Movies

This Week In Trailers: Romantic Comedy, Why Don't You Just Die, I Will Make You Mine, Rendez-vous, Deerskin

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 delve into why I love Singles so much, let someone finish what they started, go to Russia to pick a fight, go on a date that doesn’t end well, and think about the poor choices we’ve made in life.

Romantic Comedy

Valentine’s Day might have been two weeks ago but director Elizabeth Sankey has stolen my heart.

ROMANTIC COMEDY is a documentary that goes beneath the surface of our favorite films, seeking to better understand the way we view love, relationships, and romance. Romantic comedies are hugely successful and deeply loved by many but often have avoided critical analysis. Helped by a diverse chorus of writers, actors, and filmmakers, and with original songs by her band Summer Camp, director Elizabeth Sankey embarks on a journey of investigation and self-discovery.

I don’t know why the good romantic comedies out there feel like visual comfort food, but I am a softie at heart. This documentary, which isn’t giving up any of its insights in this trailer, smartly wrangles us all in by leveraging those vintage romantic moments many of us know so well. It’s the opening paragraph, if you will, for a video essay that I will happily watch and listen to if for no other reason than it helps me appreciate Bridget Fonda in Singles that much more.

I Will Make You Mine

Director Lynn Chen, if nothing else, is wonderfully consistent.

Rachel (Lynn Chen) lives in idle luxury with a cheating husband, Professor Erika (Ayako Fujitani) juggles career demands while raising her daughter Sachiko (newcomer Ayami Riley Tomine), and struggling musician Yea-Ming (Yea-Ming Chen) is still chasing a fast-fading dream. Three women who could not be more different have one thing in common: their flawed romantic history with singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura (himself). When the amiable but unreliable Goh ambles back into town and into their lives, the past comes roaring back. This semi-sequel to SURROGATE VALENTINE (SXSW 2011) and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (SXSW 2012) revisits the characters in a stand-alone story with a fresh new perspective.

I am absolutely a fan of the 2011 film, Surrogate Valentine, that this film is semi-continuing. It was one of those quiet, endearing films that is precious simply because of how genuine it was. There’s nothing complex about what we’re doing here, and it’s literally because of how straightforward the narrative is that makes this an appealing choice. No convolution, no awkward math you have to figure out how everyone fits into this puzzle, just an indie movie that wants to stick its landing.

Why Don’t You Just Die

Director Kirill Sokolov is here to shock and I’ll let him.

Matvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) has just one objective: to gain entry to his girlfriend’s parents’ apartment and kill her father Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) with a hammer to restore her honour. But all is not as it initially seems, and Matvey’s attempts to bludgeon the family patriarch to death don’t quite go to plan as Andrey proves a more formidable – not to mention ruthless – opponent than he anticipated… and Matvey, for his part, proves stubbornly unwilling to die.

Look, there’s nothing more that you need to know about this other than it looks like something that absolutely came out of Russia. It’s gonzo, it makes little to no sense, and is wildly absurd. It’s like the spirits of Neveldine/Taylor landed in the body of this director and this is the result. For all these reasons, I’m in.

Rendez-vous

Director Pablo Olmos Arrayales is making his grand debut.

Debuting in Mexico City late last year, winning handfuls of awards as it has made its way through various film festivals, and still grinding it out on the festival circuit, this made its way to my inbox last week. The hook, that this is a thriller presented as one continuous shot, is what got my attention.

Visually, it’s very clean, and overall, the trailer is a winner. It starts upbeat but then takes a crazy left turn just moments before it ends. On top of that, Pablo keeps us focused on what’s happening on the screen versus reading subtitled dialogue as he is hanging his hat on the one-take angle. And he should. This is a trailer that stands out among a sea of those doing things the usual way. I’m curious, I’m interested, and he leaves me hanging by the end. All done in 33 seconds. Smart.

Deerskin

Director Quentin Dupieux is not here for your midlife crisis.

In this black comedy of middle-aged masculinity gone awry, Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) is a recent divorcee who becomes obsessed with a vintage fringed deerskin jacket that begins to exert an uncanny hold on him. Set in a sleepy French alpine village, he falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender and aspiring editor (Adèle Haenel, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.

What starts out as an almost trite exploration of one dude taking stock of his life, turns into something bizarre. Nay, it turns into something that feels homicidal. I loved it. The music, the flashing pull-quotes, the snippets of the narrative; I am enamored with the cojones it took to produce and push this out into the world. It’s got my vote as the movie I most wanted to watch this week for sure. I don’t know where we’re going, I just want on the bus.

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:

    • Transformers: War for Cybertron Trailer – I’m a fan
    • Betty Trailer – OK
    • Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker Trailer – Paint-by-numbers
    • Saint Maud Trailer – Passing on this one as I don’t want to be spoiled
    • Rumble Trailer – Is this what we still think kids want?
    • Marc Maron: End Times Fun Trailer – I’m down
    • Ugly Delicious Season 2 Trailer – More, please
    • Quibi Trailer – This is still a thing?
    • The Letter for the King Trailer – Pass
    • Candyman Trailer – Um, yeah
    • The Eddy Trailer – Cool
    • Tales From the Loop Trailer – I’m impressed
    • Tokyo Godfathers Trailer – Sure
    • Dirty Money Season 2 Trailer – Capitalism isn’t working out so well
    • The High Note Trailer – Good, something for my parents to get excited about

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