STRAIGHT TIME (1978)

In the cinematic world of Michael Mann, there are two figures who loom the largest. The first and most obvious one is Jean-Pierre Melville, French auteur whose cool visual style, obsession with the relationships between cops and criminals, and strict attention to detail and precision all informed the majority of Mann’s work. The second giant […]

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DR. T. AND THE WOMEN (2000)

Robert Altman’s Dr. T & the Women is one perfectly decent man’s descent into a seven-layer dip of hell that makes less and less sense to him the deeper he goes. Like a dazed Philip Marlowe plopped into Dallas and taking up trade as an OBGYN, Richard Gere’s Dr. Sullivan Travis (or Sully to close […]

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A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006)

The first snippet of music in the opening credits for A Prairie Home Companion tricks the audience into thinking the movie is going to be some kind of a light homage for the blue plate special crowd. But within seconds, this all begins to slowly shift as the radio tunes in and out of different […]

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TANNER ON TANNER (2004)

In keeping with the end of a life and career that busied itself with projects told from a decidedly more feminine point of view, Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau revisited the Jack Tanner character from their brilliant Tanner ‘88 and brushed him and his circus off for Tanner on Tanner, the four-part mini-series for Showtime […]

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THE COMPANY (2003)

The first voice heard in Robert Altman’s The Company is that of Van Dyke Parks, underrated composer whose idiosyncrasies and approach to richly American musical styles are such a perfect fit for Altman that it begs the question as to why they had only worked together once before, Parks handling the orchestration duties for Harry […]

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GOSFORD PARK (2002)

As he was one of the keenest observers of America and its inhabitants, Robert Altman didn’t make many movies that were set outside of the confines of the United States. But, sweeping through the best of Altman’s work like a raging sea, the theme of change renders any kind of geographic specificity in his work […]

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COOKIE’S FORTUNE (1999)

If there was ever another filmmaker who could work as comfortably in any American state on the map as Robert Altman could, I know him or her not. While the Coen Brothers might be able to stake a claim to have traversed the lower 48 with the same kind of bemused charm as Altman, their […]

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THE GINGERBREAD MAN (1998)

After the cool audience reception to 1996’s Kansas City, Robert Altman teed up a project that was certainly to be money in the bank. For in the 90’s, adaptations of the work of author John Grisham had become as fashionable and profitable as adaptations of Stephen King novels had been in the early 80’s. And […]

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SHORT CUTS (1993)

Robert Altman’s Short Cuts is a mosaic of people who are perpetually faced with bad decisions and who constantly take the wrong path. So, basically it’s about you and me. A spiderweb crack of broken souls stitched together by geography, relationships, and happenstance, Altman takes his well-traveled formula of regular folks just doing regular folks […]

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