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The Film Noir Trailer: The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
The Coen Brothers' tribute to classic film noir is built upon a really solid performance from Billy Bob Thronton, but, just like many other noirs, the feel of the film is the star. This trailer sets a pretty interesting stage, giving hints to the story and enticing viewers with a story that looks built on secrecy and crime. It's a really underrated entry in the Coen filmography, but it's probably the best trailer they've ever produced.
The Not Part of the Movie Trailer: Comedian (2002)
Jerry Seinfeld's movie about comedians wasn't all that good, but this trailer is one of the more ingenious ways to pitch a film that you'll ever see. It takes a the "trailer guy" and turns it on its head, adding a personality to an otherwise faceless voice. It's a clever approach to hint at a film that, otherwise, would've gone completely unnoticed. It pretty much did anyway.
The Gearshift Trailer: Red Eye (2005)
If you knew Wes Craven directed this film, this trailer is so wonderfully tongue-in-cheek and kind of funny. If you didn't know it, you'd think this was a hilarious, romantic comedy about a chance meeting between two travellers. It's like a quiet drumroll that eventually shows you what you're really in store for. It's a trailer with a twist.
The Uplifting Trailer: Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
A lot of people didn't care for this film (my favorite criticism from comedian Doug Benson on his podcast: "the longest short film ever made"). I loved it, more because of the imagery and direction. But this trailer is an epic, heartwarming journey on its own, set to a perfect song choice from Arcade Fire. It just feels so hopeful and adventurous.
The Hyper-Dramatic Trailer: The Social Network (2010)
It doesn't hurt that this film is brilliant, too, but this trailer is better than the majority of films that came out in 2010. The song choice is perfect, especially at the beginning of the trailer, as we are taken through Facebook posts, photos, and comments. It's littered with excellent pieces of Aaron Sorkin's screenplay in a way that builds an atmosphere so tense its almost impossible to avoid. Great stuff.
And a few bonus trailers that are also pretty great:
The Indie Trailer: Garden State (2005)
The Graphic Noir Trailer: Sin City (2005)
The Not Actually a Horror Film Trailer: Little Children (2006)
The No Billable Stars Trailer: Cloverfield (2008)
The Epic Comic Book Trailer: Watchmen (2009)