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 check in with Jason Mewes, open a fast-food restaurant with Morgan Spurlock, bring a short story to life, and become narcoleptic when we get excited.

Super Size Me 2

So, you probably know where this is going but director Morgan Spurlock is looking to talk about fast-food again. 

In the 13 years since ‘Super Size Me’, the fast-food industry has undergone a makeover. Today, chain restaurants tout food that’s “healthy,” “organic,” and “natural.” Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores this new reality with an approach even more immersive and subversive than that used for his first film: he sets out to open his own chicken franchise. We follow him every step of the way, from raising poultry and conjuring recipes to designing the brand and scouting a location. Spurlock brings his disarming humor to uncover the truths and lies behind this multibillion-dollar industry.

It’s interesting to see the angle he’s taking on this latest venture. The first installment was easy, breezy, and not without its own controversy. It’s looking like Spurlock is going back to what put him on the map, but now looking towards how healthy fast-food isn’t what you think it is. Not going to lie, I was fascinated to see all the twists and turns he has in store, and this one is definitely on my list of docs to watch when it drops.

Madness in the Method

Jason Mewes is getting his shot as a director, and it’s an auspicious start. 

Jason Mewes’ feature directorial debut is a profoundly meta and personal exploration of Mewes’ career, his partnership with Kevin Smith and the undeniably weird Hollywood landscape as a whole.

Look, it’s not like Swingers or Moon or Brick or any other film from a first-time auteur looking to drop some serious, mind-blowing first feature into our laps. This just looks like the work of someone who has taken the time to make something wholly his own, call in favors to help round out the casting, and do something many only dream of. It’s inspiring to see how far he’s come and I, for one, just like knowing Mewes is out there creating.

Ode to Joy

Those who haven’t heard from director Jason Winer since 2011’s Arthur I don’t think anyone could fault you. That said, if you’re in the mood for a movie that would be a safe bet for date night, this could be it.

How does a man who is—literally—paralyzed by happiness find love? Thanks to a condition called cataplexy—a rare disorder that causes him to lose control of his muscles whenever he is overcome by strong emotion, particularly joy—Brooklyn librarian Charlie (Martin Freeman) has learned to carefully edit all delight-triggering people, places, and events out of his life. Family weddings, cute babies, adorable puppies, and, yes, romance are all fraught with peril in Charlie’s carefully managed world. But when the beautiful, spontaneous Francesca (Morena Baccarin) falls for him, the risk-averse Charlie finds himself at a crossroads: suppress his feelings of attraction, or take a chance and let love in? Based on a true story originally featured on This American Life, Ode to Joy is a hilarious and touching look at what happens when we stop being afraid and let ourselves truly live.

There’s nothing magical here and it reveals way, way too much about the plot and how things are eventually going to end. That being said, I was charmed by this little-train-that-could romcom. They are not breaking ground here but, sometimes, sometimes, a solid single is all you’re wanting out of your entertainment dollar. It’s about what this would be worth.

Descent into the Maelstrom

Director Jan Vardoen is giving us something special. This trailer is sweeping, yet intimate, in how it captures regular life but the kind of life that inspired Edgar Allan Poe. 

In 1841 Edgar Allan Poe wrote the short story “Descent Into the Maelstrom”. A tale of two brothers who sailed their fishing boat into the raging waters of the “Moskenestraumen” in Lofoten in the Arctic Circle of Northern Norway. The boat sank and only one of the brothers survived. In 1980 Philip Glass was commissioned to write a 66 minute piece of music based on the work of E.A. Poe. The work was performed in Australia for a dance company and the original recording has been lost. The piece was recorded again for posterity by the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1981. We have arranged the music for the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and in June 2018 we will march the orchestra to the top of Kvalvik mountain in Lofoten and they will perform the piece anew at its place of birth. We will also be filming the people of Lofoten hard at work in the toughest imaginable weather conditions. Strong people surviving in an inhospitable, yet beautiful landscape.

The sheer scale of what Vardoen is trying to capture is breathtaking. The land of Lofoten, the people who live there now, trying to convey what the written word powerfully did so long ago, it’s tough not to be thoroughly inspired by the scope.

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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