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 try to recapture our youth, set our boyfriend on fire, cross the border, and try to sell you some snake oil

I Used To Go Here

Director Kris Rey is giving us something pleasant.

Following the lackluster launch of her debut novel, 35-year-old writer Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs) receives an invitation from her former professor and old crush (Jemaine Clement) to speak at her alma mater. With her book tour cancelled, and her ego deflated, Kate decides to take the trip, wondering if returning to her old college as a published author might give her the morale boost she sorely needs. Instead, she falls into a comical regression – from misadventures with eccentric twenty-year olds to feelings of jealousy toward her former professor’s new favorite student. Striking the balance between bittersweet and hilarious, Kate takes a journey through her past to redefine her future.

What leaps out at me here isn’t so much of what is happening but just how genuinely earnest this all is. Never mind that all three members of The Lonely Island are producing this movie, you can just feel the weight of the cinematography here. Everything feels as genuine as it can be, much like a Joe Swanberg joint, in that the location and the environment surrounding everything is just as much a part of the storytelling experience. It’s cozy, I love it, and this movie looks like a warm blanket you want to get underneath.

(Un)Well

It’s about time.

This docuseries takes a deep dive into the lucrative wellness industry, which touts health and healing. But do these wellness trends live up to their promises?

From pills, salves, tinctures, essential oils, balms, and things you would not otherwise ingest, this wellness racket is a moneymaker. Many are out there chasing a fountain of youth that, just like the trailer mentions, could very well be a mirage. It’s elusive because, and perhaps, it doesn’t really exist? Still, to listen and see the stories of people trying to fight father time is fascinating, and, at times, harrowing.

Immigration Nation

It’s the documentary that ICE doesn’t want you to see.

This documentary series offers a unique and nuanced view of the ongoing struggles in America’s broken immigration system.

Yes, America’s immigration system is broken and needs reform. Still, while the answers seem to be easy to answer depending on what side of the issue you’re on, it’s downright tough to see families broken up, lives upended, over someone’s legal status within this country. People need to see the realities of what is happening, the realities of what it is those who are risking their lives coming to America are in search of. It’s effective marketing for sure.

Open 24 Hours

I’m always down for a good genre flick and director Padraig Reynolds is giving it to you.

After setting her serial killer boyfriend on fire, a paranoid woman gets a job at an all-night gas station. However, left alone to her own devices, her paranoia and hallucinations return with furious consequences. Customers and friends suddenly start turning up dead and mutilated all around her.

The mix of wild visuals, a semblance of a plot, and making this look like a ton of fun is why I now must see this. We’ve been spoiled by genre movies with high production values and top talent behind the scenes. But, with few choices for under-the-radar efforts like this Reynolds has inspired me. Knowing that there’s a possible diamond, heck, I’d settle for cubic zirconia, in the rough is a risk I’ll take to support independent efforts.

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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