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 spark it up for 4/20, get into a slight tussle, luxuriate in the mud for three days, examine one of music’s greatest artists, and pick grapes as the world burns itself down.

Bliss

Give it up to director Joe Begos for making a film that turns up the dial all the way to bonkers. I don’t know what I was expecting with a description like this, but the best thing I can say is that it delivers on all points.

Known for her dark and macabre artwork, painter Dezzy Donahue (Dora Madison) is in a professional rut. Unable to finish her newest commissioned work, Dezzy looks to reignite her creative juices by letting loose-as in, taking every drug in sight and tearing through raucous house parties and heavy metal bars. After a few nights spent with her debauchery-loving friends Courtney (Tru Collins) and Ronnie (Rhys Wakefield), though, Dezzy notices changes within herself. On the positive side, she’s finally painting again, but she’s also developing a strange desire for blood. As someone who has never been able to control her vices in the first place, Dezzy is quickly and violently consumed by this bloodlust.

Look, if you can make it to the end of this trailer you’ve seen about everything you need to when deciding if this is up your alley. Myself, I enjoy when you think something’s going to zig, but then it zags. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Luxuriate in the B-Movie quality of what you see as they don’t make a lot of movies like this nowadays.

Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation

Coming up on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, directors Barak Goodman and Jamila Ephron present a new take on an event that doesn’t seem like it could ever happen again. The sole use of archival footage without a single frame of film on an individual sitting in an Adirondack chair and waxing nostalgic is perhaps one of the most brilliant moves you could make with this trailer. We stay in the moment, we watch how this moment was about those who were there, and what it meant, all with just the slightest hint that this was a three-day concert. This trailer makes it about the people, and it should.

Pavarotti

I will give it to Ron Howard for making me want to see a documentary about a man who gave his life in service of the opera.

From the filmmaking team behind the highly-acclaimed documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, PAVAROTTI is a riveting film that lifts the curtain on the icon who brought opera to the people. Academy Award winner Ron Howard puts audiences front row center for an exploration of The Voice…The Man…The Legend. Luciano Pavarotti gave his life to the music and a voice to the world.

The back half of this trailer is where it really picks up some emotional steam. Even if you know little about opera, nothing should prevent you from getting swept up in the story of how Pavarotti leveraged his fame for something more. In fact, among one of the greatest crossovers he ever did was when he teamed up with Bono and sang alongside him for “Miss Sarajevo”, a song that struck to the heart of the resistance unfolding within Sarajevo in the mid-90. This trailer captures that humanitarianism effectively and with heart.

Harvest Season

Compelling viewing, director Bernardo Ruiz makes solid use out of thirty seconds.

A story usually hidden behind a more glamorous front, Harvest Season probes the lives of the multigenerational Latinos, temporary laborers, and permanent residents intimately connected to the production of premium wines in the Napa and Sonoma regions of Northern California — in the midst of one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory.

The photography is sumptuous, and the narrative is gripping. Exploring a narrative of what it was like to harvest grapes, especially when it seemed the world was burning down around them, is heartbreaking.

Grass Is Greener

As someone who grew up watching Fab 5 Freddy, of Yo! MTV Raps fame, his directorial debut looks like a fantastic exploration of marijuana and the law.

It lit up jazz and hip-hop — and ignited a war on drugs steeped in racial injustice. Experts explore America’s complicated relationship with weed. Hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy directs and narrates this documentary featuring Snoop Dogg, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and more.

There is no fat in this trailer as it looks at how fast laws regarding marijuana have changed in the past few years, not to mention what to do with those incarcerated because of weed. It whips through where we are today, where things started, all the while talking about the issues surrounding the vilification of this drug. That it’s being released on 4/20 on Netflix makes this an easy decision about giving this some of your attention.

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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