This Week in 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 look at autism differently, revisit a television classic, literally lose our minds during a pandemic, clean house, and court a vampire.

The Reason I Jump

Director Jerry Rothwell made the incredibly engaging Sour Grapes in 2016 and he’s back with something profound.

Based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida, THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory descriptions of his autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.

Acutely observed moments in the lives of each of the characters are connected by passages from Naoki’s writing, in which a young Japanese boy journeys through an epic landscape, gradually discovering what his autism means to him, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps.

The film distils these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

I can’t think of a more moving trailer I’ve seen in the last couple of months than I have with this one. It doesn’t try to roll you like a wave in understanding the gravity of what you’re seeing. It elegantly and artistically presents things as they are in a manner that conveys the language of those who live with autism. Through words, through images, through these little moments, it’s a pleasant way to earn empathy, while creating some curiosity, about this world. Top-notch editing at work here.

Apples

Director Christos Nikou’s debut is now my latest obsession.

As an unpredictable, sweeping pandemic causes people to develop sudden amnesia, a man finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help him build a new life. His treatment: performing daily tasks prescribed by his doctors on cassette tape, and capturing these new memories with a Polaroid camera. Greek writer-director #ChristosNikou’s debut feature #Apples, is a surreal and enigmatic work, a beguiling exploration of memory and identity.

Between this, and the output of Yorgos Lanthimos, I am wondering just how profoundly different directors coming out of Greece see the world compared to the rest of us. I’m in awe. I love the Kafka-esque melding of reality and the surrealism of the everyday. It’s beyond description, but if you like worlds that are slightly like our own, reimagined through a strange filter, I can see no better cure for the winter blues than this.

The Minimalists: Less is Now

Director Matt D’Avella is looking into my soul.

They’ve built a movement out of minimalism. Longtime friends Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus share how our lives can be better with less.

Much like Marie Kondo, these dudes are here to remind you of the only Tyler Durden quote worth remembering, “The things you own end up owning you.” Much like a truism you can’t deny, there is truth in that statement. Shedding the detritus of a lifetime of collecting things here and there is hard for some of us. While there are some moments in this trailer that feel a little blown out and pedantic, I think the message is good. Less consumption, tossing out the things that physically fill our lives, it’s a message worth listening to.

Climate of the Hunter

Director Mickey Reece is just looking to get weird.

Two sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire.

One hallmark of a trailer that gets my attention is the display of any festival acceptance a movie might have. Being accepted into Sundance, Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, etc. is at least a soft signal to me that there is something here worth seeing. I’m genuinely unsure of exactly what we’re getting here, but I love how off-kilter everything is. I’m enchanted by it. You may be no closer to understanding what you’re getting into until you give this a proper viewing, but sometimes mysteries like this are worth solving.

My Dinner With Alan: A Sopranos Session

Director Kristian Fraga is helping to get the word out.

My Dinner With Alan: A Sopranos Session is an unforgettable streaming event offering fans of The Sopranos unique insights from the Critics, the Cast & the Creator about this epic, multi-award-winning series that is still regularly cited as being one of the best television series of all time.

Acclaimed TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, authors of the best-selling book “The Sopranos Sessions” meet at Holsten’s in Bloomfield, New Jersey, the location of the controversial last scene of The Sopranos, to discuss the series. Their wide-ranging conversation covers television, movies, psychiatry, gangsterism, their 20-year friendship, and their experience covering the series for The Star-Ledger of Newark, the newspaper that Tony Soprano picked up at the end of his driveway.

This looks like the ultimate in fan fiction. Being able to talk, from a subjective point of view, of all the ways that The Sopranos helped shape what we know as prestige TV is something worth championing. Great criticism lives in that sense of wonder, excitement, and passion that someone has when they’re just giddy about the subject. Matt Zoller Seitz‘s work in his chronicle of the output of Wes Anderson should make it apparent he strikes that right balance of being critical while fully enjoying the art put in front of him. And that comes through in the trailer! He’s just happy to be there, reminiscing, reflecting, dissecting, while also providing a learned insight into what made The Sopranos one of the best.

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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