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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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

The Boy Mir: Ten Years In Afghanistan Trailer

Put this on my list of documentaries about the wars in the Middle East that I want to check out.

Documentary Phil Grabsky’s expose about the life of a boy who was removed from the actual battling itself is a curious one. The trailer does an effective job at roping me into his story as it talks about a side of this skirmish between two countries I had never considered in any deep way: those just trying to eke out a living.

It’s hard to imagine that there are those who simply go about their day, love their family, put food on the table, and leave the politicking to those in shiny suits. What we see at the outset of this trailer is a little rough, I’ll admit. The interstitials that are used are really flat and lifeless (was Times Roman the only font available at the time?), it doesn’t do much to inspire much confidence in the material being presented, and the way we get to the actual narrative is a bit forced.

That said, I’m drawn in by the story. I’m buying the idea that it is selling. This is a trailer that needs to compress a decade into mere minutes and for this to go from a little boy developing into a man in a country that has been ravaged by politics that are not their own, is pretty tricky. There is a story here removed from bullets and ambushes and late night raids and PTSD. This trailer shows that well and that’s why I like it as much as I do.

Some filmmakers are good at telling their story, not so much with selling the story. While this trailer does an OK job of selling, it’s the hint of what is contained in the film that makes this such a compelling proposition. You don’t see many tales on the fringe of warfare and to have one that charts its effects on a population as small as a family is extraordinary.

New Kids Nitro Trailer

Almost a year ago to the day I was showcasing the trailer for New Kids Turbo.

Well, Fantastic Fest came and went with /Film’s own Germain Lussier catching this newest installment of the Dutch box office equivalent of Titanic. Directors Steffen Haars and Flip Van Der Kuil are back with something that seems rife with comedy and lewd humor, but also has the kind of insightful social commentary that only some of the best sketch comedy troupes are able to focus into something meaningful.

This trailer, though, wants none of your cerebral input. It wants to jizz on you. Literally.

From the promise of a white trash, gangland style brawl that delights in showcasing mullet after mullet, to obnoxious plot twists that include heavy weaponry and zombies, I’m completely on board. The problem, if there is one, with trying to say why a trailer like this works for me is that I don’t know what the hell they’re saying. I have no clue what is being spoken and I am treating this as if I were watching a Buster Keaton film before there were talkies. While there is none of the nuance of Keaton’s brilliance, there are, however, double weapon discharges, ninja stars, lots of pratfalls, and male nudity.

Sometimes it’s the small things that get to me and, here, it’s a sense that there is more than few laughs that will be had at the expense of these merry band of idiots. The friends here absolutely have something in common with the boys of Fubar and that ought to elevate this over any comedy you sample when it comes out for no other reason than if you see a guy strip down to nothing in order to take on a zombie invasion with just his raw knuckles you know it’s playing for keeps.

This is one movie I can’t wait to see.

Sket Trailer

Could someone from England fill me in on what is going on here? Does have something to do with the chav revolution?

I get that writer/director Nirpal Bhogal wants to craft a movie about girl power but not since 1996′s Set It Off have I seen a trailer that depicts inner city violence quite this way. The trailer seems like a fantasy based on empowerment but finding out that there is some truth about the social situation of young women in east London is curious.

I realize that these particular ladies in this trailer are not out to rob banks but what I see here brims with a twinge of originality and is unlike anything I’ve seen since the mid-90′s when we saw the rise of films with narratives that talked about the problems plaguing the inner city. Remember when Ice Cube was actually a forceful presence and not some shill for a cola company? (Hope it was worth cashing in on all that cred.) Remember when Ice-T was a symbol of strength and not a cast member of Law & Order? It’s all nostalgia for me, to be sure, but this trailer actually works for me.

I’m not sure whether this is just female wish fulfillment or something less benign but, to be sure, the story is hackneyed and the players are a bit one note. However, the trailer is snappy. It’s got an energy and a beat that speaks directly to its core audience which, I imagine, are young ladies. It’s relentless with how fast it moves from narrative beat to narrative beat, never letting you get comfortable, and I’m not so sure I have any idea I’m closer to figuring out what is actually happening.

But that’s not an issue with these kinds of productions, is it? Just give the young folks a little bit of the violence, a little bit of sista’ hood, the hint that these ladies are taking back the night, and pump a lot of g-damn bass into the whole thing. I may never see this vehicle but if there was an award for best pitch to a core demographic this would sweep up heartily.

Aliens Vs. Predator Trailer (Sorta)

I love this man. I do.

There’s just something about Stephen Reedy’s sense of humor that I get whenever I think of what my crippled ADD idea of what’s funny actually means to me. Sure, some will point to Bridesmaids as the funniest thing they’ve seen all year but I watch something like this and am pretty damn sure if this guy was given a nice lump sum and a solid cast there is no limit to the quantity of laughs he could deliver.

The man is relentless when it comes to knowing how to tickle the sensibilities of those who are too addled by contemporary attempts to be all erudite with delivering the funny and as soon as I saw what amounted to the best mash-up of genres and fact/fiction there was no question I needed to share. Enjoy.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • The Raven Trailer – I’m interested. A period piece that takes Poe and does it in a way that wasn’t influenced by Tim Burton? Count me in as the results look promising.
  • Homecoming Trailer – Big fan of the material and of the look. This trailer feels earthy and grounded in a very real world that I believe exists.
  • Answers To Nothing Trailer – I’ve seen this film before and done far better for that matter. For that, I’m saying no thanks.
  • Haywire UK Trailer – If it weren’t for Soderbergh’s name I would say this is probably the worst trailer I’ve seen in the last month.
  • Playback Trailer – What is this, Can’t Hardly Wait or is it a horror movie? This trailer is weaksauce.
  • Carnage Trailer – I’m still intrigued by the premise. However, I am more of a fan of the previous trailer that was released. I like my comedy black, thanks.
  • The Avengers Trailer – I’m sorry for saying this (sorta) but those cars that get blown up real good on the city street? Did that look awfully clean and tidy to anyone else? Yeah, maybe it’s just me.
  • The Divide Trailer – Is this a case of style trumping substance? I don’t know but I am sure that my reptilian sensibilities like the visual look of this one.
  • Sleeping Beauty Trailer – The trailer is stark and bold. I like its ownership about what the subject matter is and how it will play out to some degree. +1 for its use of font.
  • Act of Valor Trailer – I don’t know if I like this or if it’s like watching yet one of many re-enactments that play out on Nat Geo whenever there’s a “based on real events” documentary playing on any given night. It doesn’t really separate itself well if it’s going to deliver more in that respect, save for a few pyrotechnics and some sizzle with weaponry.
  • Albert Nobbs Trailer – Papa can you hear me? It feels Oscar bait-y and I’m not so sure about the vibe I’m getting from the trailer. It’s amusing, it’s serious, it’s farcical. I’m just confused.
  • American Reunion Trailer – Whoever thought there was an ounce of blood yet to be sucked from the dead, lifeless corpse that is this film, congrats, you made an awful trailer for an awful looking film.
  • This Means War Trailer – Come on, let’s be honest, this is a horrific trailer. Not even a $20 million dollar tube of lipstick on this pig can make this trailer look remotely interesting or, for that matter, fun.
  • The Muppets Trailer #2 – OK, you got me. After trying to resist it for so long this is finally the one that will make me consider taking my ankle biters to see it. Well played, you felt-y beasts.

Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Prick Trailer

This sort of subverts your expectations a bit.

Colin Berry’s short film looks like it’s going to dwell on the gentle moments we always remember about finding that special someone and the nexus point at which you knew it was something more than finding a friend but the trailer flips the script on all that and gives us something else entirely.

What’s here isn’t really readily identifiable when we open in on things, there isn’t any narration or guide to inform what’s happening, but the sense of romance is easily understood as this little vignette plays on. It’s not that we don’t get what this yuppie is yearning for as he looks at this girl who just seems like she’s right out of central casting as your typical luscious, but extremely shy, woman who also doesn’t mind flashing you a come hither grin (I’ve never seen one in the wild), but when these two share a brief moment, the odd pairing of imagery that shows this Doctor Frankenstein in his lab, is a bit confusing. However, you can’t help but feel something nefarious is going on. I like that what we have here, essentially, is an extended moment that juxtapositions lecherousness and innocence.

We just stay within the moment as these two kids pass with nary a word spoken, the music in the background is perfectly chosen and only heightens the experience, until about the fifty five second mark. This is where the money is and why you’re seeing it lead things off this week. I certainly wasn’t expecting what we’re given but it pulled together everything we were shown up until that moment. I get it.

And, in case you didn’t “get it”  the scene we’re shown that almost seems like a epilogue after the shocker is a real nice touch, a bookend. Further, the shadowy figure who furiously pops in at the very last moment is not only strange but supernaturally curious. What the hell is going on here? No clue, but the trailer has me hooked for sure. [Twitch]

The Salesman Trailer

Quick, tell me any film Sèbastien Pilote has done.

One of the real nice treats of this position is stumbling upon gems like this. There is such a feeling of age, of experience, as we come upon a world where a man has built his career getting people to buy cars. He seems really good at it, a story that could have been Jerry Lundegaard at old age if we had followed that man’s life trajectory, and the opening feels like a welcoming into a man’s world that feels well lived in and comfortable.

What makes this a compelling beginning is its focus on a place, the thin plastic awards, the painted white cinder blocks, the flags flapping in a cold wind.  I don’t know what it is about the presentation but this man’s life seems awfully lonely yet wholly compelling once we learn that old man river is a granddad who is pulling babysitting duties. Dad doesn’t seem to be around, there doesn’t appear to be grandma anywhere, but instead of going through a story of how some crotchety old guy finds solace in his grandson the narration goes in a different direction.

We don’t really know what’s at issue with this guy but ruling out emotional rigidity at least opens up the possibility that what we’re going to get is one man’s deep introspection as he understands that what he’s ended up becoming is wholly dependent on what he does for a living. He seems to have a positive relationship with his daughter and her child so that doesn’t seem to be an issue. What is, though, is his psyche.

I could be wrong, I could be right, but there is a sadness that permeates the tail end of this trailer and makes me feel bad for this guy. The piano suite that plays beneath it all makes everything feel empty and I know what’s here isn’t the feel-good tale of the year; it looks like an unhappy descent, a meditation on what’s it like to be older and alone. I’m giddy at the prospect.

Beneath Contempt Trailer

Benjamin Brewer has made something worth talking about.

The narrative here is sparse on details but the emotional content is very rich. Whereas it could be easy to slide into a maudlin state of hysterics when you have to show what it’s like when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a horrible car accident where it seems a kid is one of the victims, the choice here is to bag it all. The trailer doesn’t let it go down that route and, instead, simply focuses on a moment between the harbinger of pain and his reflection. Misery is oozing out of every scene and it’s so much better than letting your actors and actresses’ emotional breakdowns get in the way of the true narrative.

It’s hard to make a trailer that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be one long weep session but what’s here completely stops that from happening by letting no one talk throughout the entire duration of its run time. It’s a bold choice to go down this route as one of the things you want a preview do is to grab the attention of an audience through the performances of the players but it still does that by just letting our protagonist be the anchor for almost every scene. The guy’s presence is an enigma and I want to know more.

Superseeds Trailer

For all those in the audience looking to get a little bit of that Harold and Kumar humor back into your life it seems like writer/director Kholi Hicks has made something worthy of your attention. At the very least it’s worthy of a couple of minutes of your time.

What I liked about this trailer isn’t so much it’s novel narrative approach, you can see simply by looking at the trailers above there are a lot of people looking for unique ways to present a film’s storyline, but that it keeps your attention. So often we see comedic trailers that just don’t connect for the simple reason that there isn’t enough oomph with the delivery but this one keeps things moving.

We hit the high points about who these guys are, what kind of situation they’re in, and what the crux is of why we’re all here in the first place. You can see how this is really an independent film with the corners it shaves here and there with the production values but as soon as we get to the effects and the superpower presentation I’m wholly on board. I like that what’s here seems to be a mash-up between your usual stoner film with an homage to every superpower flick currently tearing up the box office.

The story goes from haplessly predictable to completely vague which I am a huge fan of for no other reason than I appreciate having a taste of the story but not knowing where things are going. The comedic bits work for me on a real basic level, the Nintendo Power Glove is a real nice accessory/flourish for one of the guys, and there seems to be more than just powers and violence afoot here. It’s a hybrid of a low-budget indie and a low-grade special effects bonanza. It may seem like a backhanded compliment but I love what they’re doing here.

Lord of the Dance 3D Trailer

This exists. I hope all you 3D enthusiasts are happy with yourselves.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Apollo 18 Trailer #2 -I don’t know. What’s here seems kind of ridiculous. It wants me to buy into its story but it seems too far fetched for even me to suspend my disbelief.
  • Immortals Trailer #2 - I’ll be more excited for this once they call this for what it is: 300 Part 2.
  • Brave Teaser Trailer - This will be the film that will wash the taste of Cars 2 out of our collective mouths. Be thankful.
  • Horrible Bosses Red Band Trailer - I’ll consider this for a rental. The trailer seems awfully obsessed with trying to cram as many foul words as it can within its running time. Comes off as desperate.
  • 11-11-11 Trailer #2 - Didn’t Jim Carrey star in this once? Echoes of that film permeate every scene of this trailer.
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Trailer - I’m always up for a film this broadly presented. It’s not daring, original, but it has a certain mass market quality I can see myself giving into.
  • War Horse Trailer - This trailer was painful to get through. Between Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Dreamer, and Hot to Trot I couldn’t care less about one more cinematic story about a horse. Seriously, I can’t get excited about slo-mo galloping any more than I could get jazzed at the prospect of seeing grass grow.
  • The Three Musketeers Trailer - What is up with Orlando Bloom’s coif? Seriously. The trailer is pretty peppy and I might check this one out when it hits the secondary market.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy TrailerThis feels old fashioned in the best way possible.

  • No Related Post
Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Klitschko Trailer

I’m not sure what to make of German director Sebastian Dehnhardt’s resume but one look at IMDB can uncover a healthy interest in all things WWII. This looks like a different kind of film but since I’ve been hooked on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series this year I’ve been open for all kinds of sports films; they’ve been incredible documentaries to watch and even for a shut-in like me who never really took a shine to organized sports I’ve come to learn a lot about the business of sports and the culture surrounding them. Thus, something like this intrigues me.

To see Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko get prepped to pummel some unsuspecting guy’s face is very Rocky in its presentation but to know it’s real and to see the pain these two delivering around the thirty second mark makes this a thrilling start to what is no doubt going to descend into your standard biography of a man’s life.  The fact that you  have two guys makes this a little more interesting and I credit the trailer for trying to spruce up a fairly benign formula when you’re doing a documentary like this. It doesn’t linger too long in any one area. It doesn’t get marred down by endless pontification.

No, what we get here is a swift overview of these gentlemen and even though I don’t speak a lick of German or Russian I still loved feeling the emotion being conveyed. You can’t help but think that the issues these two brothers are working through as one is getting slammed in the face and the other is running for political office would make for a fascinating film and this trailer does all it can to make you believe this will be more than just an examination of two sports guys. The guitar that kicks in near the end makes the hairs stand on my neck as I love any story that shows agony, triumph, and some real heart. Like I said, I’m a sucker for inspiration.

I don’t require much but it looks like this doc is going to bring a solid tale to tell. Two brothers who obviously came from nothing and ended up as somethings, and still are very influential in their respective spheres, just warms the soul. I’m hoping it can sustain the energy of this trailer.

Singham Trailer

I couldn’t make this trailer up even if I tried real hard to come up with something completely gonzo, played out, unintentionally hilarious, but completely enjoyable.

Director Rohit Shetty has crafted something magical. Truly, no hyperbole, there is something mystical about what’s afoot in this trailer. Apart from our protagonist hero emerging from a spiritual bath only to deliver swift justice in a manner not seen since Michael Dudikoff, I am thrilled that this movie even exists. Where else could you get promised a film with speed ramping that looks like a marriage between Jackass and  300 as a dramatic punch is executed on a chubby guy’s gut with a thunderous explosion of power, with zero irony or amusement, and have a dance number thrown in without it not seeming out of place or weird. I am a fan of this world because this trailer does make everything feel like it all fits together.

Sure, there is some silliness to hearing a tiger roar in the background as our man with the plan in his sexy white tank top put the veritable smack down on another guy with an open palm at about the minute, five second mark, again without a hint of a wink to the camera, but when our wife beater donned action star removes a light post from its housing only to use its spherical business end as a weapon I guarantee you will not see something like this anytime soon. For me, that’s enough reason to check it out and to qualify this as one of the most fun things I’ve seen all week but what really drives me over the edge is the final moments of this trailer.

I can’t begin to describe the unbelievable way in which our man emerges from a car that is in the middle of a power slide, looking like he just got finished with a GQ photo shoot, and squeezes off a shot from his gun that causes an SUV to tumble. I’m at a loss for words to harness my mind essentially melting from the mere physics of it all.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon Trailer

I ought to like Kings of Leon if I fancy myself a hipster, right?

Since I don’t own any skinny jeans that would go well with a tight argyle sweater and fresh looking Converse high tops I don’t think I’m in their core demo. However, I really like this trailer. A lot.

It’s hard to break down something like this into bite sized pieces and I think the trailer works so well because it’s like one contiguous moment. It’s got one focus and it’s wholly original.

You’ve expecting to see something familiar, to hear something you’ve heard on the radio, but the trailer doesn’t want to give you any of that. Literally, it wants to start at the beginning, briefly, and then take us through the muddled relationships and existential musings of a band I knew little about. Kind of like the trailer above, this trailer doesn’t want you to focus on the end game, here being the music, as it wants you to hone in on the guys who make up the band.

To see how these kids are struggling with connecting their faith, and how they were raised by a dad who gets a good amount of screen time here, to the lifestyle that has brought them such adoration and fame is refreshing when we’re living in a climate where our pop stars are fully removed from the human experience that you or I know anything about. I don’t know about living out of a suitcase or what it’s like to have thousands of ravenous fans tell me that they want to treat my privates like a jungle gym but I do know what it’s like to wonder whether if this all there is, to question what got me here. And that’s what I love about this trailer. It lets the guys pose these questions without it ever coming off as disingenuous.

To see them partaking of booze, mary-waa-naa, one guy making himself throw up, living that rock star lifestyle, that’s the part I don’t understand but I can understand it if I’m promised a film where we’ll be introduced to someone who wants to talk about what that’s like from an every man’s perspective. It’s the perspective of normalcy that’s on display here, and for that I easily am hooked into this film, but it’s the awareness that they’re holding back on the hits in order to almost state outright that this is not your usual band documentary that gets me most.

Familiar Ground (En Terrains Connus) Trailer

I found myself laughing and, for that, I love this.

Stéphane Lafleur has a way of depicting the ordinariness of ordinary people in ordinary situations that don’t feel quite right. Looking at his previous film you can see that there is a definitive pattern.

What I appreciate about this trailer more than anything is that there isn’t any flash or sizzle that’s baked into the presentation. It’s presenting a scene that launches you into the nuttiness of the characters we’re going to be spending a lot of time with. A grown man playing his gee-tar in his Underoos, in the middle of the night, still living with his parents, the drapes and room looking like something that was hip back in 1982, it’s all very silly but it’s effective.

The trailer pairs the bizarre with the all too real despondency of a woman who seems to be drifting through life. She knows she’s adrift with a family that seems all but disconnected with the rest of the normal world but there’s something endearing about this woman. She’s sad but it’s not maudlin in the way she’s depicted. Her brother is just plain weird but he’s not someone we want to make fun of. There’s a sheen of Alexander Payne that coats everything but it’s way too strange in a Coen brothers sort of way that you can’t help but think you’ve never seen a movie like this before.

As we see a family in a kind of free fall that’s peppered with insanity, all put to a backdrop of a wonderful classical music score, there is a familiarity we can connect with on a basic level. These are strange individuals, no question, but somehow the pain and misery these people are feeling comes through on a visceral level. There is sadness, to be sure, but there is something thrilling to be said about the little moments that are on display as the cinematography promises something that will at least elevate you on an artistic level.

Billi & Theodore Trailer

In the Way Back Machine I talked about this trailer last year.

While I really dug the trailer’s vibe and ultimate presentation there was something really skeevy about the into of our protagonist who ends up being really eager to please and an affable fellow by the time you get to the end, in this version of the trailer he comes right out of the box as a well-meaning friend.

The amount of detail here is strategically designed to make you wonder whether we’re seeing a movie within a movie or if this is really the way things are going to fall. Either way, I like the partial obfuscation with regard to what’s really happening here and what’s at stake for both of our leads.

I appreciate this version of the trailer more than I do the previous incarnation if only for brevity. This is leaner, meaner and a better advertisement as to why anyone would want to spend time with these people. I still believe that I would and that’s enough for a win by anyone’s estimation.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Conan The Barbarian Red Band Trailer - If I was the kind of person who liked having Hollywood Undead in my trailers I would probably like this more than I did. As it stands, it’s pretty played out, not very exciting.
  • 30 Minutes Or Less Red Band Trailer #2 - I’ve got low expectations but this trailer makes good use of its Red Band status.
  • The Last Circus Red Band Trailer - If you see only one red band trailer, make it this one. Visually and aurally, this movie looks like it will tear down your world.
  • The Muppets Trailer - I’m excited to see whether my kids will gravitate this like I did when I was a youth. The trailer is certainly doing its best to get the ankle biters into the theater.
  • Flypaper Trailer - Sooo…I won’t be seeing this. At all. What a meandering trailer.
  • Puss In Boots Trailer - I’m tired of this franchise and I’m certainly not moved by anything in this trailer.
  • Sol Trailer - It’s a little too high concept for me but I could see myself swayed to rent it.
  • The Skin I Live In International Teaser Trailer - I don’t know what is going on but it’s strange and unusual and unexpected. A great trifecta if there ever was one.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes UK Trailer - This could be a late summer surprise. I like the way the trailer keeps its grip on you so that gets some kudos from me.
  • Real Steel Japanese Trailer - Somewhere, Kenny Loggins is hoping his phone rings and, on the other line, is a man looking for him to reprise “Meet Me Halfway.”
  • Killer Elite Trailer - I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this Jason Statham film and his last five projects. The fact that these films are blurring  speaks volumes about Statham’s range as an actor.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger Trailer #2 - Please be as good as the trailer, Please be as good as the trailer, Please be as good as the trailer.

  • No Related Post
Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Point Blank Trailer

It’s this time of year when escapism reigns supreme. While I haven’t really found anything that satisfies my need for Crank level kind of amusement this one looks pretty close.

Director/writer Fred Cavayé may not have scored any real awareness with his film The Next Three Days it was the nonetheless a breezy dramatic action vehicle that felt reminiscent of The Fugitive. This film, completed before Days, appears to be something a little more sinister and a whole lot more fun.

Of course you have to show our protagonist in love with his bride. While this cliche is trotted out in order for people to infer that he doesn’t beat on his old lady with the heel of his shoe it nonetheless is a necessary evil when you have to paint in large, Taken-like, strokes. However, it does set up the rather obnoxious plot quite well. A little sizzle, a little explosion, and we see that our story’s “What if…” wants to suppose of what would happen if a male nurse were to save a degenerate after a hit man does one of those sneaky moves where they kill a guy in a hospital but in this case the disorderly orderly comes in and saves the day at zero hour. From there it’s pretty self-explanatory and you can appreciate that his woman is taken hostage so that our nameless bad guys can force the murse to free the man he saved from police protection. Silly, but the trailer makes you believe it’s a wickedly great idea. And you know what, it is. I’m a mild fan of generic European action films (The Transporter, Unknown, etc…) when they’re done right and this looks like a light midday snack of a movie I could digest easily.

Execution is everything and this one is not wasting any moments. The scenes here are so convoluted and mashed together that it not only obfuscates the plot but it shows a wonderful representation of what you can expect from a movie that flat out tells you that our guy has three hours to get the intended target back to wherever the hell he needs to be so he can see his wife.

I honestly could care less what happens to either of them because it’s been a while since I’ve seen a good cat and mouse vehicle and summertime is the right time for something like this movie. Count me in.

Father’s Day Trailer

I realize this may seem like a blatant SEO trick, but it’s not. This is legitimately one of the best trailers I’ve seen this week.

I’ve been a Troma fan ever since, sorry mom, I was about ten and sneaked a peek at not only The Toxic Avenger but Class of Nuke ‘Em High. There was just something endearing and exciting about many of their schlocky productions that it seems as if the ultimate quality isn’t as important as it is about making something that can be enjoyed on an ironic level. Worst case scenario is that you find one that is just mediocre at best. Many times the films surpass many of those actually spending lots of money to entertain and this trailer feels like a warm blanket being tossed over the legs on a cold night; it’s familiar, yet, I couldn’t have come up with anything as close as this even if I tried.

You can’t really argue with the throwback vibe of the opening here and even though I couldn’t tell you what in the world is happening with the plot and what we’re really doing here it just looks flat out fun. The set up is wildly entertaining and the establishment of a real narrative is nowhere to be found. I’ve lost perspective at what I should get from movies that are aiming well below high polished properties but from the obnoxious lighting, to the preposterous acting, and the silly dialogue I’m completely on board at about the minute thirty-five second mark. From the music, the horrifically bad effects, the sheer preposterous of it all, I couldn’t be more pleased.

There are monsters here for reasons I’m unsure of and totally fake mannequins being tossed over a cliff as if to pretend it’s a real being (it’s pretty awesome, I won’t lie) but for the life of me I can’t explain to you, rationally, why anyone would want to see this movie. However, I do and I want to see it pretty bad. It’s probably my inner ten year-old wanting to see whether Troma still has it in them. From the looks of it, they do.[Twitch]

Monster Brawl Trailer

I will admit that I did not see Jesse T. Cook’s previous film, Scarce. If it was anything like what I see here it’s a pretty good bet I don’t need to see it in order to get an idea of the guy’s sensibilities.

This trailer, while not exceptionally alluring in any regard, is pure schlock. I would rank it with the Troma feature above and I don’t think that’s being anything but honest. In fact, the presentation is good enough that I can forgive every misstep. For who among us wouldn’t have at least a fleeting interest in seeing a movie with Kids In The Hall alum Dave Foley alongside wrestling legend Jimmy Hart? For Godsakes, the man with the motor mouth is almost seventy years old and he can still rock a microphone while shucking and jiving with the best of them.

On top of that you have a premise that is beyond laughable yet is packaged in a way that only has your complete enjoyment in mind. Yes, it’s preposterous and yes it won’t be winning any kind of prizes for any originality but that doesn’t take away that you have competitors with names such as Witch Bitch battling Swamp Gut and a werewolf fresh off the set of Teen Wolf. This movie is having fun and I completely get it. It’s not hiding anything about what it is as it fully embraces its silliness.

The final third of this trailer is even better as the fighting is tightly choreographed and, again, looks like nothing but pure cheese. I enjoy the humor that’s implicit in this movie along with showing some solid money shots of extreme violence. I have no bad words to say about a movie that is trying hard to entertain your jaded ass in a way that is oddly interesting and wholly exuberant.

Life 2.0 Trailer

I heard a story about the film on Second Life through NPR’s On The Media last week.

Filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff made a movie about a few people who played this “game” of sorts and found a lot of interesting things with regard to his subjects. From a grown man who pretends to be a little girl to the couple who left their real life spouses, cheating on their significant others in this virtual world in order to consummate their online relationship, there is a lot to digest.

However, the trailer makes it all understandable from the beginning without, oddly, getting into the technology right away. By luring you into a sense of lovey dovey goodness as you see this couple coming together in real life at an airport, noshing on one another once they’re united, it’s seeing what their avatars look like in Second Life only to hear the woman say that her husband is coming, her avatar disappearing completely, that it lays the foundation for what you’re about to see. It hooked me clean.

What’s more is that this trailer is less interested in simply going back and forth with these examples and is more interested in saying that here’s a movie that is hopefully going to show you how the line between addiction and casual gamer can become distorted. The point where reality and fantasy collide is an interesting one and it appears that all of our subjects have some stories to tell about what happened to them in this space. It looks like it wants to marry both the fantasy with the hard reality that these people have to navigate when not plugged into their digital lives.

There is not one wasted moment here, and for that alone it deserves high praise, but it’s the examination of the individuals who we’ll be following that is the real attraction.

You’ve Been Trumped Trailer

I like to see reckless tycoons get their comeuppance just as much as the other guy but I’m not sure the thesis is really made well against the man with the golden locks.

What’s special about this trailer isn’t documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s topic, Donald Trump’s development of a golf course in Scotland, on what is ostensibly Scotland’s most environmentally precious land, but it’s the dramatic fashion in which this trailer takes us from initial concept of the golf course to the hullabaloo surrounding it once it’s being developed. Like I mentioned, I don’t think the thesis is well developed as, if it is, it needs to be better constructed before I think there’s anything more here other than a guy who has a chip on his shoulder and wants to start a row with a guy who would love the attention.

Yes, building golf courses is an exercise of resource depletion from the amount of land that has to be used and the amount of water, chemicals, et al,, that are required to maintain it. It’s boggling to be sure but this trailer feels more like an attack piece that uses the grumpy old neighbor, some tree huggers, and people who live in the community that are butt hurt about its presence to make his point. From where I stand it appears that Trump bought the land legally, he certainly didn’t claim it for his own with a flag of his family crest and declare it his own sovereign nation, so why Baxter isn’t making a movie about those who sold it to him is even more baffling. I could have gotten the level of reporting here by watching my NBC affiliate make a story about this course and I think the million dollar question that isn’t asked when you see this trailer is: Of all the golf courses that are being developed right now and that are doing the exact same thing Trump is doing what makes this such a compelling case? The trailer is the visual representation of a limp fight, really. That’s what makes this such an interesting watch, the weakness of the argument it’s trying to make.

The overly dramatic music, the footage of the cameraman being accosted by the local constable to stop filming, the attempts to get Trump on camera, the huge letters that say “IT’S THE FILM THEY LOCKED UP”, it’s all very funny actually. I get it, though. Yes, Trump is a twit for building a golf course on sensitive land and I feel bad for the guy who has had well trouble because of the land movers but this is really nothing more than a piece that belongs on Dateline, a movie whose net effect will not do anything to derail the plans of a man bent on opening up a golf course.

The Trip Clip

This has made me laugh again and again and again, every single time I play it.

If ever there was a case to be made for films just playing a clip and letting people make a buying decision based on that this film would have had my money even before it was done.

Go see this movie as soon as you can.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Lucky Trailer - I’m not only a little sure, I’m POSITIVE I don’t have a clue what the hell is happening in this trailer. It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.
  • Larry Crowne Trailer 2 – My parents will love this film. Myself? Not even if Thor was the only other movie playing.
  • Planes Trailer - If I was five I’m sure this would seem like something worth watching.
  • Bellflower Trailer - This is the kind of trailer that makes you want to spend money. Classy, tightly edited, and brimming with the promise of a movie that you wish you could see right now.
  • Our Idiot Brother Trailer #2 - Honestly, this looks like a date film. Nothing wrong with that but that’s about as good as it’s going to get.
  • Beneath The Darkness Trailer - Well, I hope this at paid for a cabin in Tahoe for Quaid. Awful trailer.
  • Moneyball Trailer – Goof on me all you like but I’m actually looking forward to this. There doesn’t seem to be anything especially novel about it but there’s a Jerry Maguire-ness about it.
  • Attack The Block Red Band Trailer - The more you see about this movie the more you realize this is a movie that needs to be seen to be believed.
  • The Muppets Trailer - Anytime you want to show the movie without being clever about your marketing just let me know.
  • Alvin And The Chimpmunks – Chipmunked Trailer - Seriously, another one? This teaser doesn’t inspire as much as it threatens to bring the same amount of awfulness back into my life.
  • Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Trailer #2 – If you’re a fan of this series there’s no way you could walk away from this trailer without feeling something. Great trailer.

Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

The Guard Trailer

I don’t know if it got any better for me in 2008 with regard to unexpected gems than In Bruges.

Brendan Gleeson has a certain style, a comedic delivery that is at the same time smart, sly, and quite dry. A trifecta of brilliance that more than enough helped make that a movie worth watching more than once. Here, then, is a trailer that teases the kind of wit that simply makes Gleeson compelling as a comedic performer. Guided by director/writer John Michael McDonagh, brother of Martin so you hope these two kids had a chat or two about what was in that secret sauce called Bruges, who really only has the award winning Ned Kelly from 2003 under his belt, I found myself laughing at a lot of the beats here. As dour and jaded as I am, I consider that a win and deserving of high praise.

It’s not so much of Gleeson’s antics within the trailer proper here, although him scratching his nuts and acting like a boob in the face of a seriousness obviously showcases what they’re going after in this film, but it is his affability which is so refreshing. His talent, his strength, comes by being an everyman who is slightly askew and it comes through. He’s seems genuinely harmless but to see him cavorting with women of the night as he ultimately comes off as a bit of an idiot seems perfectly natural and it fits him well.

The trailer is expertly paced as the blurbs from various publications about the film’s “brilliance” pepper the narrative in a way that not only shores up the flimsy nature of a movie that looks like it’s going to take everything in an exaggerated direction, it offers some assurance that there is a solid film here. The violence and mayhem doesn’t seem real as it does an opportunity for Gleeson to do his thing, the gun battle we’re shown doesn’t feel dangerous as it does comedic, but it works for me. This appears to be just the thing I could use after a high dose of testosterone at the box office this summer. [Twitch]

Tarantino: Disciple of Hong Kong Trailer

Well, someone just discovered iMovie.

I’m not sure exactly why there’s the need to saturate every inch of this thing with After Effects but the directorial team of Jac & Johan has made something that, at its core, appears to be something more than just your run of the mill biography.

No, what’s here has such an energy and looks dipped in pure excitement that after watching it a couple of times and getting over its obnoxiousness you can’t help but understand precisely what’s afoot in this trailer. This documentary looks like it’s trying to piece together a love letter that was written a long time ago. You can never understand an author’s true intentions but it’s obvious that the snippets we get of those who inspired Quentin Tarantino and those who worked with the man on his greatest works are truly insightful and will help shed light on the auteur who has never been very coy with his intentions and influences.

Before you know it this thing is done but I can’t think of another promo in recent memory that has pushed the pedal all the way down to the floor, left it there, and blazed a path from beginning to end in such an entertaining fashion. It’s a wind sprint, a 50-yard dash and I am left panting for more. I am thrilled  thinking of how i will hunt this down after it airs on French television but if ever there was a made-for-TV documentary that would be worth watching this would be the one. [Twitch]

The Wave Trailer

This is one of the issues with international releasing.

Again, I know, or rather I don’t know, that rights and distribution and legal claptrap all factor in why some movies can enjoy a grand run in their homeland, be released on home video, and only then make it to our theaters for consumption. For whatever reason, this film from Dennis Gansel comes almost a full year after I talked about the trailer for the film he actually made after this film had been finished. Two years finished, to be precise. While I don’t understand the peculiarities of how this happens, I at least know the bizarre methods at least one company employs when it comes to snatching up Asian films and letting them sit on a shelf for a great long while, this high concept movie appears to be something that could be critically divisive.

What I like most about this trailer is that through the use of ambient sound effects of a heartbeat, an ear-piercing buzzer straight out of Lost, a school bell, it ratchets up the already interesting premise of the whole film. I get that it’s pretty wild to think that a movie about a class somehow coalescing into a unified douche parade whereby they seem to exert control of a whole student body and even have it leak out into the community is pretty hard to swallow. However, the trailer makes you think that this could be one of those rare films that show teenagers behaving badly in a way that could be done with a good amount of excitement and insight.

By the time things get absolutely out of control, high praise to the trailer makers for easily making this foreign language film easy to understand and communicating the crux of the movie quite clearly, I can’t get a bead on what will ultimately happen. I’m pretty sure that one, if not a couple, of the students will end up dead and the way things end here, the teacher suddenly realizing what has happened, the percussion taking over, the quick edits, I don’t think there is any other way to look at this other than as a movie worth deeper inspection. It certainly has piqued my interest in knowing more when it does, eventually, get released in whatever format that the businesspeople finally deem appropriate and prudent. [Twitch]

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Trailer

I like supporting Marshall Curry’s work.

From his great Academy Award nominated documentary in 2005 about local politics, Street Fight, to the thoughtful doc Racing Dreams in 2009 the man has a way with taking small slices of life and making them interesting. Subjects you would have otherwise not have known about, that’s his wheelhouse. So, then, what makes his documentary about the Earth Liberation Font so interesting is that this trailer breaks everything down in mere seconds.

The preview is one that just wastes no time in establishing who we’re dealing with, why it is we’re here, and, as the Sundance logo slides across the screen, what kind of pedigree it has. In fact, what makes this a solid trailer isn’t so much that it does all the things right about explaining why you should see this film, rather, it seems to employ the same techniques that made Street Fight such a great documentary: it presents both sides. It’s such an easy thing to explain why you would want two sides explaining their case but when you have obviously tilted reporting, as you would in a doc like Super Size Me, it’s just refreshing to take two opposing sides and let them have at it. This trailer lets both those who are committing mayhem and destruction in the name of something they believe in and those who are on the side of enforcing this country’s laws have their ideas known. It doesn’t condemn either party for their actions, we get insights into both camps on this issue, all the while serving it in a well-edited trailer that never lags and does not relent until it’s over.

This was, without question, the greatest surprise of the week in terms of movies that I wouldn’t have ever given a second thought to until I saw the accompanying trailer. Now, I just have to see how it ends.

Dancing Dreams Trailer

Stick with me on this one.

I talked about Pina some weeks ago. That trailer has stuck with me like a warm bowl of oatmeal and when I heard about this film’s existence, that it was about forty teenagers trying to put on internationally celebrated dance choreographer Pina Bausch’s most celebrated dance productions (just read a glowing review from a recent revival), and that these teens were about as green as a blade of grass when it came to dancing, I was expecting a train wreck. What I see here, though, could not be more affirming as a movie worth your time and attention. It just feels real in a way that seems genuine, honest, and lots of fun. While I have never seen any other work by directors Rainer Hoffmann and Anne Linsel this looks incredibly inviting.

It’s easy to simply dismiss this documentary as fluff and a snooze fest if ever there was one because I was on the verge of picking up and moving on myself until about the twenty second mark, but it does reward your patience. After seeing a man and woman slink and slide across a stage as they prepare for some kind of dance production we finally are let in on that the performers we’re watching are teens, teens who have no idea what they’re doing on the dance floor.

Things move fast here and we’re not really able to focus on anyone in particular but to see the moments when youth collides with the heady subject matter that most art deals with it’s downright fun to see the result of this atom smashing experiment. There is loads of laughing, lots of people flubbing things up, small girls crying their eyes out, but you just know as the applause rains down on these kids at the end of this thing everything will turn out OK. Of course you want things to end well but it’s all the goodness in the middle of this trailer that tells me this just has to be a documentary that not only deals with art but with kids who are simply trying to grow up. Like I said, affirming.

If you’re so inclined just watch this extend-o trailer from some months ago. It’s just as insightful as this preview.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • The Whistleblower Trailer - This might be an important film but the trailer isn’t doing the story any favors. Listless and vanilla.
  • 50/50 Trailer - I’m not sure about this. The trailer appears to be delivering a black comedy of sorts but I’m not convinced that this can go the distance as Seth Rogan is essentially being Seth Rogan.
  • I Don’t Know How She Does It Trailer - I don’t know how she does it either but I just don’t care.
  • Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark Trailer - Thanks to Insidious I now believe in the power of well executed scaring if it can be done right. This well may be exactly what I’m hoping it is.
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Trailer - I didn’t realize this could be the most exciting film I’m looking forward to all fall until I saw this. Amazing.
  • One Day Trailer - Putting glasses on an actress and mussing her hair does not constitute an “ugly duckling” makeover. I’m simply annoyed by the suggestion.
  • Luke Cage Teaser Trailer - Umm…I’m not sure? Some of the bits look fun but as far as unsolicited resumes go, this is a bit jarring and not very exciting.
  • Spy Kids: All The Time In The World Trailer - If I was ten and I was writing this column I would say this looks like the movie of the year. However, I’m not and this looks like it’s well out of my demo. Pass.
  • 1911 Trailer - Not much to go off in this trailer. The score is nice, though. I need more than close ups of a grown man trying not to cry.
  • General Orders No. 9 Trailer - Haunting, indeed. This is a trailer that makes you stop what you’re doing as it just washes over you. Count me in.
  • The Wholly Family Trailer - I love it. It’s not weird for weird sake as it genuinely feels like something is being said. I don’t know what that is but I appreciate what’s happening here.
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Green Band Trailer - What a thrilling prospect of a movie. The musical choice is spot on and the editing is more than enough to whet your appetite in hot anticipation. It’s been a while since we’ve had a movie like this so I hope it can deliver on what it’s promising.
  • Horrible Bosses Trailer #2 - I really like this trailer. A lot. I am hoping for a sweeping, dramatic explosion but I would be satisfied if it was just plain good.
  • Ninja Kids!!! Trailer – I had such a virulently bad reaction to the first film that I can’t see anything new of note in this trailer to make me think this will be any different.
  • Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest Trailer - I would buy this film’s soundtrack if nothing else. This could be the quintessential musical documentary of the year.
  • Ninja Kids!!! Trailer – I very well could see myself partaking in a viewing of this movie with my kids. Looks like something they could really lose their minds to.
  • Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Trailer #2 – I still think there’s a good movie here. Whether it’s worth a full price admission is still iffy.

Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

The Island Trailer

I don’t often kick off things with a suggestion from the peanut gallery but when someone sends you a tip that has Alejandro Jodorowsky in a film that looks all kinds of strange and interesting you have to give it your full attention.

Considering that I don’t know much more about director Kamen Kalev other than he won all kinds of accolades for his previous work, Eastern Plays, this film, looks like it has similar aspirations for positive critical attention. As it stands, it’s playing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and it’s is a good place to find opinions of all kinds. Whether or not it’s any good is irrelevant as the trailer before you has the markings of a delicious thriller.

The basics of this movie, that you have two rubes on a lovely holiday on some remote island where fornication is at the top of the To Do/Who To Do list, are fairly benign and you almost would be forgiven if you sped ahead to about the minute mark of this thing. It’s all setup up until then but there are some choice nuggets that might prove to be important later on. However, the initial presentation of information helps to establish a place, a feeling of who these people are, and the insane things that start happening to these lovebirds.

The proverbial wheels really come off and I couldn’t enjoy the weirdness any more than I do once these kids are surrounded by water on a this tiny rock. You have strange people peeping on our couple, our main man discovers a dead body floating in the water, there’s a well communicated style of disorientation as our protagonists lose their minds in a landlocked spot right out of Deliverance with the kind of crazies that seem to call this island home, and I’m amazed at the brevity of it all.

The fun continues with a side story that devolves into a literal game show. We’re not given any context as clips of our man who seems to be hiding a piece of himself, some part of his past that is intertwined with all of this, is the one who ends up melting around the edges as the rural, pastoral thrill ride turns into something I would have seen out of The Running Man but without the lovely tanned visage of Richard Dawson leading the charge.

No, instead it’s Jodorowsky who is creeping me out with what he’s laying down. It’s way too surreal to even try and make sense out of in a two minute trailer but I love the promise of what this film might be and I can’t wait if it’s every bit as dense as it’s making itself out to be. [Operation Kino]

Viva Riva! Trailer

The director Djo Tunda wa Munga won six African Movie Academy Awards this year for this film and I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that no one here has ever heard of it. Even if you have I’m surprised no one is talking about this film more simply based on this trailer.

At first it seems like it’s something that Ridley Scott would have made a decade ago but there’s something else going on here. We see a story about gas, one of the most innocuous elements about which to wrap a film around, but Djo makes this exciting. He makes it seem like there’s an electricity around a city that is jonesing for some petrol and it’s conveyed succinctly and perfectly. We’ve got a helpless populace and some thugs who are cornering a market that needs liberation. Who is that man that will break through all of this? It’s Riva, of course.

The do-rag festooned melon of Riva enters the picture and he is made out to be all kinds of slick. People dig him, his mom loves him, and women are afraid of the heat he’s bringing, sort of speak. He’s the cat who is the centerpiece of this film and while even though he kind of comes off as a second rate Dos Equis spokesman with the panache and confidence he exudes, the most interesting man with the plan, there is something there. If you can just get by the cheesy talk about the woman at the center of his desires “But what Riva wants most…belongs to another man”, as it just sells this story short on both an originality and dramatic level, I promise you it gets a lot better.

The last fifty seconds, however, are just exquisite.

We actually get a better, more well rounded picture of who Riva is as a character and it helps to see that this guy isn’t invulnerable. He’s very much in the mix and in it hip deep so as the music swells and crescendos we aren’t allowed to get a good grasp on the story as we are able to get a feel for how the story is going to look. Appearance wise, this has everything going for it. Additionally, this looks like a movie where our hero may not be entirely honest and upstanding. I like my protagonists to have some flaws and it looks like Riva has it in spades. Throw that into the mix with its critical pedigree and you have one film that is on my Must See list just to witness how this guy can go from cad to hero.

Michael Trailer

This is all I get?

I love being teased like this, no matter how maddening it makes me. After being left completely riled up by what I saw I just had to find a synopsis, something to help put things into context. What I got was one sentence:

MICHAEL describes the last five months of 10-year-old Wolfgang and 35-year-old Michael’s involuntary life together.

I’m not sure what in the world this could mean but the teaser here is riveting.  Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter has made a movie that may very well be as understated as what you see here and for anyone who thinks it’s too understated and not giving enough for you to form an opinion on whether you’re going to see it you’re missing the point, I think.

What this teaser trailer does is show a definitive difference between between exploitation and restraint. Where we would usually find our collective ears consumed with the screaming from some young fraulein begging for sweet release of whatever prison she’s being held in there is a feeling that the editors here are going about as far as you can in the other direction to not give you anything you want.

We get some boring street, in some boring town, where some nebbish is quietly coming home to an empty nest. It’s only as the guy jiggles the handle to the basement and we see sound dampening foam on the door and the security shades slowly roll down over the window when the skeeve factor, the hairs on the back of your neck, rise. The way the moment just plays itself out is a delight in the way it subverts expectations for a movie like this. It’s telling without showing. It’s David Mamet for the psychologically ill.

This guy is obviously an army of one yet we see him making a meal for three, the other two “guests” at the dinner table where he’s setting up a lovely dinner aren’t ever shown, and the implications for why he’s doing this or who he even has in his dungeon aren’t divulged. When he does open the latch to his human cage and he beckons for his prisoner to come out I half expect a wildebeest to come lunging out in shackles and iron chains. The way we sort of just linger here for a moment without seeing a thing is all the uneasiness I need to convince me that I simply have to see this movie. Variety seems to agree as well.

Angels of Evil Trailer


Look, I can’t say I know any work by Italian director Michele Placido but this sunk its hooks in me. Besides being fascinated with reading about the real life mayhem that nasty roustabout Renato Vallanzasca was up to in Milan this guy is a real trip. To say nothing of the eleven people who are given writing credit on this film, one of which is the actual man in question who wrote a book on himself, there is no doubt that there are a lot of fingers inside this pie. Whether or not this will cause the movie to feel like a film done by committee is anyone’s guess but the trailer is a little bit of fun.

There are hints of Carlos and Mesrine, two movies which I really enjoyed for how they played with this kind of real life material, and they seem to be using that playbook to showcase a story that has multiple narratives running through it. The trailer is lean and doesn’t do much more than exploit the style of the film in all its Italian sexiness. The bloomers that slowly slide off one of the ladies is a good indication on what’s being sold here and even though that is a pretty big red flag in my estimation for any kind of commercial product (apply this to body spray, toothpaste, floor wax, if you want) that needs to use the hint of sexuality in order to get your buy in. Literally. I like the passion but am afraid that what I’m really here for is the gun play, the intrigue, and instead I’m treated to the Red Shoe Diaries of some guy who looks like he just came off a Dolce & Gabbana photo shoot.

But the music and tempo are perfect. The opening shot establishes why we’re here and why we ought to care about these people but that’s not much to go on as these thieves seem like hedonistic thugs who deserve everything that looks to be coming to them. That’s the other thing that gets me about this trailer as well: you kind of hope these people end up bloodied on the side of the street by the end of it. Nothing endears us to these characters and the trailer is selling a rock star who has no compunction about what is coming his way. And that’s fine, because what we’re being tempted with is a story that is going to look at this merry band of criminals and what will eventually be their downfall. No happy/cheeky Oceans 11 ending here. Looks like it’ll be bloody.

Catatan Si Boy Trailer

This looks, roughly, about eight metric tons better than the stillborn abomination known as Fast Five.

I had such a miserable time that the preposterous nature of the film was finally confirmed by proxy through the comments made by Jeff Cannata of The Totally Rad Show on last week’s /Filmcast. What I felt was missing, and why anyone else hasn’t really brought this issue up is beyond me, was actual cars racing around. Five felt like a heist movie crafted by apes who had only a tangential grasp of makes a good story and without any zoom zoom zipping of cars careening down the congested streets of Rio this was a disappointment. So, like a friend who shows up at just the right time this movie just thrilled me.

The first thirty seconds are pure electricity. From the thick block letters laying it all out with a sweet bass line that is something out of an old school Bond film, souped up with an infectious hook, to the quick snapshots of the film there is no denying there is something here. Regardless of whether the movie is any good I was gobsmacked at how razor sharp this looks. And looks are everything especially when you don’t know what language everyone is using but who cares because this looks like the film I didn’t get weeks ago.

I don’t know the plot, I don’t know the characters, but I find myself wanting to know more. Apart from the actual car racing there seems to be a human element that looks about as deep as anything you would get out of Hollywood but I could care less. At least they want to sell the fact that it’s in there. It’s not a hindrance that there aren’t subtitles, it’s an enticement. This trailer gets me giddy every time I watch it because there’s a confident swagger here and it’s the kind of advertisement for a movie that you weren’t expecting to like moments you pushed play. It’s just inspiring to see something brimming with enough visual delights that it’s hard to see where you could possibly go wrong by giving it a chance.

By far, one of my favorite trailers that I’ve seen all month and I hope director Putrama Tuta is able to deliver on what’s here. I’m downright giddy. [Twitch]

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Fright Night Trailer - Am I the only one who thinks this could be worth a buck or two at the dollar theater? I might be but the trailer, from a purely advertising standpoint, is great in its execution.
  • Straw Dogs Trailer - Consider me a fan of this. Hop was deplorable but I’m still a fan of James Marsden and I think this could be all kinds of fun. Trailer is a mix of same old same old with a hint of creativity.
  • Alcatraz Trailer - The trailer doesn’t do a good job in convincing me that the preponderance of high concept plot points I’m going to have to believe is anywhere near plausible. Even for the guy who wanted to believe Airwolf really existed.
  • Terra Nova Trailer - Hmm, Avatar meets Jurrasic Park meets Aliens meets…take your pick. Not really moved by this.
  • Napoleon Dynamite Trailer - Everyone’s back! (Not that anyone’s surprised or that it could have been that difficult to get the band back together) I don’t know if this series is something to be feared or embraced. The trailer makes me at least willing to TiVo it and find out.
  • The Adventures Of Tintin Trailer - If I want creepy animation I’ll watch Polar Express again. The technology just isn’t there to make me think this is anything less than sub par animation. You can just feel the hesitation in wanting to show you our titular character in all his uncanny valley-ness.
  • The Zookeeper Trailer - Awful trailer. It’s cookie cutter, it’s uninsipred and it’s going to play well with anyone who thought King of Queens represented the zenith of televised comedy. And, gee, I’ve never seen that whole “schlubby fat guy going after the hot supermodel who he could never have in real life but can because some weasel hammered it out on a typewriter” gag before. Real novel.
  • Charlie’s Angels Trailer - Seriously? This looks all kinds of miserable. They obviously couldn’t even be bothered with making an exciting trailer so why should I care? Answer, I don’t.
  • Grim Trailer - It looks like something that could play well on basic cable, not broadcast television. Any teeth it could have had would have been filed down by suits who need this thing to be profitable, not exciting.
  • The Playboy Club Trailer - See the above comment.
  • Awake Trailer - Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I am pretty interested in seeing more about this series. Count me in simply based on someone taking the time to make a trailer that is at once thought provoking but grounded in a tangible reality.
  • Good Neighbors Trailer - Looks like a movie I could enjoy once at home from Redbox or Netflix. Full price admission? Not a chance.

Your rating: None

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: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

X Trailer

Jon Hewitt’s last feature Acolytes starred Joel Edgerton, one of the best reasons why a strong ensemble makes a great movie even better especially when it comes to Animal Kingdom. He’s back with a new feature that looks like it could be received just as well if this trailer is any indication of its pedigree. With the trickling of great Australian directors coming to these shores I only hope one of these fellows could steal some work from lesser jobbers knocking around Hollywood.

What is inherent in this trailer from the outset is a sense of place and emotional filth. It’s dingy and dirty and even though we’ve seen countless movies about hookers this one catches the eyes. The interstitials are fairly basic and are a little groan worthy with its attempts to be all dramatic with what it’s trying to set up but it’s the moments we’ve given that give this trailer a thrust. Seeing some depraved party where some kinky business is going down in someone’s living room, watching some young runaway be coaxed into this business where it obviously won’t end well, this is all good editing to provide a solid narrative to try and thread together. There isn’t any superfluousness or needless parading.

Now, when we get the Bad Boys storyline thrown in our face (did no one see that film) I was a little down on the story but somehow it becomes something else entirely. Kind of like Patrick Dempsey’s Run mixed in with a little cat and mouse thriller theater for a hearty mix of fun. The trailer shifts from deep, dramatic thinker to full on action. Both films fit within the sales pitch and the trailer handles the transition quite well. I miss movies like this. [Twitch]

Two Gates Of Sleep Trailer

David Lynch and Terrence Malick?

In this trailer, first time feature length writer/director/editor Alistair Banks Griffin has shaped a story about loss into something is at the same time haunting and poetic. I’m almost at a loss to tell you why this trailer slowly steals your breath as you watch things unfold in a macabre but hypnotizing fashion.

The two things that leap out of me when I watch this trailer is that there are no words, no sounds, no dialogue, and the only thing we hear are the weeping strings of violins. Seeing a thick forest as the opening frames show us this lush world and what it contains helps to understand what it is we’re embarking on when we enter this landscape. It’s populated with at least two men and a woman who is most certainly dead.

Whether it is through flashbacks where we are to understand the nature of the relationship this woman has with the two guys, most certainly their mother, or if we are to deduce what is that has resulted in her being placed in a coffin and taken on a journey through a multitude of places I am in love with what is happening. Through only positive quotes given to it from those who have seen it and the awards it says it has won it is able to establish the thinnest amount of trust with the viewer as if to say you can trust in that you will understand, it all but promises that, but I like that they want to shield the contents of this this story. And I think that’s gutsy in this kind of voracious environment. Why there is mud caked on a sweater of a deceased corpse that gingerly rides in the back of a pickup, how a coffin ends up in a river, what is the deal with these two men, these are all valid questions I don’t mind not having answers for if it means having a satisfactory experience with this trailer.

It’s indeed haunting in a way that it leaves you with far more questions than it does leads about where the truth lies. I don’t see many of these kinds of trailers but when I do I can’t help but share.

Louder Than A Bomb Trailer

I’ve got to represent for my hometown whenever possible and because a good trailer has come out of that city it seems only natural to give it some love.

When I interviewed Duncan Jones for his film Source Code, right before I entered the room for my 1:1, literally seconds before I pressed flesh with the man, I was told to not bring up the fact that he was David Bowie’s kid. Besides not really caring one way or the other, I’ve never felt pro or con about the Thin White Duke, it got up in my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Fast forward to seeing this and realizing it was coming from Gene Siskel’s nephew there is all but the faint idea that surely this guy knows what he’s doing.

What directors Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs have put together to sell this film is make a pretty abstract idea like poetry and make it understandable. And not understandable in a way that would redefine the way you would interpret poetry but how this altered notion of stanzas and meter makes sense to the kids who we see profiled here.

I like the auditory repetition of the guttural vowel sounds, you can feel it in the back of your throat as they come out, as we see sweet home Chicago in the beginning moments of the trailer. We get the reason why we’re here, what we need to know, and why we should care about anyone we’re about to be introduced to in the subsequent segments. The way it shifts into the stories of the youths who we learn about is smooth as it is interesting to hear and see the manufacturing of poetic performance comes from the lives they lead off the stage. This is inherently more interesting than just watching these kids from a stage with no understanding why they write what they do. It’s heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. It’s applaud worthy to see how even the balance is between normalcy and performance art. I get that this is a poetry slam but I’m getting that much more as a viewer. We see these youths in their natural habitat as they internalize the poetic medium and learn how to express themselves in a way that makes us feel more than it does make us comprehend.

Towards the end, where it decides to flaunt all it’s kudos and awards, I think this could have been better placed at the beginning but it’s a small quibble, the inspiration knob is twisted as a far as it can go when things get more intense and profound. I applaud that we get a quote from one of the kids who says that writing a poem won’t change the world as it shows that this isn’t rocket science and these youths aren’t going to become Rhodes scholars overnight because of this but it’s the acknowledgement that it’s part and parcel as to why they’re hopefully becoming better people, better citizens of the globe, because they’ve put pen to paper.

Snowtown Trailer

There are worse things in the world than to be compared to David Michôd.

First time director/writer Justin Kurzel looks like he has the visual style of a Rian Johnson and a flair for making this film look like an unofficial sequel to Animal Kingdom (I apologize this is the second time it’s being brought up today) in all the right ways. It feels raw, the action on the screen doesn’t inform as much as it does set the mood for the place where we find ourselves, and I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s happening or why we’re following who we are. I do like that even after all this discombobulation we get the simple words of, “based on a true story.” From here you know something wicked is going down and the set up couldn’t be more smooth and nonthreatening.

Like the boy we’re following throughout the trailer, we’re indoctrinated into this life of evil through small moments. There isn’t a stark outburst or bombastic screaming that usually accompanies a movie like this. No, instead we sink into a morass of uneasy quietude. Like a dose of Valium to smooth out the rough edges of life, we get visceral images of horrible violence that almost seem OK because we’re moving so gently through it. It’s one of those rare moments when you have so much, and so little, happening before our eyes. We can’t put anything together but the style, the very style of Kurzel’s sensibility, is on full display.

The music, tempo, editing, the quotes, it all is in perfect harmony to the point I could call this one of the best trailers I’ve seen this year with how it all comes together. By the end I’m still not sure how it all is working or what in the hell is happening here but I don’t pay it much attention because what we are given is a rich insight into a film that you can’t help but want to see if you’re properly attune to what it’s putting out there. Give people what they want but hold back a pinch. This trailer gets it. [Twitch]

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Trailer

When you have a man like this trying to fight and subvert an oppressive regime with art and introspective musings you’ve got to help any which way you can to get people to hear what he has to say.

Documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman has molded something that shows the struggle for independent thought and expression in communist China in another light besides sharp defiance. There is a nuance here that understates the issue she’s exploring in profiling an artist who is part Andy Warhol, part freedom fighter. What makes this trailer so good is the way it approaches an issue that is still so resonant within our collective social conscious, what happened at Tienanmen Square, and how it leans on the showing aspects of good storytelling and withholding the tell.

We see an artist who is advocating independence of the spirit and of a culture through his work yet we see how this message might as well be a call to arms to a government who would like nothing more than to silence this one guy. From juxtaposing our man Weiwei’s appearance at art galleries, social functions, and enough events that he could easily be mistaken for someone rolling with the hoi polloi and the savage beating he takes from the local law enforcement for simply being a man who wants to elevate people’s minds with his work there is a bewitching charm to this doughy guy. There is an innocence to it all while being completely incendiary in its content. It’s a trailer I have watched a few times this week again and again because it’s yet another example of the things we allow other governments do their people that we simply allow to happen without recourse. We need China so much that this becomes something we’re willing to turn a blind, commercial eye to but this documentary shows you exactly why even one person’s persecution is worth knowing about, and hopefully, bringing to light.

True, this isn’t a trailer that is going to make a Top 10 list this year but what it lacks in creative editing it makes up for in content. For if a trailer pushes you to explore further, then it has done what it can, what it set out to accomplish.

William and Kate: The Movie Trailer

There is no debating, there is no discussion needed, there are no excuses, if you or any of your loved ones can sit through this and feel any need to “check it out” I can guarantee a lifetime of miserable mediocrity.  I barely could sit on my hands and marvel at the wretchedness that the Lifetime network has concocted with director Mark Rosman, a man who I loved for his work on Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire before hitting it hard on A Cinderella Movie and The Perfect Man.

I can only imagine the demographics of the audience who are already setting their DVRs in hot anticipation for a TV movie that has a trailer which is really the visual equivalent of a tornado siren, a warning to get to somewhere heavily fortified.

Note bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • MelancholiaTrailer - Excitement. I’m a ball of pure excitement at the prospect of this film after seeing this trailer.
  • Dolphin Tale Trailer - Going after this trailer would be like beating up a 3rd grader. I can’t do it. I can, however, tell you Harry Connick, Jr. looks like he’s doing just fine being an insufferably bad actor.
  • Johnny English Reborn Trailer - I don’t get it and it’s not my sensibility. This trailer looks like it will appeal to those who did, however, and I guess they’ll dig it.
  • The Woman In Black Trailer - Wow, that was a whole lot of nothing. Thanks.
  • Passion Play Trailer - This trailer leaves me listless and yearning for the days when Megan Fox stayed in movies like Transformers.
  • Cinema Verite Trailer #3 - For free, my bar is already set low, but this trailer convinces me that I would pay to see to see this production.
  • X-Men: First Class International Trailer - I am getting more and more convinced this could be the Iron Man hit of the summer if the trailer is as good as the film. However, I’m sure I’m mistaken and I am getting hopeful all for naught.
  • Monte Carlo Trailer - My seven year-old will love this. I’ll hate it but she’ll love it.
  • The Host Trailer - Russ Fischer was right: The Ref meets American Psycho. I’m not sure if I can get over the cheekiness of it all but it does look interesting.
  • Priest Trailer #3 - This is certainly a lot better than the previous trailers but it’s way too little, way too late.
  • Abduction Trailer - I guess if Hanna was too much for some in our youth culture, this could be their version that looks about as dumbed down as you can get before resorting to flash cards.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer - Well, put me in a dress and call me Sally, this is the very first Apes film that has me interested. Nice trailer.
  • Love Wedding Marriage Trailer - I guess if I had a lot of estrogen coursing through my veins I would want to see this. But since I don’t this looks about as entertaining as getting my pubes extracted with small strips of duct tape.
  • Casa de mi Padre Trailer - I can’t believe how much fun I had watching this. Will Ferrell gets my vote for most interesting project coming down the comedic pipe.
  • Sleeping Beauty Trailer - You can’t help but be entranced by its wickedness. Great trailer that is both stylish and compelling.
  • Cowboys and Aliens Trailer - From the sterile feeling I get from some of the scenes that feel manufactured on a sound stage, to the ho hum action beats of the scenes played out in a desert, I’m kind of down on this trailer for not getting me more excited.

Your rating: None