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Robert Altman

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By Jim Emerson and Jim Emerson,Orange County Register | April 24, 1992
Veteran director Robert Altman knows how the game is played.His new movie, a mordant Hollywood satire called "The Player," has prompted media profiles that paint the movie as the rogue director's "comeback," his bitter and long-delayed revenge against the town that failed to sufficiently respect and appreciate his talent.And that makes for a neat little story.But Mr. Altman says it isn't an accurate picture. He feels that he's been miscast by the press, which tends to package interviews and news stories to fit tidy, familiar formulas, just as studio executives (like those in "The Player")
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | September 16, 2010
Robert Altman barged into the nation's consciousness during the Vietnam War era with the anti-war comedy "M*A*S*H" (1970), guiding a huge ensemble — with fresh stars like Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould — through freewheeling improvisations. The movie was set during the Korean War, but '70s audiences knew it was commenting on the bloody chaos of Vietnam. Seen today, in a new 35mm print at the AFI Silver Theatre, it remains uproarious and profound about the way human beings develop a tough humor and forge unexpected bonds to stay sane amid the human wreckage of combat.
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FEATURES
By Stephen Hunter and Stephen Hunter,Film Critic | October 17, 1993
New York -- He's been the next big thing and that old guy. He's been the flavor of the week and the bitter aftertaste. He's been "Get me Altman" and "I'm sorry Mr. Altman, Mr. Melnick isn't in. No, not tomorrow, either."And through it all -- a career that's stretched over three decades -- he's made movies his own way, carving out, amid the market-driven corporate culture that has come to dominate the American film industry, a complex and personal body of work, from "M*A*S*H" to "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" to "Vincent and Theo" to his new film "Short Cuts."
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2009
TODAY Robert Altman retrospective Relax with another one of Robert Altman's finest classics, 2006's "A Prairie Home Companion," showing at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. Tickets $8. Call 410-727-3456 or go to thecharles.com. 'A Different Me Tour' featuring Keyshia Cole, Bobby Valentino, The Dream and Keri Hilson Four born-and-bred Atlantans rip the stage with their chart-topping hits, including "Turnin' Me On," "Beep," "You Complete Me" and "Shawty Is a Ten."
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | November 22, 2006
Robert Altman, whose inventiveness and independence revolutionized American moviemaking, has died at 81 of complications from cancer. In March, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the maverick director an honorary Oscar for his iconoclastic career. He never stopped directing at peak form. In the spring, he released his last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, a lyric valentine to performers of lost radio arts. Although Mr. Altman's films could express cynicism and rage, he was "a major humanist and just a great, great American guy in his candor and his warmth," said director and friend Jonathan Demme.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | February 1, 2004
Tell Robert Altman that you've just watched his 16-year-old campaign-trail mini-series Tanner '88, which airs on the Sundance Channel for the next 11 Tuesdays, and he interrupts in mock-disbelief, "But that must be six hours!" Tell him it's the best six hours of television that you've seen in months, and that it made you run off to see his new dance film, The Company, and he says, "That makes me feel real good." (The Company, a jolt of aesthetic adrenaline, does not yet have an opening date in Baltimore.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and By Michael Sragow,sun movie critic | January 13, 2002
"I am an entertainer," proclaimed the matinee idol, playwright and composer Ivor Novello, the real-life historical figure at the center of Robert Altman's new movie Gosford Park. "Empty seats and good opinions mean nothing to me." Altman at age 76 might well say the same thing. Although his only break-out hits have been M*A*S*H and The Player, he's been following his muse for more than four decades to challenge and amuse himself, and as big an audience as he can find -- not to court critics or to push a social or artistic agenda.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 11, 2002
In his spiffy and engrossing Gosford Park, director Robert Altman gathers a group of aristocrats and servants whose lives are made up of trivial pursuits and puts together a game of Cultural Pursuit. He makes it one contest that everyone can learn and win. All you have to do is see and hear. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as the guests arrive at the home of Sir William McCordle (Michael Gam- bon) and Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas). You'll learn along with the visitors how life is lived at Gosford Park - an estate that cleaves to old-fashioned discipline to avoid confused behavior.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow | January 8, 2002
NEW YORK - If the nation's film critics prevail, Mulholland Drive will nab the Oscar in April for best picture. During a meeting Saturday, David Lynch's erotic thriller edged out Robert Altman's murder mystery/comedy of manners, Gosford Park, as the top film of the year, by 30 votes to 28. The Tolkien epic Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was a distant third, with 19 votes. The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Pauline Kael, longtime critic for The New Yorker and a founder of the National Society of Film Critics.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is a down-home-exquisite musical dramedy. It fills you with a joyful noise even when the subject is mortality. Working from a script by Garrison Keillor, with some of the personalities and/or characters from Keillor's radio show of the same name, the director, Robert Altman, achieves a homespun-gossamer texture. That's a miracle for a movie about a buttoned-up Minnesotan, Keillor, known here as "GK," hosting an old-fashioned live variety program with a cast of radio performers whose messy lives intersect uproariously and unexpectedly with their on-air personae.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | November 22, 2006
Robert Altman, whose inventiveness and independence revolutionized American moviemaking, has died at 81 of complications from cancer. In March, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the maverick director an honorary Oscar for his iconoclastic career. He never stopped directing at peak form. In the spring, he released his last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, a lyric valentine to performers of lost radio arts. Although Mr. Altman's films could express cynicism and rage, he was "a major humanist and just a great, great American guy in his candor and his warmth," said director and friend Jonathan Demme.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | July 14, 2006
Slow down and dare to be great: That's my message to Richard Linklater, the audacious director of A Scanner Darkly. He's at a time in his career when he seems ready to follow through on any notion he finds in his creative kitchen down in Austin, Texas, then deliver it to the public no matter what stage it is in the baking process. Don't get me wrong: A Scanner Darkly isn't half-baked. It's more three-quarters-baked, and it took years to get its complicated animation to the point where it expressed the scary ups and downs of the characters and the paranoid terrors of their drug-riddled world.
FEATURES
June 16, 2006
THE QUESTION The movie X-Men: The Last Stand has been a box-office favorite since its opening. The movie series, taken from a popular comic book, has itself gained popularity. Which one of the X-Men do you identify with and why? WHAT YOU SAY The volcanic, fury-venting Dr. Jean Grey was my personal favorite. She reminded me of an old girlfriend. Every time she would go off, she wanted to waste not only the living, but to also raise the dead to life to give them a good whacking, too! LIAM HUGHES, BALTIMORE Of all the X-Men characters, I like Magneto the best because of his background and personality.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | June 9, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is a down-home-exquisite musical dramedy. It fills you with a joyful noise even when the subject is mortality. Working from a script by Garrison Keillor, with some of the personalities and/or characters from Keillor's radio show of the same name, the director, Robert Altman, achieves a homespun-gossamer texture. That's a miracle for a movie about a buttoned-up Minnesotan, Keillor, known here as "GK," hosting an old-fashioned live variety program with a cast of radio performers whose messy lives intersect uproariously and unexpectedly with their on-air personae.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 6, 2006
Today's Hollywood sounded as puffed-up and platitudinous as Old Hollywood through much of the 78th annual Academy Awards. Cathy Schulman, co-producer of the upset winner, Crash, thanked everyone who embraced the movie's message of "love, tolerance and truth" - high-flown spin on a movie about racism that was pretty much a two-hour hatefest. Crash director/co-writer/co-producer Paul Haggis (who won best original script) loosely quoted Bertolt Brecht that "art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it."
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW and MICHAEL SRAGOW,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 6, 2006
George Clooney, a winner for best supporting actor for Syriana, exemplified the rare best of Oscar 2005. As an alienated CIA agent in the show's clip - scarred, bearded, packing 30 extra pounds - he was scarily persuasive, using all the force of his street experience and the dead aim in his eye to intimidate super-slick Washington string-puller Christopher Plummer. (It reminded me of how much better Syriana would have been even as propaganda if it had half the characters and stuck with them.
FEATURES
By Lou Cedrone and Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff | December 24, 1990
''Vincent & Theo'' is Robert Altman's long and languid story of the Van Gogh brothers, Vincent and Theo, whose lives were anything but joyous.It is easy enough to walk out of the film in the first hour, but Altman's method becomes more apparent as the film moves along. And the movie, if not always dramatically stirring, does look good.The tough part is staying with it long enough to become involved. ''Vincent & Theo'' is undoubtely helped by the fact that Altman and his camera men try to approximate the primary colors with which Van Gogh dealt.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2009
TODAY Robert Altman retrospective Relax with another one of Robert Altman's finest classics, 2006's "A Prairie Home Companion," showing at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. Tickets $8. Call 410-727-3456 or go to thecharles.com. 'A Different Me Tour' featuring Keyshia Cole, Bobby Valentino, The Dream and Keri Hilson Four born-and-bred Atlantans rip the stage with their chart-topping hits, including "Turnin' Me On," "Beep," "You Complete Me" and "Shawty Is a Ten."
ENTERTAINMENT
By A.O. Scott and A.O. Scott,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 2, 2004
Mike Nichols' latest movie, Closer, adapted from a play by the British dramatist Patrick Marber, is about four people, arranged in crisscrossing couples, who spend most of two hours slicing one another to bits with witty and vengeful repartee. In this respect it is a lot like his first movie, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which in 1966 was adapted from Edward Albee's celebrated play, which remains unequaled in its portrayal of heterosexuality as a form of ritualized verbal blood sport.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | March 18, 2004
What's great about The Company is that it really is about a company. It presents the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago as a vital organism fascinating at rest, gripping in its struggles to survive and thrilling when it springs to full life on stage. Director Robert Altman (now 79), the past master of movie ensemble pieces, fictionalizes a year in the life of the Joffrey with inspirational freshness. He provides a welcome shock to a jaded moviegoer's system - a full blast of artistic oxygen. Ry (Neve Campbell)
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