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 hoard some shoes in the Philippines, go out murdering with our bestie, break our back, go behind the music at a small club where debauchery was the norm, and find inspiration in some kids who play high school football.

The Kingmaker

Documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, who gave us two fantastic documentaries about the excesses of modern life, The Queen of Versailles and Generation Wealth, looks at a woman who is perhaps best known for her shoe collection.

From Emmy winning director Lauren Greenfield, The Kingmaker centers on the indomitable character and controversial political career of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines whose behind-the-scenes influence of her husband Ferdinand’s presidency rocketed her to the global political stage.

The story behind the story can always be fertile ground for exploration if done properly. Greenfield is taking an interesting angle here in delving into the life of Imelda Marcos and looking at her excesses as well as her contributions when her husband was president of the Philippines. The narrative couldn’t be more timely.   

A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life

Director Staten Cousins Roe is here to be different.

Meet Lou Farnt: a 30-something, self-help addict who wants nothing more than to escape her overly controlling mother and the dead-end seaside town where she grew up. So when strange and strikingly confident new life coach Val suddenly arrives on the scene and invites her on a road trip of alternative therapies, Lou finds the perfect opportunity to leave, and the perfect person to become. Unfortunately for Lou, Val’s a serial killer.

A jet-black comedy thriller in the same vein as Sightseers, A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life is a frenetic Thelma and Louise guaranteed to satisfy the self-help generation, and the modern human’s blood lust.

How can you not be excited about a story that promises to be a mix between Sightseers and Thelma and Louise? It’s always nice to see this kind of lower budget movie still being made. It’s audacious, ambitious, and might very well strike a chord with those who need more black comedy in their life.

Any One of Us

This debut feature from Fernando Villena is one that I thought was going one way until it goes in the opposite direction.

Through the inspiring journey of a recovering athlete, Any One of Us offers an unprecedented glimpse into the world of spinal cord injuries.

The logline couldn’t be more direct about the content. Initially, the trailer gives you the idea that this is about one extreme athlete who has a horrific accident that leaves him with a spinal cord injury. However, after it shows many others who have suffered the same unfortunate fate through other means, the story changes shape. It’s inspiring, and challenging viewing, but it rewards you with the promise that this is a tale of life, not pity or sadness. 

The All-Americans

First-time director Billy McMillin is exploring an interesting narrative.

Home to the nation’s largest Latino immigrant population, East Los Angeles sits squarely in the crossfire of debate about American identity. Yet every November, this community comes together for a distinctly American event, drawing 25,000 proud locals to one of the country’s fiercest high school football rivalry games: The East L.A. Classic. THE ALL-AMERICANS follows four students seeking glory on the field, while grappling with personal obstacles and striving to make sense of their community’s place in today’s America.

Under any other conditions, this might have been relegated to the slice-of-life section of the local newspaper. However, these kinds of stories are inspiring. When compared to a documentary like Undefeated, you can see why it’s such compelling viewing to see teens who have to overcome adversity through sport. They’re teens learning to become adults and, if done the right way, there’s something always riveting about that exploration.

The Rainbow

Director Zak Knutson isn’t here to make a masterpiece. He’s out to tell a little story about a little place.

Since 1972, nestled near the western end of Hollywood’s famed Sunset Strip sits The Rainbow Bar & Grill. While the world around it has changed dramatically, The Rainbow remains much like it did when it opened its doors. Legendary musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Lita Ford, Gene Simmons, Lemmy Kilmister in one of his final interviews, and many more, recount their stories from the iconic venue. Meet Mario, Mikael and Mikey Maglieri, the family who has owned the venue for three generations and dedicated their lives to preserving rock history.

Apart from the great talents that Knutson could get to talk on camera, the story is an amusing chapter in the book of rock-and-roll. There’s nothing particularly explosive about the fact that musicians did what musicians of that era did, but that’s okay. Just listening to these tales, whether they’re tall or otherwise, makes for good entertainment.

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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