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 try to end it all, get arty, pledge allegiance to Slayer, and see what will soon be in the dollar theater a week after it’s released.

Suicide Tourist

Director Jonas Alexander Arnby is taking us on a ride. Known for 2014’s When Animals Dream, he’s back with something even more heady.

We follow Max, who in the midst of an existential crisis and looking to solve a cold case checks into the clandestine Hotel Aurora. A unique secretive facility that specializes in elaborate assisted suicide fantasies. His investigation uncovers a disturbing truth that forces Max to question the very nature of life, death and his own perception of reality.

There are some movies that are high concept and then there are movies that are next level. This fits in the latter camp, and it’s glorious. It’s visually hypnotic as the pacing is tantalizingly glacial. You’re trying to figure out what is happening here. And, at about the 50-second mark, we get it. It’s all very cut and dry, but that’s what’s so deceptive. Is this some kind of Kafka-esque decent into madness? Is this reality, some kind of distortion of it, or both? There are no easy answers here and the trailer will not give you any. Keep guessing. I love it.

Slayer – The Repentless Killogy

Respect to directors BJ McDonnell and Wayne Isham for creating this piece of art.

Revenge, murder, bloodshed and retribution. The Repentless Killogy film was written and directed by BJ McDonnell, who conceived and directed the three brutal music videos – “You Against You,” “Repentless,” and “Pride in Prejudice”- for Slayer’s final studio album Repentless (2015).

“When we set out to do these initial three videos,” said McDonnell, “our intention was to continue the saga of Slayer and Wyatt at some point down the line. But this is the band’s final album and world tour so this story, the three videos and the “Repentless” live concert at The Forum, is a perfect way to wrap up. This is the end of the monsters.”

As you watch this trailer, you realize just how in tune the directors are with knowing what Slayer fans need. They need the thunder. They need the aggro. They need a prison riot starring all your favorite slashers. I may not get the aim of it all, but that’s OK, because they drench this trailer with love. The whole production looks like it has love for a fanbase that is feverishly loyal, and if they want the best, they just might get it here.

The Song of Names

It’s been a while since director François Girard gave us 1998’s The Red Violin, but this feels familiar in the best way possible.

Tim Roth and Clive Owen star in an emotional detective story spread over two continents and a half century. Beneath the film’s stunning and pulsing musical revelations burn the horror of a war and the lost souls extinguished from history.

It looks like a slow burn, but that’s the allure. The trailer metes out the narrative in small bits. It wants us to get to know the characters. It is out to inform what is driving the drama. We may not know everything but we get to know enough. To be sure, these kinds of films are a rarity and it looks good enough to take a chance on when it hits the theaters.

The Courier

I don’t know what director Zackary Adler was aiming for with this movie, but if he was out to give us a forgettable, VOD thrill ride, it looks like he nailed it.

A courier in London discovers that one of the packages she’s transporting is a bomb.

Just based on this 15-word logline I’m all the way in. Guns, explosions, fast moving motor vehicles, wafer-thin plot? The trailer stresses all of this in a pastiche of visual nonsense. Gary Oldman is doing his best with what they have given him. Those beachfront houses aren’t going to pay for themselves. These kinds of movies are fun if you have a couple pops in you and need something that’s undemanding on every level.

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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