Fewer trailers

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 revisit some childhood trauma, put things where they don’t belong, stick it to the man, get in the middle of a gang war in London, and see if we got anything new in our box at the local comic book store.

Butt Boy

Director Tyler Cornack is not here to mince words.

Chip Gutchel, a bored IT Engineer, has an awakening after a routine prostate exam. What starts as a harmless rectal kink, soon grows into a dangerous addiction as he becomes responsible for a missing child. Chip eventually buries his desires in Alcoholics Anonymous and tries to move on with his life. Years later, he becomes the sponsor of Russell Fox, a newly sober detective. After Chip relapses, Russell is brought in to investigate another missing child at Chip’s office. Russell begins to suspect that Chip’s addiction may not be to alcohol, but something much more sinister. It’s up to Russell now to prove that Chip uses his butt to make people disappear. But who’s going to believe his wild theory?

I don’t know who this is for, but count me in. It makes no sense, it’s completely off-the-wall, but in a world of movies where almost everything makes sense, it’s good to know there are still filmmakers looking to make us uncomfortable.

Comic Book Country

I am fan of rough-around-the-edges documentaries, and director Anthony Desiato’s look at comic book stores hits a sweet spot.

Comic book characters are box office gold, but why do comic book stores struggle to survive? In “My Comic Shop Country,” filmmaker Anthony Desiato sets out on a quest to explore the culture, business, and fandom of comic shops across America. Venturing behind the scenes in stores from coast to coast, he reveals an industry in transition as shops strive to remain relevant to the growing hordes of fans of movies, online gaming and mega-conventions. The film is a heartfelt exploration of the power of comic shops to build a community that honors the original form of the superhero: the comic book.

It could be my halcyon memories of a time gone by when comics weren’t pushing five bucks each, but I love that this topic is being explored. The owners of these places are of a different breed, but that’s what makes these people special. They’re passionate, they’re slowly disappearing, but they do their best to stick around because they love the medium.

Blue Story

Director Andrew Onwubolu (aka Rapman) is exploring well-worn territory, but there’s still something unique here.

Best friends Timmy (Stephen Odubola) and Marco (Micheal Ward) go to the same high school in Peckham, but live in neighboring London boroughs. When Marco’s beaten up by one of Timmy’s primary school friends the two boys wind up on rival sides of a never-ending cycle of gang war in which there are no winners … only victims.

The movie looks cleanly shot, nicely edited, and it sells a story that is fairly compelling. I wasn’t sure how much they could sell me on a narrative that I feel like I’ve seen before, but a combination of emotionally charged moments and the promise that this could be coming from a unique voice makes this a winner.

The Infiltrators

Directors Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra are, visually, using mixed media.

THE INFILTRATORS is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center— on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri attempt a daring reverse ‘prison break,’ things don’t go according to plan. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, THE INFILTRATORS tells an incredible and thrilling true story in a genre-defying new cinematic language.

The story of immigrants finding themselves caught in detention centers is undeniably heartbreaking. This kind of project is not only timely but you can easily see how this could help inject empathy in an otherwise vicious battle of words and actions.

Rewind

Director Sasha Joseph Neulinger is laying himself bare.

REWIND is a deeply personal and darkly compelling autobiographical film by Sasha Joseph Neulinger that chronicles his journey to find healing and raise awareness about the devastating sexual abuse he faced as a child. Told through home videos and firsthand accounts, Neulinger’s story bravely exposes the horrific cycle of familial abuse. It is a heart-wrenching film, but also essential viewing – a story of personal bravery in the face of trauma.

In the same vein as the documentary Dear Zachary, this will not be a story you will go back to multiple times. It’s admirable that this is a story Sasha wants to tell himself, but there is a reason true-crime stories like this attract an audience. There is something therapeutic about listening to victims’ stories, understanding how it affected their lives, learning from the heinous actions of others, and letting someone attempt to exorcize their own demons.

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:

Cool Posts From Around the Web: