Okay, so you’re an expert on Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Steven Spielberg. You like Ozu and Kurosawa, know the dance from Bande à part, and can spell Eadweard Muybridge without googling it. You, my friend, know your shit about cinema. But still, despite the hundreds of film books and screenplays you’ve read and thousands of films you’ve seen, there may be so much more information you’re failing to feed your brain. Andrew Saladino of The Royal Ocean Film Society suggests that while having an encyclopedic knowledge of and insatiable interest in cinema is great, expanding your education beyond it might actually be the best thing you could do as a filmmaker.
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 take a look at a little indie that could, get to know a different kind of white rapper, start spinning like a dervish in the parking lot with other hippie chicks, stand with mouth agape at some schlocky sci-fi, and remember Whitney Houston through the eyes of the director who brought us Kurt & Courtney.
Patti Cake$ Trailer
Man, I love when I get goosebumps when I watch a sizzling trailer like this. Director Geremy Jasper needs to give alms to whatever and whoever put this together because it is tight. Not only do I get where things are going but the flow from one moment to the next is next to fluid. I was inspired, thrilled, excited, and consuming those pull-quotes like affirmations to what I’m feeling as this thing spooled to the end. I don’t know when it’s dropping or where it’s going but I’m in. Completely.
Dear Coward on the Moon Trailer
I just had to share.
I don’t know how I stumbled upon director Carol Brandt’s film but I’m glad I did. The usual polish and high production value of many trailers just doesn’t compare to the earnest vibes that are pouring from every scene we see here. I’m just so enamored by the level of care that was put into making this very tiny movie a lot bigger than it is. The sense of weight and space are fully represented by the moments that are allowed to breathe and stretch out before us. The minimalist music choice in the background is a nice compliment to the ever so soft narration that punctuates our ears every few seconds. I do not know which way the story will go but it matters little when you have a trailer that might as well be a beautiful portrait of how independent movies, the true independent movies, can still move and stir your soul.
Long Strange Trip Trailer
Never listened to one song.
So I think we all someone who is REALLY into The Grateful Dead. My only connection to the band is that I saw Pearl Jam at Soldier Field on July 11th, 1995. The Dead let PJ use their stage and Jerry Garcia would be dead within the month. Director Amir Bar-Lev has a lot of ground to cover, hopefully he’ll be able to answer whether the band is really any good versus good under the right circumstances, but this is a fascinating subculture that, from a sociological point of view, I’m kind of interested in dissecting. I don’t think there are any shattering insights that will bend space and time but this is certainly a documentary that many will appreciate.
WHITNEY ‘Can I Be Me’ Trailer
Crack is whack.
Director Nick Broomfield doesn’t seem to be doing anything more or less than what he did with Kurt & Courtney. It’s not a knock, it’s just saying that what we have here seems to be your run of the mill bio-pic that is going to end real tragically. I’m intrigued enough, though, by what’s here because of how much attention Houston manage to attract in the decades that she was a part of the cultural zeitgeist. The trailer is solid, too, so it has that going for it.
Rogue Warrior Trailer
I just kind of love that this exists out there.
Director Neil Johnson should be given all the kudos for making something that my 13 year-old self would have rented as a VHS way back in the day.
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 Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:
Female DPs at Sundance discuss how you affect change in the film industry. Yes, you.
A frequent topic of discussion and panels in the film world centers around female filmmakers. The numbers are discouraging to say the least—even worse than the percentage of female directors is the number of below-the-line crew members. According to the Celluloid Ceiling Report 2016 from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, here are the latest numbers:
In 2016, women comprised 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents a decline of 2 percentage points from last year and is even with the percentage achieved in 1998.
Women accounted for 7% of directors, down 2 percentage points from 9% in 2015 and 1998. Last year, 92% of films had no female directors. In other roles, women comprised 13% of writers, 17% of executive producers, 24% of producers, 17% of editors, and 5% of cinematographers.
2016 has been an interesting year, especially for movies.
It’s finally here, the last day of 2016! While some of us may celebrate with shots and chanting “Ding dong, the witch is dead,” some may find it appropriate to look back on a truly spectacular year in films, especially those coming from the indie sector. Inevitably, video essayists and casual videomakers, like Max Shishkin, Fernando Andrés, and Ben Zuk, have created end-of-year supercuts and mashups of all of 2016’s films, so, we chose a few of our favorites as a fitting tribute to a year that we hate to see go, but love to watch leave.
It’s heartening to see filmmakers in 2016 continuing to push boundaries and take chances with their projects. Barry Jenkins told a story most feared to tell in Moonlight, the Daniels managed to sell a film about a farting corpse, and Nicolas Winding Refn and DP Natasha Braier showed us some of the most spectacular cinematography in Neon Demon. Hopefully 2017 will show us the same spirit.
What were your favorite films of 2016? Let us know in the comments below.