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Trilogy Anatomy: Red, by Tober Corrigan

24 Jun

Upon being asked after the release of the Dark Knight if he had a third installment planned, Christopher Nolan replied with asking ironically how many good third movies there were. Of course, Nolan eventually did complete his trilogy, whether it being against his better judgment or not depending on who one talks to. Throughout movie history, the essential functions of the third film in a series have either been as a fitting and satisfactory end to a particular storyline (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), a disappointing but nevertheless conclusive entry (Godfather III), or a debacle so big as to necessitate a reset to the franchise (Superman III/Spiderman 3, etc., etc.). In anticipation of another highly-anticipated third film, War for the Planet of the Apes, this weekly series will cover famous third films, infamous third films and otherwise, exploring how trilogy-enders or other types of third films have functioned in relation to its series.

Trilogies can take on an overwhelming number of meanings, and though the origins of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy are rooted in a definite method, what one can get out of the three films proves endless, and could fill many tomes. Based on the colors of the French flag, and supposedly based on the ideals the three represent, this trilogy goes to Poland, France, and beyond, charting the lives of artists and dreamers, lovers and shrewd business men, models and judges, and how these lives always, against all odds, simultaneously intersect and conflict. Each film’s story is different, with the central characters never repeating from the previous, despite there being surprise overlapping via cameos in each. While much could certainly be said about the politics at work, I found that less relevant (perhaps speaking to my being a foreign viewer) than the more universal aspects that run across the three. And in that way at least, the trilogy is a success.

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Trilogy Anatomy: Alien 3, by Tober Corrigan

17 Jun

Upon being asked after the release of the Dark Knight if he had a third installment planned, Christopher Nolan replied with asking ironically how many good third movies there were. Of course, Nolan eventually did complete his trilogy, whether it being against his better judgment or not depending on who one talks to. Throughout movie history, the essential functions of the third film in a series have either been as a fitting and satisfactory end to a particular storyline (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), a disappointing but nevertheless conclusive entry (Godfather III), or a debacle so big as to necessitate a reset to the franchise (Superman III/Spiderman 3, etc., etc.). In anticipation of another highly-anticipated third film, War for the Planet of the Apes, this weekly series will cover famous third films, infamous third films and otherwise, exploring how trilogy-enders or other types of third films have functioned in relation to its series.

If you turn your head and squint just right, the first three films in the Alien series make for a finely-tuned trilogy. Each one builds on the previous’ mythos, adding subtle shadings to the portrait without giving away all the secrets. The three together play out the same basic story structure while also riffing on the series’ themes. The third film’s ending feels definitive, with a key character decision that completes, or ends, the previous film’s vicious cycles. And yet, somehow, Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3 could not be a more atonal trio.

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More Updates & Announcements!

15 Jun

Tyler talks about all the latest stuff on the website!

FaithlifeTV
The Big Sick
The Fear of God: Bubba Ho-Tep
Hot Fuzz
Trilogy Anatomy
Wonder Woman
The Jogger
MTOL Amazon Store

Trilogy Anatomy: The Godfather III, by Tober Corrigan

10 Jun

Upon being asked after the release of the Dark Knight if he had a third installment planned, Christopher Nolan replied with asking ironically how many good third movies there were. Of course, Nolan eventually did complete his trilogy, whether it being against his better judgment or not depending on who one talks to. Throughout movie history, the essential functions of the third film in a series have either been as a fitting and satisfactory end to a particular storyline (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), a disappointing but nevertheless conclusive entry (Godfather III), or a debacle so big as to necessitate a reset to the franchise (Superman III/Spiderman 3, etc., etc.). In anticipation of another highly-anticipated third film, War for the Planet of the Apes, this weekly series will cover famous third films, infamous third films and otherwise, exploring how trilogy-enders or other types of third films have functioned in relation to its series.

The recent Tribeca-sponsored Godfather reunion of Francis Ford Coppola and remaining cast immediately followed screenings of Part 1 and Part 2. There was no trilogy to speak of. It’s rather culturally understood at this point to disregard the 1990 sequel to one of the most acclaimed series in film history, and yet it’s still surreal to see how quick those who made it are to dismiss it too.

Admiration for the film today can be found in theory though not necessarily in practice. Both the shock and the horror of Godfather III is in its brazen disregard for what came before. Perhaps this is a function of its infamous preproduction (Robert Duvall backing out, the role of Mary Corleone going to Sofia Coppola last minute), or it could be that we were seeing the start of late-period Coppola without even realizing it. Whatever the reason, one must be daring enough to watch the film more as experiment than canon entry for it to have any power. Only then can Godfather III live or die on its own terms. It still mostly dies, but the better question is perhaps if any film within the context of its trilogy should be intending to work on its own terms.

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Trilogy Anatomy: Lady Vengeance, by Tober Corrigan

2 Jun

Upon being asked after the release of the Dark Knight if he had a third installment planned, Christopher Nolan replied with asking ironically how many good third movies there were. Of course, Nolan eventually did complete his trilogy, whether it being against his better judgment or not depending on who one talks to. Throughout movie history, the essential functions of the third film in a series have either been as a fitting and satisfactory end to a particular storyline (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), a disappointing but nevertheless conclusive entry (Godfather III), or a debacle so big as to necessitate a reset to the franchise (Superman III/Spiderman 3, etc., etc.). In anticipation of another highly-anticipated third film, War for the Planet of the Apes, this weekly series will cover famous third films, infamous third films and otherwise, exploring how trilogy-enders or other types of third films have functioned in relation to its series.

Sometimes the best trilogies come in the strangest packages. This is certainly true for Park Chan-Wook’s self-proclaimed Vengeance Trilogy. Though not connected in any conventional narrative sense, the three films do contain enough cross-references, callbacks, and through lines to back the director’s claims. Principal actors in one film reappear in the next in a minor role, accentuated in ways meant to evoke their other screen selves within Chan-Wook’s universe. Certain visual tricks get re-introduced with each film, seemingly inconsequential objects in the first film become iconography by the third. What these connections mean in and of themselves are at first hard to read.

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The Return of the Movie Palace, by Tober Corrigan

26 May

Streaming services, VOD releases, the “Golden Age of Television” and the like have all put movie exhibition in the same existential quandary faced with the advent of sound and color: how to put butts in seats? While everything from serving food and alcohol to installing indoor jungle gyms (!?) have been attempted to solve this problem, my new personal favorite requires going back in time rather than propelling forward. I’m talking about the phenomenon often referred to as Symphony at the Movies, a special form of film exhibition that is becoming more and popular across the country each year. Watching Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain in the theater is its own glorious thing; having its soundtrack performed by a major symphony orchestra while watching it proves quite another. Like Citizen Kane or Casablanca, the film requires no more new perspectives. Popular and critical culture have together provided a gluttony of prisms by which to view it. Instead, I humbly offer up the merits of experiencing an antiquated art (going to the symphony) combined with an art inevitably heading that way (going to the movies).

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MTOL Updates!

27 Apr

There’s no episode this week, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty going on at More Than One Lesson, including:

Tyler’s talk at the International Christian Film Festival
Tyler’s book, Worth Watching
Rushmore review
The Vampire Bat review
Colossal review
The Lost City of Z review
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan review
Free Fire review
The Fountain review
The Fear of God: Signs
Salty Cinema: Steve Taylor
Thimblerig’s Ark: Wildflower

Going Gently Into That Good Night, by Tober Corrigan

22 Apr

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what’s a heaven for?…”

This portion of Robert Browning’s poem, “Andrea del Sarto,” directly referenced in the final moments of The Lost City of Z, sums up both the film’s form and its function. For it is James Gray, directing with his usual grace and manners, that leads us by the hand for two and a half hours, imploring us to reach for the ineffable each time Percival Fawcett, the title character upon whose real story this movie is based, does. Like Fawcett, the reach for heaven ultimately fails, but in the way Samuel Beckett (“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”) would approve. It’s the sort of failure one can expect to learn much from.

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The Quintessential Festival Film, by Tober Corrigan

17 Apr

It’s Monday night of the 2017 South by Southwest Festival. All of the big premieres—anticipated movies by important directors (Malick, Wright, Franco!)—have come and gone. Yet my three friends and I, the only ones currently in the general admission line, are here for the shoot-‘em-up movie boasting a cast known by face if not by name. This isn’t even a premiere in the pure sense; it’s just the stateside debut. By all the above accounts, Ben Wheatley’s film should be a severely mediocre night at the movies—a merely fine film.

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