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 get on the bus, get horrific in the wild west, get ready for a new baseball season, pay respect to Aretha Franklin’s greatness, and get weird while trying to play Pac-Man.

Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window

Director Andrew Hevia’s travelogue/documentary is something of a revelation without even knowing a thing about it.

In Leave The Bus Through The Broken Window, a hapless American expat arrives in Hong Kong to document an international art fair, but struggles in the unfamiliar city under the weight of his own emotional baggage. On the tail end of a failed relationship, filmmaker Andrew Hevia sets out to make a documentary about the Hong Kong edition of Art Basel, the largest and most prestigious contemporary art fair, but finds himself completely unprepared. So, he turns the camera on himself and the film becomes a deeply personal and unexpectedly comedic story about authenticity, heartbreak and that time he got lost in a shopping mall.

The trailer is a blender filled with discordant images and moments that have no connective tissue. Somehow that chaos makes this something of a gem. It’s personal, it’s objective, and it’s something that at least feels like new.

Screwball

Any Cocaine Cowboys fans out there? I was a fan of director Billy Corben’s work there, and I’m eager to consume this one with as much zeal as I did with that one.

They say South Florida is a sunny place for shady people and this is certainly true of steroid peddler Anthony Bosch and his most notorious client, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. While Bosch’s medical credentials may be lacking, his storytelling skills are first rate as he hilariously details the rise and fall of his “health clinic”, including mob connections, financial chicanery, his cocaine habit, and Rodriguez’s eccentric behavior. The documentary plays like a madcap Floridian crime comedy in the vein of Elmore Leonard or the Coen Brothers while it raises serious questions about the ethics of professional sports.

With the baseball season about to start in a few weeks, it’s obvious this thing is timed to make as significant an impact as possible. Using kids to take the place of A-Rod and other baseball baddies who tried to run the table with their steroid-fueled antics is a story that deserves to be seen.

The Wind

When it comes to the western frontier, I’m never quite sure whether it’s going to be more western than it is more about the frontier. Director Emma Tammi is here to redefine the genre with a movie that seems more focused on emotionally charging her narrative than with being a period piece.

An unseen evil haunts the homestead in this chilling, folkloric tale of madness, paranoia, and otherworldly terror. Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) is a tough, resourceful frontierswoman settling a remote stretch of land on the 19th-century American frontier. Isolated from civilization in a desolate wilderness where the wind never stops howling, she begins to sense a sinister presence that seems to be borne of the land itself, an overwhelming dread that her husband (Ashley Zukerman) dismisses as superstition. When a newlywed couple arrives on a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events.

I’m not sure what that evil presence is supposed to be, but this is bananas. Having a pull-quote that makes comparisons to The Witch and The Babadook? The wild west was never quite as impressive as it looks here.

Amazing Grace

When it comes to concert films, it’s always an exciting opportunity to reflect on why a filmmaker chose a particular time and a specific performance to focus on. With Aretha Franklin, directors Alan Elliott and Sydney Pollack chose a performance that Franklin did at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972, and I’m wildly intrigued by their selection. The trailer is elegant in its presentation, so smooth in how it slips in the pull-quotes, all the while managing to demonstrate why Franklin was the definitive Queen of Soul. It’s emotionally powerful, selling more than just a concert film, this is selling a moment in time that needed preserving.

Relaxer

Director Joel Potrykus‘ style is singularly his own. The trailer for his latest brims with precisely the kind of energy that has made movies like Buzzard such a delight to watch. With the unconventional narrative, the strangeness that drips from every frame, this one is going to be a must-see:

With the impending Y2K apocalypse fast approaching, Abbie is faced with the ultimate challenge – the unbeatable level 256 on Pac-Man – and he can’t get off the couch until he conquers it. A survival story set in a living room.

If you’re still having doubts, just read the pull-quotes lovingly peppered throughout this thing. Having David Dastmalchian in this one as well, it’s not too much to say that Relaxer is going to be one of the films I’m most excited to see this spring.

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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