Weekend Binge: Unlike Planet of the Apes, here are 5 underrated trilogies you’ve never seen
In celebration of War of the Planet of the Apes’ release, this week we’re recommending 5, thoroughly underrated trilogies, by some of the greatest directors working today - Edgar Wright, Lars von Trier, Gus van Sant, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Anurag Kashyap.Updated: Sep 01, 2017 13:40 IST
Every week, we will curate a collection of titles - movies, TV, general miscellanea - for you to watch (and in some cases, read, or listen to), in a series we call Weekend Binge. The selection will be based on a theme which binds the picks - which could be extremely blunt in certain instances, or confusingly abstract in some. No rules apply, other than the end goal being getting some great entertainment to watch.
While the idea is to base the theme on the week’s major events - it could be the release of a new movie, or show - we could also use this opportunity to comment on our world in general, and turn to art to wrap our heads around some of the more difficult stories of the past seven days.
But this week, it’s all about the movies. War for the Planet of the Apes was an epic conclusion to one of the best blockbuster trilogies ever - and definitely the best since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight series ended in 2012.
So this weekend, we’re going to suggest five truly underrated trilogies. They consist of films that are connected thematically, visually, besides, of course, by the person who made them. Not only does this give us an excuse to recommend more movies than we normally would have, but you, the reader, get thrice as many movies than usual.
The Cornetto Trilogy (2004-2013)
Edgar Wright is currently enjoying the biggest hit of his career with Baby Driver, but before he became a mainstream success, he directed the cult trilogy to end all cult trilogies.
Some call it the Blood & Ice Cream Trilogy, the more cultured viewers call it the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (a riff on Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Colours Trilogy), but the connecting tissue, as you might have deduced (besides lead actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), are Cornettos, ice cream cones that make at least one appearance in the films.
And each of the films are an homage to a popular genre, infused with Edgar Wright’s trademark visual style and humour. Shaun of the Dead parodies horror tropes (and features a strawberry Cornetto), Hot Fuzz is a loving homage to action movies (Blue Cornetto), and The World’s End a tribute to science-fiction (mint chocolate-chip).
Death Trilogy (2002-2005)
Director Gus Van Sant’s meditative, near-silent, experimental movies about the most morbid theme of them all: Death. All three movies are considered, even in the already niche Gus Van Sant filmography, minor movies.But don’t let that deter you. They’re poetic masterworks. The second in the series, Elephant, about a high school shooting, even won the coveted Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. And the third film, Last Days, is a tragic retelling of the final days of Nirvana’s lead vocalist Kurt Cobain.
The Depression Trilogy (2009-2013)
Directed by the Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, this trilogy of films comes closer than any series to accurately capturing the fallout that happens to those battling this mental illness - particularly Melancholia, in which Kirsten Dunst’s character floats through her life as a giant planet hurtles towards Earth on her wedding day.
A word of warning: These films could make the best of them avert their eyes, such is the glee with which von Trier projects the depravity in his mind on screen. But you will able to tell if you can stomach these films after watching the opening scene of Antichrist - in which a couple has (extremely graphic) sex in slow motion, as classical music plays in the background, and their baby climbs out of his crib and falls out of a window to its death.
The Bombay Noir Trilogy (2013-2016)
After the release of Raman Raghav 2.0, we asked director Anurag Kashyap if he still dreams of making the Bombay Quartet (an homage to writer James Ellroy’s series of noir stories set in Los Angeles, which heavily inspired Kashyap to make these movies), and he said, “No”.
But as fate would have it, he had already made three - Ugly, Bombay Velvet, and Raman Raghav 2.0. Each of these films explores different sides to the criminal underbelly of Mumbai - from the lowlife thugs, to the high society business magnates - and explores the brutality of a city that spares no one.
The Neon Trilogy (2011-2016)
Such was the cult success of director Nicolas Winding Refn’s (the second Dane on our list) Drive, that he spent the next five years of his career trying to recreate it. One thing’s for sure: You’re getting, at best, one all-time classic if you decide to watch these movies, and at worst, three wildly original movies that look (and sound) incredible.
Here’s a fun fact: Refn is colour blind. But you could never tell that from his films, which are, bar none, the most visually-dazzling by any filmmaker in the last decade. Then, there’s also the added benefit of his impeccable taste in synth-pop music, his meticulously-crafted framing, and measured, almost-silent modern fairytales set in metropolitan cities.