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 get through grief by getting dominated, get our shizz together, enter into an inappropriate relationship, try to decipher James Franco’s latest, and are amused by artificial intelligence.

This Way Up

When it comes to endless amounts of peak TV, this entry deserves a look.

This Way Up is a comedy about moving on, moving forward and trying to find happiness. Aine, played by Irish writer & comedienne Aisling Bea, is a whip smart English-as-a-foreign language (TEFL) teacher trying to pull her life back together after a “teeny little nervous breakdown”, as her sister Shona, played by Sharon Horgan, worries, not only about her younger sibling, but also about her own life choices. The TEFL school where Aine teaches brings together a room full of characters also trying to find their own hope, direction and happiness in this messy world.

It’s the genteelness, mixed with its sharp wit, that makes this a lethal combo. It’s a fast 3o seconds and it gets in, hits you with a few haymakers, and gets right out. It’s not here to waste your time or promise anything more than what it is. Most series trailers at least make the case about why it deserves a chance, but this one is hoping you stay all the way through. If it can be as acerbic as this promo, we’ve got a deal.

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants

Come for the catchy title, stay for director J.-P. Valkeapaa‘s wild descent into grief.

A guilt-stricken widower discovers that a demanding dominatrix might be able to give him the therapy he needs.

I mean, how can you not be at least a little intrigued by that logline? The trailer’s tone, while vacillating like a sound wave, stays consistently tense and engrossing. This is a bizarre yet tender exploration of one man’s journey into a world that seems to be an emotional outlet. Looks like it completely spins him out, but maybe that’s the point. Gripping, for sure.

Scarborough

One of the things about director Barnaby Southcombe’s film is that this seems like it could come and go without anyone noticing, and if the movie is a fraction as good as this trailer, that would be a shame.

Two mismatched lovers arrive at the British seaside town of Scarborough, seeking an escape from the constraints of real life. Liz, desperately shy and beautiful, seems older than her companion, the happy-go-lucky and impulsive Daz. In their faded hotel room, amongst the peeling wallpaper and away from the prying eyes of their hometown, they laugh, quarrel, make love and enjoy their anonymity.

In an identical room in the same hotel, the sensitive artist Aiden and Beth, a fiery and impulsive young woman, tell the same story. As both couples are forced to come to terms with the illicit nature of their impossible love, power shifts from one lover to the other, and joy turns to heartache as they reel from the destructive force of illicit love.

These kinds of movies, where multiple storylines weave and dance in between one another can be such a delight if done right. The dramatic overtones, the content it is attempting to tackle, knowing this movie’s source material is a play by the same name, it all aligns wonderfully. Quiet when it needs to be, gut-punching when it has to, this trailer is cinematic dynamite packed tight.

Zeroville

After being filmed over four years ago, James Franco’s latest looks like it should have stayed where it has been collecting digital dust.

Ike Jerome, a 24-year-old architecture student inspired by the few films he has seen, rides the bus into Hollywood. Jerome is almost autistic (later, his friend dubs him a “cineautistic”) in his interactions with the world. With a tattoo of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor as they appear in A Place in the Sun (a film that plays an important role in the plot) on his shaved head, he makes an impression on the people around him. Soon breaking into film as a designer and eventually a film editor, Vikar (as he is nicknamed) begins a dreamlike journey into the world of films that eventually ends in tragedy and almost horrific discovery.

Franco’s output is nearly rivaling Nicolas Cage’s in terms of quantity, but the trailer here doesn’t hint of anything nearing Mandy territory. In fact, the trailer is unfocused, poorly scored, and the editing is frenetic and is almost like being on a visual paint shaker. I’m sure it will find its audience, but I have to give it points for taking advantage of, and riding, the interest in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Lucy & DiC

With a miserable effort like Jexi bringing down movie trailers this week, it seems director Jeremy Kelly-Bakker knows how to make artificial intelligence actually amusing.

It’s about Lucy, a girl who’s always on the lookout for simple ways to improve her life. And DiC her talking support drone who even with all the knowledge in the world…can still be a bit of an asshole.

Knowing that we have Ozzyman Reviews as the voice talent instead of fellow Aussie Rose Byrne in Jexi, I’m already primed to giggle. Thankfully, this indie effort really does make solid use of its resources. Even though some characters feel like they’re exactly that, I’m nonetheless impressed at the level of ingenuity and creativity.

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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