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’re spitting fire with Riz Ahmed, go swimming with some large mammals, forget to shave, go on an urban adventure, and finally finish something we’ve let sit for over 30 years.
Director Bassam Tariq has blown my mind.
British Pakistani rapper Zed (Riz Ahmed) is a rising star on the cusp of his first world tour. But, struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his big break, he’s forced to confront his past, his family, and the uncertainty of his legacy.
The debut fiction feature from the award-winning documentary filmmaker Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk) and co-written, produced by and starring the Emmy award-winning Ahmed, Mogul Mowgli is a bold, vital and electrifying exploration of heritage and identity.
Just based on this trailer, this is one of my most anticipated movies for the year. The intensity from Riz is incredible and the creative way this trailer gives us drips and drabs of information before we’re finally able to put together what we’re seeing is commendable. Knowing Tariq comes from a documentary background only enhances what we see if only because of how fiction and reality seem blurred. It’s an otherworldly sensation you get as the trailer plays out.
The Walrus and The Whistleblower
Director Nathalie Bibeau has a story about bravery.
Part-time mailman and ex-trainer at MarineLand, the iconic amusement park in Niagara Falls, Phil Demers is known as the Walrus Whisperer on Twitter, with over 27,000 followers. At the heart of the movement to end marine mammal captivity, he has appeared on the Joe Rogan show four times, testified before the federal government, and is being sued for $1.5 million for plotting to steal a walrus. His is a story about the cost and courage of speaking out when you have nothing to lose.
Telling stories like this could easily be a slog because you have to convince people that your subject matter is important to pay attention to. But everyone loves these marine beasts, so it makes that part easier. Also, you add in animal abuse, and you have yourself a novel start to your narrative. The trailer drills home on all of these things beautifully. It’s a slow build but, man, does it pick up steam. It pulls you in and then, once you get why we’re all gathered here, it just does not relent.
The True Adventures of Wolfboy
Director Martin Krejcí is telling an all-too-common story in a different way.
A coming of age journey about a boy with an illness that causes hair growth over the entirety of his face and body. After a disastrous carnival experience, he goes in search of his mother who abandoned him at birth. In the wilds of New Jersey he finds fast friends, but is pursued by an enigmatic carnival owner, and a police officer enlisted by his father.
Reflecting on movies like Mask or that god-awful Wonder, there seems to be a market for movies that speak to the core about what makes us human, if not physically perfect. I like the tempo here, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story is served up. Further, and this is key, I probably wouldn’t have given it as much consideration had it not been for the pull-quotes peppered throughout its runtime. It looks cute, under-the-radar, and has that quintessential thing that can either make or break these kinds of movies: heart.
How To With John Wilson
I don’t know who John Wilson is, but I already like him.
Navigate the ever-changing complexities and absurdities of day-to-day life in New York City with your unlikely guide, John Wilson.
Sometimes, something hits you a certain way, and you’re at a loss to explain why. This trailer dropped about seven hours ago, and I’m already setting a reminder to check this out. Perhaps it’s his Joe Pera-like folksiness, or maybe because he reminds me of urban explorer Ben Hollis from Wild Chicago. Either way, this is being executive produced by Nathan Fielder and that makes all the sense in the world. It looks genuinely interesting while eschewing the frenetic/manic energy of someone like Billy Eichner. I’m genuinely excited.
Housesitter : The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain
Director Robin Nuyen finally finished it.
Andy, an idealist medical student with a serious Elvis obsession, works to perfect his rat-to-rat brain transfer to “help mankind and change the face of modern science”. After his final experiment fails and blows up, Andy loses his chance to travel abroad and study at the prestigious Reinhardt Institute. With his future in doubt, and with no place to live, his future looks bleak. Little does Andy know that his beloved professor and mentor, Doc Crosby, is actually a mad scientist who has been murdering people and stealing their brains for experiments in his makeshift “black and white” laboratory…Will Andy save his friends from the scalpel of a madman, or will Doc succeed in his murderous plot to save his own life by completing the first even human brain transference procedure?
Filmed entirely in 1987, Housesitter…The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain sat unfinished for thirty-two years. Now, with post-sound from Skywalker Sound and final picture from Paramount Pictures color department, it is at last completed.
Schlocky horror movies like this make me feel nostalgic for a different time. I’m not sure why this triggers so many fun memories of mid-80s silly horror when it didn’t have to be about gore, and it could be about just having fun with the medium. There are so many different tones and thematic elements that feel squished together, but they work for me. It has a fun vibe and looks like an easy view and, in these difficult times, during our new normal, celebrating someone’s
Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:
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