailer

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 watch a man chase the ghost of his father, try to understand the impact Atari had on video gaming, silently watch terrorism as it unfolds, get another story about Pablo Escobar, and watch Mike Tyson and Steven Seagal gloriously duke it out.

Ghosthunter

This is the kind of small, intimate story that is wildly compelling. Director Ben Lawrence is not just following a guy who hunts ghosts, but as the trailer unfolds, you are quick to understand that this goes a lot deeper. A story of a shattered family, the cops, all coated a thick dollop of sadness, this becomes a tale that seems more mystery than it is a biography. We all carry stories that define who we are, but this is one that feels particularly unique. A little intrigue goes a long way with me, and this trailer delivers.

World 1-1

It was smart to make Steve Jobs the thumbnail image for this trailer if for no other reason than to get some incremental notice. Directed by Jeanette Garcia (III) and Daryl Rodriguez, this documentary series will focus on the history of video games and landed on Atari as its first subject. There’s a lot of slack in this trailer as we linger too long on some shots, to say nothing of how some of these interview subjects were shot, but I’m won over by nostalgia and its charm. There is some comfort in knowing that a documentary like this is out there simply because it would be the perfect background as you put together a piece of IKEA furniture.

Path of Blood

As you watch this trailer for a documentary about terrorists, it’s haunting how there is no narration. The effect of this is curious. It removes a safe barrier from clinically dissecting what we see and, instead, throws us headlong into the reality of what is happening on the ground. Directed by Jonathan Hacker, and executive produced by Mark Boal of Zero Dark Thirty fame, this documentary gives the kind of look into warfare that is unsanitized. And that appears to be by design.

From the film’s site:

Adopting a strictly objective approach, the film doesn’t editorialize and contains no interviews or “talking heads” commentary. The home video footage was shot by the terrorists themselves, allowing viewers to see them in all their complexity, while compelling audiences to draw their own conclusions.

Some people want their warfare sanitized, but this is the kind of look into the horror of what really can come out of a conflict.

Loving Pablo

Watching this trailer should remind those of you who have seen Narcos just how great Wagner Moura was at portraying Pablo Escobar. The only other person who I think could ever come close to topping that performance would be Javier Bardem, and it looks like he’s just chewing up the scenery here. Director Fernando León de Aranoa is showcasing one part about Escobar’s reign, one that Narcos did quite well, and it stands to see whether he can elevate what has already been done. The trailer, though, is nothing short of fabulous.

China Salesman

There’s just a part of me that loves that director Tan Bing made an action movie starring Mike Tyson and Steven Seagal. However, there’s also the part of me which just reels at the awfulness of how this trailer is presented, edited, and uses its footage in a way that is completely disorienting as a viewer. I’m sure this is just a case of working with what you have, but good luck with trying to follow along with whatever story is being fashioned here. That said, the story is probably just secondary to a movie that is all about explosions, pithy tough guy talk, and lots of fighting. But my 13-year-old self is delighted that this even exists.

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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