I think we can all agree that the art of making trailers has never been in such poor shape, and just keeps getting worse. As soon as moviegoers clue into the fact that they've heard "in a world..." one too many times, the trailer departments immediately jump to the next device that they will then flog to death. The exact same rhythms and editing techniques are used to sell different movies. Last year I deliberately skipped a screening of The Visitor on the sole basis that the trailer made it look awful. It turned out to be one of the year's real treasures, and even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In short, the trailer did the exact opposite of its job; rather than coaxing me into the movie, it drove me away (from a free screening, no less). Then there's the most common argument, that a 2-1/2 minute trailer generally gives away everything in the entire movie.

Right now there are three such trailer gimmicks that are driving me crazy:

1. The pulsing fade-to-black gimmick

I've seen this in Knowing, G.I. Joe and to some extent, most other trailers out there today. Rather than a simple cut from shot to shot, the trailer shows a shot, then fades to black, and then fades up into another shot. The problem is that this usually goes by really quickly, like an accelerated heartbeat. At best, it's disorienting. But the trailer for District 9 takes it too far. I nearly had a seizure from the rapid-fire pulsing of black-to-white. Here's a question: If District 9 is supposed to be so groundbreaking, why not let us see more than 1/8 of a second of footage at one time?