This Week In Trailers: Wildland, Cryptozoo, Blind Ambition, Who Are You, Charlie Brown?

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 giving away psychiatric help for a nickel, go visit our off-the-rail relatives, opine while watching something magically animated, and learn how to compete at tasting wine.

Blind Ambition

This is a different kind of movie about wine from directors Robert Coe and Warwick Ross.

Having escaped starvation and tyranny in their homeland of Zimbabwe, four refugees have conquered the odds to become South Africa’s top sommeliers. Driven by relentless optimism, a passion for their craft and unshakeable national pride, they form Zimbabwe’s first ever wine tasting team and set their sights on the coveted title of ‘World Wine Tasting Champions’. From the moment they arrive in France to compete, this team of mavericks turns an establishment of privilege and tradition on its head. A truly uplifting documentary that celebrates just how irrepressible the human spirit can be.

Ross co-directed a movie about China’s burgeoning Bourdeaux wine obsession back in 2013, but this time he’s got a different co-director and a wildly different angle on vino. This story is unlike any other in talking about the wine industry. Flat out, this trailer gave me chills. There’s something amazingly uplifting and interesting about refugees who decided to try their hand at being a sommelier. It’s clear that this is a documentary about positivity, triumph, and passion. There is literally no way you can walk away from this trailer not feeling like this is going to be a fun ride. I’m smitten, and I’m already cheering them on.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown?

Director Michael Bonfiglio is taking on a newspaper comic strip stalwart.

Lupita Nyong’o narrates a documentary about Peanuts and its creator, Charles M. Schulz. Famous fans—including Kevin Smith, Al Roker, and Billie Jean King—share its influence on them, and a new animated story finds Charlie Brown on a personal quest.

As with so many documentaries made by the likes of Disney+ or even Apple TV+ the question has always been: How many punches does it pull? Is the movie in question more of a promotion for the subject, or does it truly pull back the curtain to reveal something real and honest. Are we going to delve into the melancholy and examine the rough edges of an artist wanting to say something? After watching this trailer, I’m fairly sure this will do more to preserve the idea of what Peanuts is than look at it more critically. If the nauseating effervescence and physicality of expression from Kevin Smith and Drew Barrymore is any indication, this might as well be an advertisement for the “new animated story” included here. This documentary seems more appropriate to be put on PBS after an airing of Sesame Street and right before Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood than it does being on Apple TV+.

Wildland

With the force of a freight train, director Jeanette Nordahl’s debut looks insanely powerful.

Following the death of her mother, Ida (Sandra Kampp) moves in with her aunt (Sidse Babette Knudsen) and her grown sons. Though her Aunt’s home is filled with physical tenderness and love, the family leads a violent and criminal life. And when an unforeseen murder puts pressure on the family and their loyalty to each other, tension builds as love and violence become impossible to separate. Featuring a breakout performance from Kampp, the acclaimed debut feature from Jeanette Nordahl is an enthralling, brooding and utterly gripping thriller that packs a powerful emotional punch.

This movie is probably already being considered for a crummier American version for all the troglodytes who hate subtitles, but this is about as good as it gets for me. Even putting aside the block-and-tackle editing that is top-notch and incredible, the silky smooth way this trailer presents its narrative without ever giving you any backstory or context is amazing. Every scene shown makes you wonder what is happening, who is who, what they’re doing, what is happening, and it’s tense as hell. I’m reminded of something like Sexy Beast in how place, character, and just the right amount of malevolence can make for a thrilling time at the movies. Inject all of this into my veins.

Cryptozoo

Director Dash Shaw is wanting to get some use out of your third eye.

Featuring the voice talents of Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan, Michael Cera, Louisa Krause, Peter Stormare, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Grace Zabriskie, the film follows cryptozookeepers through a richly-drawn hallucinatory world as they struggle to capture a baku (a legendary dream-eating hybrid creature) and begin to wonder if they should display these rare beasts in the confines of a zoo, or if these mythical creatures should remain hidden and unknown.

Rarely does a trailer so effortlessly make me want to sit back and just enjoy its aesthetic. There is a gnarly amount of narrative weight in the story here, but it’s best if you just experience this trailer rather than trying to make sense of it. The animation is exquisite; the colors are soothing enough to be a children’s book on its own, and there are heady things to think about that this story posits. This looks like the very definition of art. It’s not anodyne. You’ll either gravitate towards it and find comfort by the voice talents, or you’ll be repelled and be aghast at what it’s trying to do. I’m more of the former, and I’m ready for all of it.

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:

    • Master’s of the Universe: Revelation Trailer – Neat
    • Gossip Girl Trailer – Not sure I’m down to watch d-bags and horrible people being d-bags and horrible people
    • tick, tick…BOOM! Trailer – It’s catchy and you can dance to it
    • Free Guy Trailer – Should have been a direct-to-Netflix joint
    • Invasion Trailer – Not really sure I’m picking up what it’s laying down
    • Fear Street Trilogy Trailer – Hell yeah
    • Space Jam: A New Legacy Trailer – Just another reminder that Lebron James will never be as good as Michael Jordan
    • The Eyes of Tammy Faye Trailer – Make no mistake, Jessica Chastain is doing the real heavy lifting in this trailer
    • Wolfgang Trailer – Really eager to see this
    • The Last Mercenary Trailer – I thought this trailer would be a lot better than what it ended up being
    • In the Heights Trailer – An embarrassment of a trailer
    • Ron’s Gone Wrong Trailer – Pass
    • No Sudden Move Trailer – An awful trailer that has zero sizzle
    • See Season 2 Trailer – Won’t see this season, either
    • Monsters at Work Trailer – If you have kids, I’m sure at least THEY’LL enjoy it
    • Nine Perfect Strangers Trailer – High concept, weird trailer

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