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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).


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.


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.