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 catch up with that guy from Talk Soup, witness the living quarters of an artist, go back to Wales a couple of centuries to see a girl playing the part of man of the house, get reminded that teens are always up to no good, and come of age in Ireland.

Jay Myself

Director Stephen Wilkes absolutely has some headwinds to overcome with this trailer.

JAY MYSELF documents the monumental move of renowned photographer and artist, Jay Maisel, who, in February 2015 after forty-eight years, begrudgingly sold his home—the 36,000 square-foot, 100-year-old landmark building in Manhattan known simply as “The Bank.” Through the intimate lens of filmmaker and Jay’s protégé, noted artist and photographer Stephen Wilkes, the viewer is taken on a remarkable journey through Jay’s life as an artist, mentor, and man; a man grappling with time, life, change, and the end of an era in New York City.

This is a slow burn. There isn’t really anything explosive or evocative about it. It’s about this one man, this artist, and how this very specific space allowed him to create. Either ou’re disposed to this kind of narrative, as Wilkes was tickled enough to make a full-length documentary on the man, or you’re moving on to something with a quicker pace. For me, this is the cinematic equivalent of red wine; mellowing, complex, and soothing. 

Gwen

Director William McGregor is here to make a statement. A period piece that carries with it some themes that seem starkly resonant, even today, this trailer lays it all out there.

In the stark beauty of 19th Century Snowdonia a young girl, GWEN, tries desperately to hold her home together. Struggling with her mother’s mysterious illness, her father’s absence and a ruthless mining company encroaching on their land, a growing darkness begins to take grip of her home, and the suspicious local community turns on Gwen and her family.

Moment by moment, this trailer ratchets up the tension of the narrative. It never seems sleepy, it never feels dated, as the emotions emanating from every scene feel genuine. The story may be set two centuries ago but this trailer deftly sinks its emotional hook deep and quick.

Share

I’m always interested when a filmmaker takes a short and expands it into a feature-length narrative. Director Pippa Bianco is doing that with her short film Share.

Based on Pippa Bianco’s Cannes Film Festival award-winning short of the same name, this feature-length drama stars Rhianne Barreto as 16-year-old Mandy, who discovers a disturbing video from a night she doesn’t remember and must try to figure out what happened and how to navigate the escalating fallout.

The story, while wildly compelling, is small in scope. It’s something that could happen to any teen at any high school in any town. Teens behaving badly isn’t anything novel, but I’m riveted by this trailer. Little by little you can see how moments escalate, how people choose sides, and what that can ultimately mean when it comes to taking things to their ultimate conclusion. Again, small in scope but expertly captured.

Metal Heart

I’ll always give coming-of-age stories the benefit of the doubt and director Hugh O’Conor seems to have yet one more fresh angle on the genre.

Fraternal twin sisters, Emma and Chantal, are worlds apart. When their parents go away for the summer, their simmering sibling rivalry threatens to boil over, especially when a mysterious boy next door moves back in.

There’s a little painting with a broad dramatic brush to make these twins stand out as much as they do, but it’s endearing. There are sweet little nuances here and there hidden by the layers of goth makeup. It may not make so much as a secondary or tertiary pick if it ever made its way to the US, but it’s comforting to know this is out there.

Phil

I’m just as surprised as anyone that this is Greg Kinnear’s first directing project. On top of that, the screenplay was written by  Stephen Mazur, the man who gave us Liar Liar, which explains the high concept.

Phil, a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart, is shocked when one of his patients, a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself in to the dead man’s life, befriending his wife and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is already ready to end his normal one?

This looks fine. Nothing screams out that this is going to take the summer by storm and be the must-see sleeper hit of the year. That being said, this looks like a movie that just doesn’t get made much anymore. Modestly budgeted, competently made, something aimed at older adults, it’s quaint.

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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