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 wonder why our bank accounts aren’t growing, why comedians aren’t all that happy on the inside, go on a quest for a sword, explore the life of INXS’ frontman Michael Hutchence, and check in with a Rolling Stone.
Capital in the 21st Century
If you are one of the guys who helped bring the gem known as Tickled to the masses, your next feature better be good. Thankfully, director Justin Pemberton looks like he is bringing the goods.
Adapting one of the most groundbreaking and powerful books of our time, Capital in the 21st Century is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, shining a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities. Traveling through time from the French Revolution and other huge global shifts, to world wars and through to the rise of new technologies today, the film assembles accessible pop-culture references coupled with interviews of some of the world’s most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.
I get that a socioeconomic movie with this kind of angle may induce sleepiness, but this one is amazingly well-done. The trailer is laying it all out there and has a definitive point of view. From income inequality to the tax avoidance that major corporations are attempting to do every single day, there are some social issues that need discussing. Wake up, America! Your country has something it wants to tell you.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
I can say with total honesty that the last time I came across director Richard Lowenstein’s work was the video he created for INXS in 1990 for Suicide Blonde. But I’m happy to see his work again in this trailer, which brought the thrill and eventual sadness that came Michael Hutchence left this mortal coil.
Mystify: Michael Hutchence is a powerfully intimate and insightful portrait of the internationally renowned INXS frontman. Deftly woven from an extraordinary archive of rich imagery, Michael’s private home movies and those of his lovers, friends, and family, the film delves beneath the public persona of the charismatic ‘Rock God’ and transports us through the looking glass to reveal a multifaceted, intensely sensitive and complex man. For an all too brief time, we revel in Michael’s Dionysian beauty and sensuality on stage and off. We listen to the range of his extraordinary voice and witness the charmed way he travels through life as he is propelled to world acclaim.
On the one hand, I’m tempted to say that is a must-see for anyone who was alive and celebrated the uniqueness that was INXS in the late 80s/early 90s, but I think this could appeal wider than just that audience. Who knows where the band would be if Michael was still here? But this trailer gives more than enough reason even the most casual listener should be impressed by what’s on the screen.
It’s Not That Funny
Director Mike Bernstein knows how to drill home the point as this trailer comes out hot out of the gate with a focus on the link between depression and comedy. The Wrap has this blurb to describe the short:
“It’s Not That Funny” is a documentary short from Funny or Die and SoulPancake.com that presents conversations with comedians about the relationship between comedy and depression and the cost of bringing others joy. Among the famous and funny names featured in the film are Rainn Wilson, Neal Brennan, Wayne Brady, Rachel Bloom, Baron Vaughn, Chris Gethard, Rikki Lindholm and more, each with their own story to share.
With the recent death of comedian Brody Stevens, this is surely a serious topic, and it makes this trailer cut deep. The stories we’re told have a resonance as you feel the honesty and openness pouring out of everyone’s mouths. There’s compelling viewing and then there’s this. It’s near impossible to walk away and not have total empathy for those baring their souls.
Sword of Trust
I have watched nothing by director Lynn Shelton since 2011’s Your Sister’s Sister. I was so so-on that film, but this trailer has sparked that same sense of curiosity that made me take that leap so many years ago.
Cynthia and Mary show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, but the only item she’s received is an antique sword that was believed by her grandfather to be proof that the South won the Civil War.
It seems like a small film, but one that is bursting with character. I love the way this is edited, the oh-so-smooth way in which the pull-quotes glide in and out of view, and the way the trailer lets moments breathe. This feels grounded while being wildly madcap in how things spin out of control. It’s a refreshing story in a sea of repeats and high-gloss remakes.
The Quiet One
Some documentaries come and go like a whisper in the middle of the night. But it would be a shame if director Oliver Murray’s portrait of Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman suffered that fate. Here’s the synopsis:
Throughout his three-decade career as a founding member of and bassist for The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman was known to the world as the “quiet one” in the band. Now, the famously private music legend speaks out about his extraordinary life and experiences as part of “the greatest rock and roll band in the world.” Opening up his vast personal archive—a lifetime’s worth of previously unseen home movies, photographs, and memorabilia—Wyman reflects on his early years with The Stones, the band’s meteoric rise to fame, and his search for a sense of “normalcy” amidst the whirlwind of sex, drugs, and rebellion. Endearingly humble and down-to-earth, Wyman pulls back the curtain to offer a one-of-a-kind perspective on life as a reluctant rock star.
The story we’re pitched in this trailer is sweet, if not downright telling. For anyone who feels seen when listening about the trials of someone who is content enough to be on stage but not need the spotlight this is a revelation. It’s tough to find a fresh angle on a story that’s been told again and again, and certainly, the story of the Rolling Stones has been told hundreds of times over. To get this new insight, to approach it on this vector, it’s fascinating.
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 [email protected] or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:
- Ford v. Ferrari Trailer – I’m giddy
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trailer – Good, give something that might spook a kid or two
- Carnival Row Trailer – Huh?
- For All Mankind Trailer – Too glossy for my taste, brother
- Rolling Thunder Revue: The Bob Dylan Story Trailer – Interesting
- The Nightmare Gallery Trailer – Lamesauce
- Shaft Trailer – I probably just saw all the good parts
- Luce Trailer – Whoa
- Ad Astra Trailer – You got my money, good sir
- The Rook Trailer – Hard pass
- Brittany Runs a Marathon Trailer – OK, dowsed in a little treacle, but OK
- Transparent Trailer – Nah
- Honeyland Trailer – Absolutely, yes
- Jessica Jones Season 3 Trailer – Bye
- Men in Black International Trailer – Still not buying it
- Dolls Trailer – Hahahaha…No…Hahahaha
- Them That Follow Trailer – Go onnn…
- Nomis Trailer – Who cut this egregious excuse of a trailer?
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