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 delve into sound with Rashida Jones, hike the campaign trail with Tim Heidecker, talk race politics with Chelsea Handler, have a steamy fling, and then take a moment to reflect on rhino poaching.

Mister America

Bless director Eric Notarnicola’s work here, for it means we have more Tim Heidecker content to bask in.

A freshman filmmaker follows Tim Heidecker during the final month of his campaign for district attorney. What begins as a profile of an outsider candidate facing an uphill battle evolves into a study of toxic delusion as Tim’s motivations and controversial past begin to unravel his candidacy. Taking on a popular incumbent has found Tim and his inexperienced campaign manager outmatched. Low on funds, experience, and connections, Tim hits the streets in an attempt to connect with voters, but has difficulty winning over the community. With word of his campaign spreading, former associates of Tim try to warn the public with stories of bad business deals, strained friendships and a failed court case in which he found himself accused of murder. With days until the election and his campaign in free-fall, Tim has to confront the unexpected costs of pursuing his dream.

Based on the description, you’ve already got my money. Besides this project, Notarnicola has helped shape On Cinema and Decker, not to mention his editorial work on Nathan for You. The trailer easily wins hearts and minds in showing just how straight Heidecker will play this. It’s sublime, it’s hilarious, and I’m praying it’s as good as this trailer.

Baxu and the Giants

We last talked about director Florian Schott almost five years ago. He has come around again to show his latest, a short on rhino poaching, as it’s seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl. When you consider how small this project is, the ambition needed to put it together, and the fact that it looks this good, you have to give the filmmaker his due. It’s a small story but looks brimming with deep intentions.

The Sound Of Silence

Director Michael Tyburski’s vision with this yarn is out there, but it somehow also feels more grounded than anything else I’ve witnessed in weeks.

There are a symphony of almost undetectable sounds that make up a moment of silence, and Peter Lucian (Peter Sarsgaard) is determined to catalogue them all. Through his job as a New York City “house tuner,” the hyper-methodical Peter works meticulously to diagnose the discordant ambient noises—produced by everything from wind patterns to humming electrical appliances—adversely affecting his clients’ moods. When he takes on the particularly difficult case of Ellen (Rashida Jones), a lonely woman plagued by chronic exhaustion, Peter finds that the mysteries of the soul may be even greater than the mysteries of sound. A quietly moving portrait of a harmony-obsessed man learning to embrace the dissonances of human emotion, The Sound of Silence invites viewers to hear the world with fresh ears.

There is a love story here, a story about two people coming together, but it’s also about the forces that keep us moving away from what’s good for us, repelled by forces that try to disrupt everything. I’m captivated by the gentle flow of what’s here. The pull-quotes are wonderfully slipped in every now and then, as if to say that never mind the weirdness, this is incredible. And it looks every bit of it.

Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea

Chelsea Handler is going on a road trip to talk about race, and I have mixed feelings.

The pleasure is all Chelsea’s. “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea” follows comedian Chelsea Handler as she confronts and explores her personal and cultural impacts around white privilege. Handler travels around the country speaking with a wide range of people on the topic of race including fellow comedians Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and W. Kamau Bell, anti-racism writer and activist Tim Wise, a Republican women’s group in Orange County, CA, college students at an open mic night, and her former high school boyfriend in New Jersey.

On the one hand, I am impressed by the gumption this takes to put herself out there to talk about race, white privilege, and to regale us with the impact that her whiteness has played in her upbringing. However, as one astute audience participant mentions, this goes “deeper than a documentary.” So, will she really be able to change our views, challenge our collective belief systems, convert the non-converted? It remains to be seen. Still, I don’t see many others in this space attempting to have the conversation.

Only You

I just may be jonesing for something like another Once, based on the music that’s playing in the background for director Harry Wootliff’s latest. 

After a chance encounter on New Years Eve, Elena and Jake enter into a whirlwind love-affair, moving in together and talking about starting a family. Can they remain in love when life doesn’t give them everything they hoped for?

Sometimes all you want is a steamy romance film, and this one looks tinged with hotness and some severe calamity tossed in for good measure. Love and pain are abound in a narrative that’s a little opaque but big on showing us where we’re going and where things might end. Every now and then, watching a love that burns too bright and fades too quick can sometimes help calibrate our own sensibilities, and I like what’s on display here.

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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